The Hierophant. Rider Waite Tarot Deck

The Hierophant Tarot Card Meaning – 5th Arcana

The Hierophant Tarot Card Meaning – 5th Arcana

What is is the meaning of Hierophant in tarot reading?

The fifth Arcana in the Tarot, the Hierophant, comes after the card Emperor .
Each tarot card has its own role in the deck. Each Arcana, Major or Minor, is responsible for certain traits, feelings or actions. 5th Arcana of the Tarot is the Hierophant. He personifies the connection with the spiritual world, conscience, mentoring, the search for truth.
Hierophant (Greek “showing the sacred”) in ancient Greece meant the Hierophant, who was elected on a life basis. In ancient Rome, he was called “the great pontiff”, and then “pope”.
Arcana the Hierophant is the unifying element of the first 4 Arcana and contains the features of each of them. Spiritual Mother, Spiritual Father, Mother of Matter and Father of Matter – they are united by the Hierophant – in their own way their common son, a mediator between the spiritual world and the material world.

Names in Other Languages: Papa, Le Pape, Die Eingeburn.

The occult meaning of the Arcana: breath.

The physical meaning of the Arcana: religion, calmness (desire for calmness).

The Kabbalistic meaning of the Arcana: calmness (desire for calmness).

Spirit Orb: Awareness of “your truth”, your subjective truth.

Goal: Deep inner self-confidence as a result of belief in a higher purpose.

Element: Earth, to a lesser extent Fire.

Planet: Saturn, Venus, Jupiter.

Astrological sign: Capricorn, Taurus, to a lesser extent Leo, Sagittarius.

Key date: end of April – beginning of May.

Places: temple, monastery and other places of official religious worship; a house with an ancient tradition; “Noble Nest”.

The Hierophant Tarot Card Meaning – 5th Arcana


The monk sits between two columns. His head is crowned with a high crown, in his left hand he holds a slender scepter. At his feet are two crossed keys. And a little further from the monk, two men are sitting looking at him.
(For a detailed depiction, analysis of the Symbols and all Elements of The Hierophant Tarot Card, click here)

Meaning of the Card

First of all, find yourself on it. Often on this card, in addition to the Hierophant, there are two kneeling monks-disciples. If you feel like one of these monks, then you are looking for a teacher who would show you the way to the truth, and is ready to accept his help. If you perceive yourself as a central figure, then you yourself are able to teach others what you have learned yourself, to help them. But still ask yourself: was it not vanity that elevated you to the throne, is your knowledge really great?
This card represents a person with the power to propel or overwhelm you. You must decide whether it is worth furthering your admiration for this person. Perhaps you seek to solve vital issues for others in order to increase your own power over people. You risk trading real authority for belief in your own infallibility.
Whatever your supreme deity may be, it is obvious that he does not descend from heaven often enough to speak to his people. Most religions have individuals whose duties include imparting divine will to believers. The more organized a religion is, the higher is the authority of its Priest.
The Hierophant can symbolize any organized philosophical or educational organization, religious or secular, that has similar power over the minds of its followers. In all such organized philosophies, there is a person or group of individuals who claim that only they know the truth, and you will either obey their word or be damned.
This is where you must make a decision. It is at this stage of your spiritual development that you are given the opportunity to know the final sacrament – to know the Will of God in relation to you. The Hierophant is the Guardian of the gates, and to pass them you need to become one. Will you decide for yourself what your road to salvation is, or allow another authority, even the authority of the Tarot, to think for you? What you decide now will affect any remaining spiritual development.
Note that the Hierophant is not always an auspicious card. Unlike the Priestess, who uses her wisdom and understanding to allow others to find their true path, the Hierophant uses his power to increase his own influence over others. This card gives you the choice to explore the needs of your own soul or to adjust your self to the needs of others.

Positive Aspects of the Card
Active use of other people’s knowledge and experience, tolerance, spiritual authority, law, moral and ethical foundations, justice and patronage.

Negative Aspects of the Card
Conservatism and pettiness, imposing their views, falsehood and arrogance.

