The Hierophant

Why We Should Celebrate the Hierophant (V)

The Hierophant is so misunderstood, and could be easily misunderstood within queer communities. Modern Little White Books talk about how the Hierophant is the pope, a priest, a stern preachy self-important elder, etc. etc. That’s not helpful for us as queer people; many of us feel this is precisely the type of figure who would vilify us, or try to force us out of our genuine selves and into more rigid, traditional roles and lives. But the Hierophant is not the Pope, nor a hypocritical and ominous priest. The Hierophant is divine knowledge on the earthly plane — a transcendance grounded by interaction with reality. The Hierophant is every prophet who’s bothered to commune with actual people; every shaman or wise-person, the keeper of the book of Secrets and Knowledge. We can all be the Hierophant — there’s no need to run in the other direction.

I try to practice being the Hierophant everyday: bridging celestial and terrestrial, remembering that while I may be a spiritual being, I am a spiritual being living in a human body, practicing a human experience. Both aspects are equally important. A Hierophant is like a labyrinth walk — meditative, inquisitive, and ultimately receptive, but the Hierophant then goes one step further. While a labyrinth walk is usually for the benefit of the individual, the one who seeks, the Hierophant is for the benefit of all: the Hierophant then translates. Ze brings the books and questions and answers down from the Celestial terrain, and to the masses. When not properly severed from the trappings of one’s ego, the Hierophant can turn zealous and self-righteous and judgmental, but that is not the true Soul and Spirit of this card. True holiness, true spiritual education and enlightenment, fosters compassion and gentleness, and a desire to never cease interrogating, and to never cease educating, all in the spirit of love and community.

My Life Path number is 5, so I am a bit biased. I think of the Hierophant as Gandalf. I also think of her as the antithesis of what many ancient popes would approve of: for instance, as the old medicine woman, reviled for her audacity in presuming she can communicate with the Beyond, or a village priest genuinely interested in caring for the people, regardless of what the dogmatic and inauthentic local Church may have dictated.