I have decided to write all my tarot card blogs on cards that make me uncomfortable. The Hierophant is another card that has made me squirm in my seat. The card shows a religious leader: order, structure, belief systems, following the group, and being in an institutional setting are all ideas that make me, a trickster and a gemini, very uncomfortable. The Hierophant is formal, official, and often times depicted as a pope or some other male figure of religious authority. I would often get the Hierophant in my readings, and I would always cringe (immediately referencing the dominant religious leaders of our society). Pushing forth to gain greater understanding of this card, I decided to step outside of myself and look at the Hierophant from a different perspective. Disengage my reference of the dominant religious systems, and look to the Hierophant as a religious leader that I can get down with.
I find that the Hierophant can be an awesome omen of portals opening to new knowledge, to secret knowledge, and the mysteries of the universe, though I tend to not like the way that this card unveils itself, it is definitely a powerhouse card. Whether it regards school of academia, or religious pursuits, the Hierophant tells us that it is time to listen to the rules of the system to attain or achieve the gateway through the portal to new knowledge and mysteries. Rules, rules, rules. All of life runs on rules, whether they are the rules of society, or the rules of gravity, the world runs on rules. Even magick runs on rules, and once you understand the rules that govern magick, your practice becomes much more effective. The Hierophant tells us to learn the rules.
The Hierophant asks us to balance the energies of masculinity and femininity within ourselves, the projective and receptive archetypes that reside within us all. Balance is an interesting concept. Often in the magickal lifestyle we must maintain a balance. Many times in my life this card has represented the necessity to do the hard work of learning, the effort of gaining skills that will help in the long run, because it is important, and not because it is something that I like. In the world of magick there are many many venues of exploration. With the High Priestess we delve directly into the ethereal magick, and with the Hierophant (or High Priest) we delve directly into the books, the mathematical equations, the scholarly knowledge that will lead us with a map through the world of magick. In my experience it is important to do both in order to keep balance.