Hierophant Tarot Card Meaning, A Complete Guide!


The Hierophant Tarot Card, A Complete Guide
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As the fifth card in a Tarot deck, the Hierophant is represented by a robed, crowned, and throned figure, holding a sceptre in his hand. The figure raises his other hand with two fingers pointed upwards. The religious connotations are clear, but the main theme is one of wisdom and teaching.

A Hierophant is defined as one who interprets religion or esoteric principles. He may even be seen as a priest but has a distinct role in bringing light upon sacred mysteries.

But the Hierophant is not always a card about religion. He is also often seen as the male counterpart to the High Priestess.

As this article will suggest, there are many more understandings of the card that may be valuable to a tarot reader when interpreting a spread.

Before we delve into the Hierophant, I wanted to point out the Related Articles section at the bottom of this post. I’ve collected a number of articles that I think you will find interesting and beneficial. Please make sure you check them out!

What does the Hierophant Tarot card mean?

Upright, the Hierophant discusses an identified way of thinking, an established institution, or a structured routine. The card represents the learning that we undertake when we reach out to mentors or groups whom we can challenge or establish our belief systems with. It may also suggest tradition and conventionality.

Learning is a process familiar to all of us. It starts when we are born and continues to be with us throughout school and our careers. It takes place anywhere, from conversations about social awareness to practicing an instrument.

Like any conversation or viewpoint upon social issues, we choose to become educated about the topic first, ideally before engaging in debate or establishing our own views upon the subject. This is because without establishing a foundation of knowledge first, there is little credibility in attempting to establish an uninformed opinion.

And just like how we grow as children under the guidance of our parents, there is a need to first learn and grow, to be brought up in a stable environment with core principles and traditions, before we can go out into the world and flourish as our own person.

As painful as having to learn lessons may sound – or it may be exciting for you – there is no uncertainty in how this commitment will pay off. Once you finish being under the guidance of a spiritual mentor, a sports coach, or any kind of teacher, your skills will have improved twofold.

But the Hierophant suggests the importance of that actual learning process first, and maps out your journey in growth, whether that may be in spiritual, mental, or educational. The presence of a mentor or teacher is highly suggested.

Furthermore, creating a balance is necessary in our lives. Whilst too much structure may be stifling, and ultimately not rewarding, no routine at all impacts negatively upon our health. The Hierophant upright can indicate implementing some sort of routine into your daily life so that you may rely on it for your productivity or well-being.

Lastly, the Hierophant can talk about stability and respect. We often see the word ‘institutions’, and although they sound scary and even slightly oppressive, they merely refer to the established societal organizations we have, such as the healthcare system, universities, or religious organizations.

They are established for the purpose of helping us form our own informed opinions. It is extremely important to find structure without being oppressed by it.

Exploring and identifying established ways of thinking is crucial to prompting further growth in your own thought patterns. You do not have to be bound by institutions or traditions to experience them!

The Hierophant Card Upright Keywords

  • Mentor
  • Structure
  • Learning
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Conventionality
  • Tradition
  • Conformity

What does the Hierophant Tarot card mean reversed?

Reversed, the Hierophant talks of trusting your inner self to lead and guide. This may not be the time to stay within social boundaries or to seek others’ approval. Instead, get to trust and know your own values and beliefs, and do not be afraid to challenge those which do not align with or suffocate yours.

The Hierophant reversed, in contrast to the upright version, can indicate that the time for relying upon others around you is over, or has dragged on for long enough. It is completely okay to learn and to listen to the established ways and principles that you were taught, but with the reversed Hierophant, your situation may need you to employ a little less caution, close-mindedness, and conventionality.

It is contrary to experiencing growth in learning if we never take initiative for ourselves. In a positive manner, this card encourages the querent to not take everything as it is presented to them. Think about why particular traditions or rules are in place and whether they are implemented out of actual respect and care, or simply close-mindedness and social conformity.

Accepting, seeking out, or relying upon external sources of teaching or opinions perhaps may not be the best way to advance in this situation. Although it initially may feel intimidating, along with the fact that you could be judged for being unconventional, trust your own inner teacher and your intuition.

