The Heirophant Tarot Card Meaning and Art Vivid Waite Smith Tarot Deck
About the Deck
These cards are featured in my book, "A Concise Guide to the Tarot" by Loren Lundgren. I took the information for the meanings on these tarot cards from "The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, Being Fragments of a Secret Tradition Under the Veil of Divination", by A. E. Waite, 1911, now in the public domain. I edited the tarot card descriptions and meanings for clarity and brevity, modernizing the text. I scanned in the original black and white illustrations of the cards drawn by Pamela Colman Smith, from the 1911 book. I digitally retouched and painted those illustrations in detailed color.
Loren Lundgren, © 2021
DescriptionHe wears the triple crown and is seated between two pillars, but not those of the Temple guarded by the High Priestess. In his left hand he holds a scepter ending with the triple cross. With his right hand he gives the well-known ecclesiastical sign of esotericism, distinguishing between the surface and concealed parts of doctrine. At his feet are the crossed keys, and two priestly ministers in albs (priestly robes) kneel before him. He is the ruling power of external religion, as the High Priestess is the prevailing force of the esoteric power.
Meaning of The Heirophant from the Vivid Waite Smith Tarot Deck
Marriage, alliance, captivity, servitude; also mercy and goodness; inspiration; the man to whom the Querent has recourse.
Fellowship, good understanding, consensus, excessive kindness, weakness.
According to Many Schools of Thought
The High Priest or Hierophant, called also Spiritual Father, and more commonly and obviously the Pope. It seems even to have been named the Abbot, and then its correspondence, the High Priestess, was the Abbess or Mother of the Convent. Both are arbitrary names. The insignia of the figures are papal, and in such case the High Priestess is and can be only the Church, to whom Pope and priests are married by the spiritual rite of ordination. I think, however, that in its primitive form this card did not represent the Roman Pontiff.
Mercy, Beneficence Kindness, Goodness
Over-kindness, weakness, Foolish exercise of generosity.