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Or in this case THE TEACHER. This is the fifth card in the Major Arcana, focusing on learning and teaching, but also symbolizes the five senses.

  • Symbolism: Guidance or a teacher
  • Element: Earth (see Tarot Elements)

What I See:

This is a very earthy card to me. The colors, the plant and animal life, the calm water in the background, all convey peace to me. The person on the card appears female to me and that difference to most Hierophant cards draws me in. I see a kindly grandmother, an eccentric neighbor who drops words of wisdom when you meet, and the preschool/kindergarten teacher who stays for the children long past retirement. I see a woman with a lot of stories to tell…I’m just outside of the picture’s frame, waiting for her to start.

Light (upright) Reading:

Heralding the arrival of a teacher, but look close, the teacher may appear in disguise.

  • Keywords: Tradition, Spiritual, Growth, Teaching, and Institution

Shadow (upside down or reverse) Reading:

Beware of an inflexible belief system.

  • Keywords: Dogmatic, Fanaticism, Propaganda, and Restriction


The tree symbols the Tree of Life, perhaps your story revolves around everlasting life. That trickster, Coyote, is on the card, what about a time-travel paradox? How about the metaphysical fifth element, the Spirit? Perhaps a quest to break a curse…or to cast one?

  • Themes: Teaching, Being taught or led, Guidance, Belief systems, Search for truth, Tradition, Spiritual teachings outside mainstream religion, or Revealing the sacred.


The Teacher is a humble, spiritual figure, yet is open to a sense of wonder.

  • Archetype: Teacher, Priest, Mentor, or Guide

An archetype found frequently in dreams, myths, and stories is the Mentor [Wise-Woman], usually a positive figure who aids or trains the hero. ~The Writers Journey by Christopher Vogler

  • Mythical Figures: Pope, Jupiter, Horus, Buddha, and Mohammed

The personality enneagram, a nine-pointed array of personality types, might also be a useful reference for character building.

The Hierophant is E5: Observer, Investigator, and/or Sage

  • Self Image — I see through
  • Passion — Greed
  • Virtue — Detachment
  • Narcissistic Trap — Knowledge
  • Avoids — Emptiness
  • Speaking Style — Explaining or Systematizing

E5 people are ruled by their head. They need to understand the pattern of events, where all the pieces fit in the puzzle of life, and are often detached from their emotions. Their objectivity may hide feelings of isolation or confusion.

Additionally, look up one of the Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) for personality traits.

If you are a careful and thoughtful writer, the Hierophant will also help assure your place in a long line of saintly poets, bards, and storytellers. ~Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner

Image: Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert from Llewellyn Worldwide