Robin Wood, Heirophant #5

Phoenix Rising

Now I won't bore you with the description of the card because you all know what it looks like, but I am hoping that someone could help me see this card in a different light. I loathe this card. Because of the Popish, toffee nose, righteous, greater than thou look of that Pope or whatever he is. And those 2 boys kneeling down in submission.
I've got a pastlife issue with church leaders, so i know why it stirs me up so. so I think I may have to work on forgiveness.

Forgiveness well that could be another way of looking at this card to. Those 2 little boys praying, maybe they've just got a reprimand and are asking for forgiveness. And trying so hard to please the teacher wanting approval. Funny this card is also my Soul card. And I have been all of those things. Wanting approval, being submissive.
One of those boys looks like he's enjoying his prayer and the other one looks like he has to do it so he doesn't get a crack over the head with that staff the pompish old coot is holding.

LOL I'm actually laughing now at my comments hehe. Laughter solves everything!

Tarot Galadriel

The two boys are supposed to represent the theatre masks, the masks of comedy and tradegy, you know the one smiling one frowning. This signifies the mask that the church can convey, how it may not always be a reality or substance you think.

I love the columns at the back, how one shows sheep and the other burdens - showing how some people blindly follow the mass and feel the burdens that religions can put on people (sin etc).


I am not found of this card either. the Pope seems a bit rigid. The decorum is pretty much present. A lot of solemnity. There is more colour on the pope's robes. It distract me more on him. He makes me think of a table centerpiece. But the flowers are softening the rest a bit. Maybe behind the facade, there is a soft spot.


When I went to get the card out my deck so I could look at it.. it was sitting right on top waiting for

In this picture I see a severe looking man garbed in expensive robes that have a flower print. Which to me is kind of humours. He strikes me as an old school master. Someone with whom you learn from, but don't take too seriously, because you have to learn from your own mistakes.

The gesture his hand is making, makes me thing of an authoritative figure saying, "tisk tisk" or if he were to open those 2 fingers it would be the "V" for victory.

Like the 2 little children below, On the pillars there are 2 faces with the same kind of expression. One with a smirk and the other I am not sure how to describe it. Also one face looks more feminine than the other. By the feminine face there are also symbols of animals which looks peaceful compared to the other side and where it looks to be some battle being fought...

With the Heirophant standing in the middle of that and the faces staring into him he could be there to teach balance or some inner strength. To show some kind of guidance.


It isn't a fav of mine either. But it is ingenious I think: the layers of clothing on the Pope to indicate the layers and layers that bury the secrets of magic. See it as a negative card, and the reversed become positive: the secrets let free. The old fashioned ways overturned for new.


Hum...not not fav either.
He looks very stern and rigid (or deep in thought/prayer).
It looks like two kids praying at Catholic school or something. Or altar boys.
The flowers on his attire are not typical to a priest though, are they???
What is the wall design under the molding?
He has keys on his crown thingy. White gloves.

I love this deck but don't like the words blocking the picture.


When I first started to study Tarot, I too did not like this card. I do not respond well to confined spaces, strictness of creativity, etc. But I learned that I was not seeing all the wisdom within it. I now see this card as not necessarily about a religious person or religion itself; it is about the discipline of learning and being associated with those of higher learning (sacred learning, if you like to interpret some religous meaning) and being true to my spiritual values. However, Robin Wood made the Hierophant so representative of religious teaching (specifically the Catholic Church). His face is sallow -- not very life giving or fresh, and the solid wall of tradition and dogma (gray, block wall) behind him lets no light in.

I also don't seem to draw this card often -- hum, what's that say?


I don't think ROBIN WOOD likes this card much either. She says in her book something about the two faces on the shelves above the Heirophant's head are being kept apart by old fashion values and views. She, if I remember, was using this card to say that old fashioned (traditionalist church) attitudes and views were harmful to people and kept them imprisoned. This was meant, I think, as a negative card: this is NOT a good way anymore!


Maybe not NEGATIVE

Along with everyone else, not my favorite card, for reasons everyone else's already stated. I beleive organized religion is the opiate of the masses and I don't do drugs.
I think maybe the pillar images are how religion affects different people. Some see it as safety, something they can follow(the sheep). Others see it as an oppressive weight bearing them down (the people with bundles on their backs).
The keys in his hat are from the RWS deck, but then they're at the bottom of the picture and in gold and silver. They symbolize (I think) that the learning you get in society (or in church) gives you the keys to hidden wisdom.
I think his two fingers are in preparation to bless someone, perhaps the boys praying at his feet.
I like the touch about the boys being comedy/tragedy masks. (Big drama kid right here.)
The card overall presents a very structured environment, but with the promise of safety. Like religion.


This card has to be my least favorite in the entire Robin Wood deck. Don't get me wrong, the artwork is fabulous.

There is just a feeling that comes over me of someone who is very cold, stern, rigid and inflexible.

The 2 keys hidden in the crown fascinate me though...anyone have any thoughts on the keys and the meaning?