Remember that the universe would not give you challenges or cards that you cannot handle. The inner guidance is most definitely there for you to create your own path to follow.

Additionally, think about whether your personal values and beliefs align with your actions right now. If you don’t seem to have a clear grasp of what your personal values or beliefs are, then the Hierophant reversed has a pretty clear message for you!

However, always remember to think about your own context in a tarot spread. In a negative light, the Hierophant reversed represents the complete lack of structure, behavior that verges upon being illegal, or even religious cults. It can also simply refer to a person who is lashing out because they feel as if they are being stifled and suppressed.

It is important to distinguish between whether the Hierophant reversed is occurring on a mental level, such as challenging the status quo, or on an actual physical level, such as law-breaking or having disagreements with authorities. This can be done through clarifying cards.

The Hierophant Card Reversed Keywords

  • Unconventionality
  • Rebellion
  • Open-mindedness
  • Non-conformity
  • Stifling
  • Innovation
  • Subversion

The Hierophant as How Someone Sees, Thinks, or Feels towards you

This person may view you as a stable, respectable, and grounded figure. They may look up to you as someone who is knowledgeable and possesses quite a deep-seated awareness of matters you care about. The Hierophant card may also suggest that they see you as someone who is quite conventional and perhaps authoritative.

The main role of the Hierophant is to spread knowledge. The two keys crossed below the figure can even be interpreted as the interaction between the conscious and subconscious minds. His duty is one of revealing those secrets.

Therefore, although not quite as dramatically, others may view you as one who holds a depth of knowledge and wisdom in you and is completely capable of sharing it. They might see you as an effective mentor and communicator. You spread awareness about the subjects that you talk about with great trustworthiness and authority.

A more literal representation could be that they see you as their teacher, or even as quite a strict and uptight person. Perhaps you hold information that they need to advance to the next step. 

Commonly in social interactions, the Hierophant shows up as a platonic relationship. They can see you as someone whom they would conventionally meet for a coffee, or as close to them as a family member or relative would be. They hold a large deal of respect for you, and your relationship holds a lot of weight to them.

The Hierophant Reversed as How Someone Sees, Thinks, or Feels towards you

Alternatively, you may come off to them as an unconventional figure, or someone who is unafraid to step away from conformity with a strong sense of self. When this is implied, it is more likely for the Hierophant card to come up as reversed.

Reversed, the Hierophant card suggests that you are viewed as unconventional. This can refer to a particular aspect, such as appearance, fashion, or way of thinking. You go out of your way to innovate and find new methods to approach a situation. They can perceive you as someone who desires freedom and independence.

Since the Hierophant upright does refer to groups of people and conforming to convention, it is likely that you are perceived to stick to your own values and ideas.

You might not flourish well under strict structure, so you may like to cherish your independence. The main takeaway is that there is something different about you that this other person has taken notice of.  

On the other side, this may also suggest that the other person doesn’t necessarily understand you as a person, or doesn’t view you as a respectable figure or a reliable source of information. They might think that you are not utilizing your power effectively or righteously.

The Hierophant as a Place

The most traditional interpretation of the Hierophant suggests a place where religious gatherings or ceremonies can be held, especially places wherein you encounter mentors or teachers who help spread spiritual awareness.

However, since the Hierophant also refers to groups of people, it could also definitely indicate a place where people meet in order to discuss certain beliefs or subjects. It might be a formal public setting, due to the structured and respectable nature of the Hierophant.

The Hierophant can suggest any form of public forum. This place can act as a sanctuary for those seeking peace, learning, ritual, or safety. The most common interpretation is that of a school or a church. But this card can refer to any professional or social institution, not just an educational or religious one.

Try to also think of places where you would encounter people you look up to or would interact with on a teacher-student basis. Other possible options for public places could range from universities to hospitals.

Upright, the card could refer to places that the querent encounters in their normal daily life.