In an Upright Position

Key Words and Phrases

Hierophant archetype. Folk wisdom. Official ceremony. Established order. Moral requirements. Spiritual growth. Religious ceremonies. Attending a wedding or religious service such as communion or bar mitzvah. Wise advice. Professional advice. Prayer. Spiritual authority. Divine Law. Supreme Power. A treasure trove of ancient teachings. Improvement of moral qualities. Seriousness. Justice or peace. Celibacy. Platonic relationships. Education. Learning new things. Search for advice. Preference for tradition. Conformity. Conservatism. Generally accepted rules of conduct or generally accepted beliefs. External authority. According to Jung – the process of “self-identification”, getting used to the social mask. Search for spiritual truth. Search for the meaning of human life. Religious services and rituals. Theological doctrine. Schools. Place of worship. Structured environment. Traditional organizations. Institutions. “System”. Ivy League. Heavenly Father. Search for meaning. Rituals that serve as a symbolic thread connecting the individual with the traditions that are prevailing in society.

The main meanings of the card in an Upright Position

The connection between wisdom and mercy;
Spiritual leader;
Search for deep meaning, true vocation, “super task”;
Tests for morality, test for strength;
Growth of trust and attraction of partners to each other;
Intention to marry (get married);
Folk wisdom;
Professional advice;
Religious service, wedding;
Conservatism, generally accepted rules;
Wise mentor;
Tradition, traditional approach;
This card gives you the choice to explore the needs of your own soul or to adjust your self to the needs of others.

The Hierophant. Botticelli Tarot
Botticelli Tarot

Situation and Advice

A Hierophant can mean a spiritual search for meaning, focus on improving moral qualities. Perhaps a wise mentor or official teacher will come along your path to help you in your spiritual search. Perhaps you will take part in a traditional ritual or ceremony. Perhaps you will visit a place of worship or be invited to a wedding. Now is the time to turn to folk wisdom. A Hierophant can also refer to an experienced consultant or qualified professional who can provide sensible advice. Perhaps one of the higher officials will assist in resolving the issue in your favor. If you have asked a question regarding a love relationship, the Hierophant assumes a traditional or platonic relationship.

Persons designated by Upright Hierophant Tarot Сard

Dad. Priest. The one who conducts the ceremonies. Guru. Educators. Teachers. Students. Counselors. A wise person ready to help. Mentors. Professionals. Doctors. Marriage counselors. Arbitrators. Lawyers. Consultants. Employees of scientific and educational institutions. Spiritual leaders. Nominee bosses. A person who transfers his knowledge and his understanding to the younger generation. Spiritual mentor. One whose intentions are serious. Conformists. Conservatives. Traditionalists.

In a Reversed Position

Key Words and Phrases

An unconventional approach. Passion for New Age ideas. Bad advice. Limited thinking. Dogmatism. Stubbornness. Scandal affecting clergy. Materialism. Extremism. Vindictiveness. Secrecy. Severe orthodoxy or excessive non-conformism. Denial of tradition. Putting on the mask. Creating a misconception about yourself. Propaganda. Misleading information. Excessive observance of conventions. Disorganization. Religious extremism. Fanaticism. Inquisition. Fallacy of conventional belief. The need for original methods and unconventional solutions. If God wanted us to fly, he would create us with wings. They are greeted by clothes. All that glitters is not gold. Up the public staircase.

The main meanings of the card in a reversed position

Openness to new ideas;
Unconventional approach;
Bad advice;
Limited thinking;
Denial of tradition;
Putting on a mask;
Not the best time to get married.

Situation and Advice

The positive meaning of the Hierophant in the inverted position is that it indicates the need for an unconventional approach to solving current problems. Folk wisdom may now be your most reliable mentor. Perhaps, in order to get out of an unpleasant situation, you need to disrupt the usual way of life. Make up your mind to change and become different. To be successful, you need to start thinking in new ways. Take off the mask and allow yourself and others to see your true attitude towards the problem.
The negative meaning of the Hierophant in an inverted position: the card may indicate that you are too fanatical in your thoughts and too dogmatic about what is happening. Perhaps you have all the characteristics of a Hierophant, exactly the opposite? Are you acting compulsively (coercively) or passively (aggressively)? Perhaps you put on a mask to hide your feelings, but it hides you not only from others, but also from yourself? Excessive nonconformity may hinder you. Traditional or conventional methods may not have worked. The advice you received recently may not be helpful or even make the situation worse. The planned wedding or religious ceremony may be canceled. If your question was about a love relationship, then getting married now will not be your best move.

