As we continue our Tarot journey we come to The Hierophant. He is representative of a very traditional religious leader, or spiritual guide. Whether you see him as a kind and gentle guide or an old bull he is still a powerful character.
1 Upon his head he wears a triple crown otherwise known as the papal tiara. This crown is representative of his position. In this card we see that he is clearly meant to be seen as the Pope. This can mean many things to many people. He can be seen as someone who is a conformist, someone who clings to outdated principals, or he could be seen as someone who offers inspiration. It depends on the Questioner's own life experiences and the cards surrounding it in a reading.
2 We see his right hand raised in a universal sign of benediction or blessing. Once again, depending on the question and the other cards surrounding it in a reading he may be offering his forgiveness or he may be telling you that what you plan to do has his blessing.
3 In his left hand is raised the Papal staff. Both hands hold significance. The right hand is symbolic of his mercy and the left hand symbolizes justice. His holding of the Papal staff further cements his position as the Pope or another traditional spiritual leader. The staff is also representative of ritualism as it is used for ceremonial occasions.
4 At his feet we see a crossed pair of keys. These are meant to be the Keys of Heaven, or the Keys of St. Peter. These keys represent divine authority.
5 In front of The Hierophant we see two acolytes. One is robed in red roses which symbolize romantic love, and the other is robed in white lilies which symbolize purity. These acolytes could be asking for his judgment or they may be simply listening to his wisdom. These acolytes represent The Hierophant's servitude. He must serve the people. His success and power rely on their acceptance of his ideas which The Hierophant is often a slave to. He is known to be someone who is stuck in his ways.
Key Words: Traditional Religious Leader, Conformist, Outdated Principals, Inspiration, Forgiveness, Mercy, Ritualism, Divine Authority, Stubborn
When using reverse meanings: If the right side up Hierophant is a well meaning guide, than the inversed Hierophant is one bred of greed. He is someone who does not believe what he preaches but uses his power and status to further his own agenda. However just as the inversed Hierophant can be blinded by greed he may be blinded by kindness. This type of inversed Hierophant is someone who may believe in false charity. He is someone who gives too much of themselves with no return.