The Hierophant Reversed as a Place

Reversed, it could refer to a place that the querent wouldn’t normally consider as the first option when asking their question. Additionally, remote settings, where an individual is often alone, could be represented by the reversed version.

The Hierophant reversed points towards a private setting. This is a place away from large groups of people or large companies and institutions. It is a location where the querent can be free from burdens or societal responsibilities. In other contexts, it can represent a place of alternative or unconventional activities.

Think of a place that wouldn’t normally pop up in your mind first. Maybe you’ve had a certain expectation in your mind; this card in reverse suggests that the actual place will be different from your expectations.

Additionally, it can actually indicate a place where there are other people, but perhaps of a less mainstream nature. For example, if asking about a music venue, instead of a pop music concert, consider a small indie band’s performance stage instead.

In general, this is a place that does not have ties with the state and is not government funded. The card can also negate places associated with particular religions.

The Hierophant in a Career Reading

Most commonly, the Hierophant indicates a career position in a religious or educational institution. You may enjoy assisting or mentoring others, particularly in your field of knowledge.

Any position involving spiritual or educational mentoring can be represented by the Hierophant. Examples of these mentors include teachers, counsellors, or advisors. Those who work in an industry that provides service and charity can also be considered as one who sheds light, wisdom, and assistance for others. 

If this card appears as the answer to how the querent should approach their career, then perhaps a more conventional job-seeking approach is required. A mentor figure or people in positions of authority could assist them in starting their career.

In a general career reading, then this card suggests working in an institution and interacting with others. It generally does not indicate working alone or individually.

Because the Hierophant also focuses on spiritual growth and learning, this career path can indicate a focus on some sort of development for plans or people. Acting as a mediator or third-party communicator also represents the figure of the Hierophant well, who acts as a connection between divine mysteries and the human world.

The Hierophant Reversed in a Career Reading

Reversed, the Hierophant in a general career reading suggests that your current career is leaving you restricted. As a future career option, it advises you to go onto a path that will allow you a certain degree of flexibility. A more independent career can be suitable, or one that is quite unusual or innovative.

Sometimes, our own opinions don’t gel in with those of our bosses or companies. You might be feeling suffocated underneath the rules and responsibilities that have been piled onto you.

This can also be something that you are afraid of in a future career, such as being in a 9-5 job with little day-to-day variation. If so, choose a path that you know will give you the freedom in both creativity and timetabling.

Whilst the Hierophant upright often involves interacting with others, such as mentoring, or working in government organizations, the reversed can thus suggest something different from this. It may be an online business, or an idea that you’re developing that is something that hasn’t been seen before. This card often indicates innovation, some aspect that is new and original.

The Hierophant in a Love or Relationship Reading

In a relationship or love reading, the Hierophant card may mean a conventional relationship, such as a meeting of a male and female. They may share common beliefs. However, if you are already in a relationship, the Hierophant can signal a much deeper commitment, such as a long-term relationship or marriage. 

The Hierophant is a traditional card for marriage, as it signifies the presence of a church, blessings from the divine, and the joining of two people.

Depending on your context and the position of this card in a relationship reading, marriage may definitely be a possibility. If this card is in the outcome position, or you are asking about marriage, then this will 100% be confirmation of a long-term commitment.

However, if you are not in a current relationship, then the Hierophant indicates the presence of a platonic relationship. This may be a business or family partnership, but it will definitely exude an energy of reliability and trustworthiness. It speaks of security.

In a partnership, whether platonic or romantic, it may also signal the approach of a person who shares the same values as you. It can be a spiritual connection, one that may not be perfect but instead provides both parties with spiritual growth.

The Hierophant Reversed in a Love or Relationship Reading

Reversed, the Hierophant suggests a more unconventional relationship, one that is less common or may be frowned upon by family or society. Listen to your intuition and make sure to establish your own values. It can even lead to a relationship with yourself and learning to rely upon your own self-fulfilment.

An unconventional relationship can be indicated by the Hierophant reversed. Whether this is romantic or platonic, this person is someone the querent did not expect to become close with. One person may have a completely different personality or values from the other. It may not be a long-term relationship.

