The Hierophant 

The Hierophant 


Upright – Religion, group identity,  conformity, traditional belief

Reversed – Restriction, challenging the status quote  (needs more)

Description of Rider-Waite-Smith

The Hierophant of the Rider-Waite-Smith sits upon a raised throne of stone before richly decorated twin pillars.  Before him kneel two men in robes and tonsures and at his feet lay two crossed keys. He wears a heavy and elaborate crown and rich red robes and his position upon the raised throne all proclaiming that he is a man of authority in all matters spiritual. His right hand in tailed in benediction and judgement which in his left he holds the cross and staff that is his office. 

The Hierophant is the spiritual adviser of the major arcana. The High Priestess is the keeper of mysteries where as the Hierophant is the keeper of the people. He guides people to traditional routes and methods  of achieving their goals and encourages them to pursue them no matter the opposition. The Hierophant leads us on a search for truth, pointing to the miracles of the divine along the way. He lives his beliefs and ideals every day and encourages his followers to do the same. 

Key Symbols 


The Hierophant sits upon a throne, looking down upon those people who come to him for advice and guidance. He is their leader, set above them by divine authority to pass on to the people the rule of God. Whilst the Emperor is the temporal ruler of the Arcana the Hierophant rules over the spiritual aspect and yet again the throne is a symbol of his right to rule. 

Crossed Key

At the feet of the Hierophant lay two keys, crossed at the barrel with the (?) Pointing towards him. The crossed keys are a deeply religious symbol representing divine knowledge and wisdom and the way that this can be accessed. The Hierophant is the keeper of these keys, the guardian of the knowledge that they lead to.  He decides who may have access, through him, to this wisdom. 

The Staff and Cross 

The staff, along with the vestments and hand gesture of the Hierophant, indicate his authority to speak on matters of spirituality and virtue as a man steep in both. The triple cross which adorns the staff indicates the authorities carried by the Hierophant. Firstly he is concerned with leadership and the shepherding of the people under his rule. Secondly he sits in judgment over them as their spiritual leader, his words are the law and decisions in matters spiritual final. Finally he is the guardian of spiritual virtue, the example to which all aspire and the means through which this virtue can be reached when one confirms with his ideals.

95c1d92ae52f23f4adf90af6c2f18270ad3dcee0.jpgThe Hierophant of the Arcana

The Hierophant of the Arcana is represented by a Ram, repeat with elaborately curling horns, who wears blue liturgical clothing not too dissimilar to that of a priest. In one hand he holds a crook / tau like cross whilst he raises his other hand in a traditional sign of benediction. In the foreground is drawn a pair of crossed keys, upraised in a position reminiscent of the crossed keys of Saint Peter. Behind him the scene seems to depict an arched stone doorway, representative of the Temple over which he presides. The strength of Christian imagery; the ram, the tau cross, the clothing and the keys, all mark the card as one with religious connections.  

The Arcana character represented by the Hierophant is Consul Valerius, one of the five Couriers of Vesuvia which are introduced during the game. Though clearly a skilled leader and administrator Valerius represents the antagonistic qualities of the Hierophant, as all the Courtiers represent the Reversed qualities of their cards. He is aloof, supercilious and is engaged in a conspiracy against Countess Nadia which would leave him as an ultimate authority within the city state. Fond of fine wine and high drama Valerius wears the rams head emblem of his card as a visual reminder of his compatibility with this card.


Author: knotmagick

Weaving Magick and Crochet in the madhouse I call home. I am a devotee of Hekate and a follower of Pan.

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