“We shall not cease from exploration
and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started
and to know the place for the first time.”
(The Fool has completed the journey through the masculine and feminine aspects appearing within and outside him/her self. In essence, the Fool has achieved an understanding of what it is to contain both and encounter both. Finding an inner balance in regards to the traits of the genders and the ability to bargain with characters portraying those traits. The Fool has developed a sense of identity, has a mother and father and is now on the quest for more information.)
The Hierophant appears after the Emperor in the Major Arcana and encourages the querent to acknowledge facts and beliefs.
The Hierophant Tarot Card is an image of an older man with his head down, a crown with three tiers on his head and one hand raised pointing towards the sky. According to the author of my deck, the three tiered crown is representative of the holy trinity, (body, mind and spirit) and the man’s posture suggests an “as above, so below” parallel.
When a querent pulls this card from the tarot deck, it suggests that he/she should take a look at the education they are receiving, but not just at the literal, educational system that is set up to instruct or train but also the spiritual education they are encountering on their path. In fact, a Hierophant is an educator of mystical or esoteric subjects, and the image comes from the priests of old Greece. The individual seeking information from the tarot (which is undoubtedly esoteric in nature), experiences a “droste effect” or as commonly known in literature “mise en abyme”-standing between two mirrors or positioned in abyss. The journey in their life has thus far led them to consult the tarot for advice, and the tarot reaffirms their spiritual or esoteric interest by reflecting the circumstance back to them. My natural response, as I am reading this back to myself, is to think of this card as a ‘dud’. But upon further inspection, there has to be more.
As we encounter life, we tend to get sucked into routines which are physical and mental. We repeat the same actions, meet the same people and think the same thoughts. Only performing drastic behaviors can we get un-stuck, but that act in itself will soon wear out as we may find ourselves doing drastic things regularly and falling into the same pattern we first tried to crawl out of. Now there are obviously positive patterns we can follow, which I won’t preach about here, but the fact of the matter remains the same, humans are creatures of habit. When the Hierophant appears, it should do so as a shock to the system, a “wake-up and look around you” card.
The “as above, so below” reference simply points out to the state of your mind and the sowing and reaping which you are doing. If you sow negativity, then that’s what you will collect when it is time, if you sow positivity, likewise will occur. Nonetheless, something upstairs is brewing, perhaps a major shift in consciousness, and one that will have you looking at your world through a different lens.
In reverse, the Hierophant may suggest that you are in fact, sowing negativity and an unexpected and unwanted change will occur. Or, as I am superstitious in this sense, encountering someone who is going to sell you false promises. Similarly to the way a fortune teller will sell you protection spells against a curse for a hefty price.
Now that the Fool is encouraged to take stock of the mental attitudes and beliefs painting his outlook on life, he will meet the Lovers next, and be faced with a decision.
Please leave comments and questions below. I would love to hear from my readers!