V - The Hierophant
The Hierophant is the male counterpart to the High Priestess. While he also deals with the spiritual realm and the subconscious, his path is one of tradition, structure, and rules. This card most often represents the orderly and well-established approach to spirituality. Where the High Priestess thrives in mystery, the Hierophant thrives in orderliness.
This card represents the benefits and detriments of organized belief systems in our lives. The Hierophant has religious overtones (just look at those symbols!) but can also refer to any cultural or social institution. This could be clubs, activist groups, and schools to name a few.
The Hierophant is at work in our lives any time we seek out structure to guide us forward and give meaning to our lives. Joining a yoga class, reconnecting with family traditions, or volunteering for a cause all see us joining together over shared values.
This card expresses the very human instinct to seek out and create meaning. As a card that revels in structure and outlined rules, The Hierophant can become stuck in its desire to make things fit. This can lead to conflict from individuals who don’t do well with constraints and can also lead to groupthink where its members grow uncritical of their actions and beliefs over time.
Returning to its spiritual element, this card shows a deeply sensitive and curious mindset. After all, we developed all these schools of thought and sets of practices because we were curious about why we were here in the first place. There’s a great deal of beauty that can be found in exploring the possible answers. Because of this, The Hierophant is a card that speaks to the seeker in all of us. As such, he’s a lovely archetypal representation of the tarot itself and those who choose to explore it. He can also refer to academic exploration and pursuits, particularly in Philosophy.
The Hierophant’s approach is to combine inquiry with community and existing structures. He is disciplined and devoted to his search for wisdom. This is not a hotheaded card who acts impulsively. His practice is sustained and deep and he does not need excessive recognition or validation. His own belief is reason enough to stay devoted.
Structure, institutions, organized religion, traditions, spiritual apprenticeship, gurus, set worldviews, established ways of thinking, values, ideals, group settings, groupthink, spiritual practices, discipline, pursuit of higher truths, mentorship, ritual, status quo
Seeking a spiritual path, learning about a new tradition, beginning a new spiritual practice, the influence of organized religion, looking for structure, learning a new worldview, devoting yourself to a tradition, philosophical and/or religious inquiry, asking big questions, finding a mentor, being a mentor, making spirituality part of the everyday, looking for answers, exploring your genealogy and family history, connecting with one’s ancestors
Disciplined, curious, seeking greater meaning, spiritual, sensitive, perceptive, idealistic, benevolent, steadfast, loyal, perceptive, giving, conventional
Dogmatic uncritical of beliefs, traditionalist, inflexible, lacking nuance, smug, conservative, fearful