circles inside circles
inside locks, behind the wall,
stars within, and we outside the circle.
you the key, the guide, the holder of the patterns.
who needs no eyes to see the stars, no hand to trace the circle.
you are the symmetry
you are the ever-true, the truth behind.
[See also Agla's Hierophant and the Hierophant online]
If I've ever whined about being stumped by any other cards, ignore me; the Hierophant is my pits. It's not just that I don't like him - I don't like the Emperor either, but I know enough about him. The Hierophant I've often found hard to place in my world; if he stands between god and the laity, well, what's that mean to a rootless solitary?
The best way I've found to approach him is this; he's the pattern that makes other patterns possible. He is meta. He knows the equations that generate stars, and makes stars disintegrate in turn, and then lets them reform and become people. (My 2005 tarot notes say, of the Hierophant; 'Evolution etc' - I guess I meant to come back to that one). It's the Magician who says 'as above, so below' - and he'll use that to direct his energies, but the Hierophant knows about the details, all the details, for all of us.
The Hierophant is an institution, or a science; lasting but forever marching on, passing keys from hand to hand, rewriting itself, always tracing the same circle. His opposite is the Tower; the link is pretty clear if you read their old names, the Pope and La Tour Diable ('the devil's tower'). The Tower will break anything, reduce any institution to its constituent parts - the Hierophant sees his hierarchies as essential. (The One World Hierophant shows a gateway from night into day, occupied by a small pyramid with a large sphere balancing at its apex. A strong Hierophant can support anything).
If I am to understand this robed man - and I have never seen the Hierophant be the least ambiguous about that; he is often called Pope, or set against Priestess to pack symmetry around the imperial pair between them; most Hierophants are bearded, including the one I'm looking at now - I think I have to trust him and all he stands for, and I don't. I have to accept the keys, see the symmetry, accept the foundations of this world; I can do that so long as it remains at a pre-conscious level, but once you move past mathematics and mysteries and into society, I turn to face the Tower.
The Hierophant's elder relation is Temperance, the great alchemist. The Hierophant points the way upwards, shows the symmetry, and Temperance makes new symmetries, cooks peace and divinity within all of us.
Images of the Hierophant:
Amano's Hierophant, who you have to walk through to get to a bigger Hierophant.
Chiron, the Mythic Hierophant. This is a very one-on-one Hierophant, focused on healing and on the wisdom of your personal journey. He reads your path in the stars. He could heal everyone except himself.
...and the Osho Zen brings the win. This Hierophant is for the beginning of things, where the potential for everything is. Zen meditation is about making your mind like that card - empty, ready for anything to arise.