Persons designated by the Reversed Hierophant Tarot Сard

Anyone who is fond of New Age ideas, religion. Rebels. Eccentric personalities. Innovators. People with prejudice. Those who are judged by their appearance. Intolerant or dogmatic people. Compulsive people. Passive-aggressive personalities. The bride who escaped from the crown. A unique person with a penchant for experimentation and innovation.

In the Spreads

The Hierophant is associated with the role of a spiritual teacher, mentor. This is a card of the search for the meaning of life, moral development, a philosophical view of events and circumstances. But at the same time, this Arcana is close to the material world. The Hierophant is nothing more than a conductor of subtle energies into the physical world, the personification of how the forces of the Universe manifest themselves in the world of people.
The often dropped Hierophant indicates the need for self-purification and internal analysis, or indicates a period of testing your principles and ideals for strength.
The draw of the Hierophant in divination is in most cases a positive sign. His presence is usually associated with the following common points for all spreads (one or more): ceremonies and rituals (magical, wedding, meditation), learning something new and acquiring knowledge, ethical and moral issues.

The Hierophant. Tarot Wheel of the Year
Tarot Wheel of the Year

In an Upright Position

It is very rare when the fifth Arcana indicates something negative. However, the general meaning of the Hierophant is not exhaustive for any question. Depending on the area of ​​interest, the card may provide additional answers.
The Hierophant card personifies faith, religion, trust, moral and ethical values, the truth of which is not accepted to question. In ancient times, the Hierophant was considered one of the three Guardian Angels in the Tarot, who ensured a favorable outcome for any business. In addition, this card symbolizes the path of ethics and virtue, of those moral principles that determine our life plans. The card is a symbol of morality, intelligence, wisdom, it can mean an upcoming marriage, good deeds, strong friendship.

In a Reversed Position:

In the upside down position, the Hierophant is not always a bad card. Major Arcana, of course, can mean some negative positions: stubbornness, hypocrisy, jealousy, vengefulness, pretense. But also quite often it has positive meanings: new ideas, unconventional ways of solving problems, determination and courage. What value fell to you depends largely on the question.
In a reversed position, the Hierophant Tarot card symbolizes the termination of the agreement, bad advice, stubbornness, vindictiveness, inaccurate information, inertia, fanaticism, mistakes in decision-making. It also indicates the lack of protection not only from higher people, but also from the Higher Powers. It can mean gullibility, false knowledge, lack of discernment.

In a Personal Spread

In a personal scenario, it may indicate that you need the support and care of a more experienced and knowledgeable person, or you yourself seek to pass on the accumulated experience to others.

In the Spreads for Different situation

In an Upright Position:
Having passed this path and overcoming various obstacles, you will gain invaluable experience. Nothing will be meaningless.
If you act in this situation honestly and fairly, you will succeed, you will overcome all obstacles.
Also, when divining a difficult situation, the Hierophant of the Tarot may advise you to find a mentor or assistant. Try asking for help or asking the opinion of someone with knowledge of the subject that you are interested in.

In a Reversed Position:
The situation does not depend on you at all. The only thing you can do now is just hope for the best and patiently wait for the right moment when the opportunity to step into the game appears.
When divining the situation, the Hierophant of the Tarot points out that now, probably, there are not enough opportunities to achieve the desired result. The traditional methods of solving problems do not work. Try an unconventional approach. It makes sense to take a chance and experiment with new techniques. Also, the card can warn of your excessive fanaticism and obsession with any idea.

In the Spreads for Relationship

In an Upright Position :
If the Hierophant card fell out, it means respect, kindred. Mutual interest is fueled by the exchange of knowledge.
In a love scenario, the Hierophant is a very good card. It indicates trust and mutual understanding between partners, harmony of family life, confidence in each other.
This is an even, stable relationship, where each of the partners plays a role. Perhaps the relationship is built on the child-adult principle, where one of the partners plays the role of a parent and protector.
The draw of the Hierophant in the alignment of love may hint at an imminent wedding.
The Hierophant symbolizes a period of constantly growing trust and attraction of partners to each other, when the ideal becomes more and more elevated, and the partnership itself changes for the better under the influence of the system of moral values ​​and personal virtues of each.

