Tarot Cards Meanings - Major Arcana - The Pope - meaning in detail

The Pope or Hierophant (Le Pape) - tarot card meaning in detail

The Pope The Magnus of the Eternal

Card Number: 5
Key Number: 16
Rulership: Taurus
Hebrew Letter: Vau
Translation: Nail
Numerical Value: 12
Astrological Associations: Jupiter


Full Meaning

The Pope or Hierophant signifies advice coming in the form of a wise, traditionalist and conventional teacher. He stands for conventional wisdom and spirituality that he teaches through the workings of your inner self or psyche. In terms of where this wisdom may come from, the Hierophant represents a very pious and kind person. For example, but not limited to: a favourite uncle, teacher, rabbi or clergyman.

Certainly if you have any problems at the moment then this is the card of help, to enable you to make the correct choices in life, as it is the card of a mentor, spiritual advisor and practical instructor. He is someone who brings 'The wisdom of the heavens down to earth.'

Depending up on circumstances this card may sometimes indicate marriage and partnerships which are well starred, if this is what is currently on your mind. However in this sense you must beware of putting pressure on your partner and make sure that you are not trying to live up to any unrealistic expectations that they may have of you. In a jovial sense the phrase to sum up this card might be 'Never fear the Hierophant Is here'.

Traditional Symbolism

He wears the triple crown and is seated between two pillars, but they are not those of the Temple which is guarded by the High Priestess. In his left hand he holds a sceptre terminating in the triple cross, and with his right hand he gives the well-known ecclesiastical sign which is called that of esotericism, distinguishing between the manifest and concealed part of doctrine. It is n oticeable in this connexion that the High Priestess makes no sign. At his feet are the crossed keys, and two priestly ministers in albs kneel before him. He has been usually called the Pope, which is a particular application of the more general office that he symbolizes. He is the ruling power of external religion, as the High Priestess is the prevailing genius of the esoteric, withdrawn power.

The proper meanings of this card have suffered woeful admixture from nearly all hands. Grand Orient says truly that the Hierophant is the power of the keys, exoteric orthodox doctrine, and the outer side of the life which leads to the doctrine; but he is certainly not the prince of occult doctrine, as another commentator has suggested. He is rather the summa totius theologiæ, when it has passed into the utmost rigidity of expression; but he symbolizes also all things that are righteous and sacred on the manifest side. As such, he is the channel of grace belonging to the world of institution as distinct from that of Nature, and he is the leader of salvation for the human race at large.

He is the order and the head of the recognized hierarchy, which is the reflection of another and greater hierarchic order; but it may so happen that the pontiff forgets the significance of this his symbolic state and acts as if he contained within his proper measures all that his sign signifies or his symbol seeks to shew forth. He is not, as it has been thought, philosophy-except on the theological side; he is not inspiration; and he is not religion, although he is a mode of its expression.

The Pope summary.

The Pope Card illustration.


The Major Arcana suit.


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