“The Hierophant” – A Tarot Interpretation



Top and Bottom Rows: THOTH TAROT (far left), RIDER WAITE SMITH (second left), GILDED TAROT (second right), LUMINA TAROT (far right)


• “The Hierophant” (5) is ruled by the fixed sign of Taurus, the planet Venus (feminine energy), body part ruled is the neck and throat, the color influences are reds, orange, deep indigo, and warm earth tones. These enhance the spiritual qualities of the Hierophant. He is the cognizant spiritual guide who merges the “microcosm” (inner self) with the “macrocosm” (the universe).

•  “5” (Numerology)  represents adaptability, independent thoughts and actions, non conforming, and traditional values.

•  The High Priestess is ruled by the Moon and the feminine energy of Venus. She is the intuitive guide to the inner self (microcosm) versus the universal (macrocosm) guide of the Hierophant. The High Priestess and Hierophant archetypes complement each other’s receptive and perceptive natures of spirituality. Crowley states.. “She is the truth behind the veil of light. She IS the soul of light”.






Crowley’s Thoth Tarot:

Defines the Hierophant through esoteric representation.
As the Thoth tarot is rich in detail and meaning, I will give a very brief overview of the Hierophant. The primary focus is the symbology in this card. We see the Hierophant seated on his throne, the”bull of Taurus”, and the four corner quarters are protected by the fixed signs of the “Kerubic beasts”. The Lion (Leo/Fire), Eagle (Scorpio/Water), Man or Angel (Aquarius/Air), and the Bull (Taurus/Earth). The placement of the beasts forms the shape of the pentacle, which is symbolic of earth and protection. He holds a three-ringed scepter in the right hand which represents the Aeon of Horus. His left hand is turned palm up in a blessing gesture. The Hierophant’s Hebrew letter is “Vau”, meaning “nail” and “that which joins”. There are nine nails above his head to form a halo shaped crown. The nails signifies spiritual enlightenment and higher consciousness. These are just some of the key details to the Thoth’s Hierophant.
In future posts, I will focus more on the Thoth Tarot’s esoteric interpretations in greater detail.






Rider-Waite Smith and the Gilded Tarot:

I placed these two decks together, as the Gilded Tarot is based on the Rider-Waite Smith ideology. The Gilded Tarot was created by Italian artist, Ciro Marchetti. The Hierophant depicted in the Gilded Tarot is more of a papal figure. He is facing east to welcome the being of the day, his eyes are intently closed and his left hand is raised in a summoning gesture. He is placed in front of a stained glass window that reveals the higher universe which is on the other side. Many ask if this Hierophant is either floating or on solid ground. I would say he is floating between the physical and spiritual realms. In the card, he is presently in a transcending state.

The Rider-Waite Smith tarot is similar, but with a few different features. This Hierophant is more traditional and direct in his manner and style of dress. He is seated on his throne, and there are two intersecting keys between the two “soul seekers”. Once again, the keys represent the knowledge that is to be received. The scepter he holds is the “papal cross”, (which could be interpreted as the realm of the church, the world, and the heavens) which is assigned to a pope while in office. The Hierophant is flanked by the two pillars that represent the strength of his convictions. His right arm is raised in an affirmative blessing gesture, possibly meaning “thy will is done”. With the exception of the color and design of the Hierophants in the Gilded Tarot and RWS Tarot, both hold the same meanings of spiritual authority, self-discipline, traditional values, and higher knowledge.



Lumina Tarot: 

The Hierophant represented in this deck moves away from the traditional iconic image of a priest or pope figure. The Lumina tarot takes a modern perspective on these archetypes. Here we see a shaman (perhaps, aboriginal), or even a sadhu persona, haloed by the Tree of Life. He wears the keys of knowledge and is the guide to understanding the harmony of creation to reach the divine. This Hierophant has raised a partial skull (bearing the Taurus symbol) over his head indicating his connection to the earth and spiritual divine. The skull’s missing lower jaw is replaced by the voice of the Hierophant to speak of his experience. There is a commitment to knowing one’s true self and leading an honest life. The Hierophant is the spiritual guide through this journey.

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