Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Hierophant – Meanings & Interpretation – Major Arcana

The Hierophant Meaning In A Tarot Reading

The Hierophant card of the Rider Waite tarot deck sits upon his religious throne. He is the keeper of tradition, the director of old ways, and most staunch observant of the status quo.

He represents entrance into an order, apprenticeships, and a balance between the conscious and subconscious minds. Also, he represents the highest earthly religious authority.


Take a look at what this card can mean in both upright and reversed positions in tarot readings.

The Hierophant Tarot Card Meanings – Upright


the hierophantThe Upright meaning of the Hierophant in the Major Arcana is a convention and follows the traditional processes and approaches. This warns against innovation and instead guides you to stay within existing systems and beliefs. Sometimes the old ways are best!

Past Events:

You have been sticking to the straight and narrow, practiced paths and traditional ways. While these patterns have been working, they are limiting your options and preventing you from getting the most out of the situation you have been in. Branch out and take some risks. The old ways are not always the best.


Present Events:

The current situation you’re in requires some flexibility in thinking. You’ve been holding to the straight and narrow, doing things in a tried and true way. This time around, they will fail you. You’re just beginning this journey. Before you’re committed to old habits, change tracks!

Future Events:

Be aware, my traditional friend. The future is coming and will allow you to try new ideas and expand your mind and opportunities away from the roads you’re used to traveling. Take this opportunity to spread your wings and see different ways!


The Hierophant Tarot Card Meanings – Reversed


In this position, the Hierophant has left the path of wisdom. His adherence to tradition is faulty. He finds every loophole and defies it at every turn. The balance between the conscious and subconscious is skewed, and the order no longer functions in its base ways. He is religious power subverted.

the hierophant reversedPast Events:

You have been rebelling against traditional ways, preferring to go on your own. This has been causing you nothing but trouble and complications. Your path is rebellion, not innovation. It is chaos, not making needed changes to the status quo. Your troubles can be assuaged by taking the path of least resistance.  

Present Events:

Your current situation vexes you. You feel confined and locked into traditional paths and subvert them at every possible turn. Your struggles against this are not serving you.


Take the opportunity to listen to the wisdom of tradition and work within the established parameters. You will find your current situation much eased.

Future Events:

Coming down the pike is a situation that you will feel is binding, that you feel will block you in and trap you. You will try to make changes, try to show them a different path. Avoid this course of action, for it will not serve you. The easiest and most effective path through this is the one well-trodden.

Associated Colors:


Meditation For The Hierophant – Upright

This meditation will focus on the Hierophant tarot card of the Major Arcana, the leader of traditions, the benefits of societies, and the key to the conscious and subconscious.

He stands seeding the raw power of the universe down to the world, using religion in all its forms. Set a lavender candle on a matching meditation cloth, or a simple white cloth will do.

As you focus, think on religion, communities, spirituality, and the conscious and subconscious connecting force. You will feel yourself settle down into a kneeling position in your meditation, and above you will be seated the Hierophant. See his triple crown, representing the three realms, the spiritual, the conscious, and the subconscious.

You kneel before him in supplication, awaiting his wisdom, that he distills down from a source higher still. You know that once he knelt where you are, took the traditions as you did, said the same oaths, and began the same path.

This meditation will focus on the Hierophant tarot card of the Major Arcana, the leader of traditions, the benefits of societies, and the key to the conscious and subconscious.Was he as bewildered as you are now? As eager, ready to receive this knowledge and serve the greater wisdom of the universe? Likely he was, for he is just as human as you are.

Tarot Meditation Techniques For The Hierophant Upright Card

The Hierophant in the upright position will speak to you, pontificating on the nature of the universe, beseeching you to take the oath.

He will ask you to make the same promises he did to ensure that the mysteries he gives you in a sacred trust do not be given out lightly.

It matters not. You begin to realize that the mysteries you are learning are experiential. You could no more speak their truths to the uninitiated than you could describe Mozart to a man deaf since birth, nor give meaning to color to those who are blind.

Hierophant and Tradition

He speaks to you of tradition, of his rebelliousness at your stage of life. He explains that it took him long to realize that there are profound truths to life while it is hard to see. Some paths are tried and true.

And they are known to work from generations of effort. But he charges you also to keep your mind open, to focus on new experiences. If for no other reason than what we think to be true, may not be, but always keep to your promises.

Among these promises is to keep your brothers in the order. You serve the same Master or Mistress, and you must always remember that you must rely on them.

He then turns to you, eager to learn from you as well as you from him. He asks you to ask your questions, and he will do his best to answer them.

This tarot meditation is one of the most direct and can provide many answers to the questions that lay within its purview. At the end of the questions, you will rise out of the meditation, and be prepared to write the answers to any questions you may have within your journal.

Associated Colors:


Meditation For The Hierophant – Reversed

This tarot meditation on the Hierophant card in reversed position will focus on rebellion, breaking of tradition, and the Hierophant having left the path of wisdom.

You will take the red cloth and lay it before you, representing war and aggression. You will place a red candle of the cloth and to one side, as well as any incense that seems woefully inappropriate for the setting. Place the tarot card not reversed, but toss it irreverently onto the cloth.

Settle into the meditation, and feel yourself slowly surrounded by a room full of thick, cloying incense, the loud, raucous laughter of undisciplined youth singing loudly and drinking heavily.

The Hierophant is seated at a chair in disheveled clothes. His crown sits off to one side. His hair is tangled and unwashed. And, his scepter is not held but leans against his chair, bearing the patina of poor maintenance. The room itself has gone long without seeing care.

Tarot Meditation Techniques For The Hierophant Reversed Card

He calls forth two of their number without ceremony. They come to him, stumbling drunkenly down the path. He motions to them dismissively, mumbling some disorganized and rambling words of ordination, and admits them into the order of the drunken fool.

Behind him is a symbol, now much tarnished but once revered, of a noble figure, decidedly not a fool, and you begin to understand that after being placed in his care, he has fully perverted the meaning of this place.

None of the old traditions have been held up, and it is obvious that this once holy place is suffering for his indiscretions. The pupils are undisciplined, the ceremony shifted, and all has begun its fall to ruin.

Reversed Hierophant And Hubris?

Why has he done this thing? Looking at him, you see it is hubris. Hubris of a mind that believes that tradition is pointless and without meaning, all the work of those that came before meant nothing.

Worst, after many generations of keeping this place holy and pure, they were all fools in believing in its principles and what it stood for.

Pay attention to the follies here, the failure of the system when traditions are ignored. This is the hubris of broken tradition failing.

Watch for your warnings, for the message for you in this tarot card meditation, and when you begin to rise out of the meditation, make a note of what seemed important to you.