The Hierophant represents the moral and spiritual codes of conduct of a larger society or group, and/or the moral leaders who determine what is proper, ethical, “normal” or true. Where the Emperor represents the rigid structures of law and order in society which every individual must follow, the Hierophant symbolizes the spiritual, moral or traditional values of society, including its education, politics, social conventions, and customs.
The Hierophant represents the ethical foundation of a society, as well as the authority figures who determine it; these people intermediate between higher forces and Man, relating the will and law of God to those who are dependent on this service to know what is right and wrong.
The Hierophant is the natural partner of the High Priestess, but this card represents the institutions and laws of a religion, rather than initiation into deep spiritual wisdom, which belongs to the High Priestess. This card can thus also represent “group-consciousness” or “herd mentality”, that is, doing what everyone basically agrees upon as respectable. The Hierophant card may indicate that you are rejecting your own personal line of access to higher powers or to your own spiritual intuition about what is right and what is wrong, and that you are instead taking your cues from an external human authority or institution.
The human instinct to surrendering personal responsibility or power— in short, obedience— is indicated by the Hierophant. On the other hand, the education and basis in tradition which are represented by the Hierophant are of deep and last value in the spiritual development of an individual, insofar as they provide a framework or perspective with which to organize and interpret the world. Even if this perspective is ultimately transformed, transcended or discarded, it is a necessary building block of character and identity; even the most original philosophers and mystics started out as students of the prevailing tradition and common members of society like any one else.
This card may point to a literal religious institution or spiritual authority in your life, or it may be referring to the moral/spiritual/behavioral conventions of your upbringing. This card advises traditional (and sometime conformist) approaches; follow direction from authority figures and keep to the well-beaten path. Be more orthodox or conservative at this time.
The Hierophant card is ruled by Taurus. Taurus is ruled by Venus and is a fixed sign in the zodiac.
Card meanings upright:
The upright Hierophant card represents group consciousness and our religion or belief system. You are likely very fulfilled through being of service and have a strong appreciation for ceremony, traditions, kindness, charity, and spiritual counseling. This Hierophant card is a reminder for you to continually seek knowledge and find your special place in the world by searching for the things that nourish your soul.
Card meanings reversed:
When The Hierophant card is reversed, it can represent prudence, silliness, or hypocrisy. You may be feeling that your ego is without guidance because you understand the presence of rules in your life, but do not yet know their importance. You might be witnessing an institution controlling information through self-serving leadership that strips away the power needed to change or improve the system. In your personal life, a reversed Hierophant card can also signify a decrease in security through lost traditions or unrecognizable differences with loved ones.