The Hierophant Marseille and RWS Tarot

7 Facets of the Tarot Hierophant

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The Hierophant Marseille and RWS Tarot

We have reached the Tarot Hierophant on our journey through the Major Arcana. In the traditional Marseille Tarot, this dude is simply called ‘The Pope.’

1. We all know what a Pope is but what is a Hierophant? Let’s look first at the etymology of the word ‘hierophant.’ It is from Ancient Greek ἱεροφάντης (hierophántēs), from ἱερός (hierós, “holy”) + φαίνω (phaínō, “I show, make known”). A Hierophant is a celebrant who leads people to what is considered holy or sacred. In ancient Greece, the priest leading the people through the Elusinian Mysteries carried the title Hierophant.

2. Other than a priest and celebrant, the Hierophant is also known as a teacher. This Hierophant relates to early learning and especially to our earliest ingrained values through the process socialisation.  

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
~ Chinese Proverb

According to A.E. Waite, the Hierophant

“…symbolizes also all things that are righteous and sacred on the manifest side. As such, he is the channel of grace belonging to the world of institution as distinct from that of Nature, and he is the leader of salvation for the human race at large. He is the order and the head of the recognized hierarchy, which is the reflection of another and greater hierarchic order; but it may so happen that the pontiff forgets the significance of his symbolic state and acts as if he contained within his proper measures all that his sign signifies or his symbol seeks to shew [sp] forth.”

3. The astrological correspondence for The Hierophant is Taurus. Corresponding crystals are diamond, green aventurine, malachite and jade.

4. The highest spiritual potential of the Hierophant lies in the ability to integrate our lessons and values so that they support us rather than confine us. This means to ultimately have an ‘inner teacher’ rather than depending on outside sources. Once our values are coherent and there is no double think, we can explore new philosophical territory. This is a not a linear process since each lesson leads to a temporary state of chaos before we know what to keep and what to discard.

5. Examples of questions to ask yourself when the Hierophant shows up as a challenge are: ‘How do traditional methods serve me best now?,’ ‘What values affect my learning?,’ ‘What lesson am I currently integrating?,’ and ‘Is it better to conform or to rebel?’

6. Archangel Anael is the ruler of Venus/Taurus according to the Golden Dawn system of correspondences. Use a green candle for an angelic invocation of Anael. Anael is also the ruler of Fridays so a Friday is always a good day for any magick spells involving the Hierophant. As you know Anael is also the Angel of Love and rules marriage. The Hierophant/Pope is, of course, also a celebrant at weddings. Hence, this card showing up next to the 2 of Cups, for instance, is a sure sign of lasting love.

7. On a Hierophant type of day…

  • Go to school
  • Start a new course of study
  • Make big decisions about your career involving learning a new skill
  • Get married
  • Remember a tip of how to deal with a situation that your grandmother taught you
  • Rebel against tradition (reversed aspect)
  • Conform
  • Teach
  • Propose to someone
  • Accept a proposal
  • Take your children to church
  • Attend a religious service
  • Sing in a church choir (Taurus also rules music/throat chakra)
  • Learn the more traditional aspects of any craft

The Frideborg Tarot Hierophant

The Frideborg Tarot Hierophant

I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.
~ Eartha Kitt

Comments 4

  1. I would also add to this fabulous list that when I see this card, it means there is something to learn, but that it is a system that has already been figured out and works, and will work for the querent, which can happen via a search online, or if more complex, a teacher can be a good idea. This is unlike the Fool which means a system has not been created, or the Hermit, which means you need to experience and discover it for yourself (whether it is known or unknown). I try to tell those who are solving a problem that when the Hierophant appears, don’t reinvent the wheel. You’re awesome Lisa! 😀

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      Thanks Lisa, you are absolutely right and I appreciate your input. These facets aren’t intended to cover all there is to know about the Hierophant. I have blogged more in-depth about each card (see card meanings tab in top menu).

  2. Post
  3. Wonderful post as always! I recently read this definition of a hierophant: “revealer of the sacred”. Pretty much the same but without the traditional religious words of pope, priest or celebrant. In this context, you or I could be a hierophant.
    And as to #4 on Hierophant Day – what about celebrating the Sacred Marriage? I think I’ll propose to my inner male tomorrow. 😉

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