Tarot Hero’s Journey: The Hierophant

RWS_Tarot_05_HierophantThe next step on our journey to awakening is The Hierophant, or The Pope. He sits between two pillars holding a triple-tiered cross and blesses two kneeling priests before him. This is card number 5 which stands for creative thought, moral law and intellectual synthesis. It represents life being made whole as the four cardinal points of manifestation are united in a common centre.

The Hierophant holds the symbols of Papal office and at his feet are the crossed keys. As God’s representative on earth, he provides the keys to the kingdom and acts as a bridge between the world of the senses and the inner world of the spirit. The pillars represent the structure of the established church through which he upholds orthodox religion and accepted codes of behaviour.

This stage of the journey is about learning traditional values and morals. The Pope initiates the hero into the meaning of life and explains its secrets according to traditional teachings.

Here is where we develop a philosophy or formula for life and begin to discern the voice of our conscience. Now the hero can develop a moral framework by deepening his capacity for profound thought. But at this stage any ideas or insights will tend to stay bound within a traditional system. These ideas can become distorted into dogma and superstition if the orthodox approach isn’t questioned. The Pope may reveal hidden teachings and provide freedom through knowledge, but unless the hero is willing to seek answers for himself, he will not progress on the journey.

Keywords for The Hierophant:
  • Convention
  • Divine Law
  • Conformity
  • External authority
  • The Establishment
  • Wise counsel

Next step on the journey to awakening: The Lovers

>Catch up with the rest of the series here

2 thoughts on “Tarot Hero’s Journey: The Hierophant

  1. Really clear and helpful explanations of the journey as represented by the Rider Waite cards. Thank you. Do you interpret any other tarot packs? I have Golden Tarot.


    1. Hi Jane, glad you enjoyed the posts. I only have the Rider Waite pack. I do have the Osho Zen Tarot cards but they’re a law unto themselves! They’re great cards and I find them to be more helpful than standard Tarot cards at times.


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