The Hierophant


The fifth Major Arcana of Egyptian Tarot is called The Hierophant.  In many other decks and traditions, this card is called The Pope and his connotation is negative, suggesting orthodoxy and suppression.  In Egyptian tarot, however, the number five is considered lucky because it corresponds to the planet Jupiter, signifying abundance and good will.    The Pope took over for Pontificus Maximus, head priest of the Roman pagan tradition.  The Hierophant, by comparison, was the high priest who overlooked initiation rites of the Egyptian mystery school.  Ruled by Jupiter, the key words for this card are Religion, Law, Values, Ethics, Faith and Charity, Abundance, Good Will, Generosity, Benevolence, Joviality, and Good Luck!

Isn’t it fitting that we celebrate the abundance of harvest, our blessings, and the beginning of the jovial holiday season on the first Thursday of Jupiterian Sagittarius!  Thursday, by the way, is named in honor of Thor (Thor’s Day), the Nordic equivalent of Jupiter.

The two genii at the feet of The Hierophant represent the presence of both good and evil influences, and it is by The Hierophant’s power of discernment that he can focus his attention on cosmic welfare.  A partial symbol of a pentagram is seen in his blessing.  His three fingers represent his head and arms reaching toward devotion. Many students of Tarot find the meaning of this card somewhat mysterious in a reading; but when it is remembered that it is The Hierophant’s right-handed gesture of blessing, the pentagram, or five-pointed star that is significant, the card’s meaning becomes clear.  The pentagram symbolizes man, his head and arms pointing heavenward and his feet planted squarely on the earth.  It is a symbol of intellectual dominance over the four elemental kingdoms.  It is the symbol of man’s discernment and force of human will working in accordance with the laws of Deity.

The spiritual message of The Hierophant is:

Remember, then, son of earth, that before saying of a man that he is fortunate or unfortunate, thou must know the use to which he has put his will; for every man creates his life in the image of his works. The genius of good is at thy right and the genius of evil at thy left. Their voice can be heard only by the conscience.  If the hierophant should appear in the prophetic signs of thy horoscope, retire into the sanctuary of thy heart, listen to the voice of the silence, and guided by it thou wilt reach the goal of thy aspirations.  From The Sacred Tarot, by C.C. Zain

For a deeper understanding of The Hierophant, refer to The Sacred Tarot by C.C. Zain, available at the bookstore at


About letstalktarot

Allyn McCray began reading Tarot in 1971 after discovering a deck in an occult shop in San Francisco, California. In 1999, the American Tarot Association recognized her as a Certified Tarot Reader. During her experience as an Internet reader between 2000 and 2002, Allyn’s readings were regularly featured on the websites, Psychicnut and Roadtalk. In 2002, Allyn joined The Church of Light, aka Light.Org, a non-profit international school of esoteric studies, where she is now a Hermetician, Certified Teacher, and Minister. Allyn also serves as the Communications Director of The Church of Light and is a Section Advisor in The Order of the Sphinx.
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