[Yoshitaka Amano Tarot]
Because "hierophant" is such an archaic word, we need to start with a definition. In Greek, hierophant means "he who speaks the holy." Specifically, it was the title of the High Priest of the Eleusinian Mysteries. In tarot, "hierophant" has a more general meaning of "any moral authority figure who decrees how one should act." And so the Hierophant card is all about rules for living -- what is right, what is wrong, what is good, what is bad, what is healthy, what is not, etc.
Men and women whose soul card is the Hierophant struggle with these rules. It is the defining condition of their soul journey. Sometimes, Hierophants can go to extremes -- either slavishly obeying external rules or breaking them all with abandon. They may swing from one extreme to another during their life. For example, a wild youth may be followed by a conservative adulthood. Or vice versa -- someone may "follow the rules" all their lives until they hit mid-life and then, out of the blue, kick over the traces and become a rebel. In other words, a Hierophant will either question authority or accept authority. There does not seem to be a lot of middle ground for them.
There is one other major arcana card in this constellation which influences a Hierophant's soul path: Temperance.
[Golden Thread Tarot]
The Temperance card is all about balance and transformation. It does not concern choosing one option over another but rather, counsels blending the two opposites to create a new, third option. Temperance can offset the Hierophant's tendency to go to one extreme or the other.
A Hierophant longs for a single quintessential Truth that will tie everything together in a meaningful unity. The life challenge of a Hierophant is to learn to be their own authority rather than obeying external rules. However, this can only be done by learning from experience -- learning how to blend and create the third option of Temperance. If a Hierophant successfully integrates Temperance, they will achieve a more balanced life following their own internal rules rather than external ones.
But if a Hierophant gets lost on their soul path and does not develop their own inner moral code, they can become rigid, dogmatic, judgemental and self-righteous (regardless of whether they are conformists or rebels). Temperance falls into their Shadow and its lessons are ignored.
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Next Week: the Lovers Soul Card
[NOTE: If you haven't yet determined what your Soul Card is and would like to, please go to the introductory post of this series found here, do the calculation and play along!]