Depending upon the context, a particular love interest may not be the right person to enter a serious relationship with. It can be a short-term fling, or a relationship that won’t develop into marriage. Commitment may be an issue. You may even feel suffocated or imprisoned in a current relationship.

Otherwise, this card reversed can often represent a same-sex romantic relationship. If not, another possibility is that this person varies from your usual type.

If referring to a platonic relationship, be open-minded, and get to know this person better. It may be a younger person or just someone who differs from who you normally surround yourself with.

The Hierophant as Intentions or Wants

In terms of non-romantic intentions from another person, this subheading might hold the answer to your question.

The Hierophant is often also a card of professionalism. When this card appears upright, a person may want to reach out to start a business relationship, or even intend to mentor or teach you in some way. Their intentions are positive and they are there to help and listen to you.

This type of mentoring is different from what an Empress card connection might suggest. Whilst they are both dedicated to assisting others, the Empress comes off as slightly motherlier and nurturing, whilst the Hierophant remains purely instructional and professional. At the same time, they want to form a meaningful and dependable relationship with you.

This card often appears to signal university professors or even reiki or spiritual coaches.

The Hierophant Reversed as Intentions or Wants

Reversed, the person’s intentions may come off as surprising to you. Their intentions might not have been what you initially expected them to be or what you normally would have anticipated in a similar situation.

There may be some other aspect of their wishes they haven’t revealed that they may disclose to you soon. This situation can be neither positive nor negative.

Hierophant Reversed, their intentions may take a different direction to what you were originally expecting. They may not have the intention of helping you, wanting to hinder your progress instead. Their intentions are unlikely to be professional or business-related.

Another possibility is that the person does not want to help you or give you advice, for whatever reason. Check surrounding cards for potential explanations.

Is the Hierophant Tarot card a Yes or No?

There is no clear yes or no answer that is related to the Hierophant card, as its connotations are neither positive nor negative. Look at clarifying cards and the context of a situation. If this card is received, the answer to your question may not be simple or definitive and may involve a condition of some sort.

Depending on your question, there may be other factors at play that make a definite answer difficult to be determined. There can be information you are currently lacking that has yet to be revealed, due to the Hierophant being the interpreter of hidden mysteries.

He is also the connection between the divine and the earthly realm, so there is a possibility for hidden information, new opportunities or change due to the number V, and other outside factors.

Therefore, there is no absolute yes or no answer to the situation.

The Hierophant as a Situation

The Hierophant as a situation reveals being presented with respecting old traditions, conventions, and duties. You may be deciding between conformity or unconventionality. However, the situation could simply involve studying, learning, or third parties such as government organizations.

Taking up some sort of studying in a new area of learning can be signalled by this card. The Hierophant’s presence also appears when the querent is undertaking studying for exams or is a current student. It suggests a likely positive long-term reward if established foundations and hard work are carried out in the present.

Any dealings with the government and corporations, and decision making for companies can be a viable situation.

The situation may also urge the querent to start researching or reaching out to external sources. It could even signify the joining of a church or a youth group.

However, varying with the context, the Hierophant could signify that the querent is faced with a situation where they are being requested to follow respected traditions.

They may be presented with a duty or responsibility of some kind that holds a large amount of weight.

The Hierophant Reversed as a Situation

Reversed, the Hierophant presents a situation where the querent has to trust in themselves. They may need to let go of an unhealthy belief system that is impacting them mentally and physically.

With the Hierophant reversed in a situation, there may be some ignorant people present, or even just a general lack of knowledge and information. It can also refer to religious discrimination or an abuse of power by government institutions. The situation may involve the enforcing of particular structures or values.

Dealing with ignorance regarding social issues or other matters is a common experience that we all encounter. This usually indicates a general close-mindedness, lack of education, or just the values that a person was brought up with.

Additionally, the situation may involve some sort of religious or spiritual matter. It can refer to discrimination on the basis of religion by other people and companies, or even discrimination by religious institutions themselves.

