Lone Tarot Reader

The Hierophant in 500 Words

The Hierophant in Rider Waite TarotPeople hate this card. Traditions, schools, churches, teachers, a bunch of people and doctrine to yell at you about what you ought to do and what’s forbidden.

Many find this limiting. They want freedom. They want liberation. They don’t want to attend school just because they are commended. And they don’t want to get married just because that’s what you are supposed to do.

In a sense, this is a good thing, as blindly following orders will turn you into but a slave. But once again there are positive and negative attributes of a card. Just because you see one side of the coin doesn’t mean the other side doesn’t exist.

Or to put it another way, the cards are neutral, it is the humans who judge it to be good or bad. And whether we judge a card as positive or negative, we can always find proofs for the opposite view. Because the cards are natural.

So what is good about The Hierophant? What is so good of teachers and societies and culture telling you what to do? Firstly, they help you adapt to the society and survive. Secondly, civilization is the foundation of your life.

Now you should be asking, The Hierophant represents the civilization? How? Ain’t it just annoying teachers who keep telling me what to do? Well, why does your teacher keep telling you what to do? So that you could be a functional adult of society.

You know that The Hierophant represents traditions and systems. Isn’t civilization the biggest system? We are supposed to learn language so that we can communicate. We are supposed to walk on foot so that we are different from beasts. We are supposed to make money because money can buy things in civilization.

Without civilization, without society, all your money will be worthless and you will have to hunt food for yourself.

Of course I don’t mean that you should praise society and follow whatever people tell you to do. What I mean is that this is not a “us against them” thing. Even if you rebel against traditional values like getting a job, the society still supports you with food. You still need to make money and thus make a contribution to the society. You see, it’s complicated.

The Hierophant could also mean an authority, especially one in a community. Humans live in tribes, or circles. The Hierophant could be a man in a tribe who decides what is right, what is wrong, what should be valued, and what should be hated.

For example, The Hierophant could be a man in a company who starts the culture of “we don’t do evil”. After he is gone, the culture would still be here, and new hierophant would emerge, or you could say now the culture itself is the new hierophant.

The Hierophant is the spiritual leader who teaches people to be righteous while The Emperor is the actual leader who leads people to action and to war.