Short meaning: A spiritual mentor or teacher who inspires you and influences your own personal philosophy, belief system or spiritual journey. A desire to learn and gain understanding. Seeking out guidance and a spiritual code of conduct to live by; striving to be the best you can be.
In-depth meaning: The Subject is thinking about their beliefs and how this affects their lives. In more conventional religions, the requirements and expectations in terms of behaviour are clear, and each has its own set of rules. If the Subject and their beliefs aren’t conventional, or part of an organised religion, they may be wondering what their spiritual “code of conduct” is.
There could be a counsellor, priest or just a valued friend in the Subject’s life who they go to for advice and guidance. They could be encouraging the Subject to make positive and constructive change in their life or to seek out something more meaningful than they have at present.
Always process the thoughts and opinions of others against personal experiences and beliefs, religious or otherwise. The message here is that whilst remaining open to other perspectives and attitudes, avoid blindly following just for the sake of having something to follow.
Notes on the image: The Hierophant is a studious man sitting calmly, reading a book, with more books piled up to his side revealing him as a knowledgeable person. This person could be a priest, adviser or mentor of some description, or even a respected friend or colleague to whom one might turn to for advice. Although he is engrossed and not looking at us the image depicts The Hierophant as seated with refreshment at his side, indicating this is someone who is willing to spend time considering information or discussing issues. There is a rich warm carpet for those who wish to sit at his feet and learn.
The Hierophant is an authoritative figure but unlike the Emperor, The Hierophant’s power and leadership comes from his developed spiritual wisdom and experience. He has an innate understanding of the way things work and he knows the attitudes and behaviours that will be of most benefit to the subject now.