V-The Hierophant (Taurus ♉︎)
brings changes within
Blindfolded to my past and surroundings
I stand ready
I have prepared for this
Gestures and unknown languages
sung in the right way
Guidance from teachers
It all seemed empty
but now…it feels real
He stands before me
in full regalia
Others are with him chanting
and I must play my part
My knees trembling I move forward
Surrounded by faces I can’t see
They watch as I perform the steps
It is done. The ritual complete.
I feel exhausted and proud
yet oddly unchanged
“That will come later.”they say.
— G A Rosenberg
In Ancient Greece, the Hierophant presided over the Eleusinian Mysteries, the rites that initiated one into the cult of Demeter. In the Tarot he represents that ritualistic initiation into the outer order of both religion and society. This can typically be seen today in ceremonies such as First Communions, Bar Mitzvahs or graduation ceremonies. Less typically but perhaps more powerfully it can be found in the initiation ceremonies of groups such as the Masons, Golden Dawn, O.T.O. In any of these initiations, there must first come a time of training and education into the spiritual tradition that one is seeking to enter. The Hierophant can also be seen as the religious leader of the community. Where the Emperor rules the temporal concern of his subjects, the Priest or Pope is the spiritual leader. He (traditionally) can be seen as the conduit of a higher level of vibration that can be attained. In more recent times many have seen less of a need to have an outer intermediary and many have chosen either methods of direct contact with spiritual source or making contact with an internal ‘guru’. Whether external or internal, the Hierophant is a connector of our outer selves with our higher spiritual nature. This is represented by the silver and gold keys which cross. The initiations themselves help break us out of the lives we have lived up to this point and open us up to a deeper experience. Many times this is not felt when the initiation takes place but afterwards as that higher vibration makes itself known in our lives.
Astrological Attribution – Taurus(♉︎) – The Taurus influence is one of enjoyment of that attained. The bull will plod along workmanlike in pursuit of his goals but afterwards will revel in the food and comfort that comes as a reward. The energy is a stubborn fixed one that can easily become dogmatic. Taurus is a sign of harmony (its planetary ruler Venus) and this extends to all areas be it romance, spirit or environment. It is eminently practical and will follow all the steps necessary to get them to their goal.
Runic Attribution – Raidho (“Wheel”) –Raidho means journey, wheel or wagon and can often represent one’s spiritual journey forward. There is an evolutionary energy to this rune with elements both of freeing oneself and self-mastery implicit. It also relates to the idea of bringing the inner self and outer world together as it represents harmonizing one’s own rhythms with those of the world. It represents a strong pulling forward of oneself.
Path on the Tree of Life – Path 16-Vau – The meaning of Vau is nail. It is a Nail’s function to join or connect two things. Path 16 connects Chokmah (‘wisdom’ or the supernal father) with Chesed (‘grace or mercy’ or the father manifested). The Path is known as that of ‘Eternal Intelligence’ and has an electric nature. It serves thus as a nail linking together internal enlightenment with external experience. There is a masculine electric energy in this link as the power of Chokmah above the abyss is grounded in Chesed below it.
When the Hierophant shows up in a reading it may be time to ask what authority the querent is accepting rather than their own inner guidance. Are they looking to a spiritual leader for answers and are they questioning those answers they receive? It may also indicate that they are following a traditional path in their lives rather than trying to think outside the box. This is not necessarily a negative thing because there is much wisdom to be found there as long as one does not become dogmatic, accepting without question someone else’s interpretation of truth. There are many times when it is necessary to challenge the status quo and this is probably not one of them. The Hierophant coming up may also mean that there is someone in the querent’s environment who is very fixed on how things have always been done and is intolerant of finding new ways to do it. The card may also show that some form of traditional transition is coming up such as a graduation, promotion or wedding. The Hierophant may also represent a teacher or course of study that the querent is following.
The Hierophant reversed may mean that it is becoming increasingly difficult and restrictive to stay within the confines of accepted society. Perhaps there are too many rules either in the career, project or course of study that the querent is following. It may also represent someone who is abusing their position of authority to tyrannize the people who are following it into doing things their way. The reversed Hierophant may also mean that the querent takes an unorthodox approach to life and finds it difficult to follow a more conventional way. Depending on the other cards in the reading it may behoove them to at least learn their stuff before taking it in new directions.