The Fool’s Journey Segment 9: Card 5 The Hierophant


Welcome back to The Fool’s Journey, our free online guide to intuitive Tarot card divination! Today’s card is a really loaded one for a lot of people. The Hierophant depicts a pope-like figure with devotees at his feet. For many, this may bring up religious connotations which may evoke positive or negative emotions, or may lead to a bit of initial confusion around why such a Christian looking image found its way into this New Agey divination tool.


In this video, we’ll take a closer look at the hidden meaning behind this card and start thinking outside the box about what the symbol truly means to each of us. Enjoy!

Thank you so much for watching! In the next video, we’ll talk about The Lovers! In the mean time, please take the time to journal about what this card means to you in your Tarot Diary, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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8 thoughts on “The Fool’s Journey Segment 9: Card 5 The Hierophant

  1. It has been a while since I looked closely at this card. I do not recall linking it with my Christian roots but now that you mention it, I see the similarities with those art forms. Speaking of those roots, my immediate impression is from a scene in an old movie of a priest waiting to hear confessions in the medieval times. Back then the priest would sit in an open area and people would line up to wait their turn to confess their sins, they would form two lines and take turns speaking to the priest from either side (at least that’s how it was in the movie). Another option is that he could be blessing or promoting these people for some reason, which might help explain the keys.

    In my studies I often find I have more questions than answers. The two pillars, two monks, and two keys seem to represent balance, especially considering where they are placed in the image. Why are the monks facing away from us? Are they listening to a message from the Hierophant or being blessed by him? Is this the medieval equivalent of a cropped image of a larger gathering? Do the flowers on the monk’s robes mean something? The red roses could mean love or friendship, and the white lily might mean purity or hope. Is the message to the observer that these are the things we need to focus on in our present experience? The keys, and carpet both have circled crosses on them, is this a nod to the Celtic cross or something else? They are placed with the cross in an x pattern so perhaps something else, regardless the meaning, they are placed on the carpet in a balanced way, echoing that theme. His robe and staff have crosses too and the theme of three is presented there, many systems believe the number three is sacred. Again, there is balance in the three fingers held aloft and the staff with three crosses. Is it significant that the pillars and his chair are bland while he and everything in front of him are colored brightly? Is the message that what is behind us is not as important as what is around and in front of us? The monks are so close to the keys they could reach out and take them, does that hint that we could do the same? These are the things that popped out to me today. Of course, another day might bring different thoughts.

    I love hearing your intuitive insights about the cards. Tarot study is a repeating theme for me. It’s one of those things I enjoy learning about but it tends to get moved to the back burner in favor of more “important” things of daily living. I am so thankful for this series as it reminds me that time spent doing something I enjoy is important too! One of my books on tarot actually said something like “It’s good to read a book or two and see the meanings but then you need to put the books away and look at the cards and see what they mean for you”. I find that different things are revealed to me at different times.

    The tarot deck we are using for this study was not the first one I used but it holds a special place for me as I found this deck while going through my mom’s things after her death. One of the things we shared was a quest for exploring spiritual practices. We both liked learning about and trying new spiritual things then seeing if those things or parts of them could be blended into our practices.

    From what I have read and heard, I agree with your idea that all religions or belief systems have some magic elements. Sadly, many of those belief systems seem to deny it today. Being raised a Roman Catholic I was surprised – to say the least – when I learned that the mass I had attended all those years was a pagan ritual. I know many people get upset that these rituals were stolen to convert people to Christianity, I was one of them for a time. The more I learn and think about it though there seems to be a pattern. People today want to practice their rituals the “old way” even though we don’t really know what that is or the reasons behind many of the practices. We can make educated guesses but much of the information is lost. Maybe the early Christians were doing that too? Maybe they were adapting their new beliefs to the system that was familiar and comfortable? I’m not approving of their methods in any way, just wondering aloud in a place I hope it is safe to do so. I wonder, why do humans cling to the associations of the past and almost disdain the current times? Have these times nothing to offer? I get that following tradition is comforting. I get that a group needs to have a common ritual experience that is not needed by the solitary practitioner. I also think that we are living in magical times and no one seems to realize it. I wonder if, in 500 years, people will look back on this time as the “old days” when rituals were “pure” not realizing we are copying those before us as best we can? Maybe that is part of it though? I know there is a saying about how every generation looks back to a golden age that never really existed and we are comforted by that but what are we missing out on by ignoring the present? Do we lose something by not incorporating things from this time into our rituals or at least into our spirituality? As I said earlier, sometimes I end up with more questions than answers, so my quest continues …

    Blessed be.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for the beautiful response, Laurie! You are so insightful and observant. I really agree with you about the whole having more questions than answers thing! I feel that my spiritual quest is not necessarily to discover a permanent belief system but to explore several options and find what feels true at the time as I go along. I appreciate your musings about the card, but I even more enjoyed your ramble about ritual and tradition! Everything you said resonates with me too. I always wonder if everyone (pagan and religious alike) are reminiscing about a past that doesn’t even exist in the way we think it did. I feel there is a place for ritual when it resonates with us, but it can also become dogma when it’s used too obsessively. Again, more questions than answers, but hey, maybe that’s the way life should be? Brightest blessings to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I see The Hierophant as a spiritual power who holds the keys to higher understanding and knowledge which is represented by the keys at his feet.

    I noticed one of the men is wearing a vestment with red roses and the other is wearing one with white lilies. In both cases the symbolism in early Christianity represents the Virgin Mary. The red rose also led to the creation of the rosary and other devotional prayers. The white lily also symbolizes chastity, innocence, purity and piety. Because of this I can clearly see The Hierophant as a Papal figure.

    So, what does this mean to me? I see he has the ultimate power and authority to rule and make the decisions about how life needs to flow and he has help in putting this to work. So if this card came up in a reading for me I would say that I have the power and knowledge within me to make the decisions about how my life needs to be lived. However, I always have spiritual assistance when needed to keep me from falling off my path and making mistakes due to my “innocence” or thinking I know it all (piety).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, you really know your symbolism! Did you look up all the information about the flowers, or did you already have knowledge of flower symbolism? It’s something I’m curious to learn myself.


      1. I looked it up. I am just beginning to learn about flower symbolism. As soon as I recognized the flowers I knew they were part of the meaning behind the card. I am beginning to see that everything in the picture on these cards has some significance. Everything has some meaning.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The Hierophant does bring up a warning in me. When ever I have done simple Tarot drawings and he shows up I know to look for hypocracy. Either within or in the situation. It also reminds me to see if my intentions are pure.( Keys) Higher knowledge is available to me if I am patient. Perhaps like the monks. I agree balance is represented and that this card speaks to seeking Divine guidance.


    1. Interesting! It’s so fun to see what each person’s personal association is for each card! I totally agree with what you said about higher knowledge being available if you’re patient! I feel that way about this card too!


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