The Hierophant depicts a male priest, wearing robes and a three-starred crown. He holds a sceptre in one hand and raises the other to give a blessing. The Hierophant, when drawn upright, represents wisdom, religion, belief, tradition and conformity. Reversed, the card represents freedom, personal conviction, and rebellion. The symbol consists of a stylized sceptre (in the style of the Papal cross), within a five-pointed star – symbolizing religion and the five elements.
The Tarot that first appeared in the 15th century in Europe as a deck of cards used in various games.
Although a full Tarot deck has 78 cards, the Major Arcana is made up of only 22 of these (sometimes considered 21, The Fool being separate). The remaining 56 cards are referred to as the Minor Arcana. These Tarot cards were used throughout much of modern-day Europe to play conventional card games.
In the 18th century, Tarot decks began to be associated with divination, card reading and the occult. Although some tarot enthusiasts claim the practice of card reading with tarot decks originates in ancient cultures, there is no evidence of this.
In English-speaking countries, where the card games are less common, this is the primary association many make with tarot cards. Cards used for divination and readings typically come from purposely designed packs.
Each of the Major Arcana cards has a series of meanings and implications, which differ depending upon whether they are drawn upright or reversed. Often, the meanings when reversed are contradictory to those expressed when the card is drawn upright.
The Major Arcana also tells a story. The Fool, which is unnumbered, is the main character of the tale. The 21 numbered cards that follow describe the encounters he has upon his journey. The many experiences and trials are thought to be analogous to the experiences and trials of one’s journey through life.
The symbols in this category are entirely new, having been constructed to represent the core images and themes of the original tarot illustrations. They have been translated into a brand new symbolic language, unique to the Symbolikon project.