This Tarot Card Wants You to Follow the Path
In this series, Jamie Richardson of Ember + Aura Tarot explains how to embrace the message of each major arcana card.
The Hierophant is an unwavering symbol of convention, conformity, and tradition. Often depicted as a masculine figure, he holds the key to wisdom and thus, enlightenment—if we’re willing to adopt his particular set of rules and follow his lead. The Hierophant plays the role of priest and offers his devotees access to divinity through the setting aside of their own personal agendas and strict adherence to a particular doctrine. He is the face of organized religion and cherished institutions. Wherever there is a uniform group mentality that respects time-honored customs and codes, you will find The Hierophant.
The Hierophant is the counterpart to The High Priestess. What The High Priestess intuitively feels in the dark of the moonlit soul and understands by relying on her inner sight, the Hierophant recognizes as absolute truth because established systems and set practices have deemed it so. The way of the Hierophant is structured and specific. He teaches that there is a particular way of doing things, a way that has always worked in the past and will continue to do so forever.
For those of us who have spent many years learning to trust our own instincts, follow our own path, and listen to our inner voice, The Hierophant can be very triggering. In his most negative light, he denies that anyone can claim a personal avenue to enlightenment. He leaves no room for individual navigation of the soul. He insists that the only way to reach the divine is by being funneled into a collective mentality and obeying the rules within a system. Obviously, this is an outdated method for reaching our highest self and we would do well to shed this projected mindset.
Now, let’s take a look at how The Hierophant can work for us in a more positive, inspiring way. As I was creating my tarot deck, the subject of this card was particularly challenging to me. I was tired of surrendering my power to outside sources; I didn’t believe someone else possessed the key to ultimate truth. How could I choose an image for my Hierophant card that evoked my own trust and respect? I had to ask myself who my ideal Hierophant was and settled on the figure of a guide (embodied here as the Christ.) As an authentic leader, the Hierophant brings the concepts and ideas of truth into the light of collective consciousness. Ideally, he gently points the way towards transcendent bliss and encourages his apostles to purify themselves through consistent practice and discipline in order to ascend. His goals require surrender and self-denial. This basically translates to renouncing the ego and continually pouring oneself out onto the altar of symbolic death and renewal. Through this sacrifice of self, we ultimately reach new heights as we learn to embrace a greater good that goes beyond ourselves.
When The Hierophant shows up in a reading, you are being called into some sort of Initiation. Either you are being asked to undergo a new path of learning, or you are being called to become a teacher or guide for others. Let the implications of both of these possibilities sink in. Make room for new ideas and opportunities to reveal themselves to you. Take comfort in the fact that you don’t have to have all the right answers. Rather, many masters have gone before you, paving the way, and are more than willing to help you shoulder the burden of being “right” all the time. More than likely, you will soon find yourself surrounded by like-minded individuals on a similar path to your own, who share many of your spiritual values.
When you begin to see yourself as a part of a whole, rather than a separate identity, The Hierophant is working his magic in your life. His essence is that of a wise and patient guide who sees you as a promising student. Don’t be surprised if you experience profound shifts in your priorities, have strong urges to write and speak your truth, and find yourself stepping outside of your comfort zone. Explore the possibility of accepting a path of conventionality, one that has withstood the test of time, and learn the lesson it has to offer. The Hierophant is an intelligent energy and one that must be absorbed in order to achieve inner harmony.
Find Jamie Richardson online and on Instagram @emberandauratarot