Friday, November 20, 2015


It's been a long time since I've done a thorough post exploring THE HIEROPHANT (V) and in that time I've gathered many more thoughts and "meanings" for this card, which I'll share later below. But first, here are some more unusual versions of this card.

The Hierophant (V) in the Gothic Tarot of the Vampires
This is a rather unusual imagery in some ways for V, yet it carries that sense of bowing to a greater power and/or knowledge. It almost looks like a torturous baptism. BTW, I like this deck as a whole, even considering its occasional bloody images.

The Hierophant (V) in the Mother Peace Tarot
I'd waited it seemed for ages "back in the day" for this deck to be available. But was somewhat disappointed as much of the artwork leaves a bit to be desired. Simply as artwork, without even considering the content/meaning of the images. V in this deck always gave me a bit of a giggle as The Hierophant (in the black "skirt") looks like a man in drag. Which, given this is a feminist deck, can be rather meaningful, actually. Is the power and wisdom V is seeking to bring through and in that process identify with, that of the Great Mother Goddess? Of course, if that figure is meant to be a woman, the same might be true.

The Hierophant (V) in The Xultun Tarot
This one of my all time favorite Hierophants. It's so rich (pregnant? or has V been swallowed by the mystical Jaguar? etc., etc.). I'll leave it to you to explore on your own what it may be saying. (See that Jaguar patterned "speech balloon" in the upper left?)

The Hierophant (V) in The Rider/Waite/Smith Tarot
And for comparison, this RWS deck version is probably the most commonly recognizable Hierophant.

I would have had a very hard time choosing which card to post more exploration about today, as I have a huge folder of notes, covering all 78 cards. However, each year at Samhain (Halloween; ancient Celtic New Year) I randomly pull one card from the Majors to represent and offer some guidance for the New Year. This year I got The Hierophant. The first "meaning" below is the one I keep coming back to when seeking to ease anxiety about my inner-self and outer-world relationships.

MEANINGS/INSIGHTS/READINGS FOR THE HIEROPHANT (V) (a/k/a The High Priest or The Pope), SOME LESS COMMON OR EVEN QUIRKY -- Please note: The below is not intended to be an exhaustive exploration of this card; a quick Google will produce a wider variety of takes should you not be familiar with it. (Given my heavy reliance on projection of my feelings and experiences onto the cards, I recognize that I may very well reveal more about myself here than I do about any particular card. However, this is exactly my point: I use the cards as a path to self-discovery and healing. I hope what I post here that comes out of that process will be useful in some way to other seekers.):

-- Secrecy is part of life ... can one know the Great Mystery's mind? Most deception is simply ignorance wearing the disguise of knowing what's going on.

-- Two paths for one sacred energy. Choose the less conflicted, if less exciting one.

-- Don't take things at face value. Wait for your intuition's whisperings.

-- Be more in your body, and less in your head.

-- Clinging to traditional thought in order to deny possibly disturbing new thinking and (especially) the subtle prodding of intuition.

-- Understanding is not an end in and/of itself. What we do with it; how we live it out in the world is the fruition of that knowledge.

-- Domineering personality, at the very least, intensely charismatic.

-- Can sometimes herald a mediumistic state on the part of the reader. If V doesn't offer enough connection on its own, surrounding (or additional) cards should.

-- Time to hear what established wisdom has to say about this. As opposed to your own creative or intuitional sources. You need not give over to that conventional thinking in order to learn from it.

-- Heavy handed, fundamentalist, narrow minded guilting at its worst.

-- The moral underpinnings are what are important here. Not the details, or emotions and fuss surrounding it all.

-- Can indicate someone like a snake oil salesman. Impressive, giving a good show, but selling worthless stuff. And watch the snake oil salesman within: Don't believe everything you think.

-- Don't waste your time and energy trying to thoroughly explain to others what you believe to be true. Attend to your own beliefs as they evolve. They are both guiding and reflecting your actions.

-- Having trouble learning from others and sometimes one's own intuition. The very newness being defended against may herald a treasure's advent.

-- Information; i.e., that which bridges the mental and physical aspects of being. (A similar triangulation is seen on The Lover and The Devil cards. What differs may be where that bridging is being done. Maybe: V = Conscious; VI = Superconscious; and XV = Unconscious.) BTW, that old name for V, The Pope or Pontiff, means bridge builder.

Lastly, for an abstract Hierophant card, scroll down to The Found Tarot post just prior to this one.

And if you'd like to read other posts on this card, click on the "THE HIEROPHANT" Label at the bottom of this post. Then scroll past a repeat of this new post to get to the older.
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N.B. A small thing, but just in case: some of the extra reference links offered at the very end of my oldest (years old) posts no longer work. As there are so many posts here to go through I am choosing not to search for and change all of those links that are "dead." (Though I immediately delete any I now stumble across that lead to questionable sites.) If you are interested, you can try Googling for the name of the site or article referenced. I'm finding that some are still around in new locations or incarnations, some not.

'til next time, keep enjoying The Tarot, in whatever ways it comes to you in your life,

[aka: Patricia Kelly]
****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under "View my complete profile")**** SEE ALSO: United Haiku and Tanka Society (UHTS) (charter member); Roswila's Dream & Poetry Realm for Tarot poetry; Roswila's Taiga Tarot for taiga (illustrated tanka); Trying to Hold A Box of Light for digital photos only; and THE MARKER TAROT.

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