But in general, the Hierophant reversed talks about feeling stagnant and stale in the current environment. You don’t seem to be learning or growing. It seems like there is little excitement and certain systems are in place to the point where they confine you.

Try taking a risk or attempting something new, focusing on your individual passions.

The Hierophant as an Obstacle or Challenge

In a literal sense, the Hierophant card can represent a mentor figure or a teacher who you are currently having complications with. But what are some other interpretations?

The Hierophant presents itself as an obstacle in the form of trouble in dealing with authoritative figures or institutions. Perhaps you struggle to conform to a conventional path or are having trouble with learning new things. It may also indicate an unwillingness to be open to unconventional ideas or new experiences.

The challenge that could be presented to you is one of overcoming social conventions. There is clear pressure from outside sources giving you their opinions on what to do and how to act.

Perhaps responsibilities or social stigmas are restricting you from pursuing your goals. You find it difficult to fit in or relate to other people.

But with every obstacle, there is an opposing side. Stick too close to that conventional path, and you might find yourself unable to fulfill your passions. It might even mean having to suppress your individual identity.

At the same time, the word ‘conventional’ does not necessarily have a negative connotation. To put it in the simplest way; if no one followed convention, then that convention would not be conventional.

The aspect of normalcy shifts every year, every century, so finding a balance between your own path and that of society is key.  

The Hierophant Reversed as an Obstacle or Challenge

Quite often, the Hierophant reversed as an obstacle refers to one’s own mindset, being close-minded, and being unable to think for yourself. It can be difficult to create or discover something original. Another possibility is that the querent’s nature may be over rebellious, leading to legal and ethical problems.

As the card representing healthy routines and structures, an obstacle that the Hierophant proposes may be an internal mental mindset.

One example is believing that altering or straying from original plans will never lead to success or fulfillment. Another example is believing that boundaries and structures that have been put in place for safety reasons are always suffocating and limiting. Both of these can appear as a significant challenge.

These obstacles often lead to mental blockages that prevent abundance and success from reaching us. Operating from a mindset of gratitude allows us to open our mindsets and think about our intentions for our goals and plans.

In addition to these mindsets, also question whether an unhealthy mindset has been shaped by others around you. Don’t be afraid to break out of a groupthink phenomenon and actively change old beliefs.

Another challenge can be overcoming the pressure to produce something original. In the current society, where everything seems to have already been done before, for some, it is a constant struggle to design or create something that resonates with their unique identity.

In these situations, it is ideal to take a break and figure out what message you truly want to portray.

The Hierophant as Action or Advice

The Hierophant itself is the card that represents advice coming in from an experienced mentor. For it to show up in the Advice position suggests that if action is taken to proactively reach out to those around you, then a positive outcome will be reached.

Seek the help of wise counsel. Upright, the Hierophant urges the querent to strike up a structured plan or routine and to look to wiser third parties, such as mentors or professionals, for assistance. Reversed, the advice that the Hierophant suggests is to think outside of the box and not be afraid to take a risk.

Upright, the Hierophant as advice is to take the conventional route. Place your trust into professional, official, and trustworthy sources of help. Avoid taking risks or ignoring the advice of others around you.

Additionally, it may encourage you to be the teacher, to have patience, be grounded, and assist the people around you who may need help.

The Hierophant Reversed as Action or Advice

As a reversed card representing challenging the status quo, in the advice position, it symbolizes a search for individual meaning. Take on a different perspective and establish what values that you personally hold.

This will aid in any kind of decision that arises, regardless of external opinions.

As an advice card, the Hierophant reversed encourages the querent to reach for an out of the box solution. Instead of reaching out to others, this situation can best be resolved through personal reflection and thought. Discover what you value and establish what you think is right, even if it steps away from routine.

By following our personal values, we often find the power to resolve a situation through following the path our inner selves would take.

Clear away the ego through meditation and listen to what you would do if no external pressures or expectations were weighing you down.

In terms of career or financial decisions, now is not the time to be safe or stay in your comfort zone. Feel free to take the risks; only then will you see progress and reward.