The Hierophant. The Tarot of the 78 Doors
The Tarot of the 78 Doors

In a Reversed Position:
In relationships, this tarot card warns of deception. The person is lying to you, cheating, trying to show that he is much better than he really is, possibly gossiping. If we are talking about fortune telling for love, you will be disappointed.
Indicates a deceitful relationship, portends suspicion, distrust and quarrels.
The wedding or wedding ceremony may be canceled. The dogmatism of one of the partners will not lead to a strong relationship.
If you are just looking for a partner, a reversed Arcana means the impossibility of a serious relationship or creating a family for a given period of time.

In the Spreads for Dates

In an Upright Position :
Your interest in religion or spirituality will lead to new friendships. One of these new connections may (or has already grown) into a romance.
In a Reversed Position:
You are cynical and see only negative qualities in people. Stop. Get to know the person better first, then make a judgment.

In the Spreads for Family

In an Upright Position:
You get good advice from a parent or someone who treats you like a parent. You need to follow these tips.
In a Reversed Position:
When family members are talking, you should not jump into the conversation so abruptly. Don’t try to be the center of attention all the time.
Some of the things you interfere with are definitely not yours.

In the Spreads for Friendship

In an Upright Position:
You are a reliable, compassionate, loyal and caring friend.
In a Reversed Position:
You are too influenced. Try to decide for yourself.

In the Spreads for Money

In an Upright Position:
With a family member or friend, you have formed a team (or will soon) for a business venture. This person can be trusted. The business will be successful and generate income.
The Hierophant means financial stability. You manage your income well and analyze expenses correctly. Income is most often average or above average, due to the fact that the main thing for you is the idea, and not the money. This is not bad, but there is room for improvement.
In a Reversed Position:
You put too much trust in bad advice, advertisements, and rumors, and you end up with nothing as a result. You can fix the situation, but let it be a warning to you: never rush headlong into a business related to money. Gather all the information, check and double-check, calculate everything, then act.
The Hierophant in a reversed position means illegal or unfair ways of earning money, a tendency to financial fraud and adventures. In a lighter version, the card means receiving less money than expected.

In the Spreads for Education

In an Upright Position:
You feel that teachers are the source of the right guidance and inspiration for you. Their approval is very important to you.
In a Reversed Position:
You are in conflict with teachers, but this conflict is actually a mask that hides the fact that you do not understand the subject. The next time your grades are checked, ask for help. You will be surprised at the amount of valuable advice, support and encouragement that you will receive in return.

In the Spreads for Career

In an Upright Position:
The Hierophant does not promise you money, all his actions are aimed at searching for spiritual values, but there is a chance to climb the career ladder.
A Hierophant means good education and knowledge. You are well versed in your business and have all the necessary abilities.
In the realm of work, the card indicates formality and hierarchy. Emotions should be removed away, professional qualities come to the fore. Each employee must have his own area of ​​action for which he is responsible. Everything must be clear and correct – this is the path to career success.
The Hierophant card speaks of good relationships, a variety of useful contacts. There is a chance that one of the patrons will help in business or give good advice.
If you are just looking for a job or are thinking about changing your career, the Hierophant card indicates the search for a true vocation. He advises to follow your heart and go to work where it will be interesting.
In a Reversed Position:
You are not aware of the real state of affairs, so your actions can only do harm. Postpone making important decisions for a while, otherwise you can seriously regret the wrong act. And beware of colleagues who tag on your place.
The value of 5 Arcana in an inverted position is that it will indicate a lack of awareness of the situation. Perhaps you do not know or do not understand something. You may also show a tendency to scams and illegal activities.
The card can foreshadow specific situations in which your moral character, your morality will undergo all sorts of tests, until now do not allow yourself to participate in dark machinations. There is a possibility of deception, betrayal, hooking.
If you are looking for a job, there is currently no way to get the desired position.

In the Spreads for Health

In an Upright Position:
The card does not mean good health, but it speaks of spiritual strength and an optimistic mood of a person.
In questions about health, the Hierophant indicates the need for medical diagnostics, perhaps some diseases can only begin to develop and you will have time to prevent or cure the disease. If you are already undergoing treatment, the Hierophant will mean that the treatment is correct.

