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The Hierophant (V): Major Arcana Tarot Cards Meaning

Find out the meaning of the fifth Major Arcana card: The Hierophant.

A woman holding a tarot card with fire in the background
The Hierophant (V): Major Arcana Tarot Cards Meaning

The Pope or Hierophant, also known as The High Priest,  is depicted as an old man wearing a triple crown and holding a long staff. There are two priests or followers before him. Behind him, there are the pillars Boaz and Jakin, which symbolise Law and Liberty. The crown represents the creative world. The Pope makes you hear the divine voice, teaches you, and encourages you to meditate.

Like the Popess, the Pope personifies the divine unity and spreads it as far as possible, passing on its teachings, although the High Priestess is more selective when choosing those to whom she reveals her knowledge.

The meaning of the tarot cards is often confusing and their interpretation is not easy when it comes to a love, money or health reading. However, this article will explain some of the keys to better understand the fifth Major Arcana card: the Pope.

Main characteristics

The Hierophant represents the religious and spiritual power, the rational understanding of the things that are seen in an intuitive rather than reflective way. He listens and advises, as well as indicates the place that wisdom and grace occupies in your life.

He represents prudence and protection.  He has a high level of awareness and, without hesitation, he offers those who want to receive. This tarot card represents the clergy or those people who have reached some spiritual prominence.

Major Arcana tarot card meaning

As a general meaning, this tarot card refers to teaching, to the union between two kindred souls, to agreements. Those who are represented by this tarot card give good advice. It also reflects a certain spiritual quest that will give good results if you carry on in this way. It encourages all kinds of initiators to go deeply into their knowledge, because much good can be made in their immediate environment. It points out the gurus and that mystical part you all have but sometimes you forget.

It also refers to  problem solving, constructive reflection and positive teachings.

Moreover, this tarot card predicts very specific events, such as suitable weddings, all kinds of formal unions, as well as hiring and promotions. As a state of mind, it refers to an enthusiasm, which is perhaps excessive and somewhat unjustified.

The Hierophant reversed indicates a serious situation,  in which stern or sectarian people are involved. It points out the fanatical moralists, the street preacher who has lost his mind. It can be indicative of a divorce (especially if it appears together with Justice). It makes reference to bad advice, the unfounded beliefs and the poorly undertaken projects.

Tarot card interpretation

It may symbolise a man over sixty years old, but in general, this tarot card represents doctors, highly educated people, teachers, guides, mentors or people with strong philosophical beliefs. This Major Arcana card includes experts of all kinds. As an additional fact, it can point out that the querent is perhaps excessively perfectionist.

It basically represents an old man, but this Major Arcana card also evokes a general concept of protection and specialisation that can be equally applied to women.

This tarot card is important in matters of love if you try to confirm a union. It is quite possible that marriages are carried out successfully if the Pope appears in a spread.


The union is stable and solid,  or very close to being confirmed. It represents feelings that are clear, forgiveness. You follow your idea of love through to the end, and your partner gets to know a new side of it that makes them happier. The couple feels protected or you feel that this union is worthwhile. There is a sense of duty and responsibility, which is faced with joy and lightness, because it brings a special happiness and stability. There is the possibility of making the union legal or celebrating a wedding. The relationship is rational and sensible.

In the reversed position, there is a lack of realism, or perhaps you are being too strict or intolerant.  A divorce may take place;  one of you is being more stubborn than usual, or the relationship has simply worn out.

Money and work

Often, the Pope represents the liberal professions, the passionate people who are quite prudent, the fruits of your work and responsibility. It also indicates that you are going through favourable times, relying on your means and actually looking for a job (if you do not have one). You discover your vocation and are encouraged to get a higher education related to it. Teaching and passing on knowledge can be your strong point if it turns out that your life journey has taken you time and again to teach others what you learn in a self-taught way. You are respected and your natural aura is good.

In the reversed position, there is a delay in long-term plans, as well as a lack of practicality that goes against you or, perhaps, your intolerance is making you blind to changes. You do not want to listen to the advice of others.  There is a lack of specialisation, which gives a bad impression to the outside.


When it comes to finances, there is a reasonable stability, your achievements can be carried out thanks to a correct and balanced attitude towards money. You spend on your loved ones, which is the best investment. The Hierophant reversed tries to make you think about the money you invest in others, since they can be taking advantage of your goodwill.


It indicates a recovery from a disease, which tends to be associated with rigid postures, whether physical or emotional. You may suffer from cervical problems and even prostate problems when it comes to men. 

When this tarot card appears, if you have health problems, you need to treat them properly and, for that, you must be disciplined when it comes to treatments. Above all, you should consult a health professional who can help you. 

Tarot card meanings and spreads

This is an active figure that gives a strong and positive protection to the spread.  When this tarot card is surrounded by opposing cards, the negative effects tend to increase. This principle is self-sufficient, so it does not need any association to confirm its message. Therefore, its polarity is undeniably positive.

In terms of timeline,  it is necessary to consider the proximity of religious holidays, since it may indicate that the event you are wondering about can happen during those days. 

The Pope acquires more power in those questions about the here and now, which is the only time you can actually experience. Do not forget that the Pope is quite aware of spirituality.


In the upright position, the Hierophant suggests that you were well advised and that you made certain decisions by way of your enthusiasm and spiritual path, with no regrets of anything that happened.

The Hierophant reversed indicates that a lack of organization in the past is what led you to your current limitations.


He talks about looking for the advice of a wise person, who is able to help you and, especially, about looking for serenity, peace and stability. He may also suggest that you have become the only person who has the answers, and that, most likely, you are the most important support for many people. The appearance of this tarot card encourages you to have confidence and faith, because, in the end, everything will be fine!


Long-term goals, whether they are related to work, love, health and even spirituality, are achieved. When it comes to your professional life, you will get a small promotion, but it will only happen if you are patient and maintain your good work in the company. 

In the reversed position, when it comes to money issues, you should have rational expectations  or hope for a financial miracle. 

Fun facts

  • It seems that one of the disciples instructed by the Pope is his favourite! The one standing on the right is pointed out with his staff. This alludes to the dry path and the wet path, which are concepts that form part of the alchemical tradition. In the dry path, knowledge is achieved only through effort and hard work. By contrast, the wet path is that of immediate reception, of enlightenment and revelation. It means that you are directly touched “by the divine”, in this case, by the Pope’s staff.
  • Number 5 is associated with human beings,  since only men possess the fifth element (consciousness). Animals are only related to four elements: fire, earth, water and air. Five is also the number of the possibility of choosing,  since it is placed precisely between 1 and 9, so there is no possibility of holding back or falling apart.
  • This Major Arcana card is associated with the planet Jupiter, as it represents philosophy, religion, ideals and the constant quest for new horizons.
  • The Hierophant is linked to the zodiac sign Taurus, the musical note “C” sharp, the reddish-orange colour, the Hebrew letter “Vav” and  the 16th path of the Tree of Life.