The Meaning of The Hierophant [Card 5]

The Meaning of The Hierophant Tarot

At a Glance

The Hierophant Card #5 represents spiritual communication, union of earth and sky, and emotional tranquility or coolness.

If You Drew This Card…

Tarot cards offer a range of meanings to draw insight from. Both negative and positive aspects of each card can resonate with various aspects of your life.

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  • In what ways have you been cultivating a sense of groundedness in your life?
  • How can you use the foundation you have created as a springboard for exploring a more unknown and challenging calling of yours, perhaps one you are slightly frightened of but are also curious about?
  • Do you ever forget that you are wearing a crown and that you are an essential passageway through which clouds meet earth and fire meets water? You are radiant; see how often you can remain aware of this and when feeling your radiance is most difficult to recognize.


  • Do you guard spirituality as though it belonged to you alone or as though you have access to special knowledge others are not worthy of? Consider locating a way to honor your own connection to inner and interstellar strength without diminishing the purpose and spirituality of others.
  • Do you ever tune others out, focusing on what you deem a more important task or train of thought? Catalogue deep-seated fears or insecurities that may be behind unnecessary shows of mental strength.
  • Has knowledge you sought out made you feel isolated and alone? Consider forgetting what you think you know and acting compassionately and from the heart.

Interpreting the Symbols

  • Columns : Gravity, permanence, or obstinance as well as neutrality or coldness.
  • Crown : Representative of heaven or spirit on earth.
  • Staff : Leader and guardian of the people; a spiritual shepherd.
  • Keys : The keys to both heaven and earth; fluidity between the two realms.
  • Tonsure : A symbol of spiritual devotion common among monks.

Charmaine’s Take

The Hierophant sits on high, two men below ready to do his bidding. He wears a heavy crown and robes that cover everything but his hands, slippered feet, and face--even his ears are protected under the crown. The right-hand points two fingers skyward, and in the left hand, the triple cross rod, or scepter, shows us that The Hierophant holds an important office in the chain of spiritual communications. Bottom middle of the card are two, crossed keys: these are the keys to the spiritual realm. In the background are two stone pillars which represent the interaction of two forces such as: earth and sea, liberty and law, day and night, or cloud and fire, for example.

Looking into The Hierophant’s face, we see his eyes peering across at us, right into our own eyes. This implies that whoever draws this card is eye-to-eye level with The Hierophant, sitting above the common man in order to be closer to the spiritual world. Although he is raised up, it is interesting to note that the keys to the higher, spiritual realm rest below his feet: in order to access spirit, he must be firm in his foundation. It is through groundedness that the upper levels are accessible.

Additionally, it is inward connectedness and emotional tranquility, represented by his inner, water colored robes, that allow The Hierophant to transcend and generate warmth and mental fire, represented by his red robes. It is also implied that devoutness and devotedness to tradition play a role in generating mental freedom. The traditional elements are implicated by the cross and the stone pillars which stand the test of time. There are not many external symbols of exuberance here; there are no flowers or birds or dancing nymphs. Instead, the power and creativity are housed within the Hierophant.

It is also interesting to note that there is an element of gravity or sternness in this card. Here, spirituality is not a flippant, hippy cause: it is something to be studied and arduously pursued even in the face of opposition.

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