In a Reversed Position:
As a rule, the card warns of a possible misdiagnosis.
Nervous disorders, moral ailments, ENT diseases. Pray for recovery.
The reversed Hierophant has almost the same meaning for health as in upright position. You should see your doctor for an examination. Perhaps you have attracted some diseases to yourself.

The Hierophant. Tarot "Magic of Dreams"
Tarot “Magic of Dreams”

In the Perspectives

You can actually do the rational thing and be successful. You will be very satisfied with the result of your actions.

Answer to Yes / No Tarot Spreads

In an Upright Position:
Tarot answers you with a firm “yes” in all matters of a spiritual nature. For the rest, it is only “possible.”
The future is not defined or the question is formulated incorrectly.
In a Reversed Position:
More likely no than yes.

Combinations with other cards

The Lovers: personal beliefs
Seven of Swords: lone wolf
The Fool: Unorthodox
Two of Wands: dropping out of the crowd, first ascent

The Emperor: following the rules
Eight of Pentacles: Study, Research
Three of Cups: crowd loyalty
Three of Pentacles: teamwork

Arcana’s warning

Act according to your conscience. There is a risk of emotional instability, aggression. Don’t let someone or something provoke you. Do not use your opportunities for selfish purposes or for evil to other people. Don’t resist outside support. Relatives and friends want to help, and do not offend your personality.

Self-Development Lesson

We need to choose spiritual truths and teachings for ourselves that are consistent with our sacred inner knowledge, related to our intuitive understanding, and inspired by a higher spiritual source. Don’t be afraid to be unconventional if your spiritual leanings are taking you in a completely new direction.

Key Ideas

Life without problems and without stress simply does not exist. The secret to success is not avoiding obstacles and setbacks, but learning how to manage them.

Psychological (Personality) Meaning of the Arcana

Type of person in an upright position:

Moral authority; a revered spiritual person; a priest “from God”, a man of pure convictions.
The card shows a wise man, perceptive in everyday life, attentive to trifles. Strict but fair. He is unlikely to defend his opinion if it is at odds with the generally accepted. He’d will rather listen to what everyone is saying. But this happens rarely, his opinion often coincides with the opinion of the majority. This is how one of the main meanings of the card is manifested – adherence to tradition.
Type of person in an reversed position:
False prophet; guru; sect leader; a clergyman without vocation, whoop.
It can mean a liberal-minded person or, more often, one who does not take into account either the people around him or with public morality. He ignores remarks, behaves deliberately defiantly, hiding behind slogans about freedom, which in his understanding is synonymous with permissiveness.

The Hierophant. Tarot of Dragons
Tarot of Dragons

Psychological significance of the Arcana:

First, try to identify yourself with someone from those depicted on the card. If one of the monks turns out to be close to you, then look for a teacher and spiritual mentor for yourself – you have matured to the beginning of the path of spiritual development, therefore you need someone who will show the way to truth. When you yourself are not able to solve your problems, do not be afraid to turn with a request for help to people whom you respect and consider as authorities for yourself. If you identify yourself with the central figure of the card, then this means that you can teach other people yourself and solve not only your own problems. But think if it is in vain that you rise so high. Remember also that by embarking on this path, you are taking on a huge responsibility. Try to avoid the influence of “crazy gurus” and try not to become one of them yourself.

Final Advice of Arcana

Engage in spiritual development, work on yourself and your character. Analyze your values and ideals, maybe you should reconsider some of them. Choose your environment more carefully, communicate with decent and honest people. Think carefully before making a choice.

In an Upright Position:
Trust the wisdom of an experienced person, his knowledge of life will help you go through any obstacles.
In a Reversed Position:
Take a fresh look at the situation. The case when it is worth living with your own mind, without advice from the outside, because no one knows you better than yourself. Look for a grain of common sense in every little thing.


The Hierophant personifies the world of faith and the deepest trust, based on the unshakability of the chosen values. In ancient times, he was considered one of the three Guardian Angels in the Tarot, who ensured a favorable outcome for any business. This has a deep meaning, because trust in general and our trust in ourselves in particular serve as the basis for faith in life, in the future. In addition, this card symbolizes the path of ethics and virtue, that is, those moral principles that determine our life plans.

Flower. Tarot

Discover other Major Arcana:

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