Hierophant is the absolute foundation of the process of revelation. It is a rock-solid base of experience between the Spiritual Self and the Ego.
While the High Priestess is the very embodiment of esoteric teaching and knowledge, the Hierophant is the ruling power of external teachings. He is the ‘bridge-maker’, who, thus, provides a connecting link between outer (exoteric) and inner (esoteric) knowledge.
That symbolism is further emphasized in the Hierophant’s hand gesture of an ancient sign of blessing. He has two fingers pointing up and two fingers pointing down. Therefore, he is forming a bridge between heaven and earth (‘As Above, So Below’).
The name ‘Hierophant’ means ‘he who shows the sacred [knowledge]). Behind him is the Buddha’s ‘eyes of wisdom.’ Note that the two fingers down represent that half of reality is hidden from most people.
The Hierophant is the quintessential teacher: He is the Pope, the Mullah, the Rabbi, the Monk – and yet, he is none of that – for it is we, that feel the need to give him form.
The transition between The Emperor and the Hierophant is a transition from lessons in leadership, self-control, discipline and focus to that of self-study of spirituality. The Hierophant emphasizes the importance of applying one’s spiritual realizations in the day-to-day world as he links the two. In this way, he represents our spiritual group and rules of conduct on our path. The Hierophant is representative of our internal change, whereas he is concerned with external actions and how we apply our knowledge.
In a Tarot Reading, Hierophant may mean:
- The need to follow rules, regulations or traditions in your life. These can be beneficial in that they give our lives structure and meaning. It could mean joining a spiritual group or even a gym, but the underlying theme is structure.
- A period of intense learning and education such as going to university, night class, learning a trade
- A spiritual teacher (he links the spiritual with the mundane)
- Marriage (it’s also an institution) or a position in a company where there is an established order.