Pearls of Wisdom - The Hierophant

Rede Seeker

Central to this card are the Hierophant in the center and his students, male and female on the right and left, respectively. They form a triangle - a symbol of power - firm foundation quickly coming to a point. The students form the foundation, the Hierophant, the apex of the triangle.

The Hierophant sits on what looks to be an easy chair more than a throne. It looks like the kind of chair a storyteller would set himself in before telling a tale. The Hierophant is the storyteller of knowledge. His chair is the same blue color as his shoes, the capes of the students, some of the bowls and books, the shelves the lamps rest on and the sky behind them all.

The Hierophant's robes are red. He wears a green stola with gold infinity symbols and individual pearls separating them. The hem of his robe repeats this green, gold, and pearl pattern. His crown is a pointed cap with a gold band and peak. There is a pearl at the very top of this pointed cap and it seems to shine with golden light when in fact it is backlit by the golden sun...or is this the crown chakra in full light? There are three pearls in the band of this peaked cap and one of the peaks of this gold band looks like a flame - fire in the mind - inspiration.

The Hierophant wears a pearl ring on each hand. His belt ends with a gold key with pearls on it. This key has a triangle shaped top with an upside down Ansuz Rune on the bottom. The triangle represents power and is also the alchemical symbol for fire. Ansuz is the Rune of Wisdom and Communication.

The Hierophant holds a large ornate book in his lap. The book is red and decorated with a gold lock, infinity symbol, ornate corner protectors and a diamond-shaped design with a pearl in it's center. The book cover also has three white stars on it. An interesting detail to the book - the book mark is formed of three pearls and a green cord ending in a green tassel. We've seen this bookmark in the Hermit card. In the Hermit cart, there are more pearls to the bookmark, but it ends in a green tassel.

The Hierophant's chair sits on a red dias. There are three steps from the ground level to the dias. The students sit on the top with the Hierophant. The boy and girl are looking towards the Hierophant. He appears to be in trance and speaking.

Therae are books, lamps, bowls of food and more of the pearl and tasseled bookmarks on the lower steps.

Behind the Hierophant are two columns, one on the right, one on the left. They appear identical. In the background there is verdent greenery, grass, bushes, a tree in bloom it could be a garden. The foreground is ivy and cherries. All are healthy and vibrant.

The upper corners of this card hold a blue shelf with a burning lamp resting on it. The lamp on the left does not burn as brightly as the one on the right. The lower corners contain the book of knowledge and key. The diamond shape ornament decorates both sides of the card. Each diamond fillial has a pearl in its center and a 'bookmark' of three pearls ending in a blue-green tassel.

Runes decorate the sides of this card: Perthro on the left; Ansuz on the right. Perthro is the Rune of Evolutionary Change - the Hierophant plants the seeds of knowledge, but he cannot control how they will grow. Perthro is my personal 'Leap of Faith' Rune. If you've done your best, you'll get the best result, but you do not contol all the factors that affect that result. Ansuz is the Rune of Communication, Wisdom, Inspiration.

Rune Totals:
Perthro = 14
Ansuz = 4
Total = 14 + 4 = 18 = Berkano, the Rune of the containment and release of energy leading to continued growth and continual rebirth or renewal in all things (ref. 'The Nine Doors of Midgard' by Edred Thorsson).

In terms of 'turning point' consistent with Fives - the Hierophant represents the last stop in our tutured training, from here out, it's the school of hard knocks where we make our own decisions and feel their consequences. The Fool began the journey taught first by the Spiritual Parents (Magician and High Priestess) then by the Worldly Parents (Empress and Emperor). Perhaps the Hierophant represents the Lore Master, keeper of all the Fairy Tales, Sagas, and Legends with which our Ancestors placed their experiences into the Mythic Stream of Consciousness.


Re: The Hierophant

Wow RS,

Yet another beautiful description! There's very little I can add, other than the fact that there are 2 nature spirits in the hills to the left of the Hierophant and a tree spirit, in the tree on the right.

The lamps look to me more like diyas (a small clay pot, filled with oil and cotton and lit) - which are predominantly used during the Hindu festival of Divali - also called "The festival of lights" - which symbolises the lifting of spiritual darkness and is also the celebration of wealth and prosperity, the new year and good over evil within every human being.

When looked at from this perspective, it reinforces for me, not only the Hierophants wisdom, but his desire to guide others out of their spiritual darkness and down the path of goodness and wisdom...

The prosperity here to me is shown by how rich the foliage is in the background behind the Hierophant and The Sun plus the additional diyas on the sides of the steps agan reinforcing the triumph of wisdom over spiritual darkness.


what interested me is the lad has a book open whereas the girl doesn't. is he balancing his insight by what he hears as well as what he studies, whereas she is basing her insight purely on what she hears?

That aspect alone can be examined and could show many possible variables applying :)


PS got to get a magnifying glass for this deck.. might help see some of the small detail.

Rede Seeker

The boy and girl

Their sitting postures are different. She has her knees drawn up with hands facing down (how un-lady-like). He is sitting in a more seiza-like position - he could spring up in an instant. He also has leggings laced and shoes. the girl is barefoot.

His posture is more active - does this imply he is ready to implement what the Hierophant is teaching?