The Hierophant in the Outcome Position

As an outcome, the Hierophant represents a new direction or a levelling up of a current situation. It talks of a lesson having been learned and clear spiritual and mental growth. Often, it signals to have faith that whatever situation you are caught in, and that afterward, all parties would ultimately grow to be wiser.

In the imagery of the card, there are two smaller figures before the Hierophant. He intends to initiate these figures with the information that he will provide. It can be that they are stepping into some sort of higher position or mental clarity.

Therefore, any sort of problems, confusion, or complicated situations will be resolved in a direct and straightforward manner. The outcome will appear to be as expected. The right decision and path will be carried forth.

The outcome of the situation may result in the querent gaining a position of leadership or even stepping into a new and better relationship or career situation.

However, it could also suggest that whatever the outcome of the situation, the whole process will contribute to your spiritual growth. The outcome may not have been what was desired, but ultimately, it will carry a certain lesson that in retrospect will be clearer.

The Hierophant Reversed in the Outcome Position

Even reversed, the Hierophant here shows a personal spiritual development that will build your inner strength.

The leaving of a teacher or a respected figure whom you trusted can serve as an opportunity for you to grow on your own, instead of being able to always rely on a reliable source of information.

In the outcome position, the Hierophant card reversed tells of difficulty in resolving a situation concerning lawsuits or any sort of government involvement. Another outcome is releasing a commitment; two parties going their separate ways, such as the graduation of a student from a school, or a parting of a couple.

Unfortunately, issues with law cases, government hand-outs, or college fees, just to name a few, will not be resolved as quickly as anticipated. It can result in a negative or unjust outcome.

Wedding event breakdowns, broken long-term relationships, and divorces are a few possible outcomes for this card. The long-term relationships are not limited to love and can include platonic or business ones as well.

This may not necessarily be a friendly or mutual parting of ways, but ultimately, the outcome is breaking or letting go of a commitment that was once beneficial, but perhaps not anymore.

The Hierophant Card in the Future Position

The Hierophant is a very positive card to acquire in the future position. Amongst all else, it speaks of stability. If there has been a period of chaos or upheaval in an area of your life, then this card indicates structure without imprisonment.

In the future, the Hierophant card may indicate a life of structure and security. It can be as small as establishing a daily routine, being more organized, or it can be as large as finally pursuing a stable career path. It may also indicate a possible return to school, or simply educating yourself on important matters.

Because the Hierophant card also is a card of long-term commitment, then the querent may be entering into a situation in their life where they can experience being able to settle down and decide on a stable life path.

This is no short-term fling or a throwaway matter. The energies for this card are extremely grounded and positive.

The Hierophant Card Reversed in the Future Position

Reversed, the Hierophant speaks of a future that seems less secure and guided, but more independent. There are valuable lessons to be learned from having to trust in oneself. The future has the energy of taking more risks and being true to your own character. You are no longer afraid of what others think.

This is an excellent energy to be in, because it means that you have finally overcome, or will manage, that sense of insecurity and desperation to fit in. Never become discouraged if you sometimes revert back to an old mindset of uncertainty and lack of self-confidence, because this is completely normal.

As long as you are operating from a place of good ethics, kindness, and empathy, continue in your own path and build your own sense of identity.

What Zodiac Sign is the Hierophant?

The Hierophant is associated with the earth sign Taurus. Whilst this can refer to an actual person, it can also suggest ambition, devotion, and dedication. Although ruled by Venus, a planet of beauty and physical comforts, the focus, stability, and consistency required to achieve such things will always be present.

As a fixed earth sign, Taurus is a sign that often represents the responsibility, grounding, and dedication that creates the foundation for relaxation or pleasures.

In this way, it represents the Hierophant card well, as it focuses on a period of learning and focus to form the basic principles and groundwork for future growth.

Although this card may represent someone who has Taurus in their chart, it can also refer to a person who embodies this sort of energy.

Tauruses also have a reputation for being stubborn and becoming easily fixated upon material goals. This also reflects in the qualities of the Hierophant; practical, wise, and stable, but also prone to being close-minded and conforming. 

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