The Hierophant

follow the wisdom of your own moral compass

from the Leonardo Da Vinci Tarot (Lo Scarabeo)

As the mediator between the divine and the mortal in matters of ethics and integrity, The Hierophant is our own voice of conscience in our belief systems. From the Greek for “revealer of sacred things,” The Hierophant is yang to the High Priestess’s yin, reminding us that we can turn outward to a spiritual elder or other teacher, but we must question what The Establishment expects us to believe in light of what we know is our truth. In Tarot as a Way if Life, Karen Hamaker-Zondag writes “Thus The Hierophant is our desire to experience an extra dimension of life, the feeling that there is something more than the mundane.” As long as we lack an appreciation for creation and no sense of oneness with it in our own psyche, we look outward to some religious organization. In seeking to develop an outlook based on this sense of oneness with Earth and her inhabitants, it’s interesting to note that some of the earlier decks included the lady pope or La Papesse.

As we evolve in our philosophical or spiritual growth and understanding, traditional or societal teachings must sometimes be questioned, updated, or abandoned, and we must trust our own moral compass.

(-) In resistance, we behave contrary to our values. We know in our heart what is right, but we choose to forego it out of timidity or uncertainty.

(+) In excess, we adopt the values of others with unquestioning conformity and dogmatism, with perhaps an unwavering devotion to one teacher or way of thinking. We may become intolerant of those with differing views or employ a holier-than-thou stance — traits which often go hand in hand with hypocrisy. At its best, we may simply follow social norms blindly. At its worst, it becomes fanaticism.

Conversely, we may become the rebellious non-conformist merely for the sake of it. While non-conformity is a healthy expression of critical thought in the arena of principles, are we merely casting off the religions and traditions of our childhood in their entirety without exploring their doctrines? Are we bashing them broadly and loudly at any given chance? This may speak to our own repressed feelings. What are you reacting to? What internal part needs to be heard?

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • Are you making choices out of alignment with your own moral code? What internal parts are driving this?
  • What is your relationship with religious teachings?
  • What of your beliefs (and dogma?) is borrowed rather than inspired?
  • Are you looking outward for wisdom which you already possess? Why don’t you trust it?
  • Are you ready to step into the role of teacher or spiritual mentor? Are you resisting it?
  • Do you take exceptional pride in being the non-conformist, wearing it as your persona? What are you trying to prove?
  • Where is the line between not conforming to an unjust system and rebelling just to be disruptive?

What else? The archetypes of the majors are complex and you may have other insights. How has this card come up for you? What are some examples of this card’s energies?

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