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Unpacking the Tarot - The Hierophant

Unpacking the Tarot - The Hierophant

The Tarot have been used for centuries to predict the future and answer our deepest questions. The traditional deck contains 78 cards — the 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards.

While the Minor Arcana can help shed light on the actions and decisions we make every day, the Major Arcana helps us understand our life’s purpose. Each card represents situations we face through our journey and the lessons we all must learn. 

Here is a closer look at our next card in the deck, the Hierophant.


The Hierophant is a wise counsellor, usually offering guidance in spiritual pursuits. He often represents a mentor, teacher or religious advisor. The Hierophant is rigid in his beliefs and set in his ways. He conforms to traditional values and never breaks from convention. As strict as he may be, the Hierophant can offer much knowledge to a student willing to listen.


The Hierophant is represented as a priest of sorts, seated in a temple between two pillars. He wears three robes in red, white and blue, and a crown with three tiers. These both represent the three worlds he is able to reach — the conscious, sub-conscious and super-conscious. One hand is raised to give a blessing. The other holds a triple cross, also known as the Papal cross, to show his religious connection. Before him, two students kneel, awaiting the knowledge he is to pass down. 


Now is not the time for risks. When the Hierophant appears in a reading, this may suggest it’s best to stick with tradition. Instead of straying from convention, try following proven methods. This card can also be a symbol of a mentor or advisor in your life. Perhaps you should listen to what they’ve been telling you. The Hierophant can also foretell participation in a traditional ceremony.


In reverse, the Hierophant’s meaning is opposite. It represents a break from tradition and rules. You want to challenge the status quo and perhaps do something unconventional. Alternatively, you may be fearful of straying away from the norm or could face conflict with a teacher or advisor.