The Hierophant generally shows up in a reading when you are in a highly structured and disciplined environment in which you need to follow a set way of doing things. The energy surrounding The Hierophant is ordered and traditional, following the rules of doing things in order to accomplish similar results over and over again. This is usually captured in the imagery of the card depicting an authority figure, a priest for example, standing before some disciples. The idea is that the priest is teaching the ways of the church to these disciples because there is one true way of practicing the faith and it can best be learned from The Hierophant. Other examples of this would be a teacher in a school or university instructing students in a given subject- here is what you need to know.
The Hierophant is not anyone’s favorite card, not that I’ve ever heard of at least. What tarot reader every shouts: “The Hierophant!” when asked about his or her most beloved card?! I expect that most tarot readers are not huge fans of our typical societal structure and therefore believe that there is much that needs to be changed or let go of for us to evolve as humans. The tarot invites us to think outside of the box, to become conscious choosers of how we live, and to make decisions based on a connection with our own inner being as opposed to just blindly accepting and following what is imparted to us by the church, school, our parents, etc. Often when The Hierophant comes up in a reading I look to see if the cards are suggesting that working outside of the societal structure will help the querent move forward in life. Is The Hierophant’s order and structure getting in the way of actual personal progress? This is especially the case when the card is reversed in the reading, meaning it’s time to blaze your own trail and make your own rules.
Today I drew The Hierophant for my card of the day and immediately got a little pout of disappointment on my face. It was cold and dark out and I had little interest in going to my housekeeping job at 6am. The Hierophant! It just evoked the long task list I needed to accomplish in each cabin for my daily cleaning rounds. Do this, then that, then the next thing and then the cabins will be clean. I’m a very meticulous person so I knew I would follow the list to the letter and make those rooms shine. Then a funny thing happened- the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I wanted to do a really good job. I wanted everyone on vacation here to come back from their morning horseback rides and enjoy the cleanliness. Suddenly, I was glad I had the stupid check list of action items for each cabin. These little things would make people happy and I was perfectly capable and willing to do them all.
So there are definitely two sides of The Hierophant. On one hand, Hierophant energy can stifle your desire and ability to be conscious and aware of why and how you are making decisions by conforming to prescribed norms or methods. On the other hand, Hierophant energy can manifest as a routine that provides a consistent outcome that everyone agrees upon and benefits from. Either way, I think it is important to always question and examine “the way things are done”. If you are truly aware of what you are doing and why, you may find that “the way things are done” works just perfect for you and you can really get into the groove of that tradition, routine, structure, or order of life. The caveat being that if The Hierophant is reversed in a reading, it most certainly represents a life situation where The Hierophant energy is blocking an individual’s ability to grow and learn in a nonconformist manner. In that case, shake up your routine and gain some new perspective.