Exploring The Hierophant

Welcome to Tarot Thursdays! This week we will be exploring The Hierophant and how it can be used as a prompt or brainstorming in our writing.

Tarot is an interesting thing. It’s based upon symbolism and metaphors through imagery. With these images the subconscious mind is tapped into through the story provided. Not everyone gets the same thing from a piece of art. Each piece will influence each person in a slightly different way.


Introduction of the Card

05

The Hierophant is card number 05 in the deck and the sixth card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot.

Let’s take a look at the following examples of this card below.


Card Examples

L-05Notice the similarities between them and take note of their differences. Do any of these move you more than the others? Take your time and allow these cards to tell you their story.


My Analysis of These Cards

In the Mythic Tarot card we have Chiron, the wounded healer, ready to instruct any and all soon to be heroes that come to him. In the Dragon Tarot and the Universal Tarot we have figures that appear to be prominent religious leaders.

Now in the Tarot of Dreams, this card has been renamed to “Faith” and the image depicts a monk either praying or meditating. I’m not sure why Ciro Marchetti made this change, but I think he made this particular change with a couple of decks that he illustrated. So I know it was intentional with a distinct purpose and not out of ignorance, but I’ve never come across an explanation. I find this change intriguing and thought provoking.


Themes of the Card

Each card has a set of keywords associated with it that serve as themes for its image. These keywords will vary somewhat depending on who you ask.

According to the Learning the Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:

  • EDUCATION
  • BELIEF SYSTEMS
  • CONFORMITY
  • GROUP IDENTIFICATION

You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.

According to the Biddy Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:

  • RELIGION
  • GROUP IDENTIFICATION
  • CONFORMITY
  • TRADITION
  • BELIEFS

You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.


What this Card Means to Me

I find that most people that I talk to that use tarot associate this card with organized religion and traditions, but I feel this card runs deeper than that.

This card deals with traditions, beliefs, and conformity within groups of people on all levels of life. So this means politics, schools, family, churches, social circles, and so on. Where ever we find groups of people gathered, we will find the concepts of The Hierophant here.

Here is balancing the need of fitting in and remaining ourselves. It’s also about maintaining faith in others and in ourselves – not just in a higher power. Basically, this card is the glue of culture and society.

This card is also considered to be the male (the yang) counterpart to the High Priestess in the sense that it is the active teacher role in our society. While the High Priestess sits back, observes, and waits for those to come to her and learn, The Hierophant (also known as the High Priest in some decks) will go out and seek teachable moments. So in this case it’s active learning as opposed to passive learning.

We all have this side in us. We are all quick to make clear in a host of ways – some effective and some not so effective – what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior in society for example. This is where the conformity aspect of the card comes into play because we give out and respond to these cues daily and behave accordingly.

I need to make it clear here that even when we do not conform that it is a willful choice we make in response to the cues we are receiving from those around us. How often we do this and how often it’s deemed acceptable varies from one culture to the next, but it does need to occur from time to time. It’s important to have a sense of self while belonging to our community.

The key phrase I choose for this card is: GLUE OF SOCIETY.


Music Playlist

In this spirit of all this, these are the songs I have picked out for this card.


The Writing Exercise

This exercise is a free write. Permit yourself to write whatever comes to mind based upon the theme of this card. Choose a keyword or key phrase and run with it to see what you come up with.


I would love it if you linked or pinged back what you wrote so I could see where you went with this.

Happy writing!


Mythic Tarot by Liz Greene (Author), Juliet Sharman-Burke (Author), Tricia Newell (Illustrator) © 1989
Dragon Tarot by Terry Donaldson (Author), Peter Pracownik (Author) © 1996
Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo (Author), R. De Angelis (Illustrator), A. E. Waite (Designer) © 2001
Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti (Author), Lee Bursten (Author) © 2015

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