The Hierophant

Illumination in Solitude

"Seek for the Path within yourself.  Do not expedct to hear the truth from others, nor to see it, or read it in books.  Look for the truth in yourself, not without yourself.  Aspire only after the impossible and inaccessible.  Do not believe in external miracles, expect miracles only within you.  Do not search for a mystery that can be hidden by men.  Seek the Mystery within yourself.  The Path is in yourself, the Truth is in yourself and Mystery is in yourself."
-P.D. Ouspensky, The Symbolism of the Tarot, 1913

Michael Eaton & A.A. Khan, The Black Power Tarot, Canada/Ireland, 2015
Based on Marsielles Tarot, the collaboration of artist Eaton and musician King Khan, The Black Power Tarot was used to recreate the arcana with modern iconography.

The Hierophant is the fifth key to the Major Arcana in Tarot.  The Element of the Hierophant is Earth and the zodiac affiliation is with Taurus.  

Qualities of the Hierophant are Wisdom, Teacher, and Inner Guide.  Alternate names for the Hierophant are The Initiator, The Pope, The Head Priest, The Grand Master, Jupiter, and Baccus.  Symbols are The Temple, Robes, Cross, and Gesture of Benediction

In German the Hierophant is called Der Papst, and Der Hohepriester.  In French, Le Pape, Jupiter Bacus, and Le Grand Pretre.  And in Italian, Il Papa.


The Hierophant wears an intricate robe of blue, white and red and a crown with three tiers.  His costume indicates the three different worlds in which he resides:  the conscious, subconscious, and super conscious.  Like the High Priestess, he sits within a sacred temple.  His right hand is raised in blessing and benediction, two fingers pointed towards the sky, two toward earth.  His other hand is most often shown holding a triple (or papal) cross, thought to represent the Christian symbology of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Certain decks also include an image of crossed keys at his feet, to indicate the unlocking of the great mysteries and the balance between the intellect and the inner mind.  


The Hierophant is teacher and seer, philosopher and poet.  He sees validity in knowledge and asks for intimate understanding of both the outer world and the meditative subconscious.  His is an orthodox approach -- his study, formal.  He symbolizes structure, institutions, and the core values of learning.  He adheres to doctrine and encourages decisive action only after deep thought, rational debate, and discussion with trusted mentors.  He points to the importance o passing down wisdom, demanding that all masters become mentors.  He insists that all knowledge gained, must be shared.  He represents sacred ritual, established religious dogma, and adherence to long-lasting tradition.  The Hierophant is sage, leader, and guru, providing clear and gentle guidance on the path to greater knowledge and deeper understanding.

Yoshitaka Amano, Amano Tarot, Japan, 2000
Amano's work was influenced by Art Nouveau illustration, Japanese wood blood printing techniques, and classic comic book art.