Keywords: commandments of God and doctrines of men; forms and requirements of religion and tradition, and those serving them; wisdom of the elders (accumulated or inherited knowledge); oaths, bonds, rules, rituals and initiations, and advice on how to keep them; can apply to an individual and/or society (family, community, church, &c.).

Keywords for reversed: going against the advice or wishes of elders or authority; breaking oaths or rules; OR hypocrisy; blind adherence to form or tradition


Like all Tarot cards, the Hierophant has positive and negative associations. I had a very difficult time seeing the positive until my wedding, when we were married by my grandfather's brother--Uncle Eldon, the Reverend Simmons.

He wanted our marriage done properly, according to form and tradition. Yet he is a warm and charming man, and a wonderful story-teller. He stands not only for societal tradition, but for familial tradition as well, passing on the stories of five generations. In this sense, he is certainly a revealer!

An honored elder, he freely shares his wisdom and guidance, always looking for the solution that's best for both the individual and the society (family, community, church, &c.). His accumulated knowledge is passed to and through him via these societies, making him a 'bridge builder'--not between God and man, but between ancestors and descendants.

In his role as officiating clergy at our wedding, he was the initiator, bringing us into the 'holy bond of matrimony.' We were initiated individually as 'husband' and 'wife,' and also initiated societally as a new 'family.'

He revealed the requirements (imposed the rules, laid down the law), administered the oaths, and advised on how to keep them. But he could only impart this knowledge to us. WE have to give it meaning by internalizing and implementing it.

Ideally, religion and family are ties that bind, not choke. And in my family, fancy utensils are for special occasions; we eat our fish with our hands. (Think about it.)

Other symbols:

The couple is, naturally, me and mine, kneeling in obeisance to the higher authorities (God, society, Uncle Eldon). We took our positions voluntarily in this event which was both ritual and performance. In the Marseilles and Rider-Waite Hierophant cards, the figure holds one hand with two fingers extended. "Two Fingers" is a name my husband and I use, particularly when billing non-salaried (i.e., free-lance, consultant) work, because our last name is Fingerle.

The roses & lilies are also taken from photos of our wedding. The lilies represent the spirituality of the rite, and we had calla lilies flanking the altar. The roses represent the humanity of the event, and everyone in our party wore one. The one pictured was in my hair. I felt strongly about getting married before GOD and MAN. That's why we got married outside with our family and friends.

I wanted to include five-petaled orange blossoms, but I thought there were enough flowers. So I colorized an x-ray of a starfish. Five is a common number for this Trump, but the five points express it better than a 'V'! Humanity. Also, the starfish reminds me of Florida--the place where I was Hierophantized!

The djed is the Mystery.

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Hierophant image created January/February 2000; page finalized July 14, 2000.