A black and white illustration of 3 tarot cards sitting side by side. The left card depicts a person looking and reaching to the sky with a flower in their palm. There are black and white waves that color the background and their skin. There are 2 pillars on either side of them, leaning in. The bottom reads “The Hierophant.” The middle card depicts a person with horns sitting with their tongue out with flames around them. They have 4 breasts and hair on their chest that resembles a goat. There is an inverted question mark on their left and an upright question mark on their right. The bottom reads “The Devil.” The right card depicts two people hugging and holding each other, a mirror image. Their shoulders are connected, and their hands are joined in front of them. Their hair is dark and sticking upright, eyes littered throughout. The bottom reads “The Lovers.” Illustration by Karla Rosas.


The downside of The Hierophant is likely to take shape within any person acting out an archetypal true-believer role. The Hierophant signifies not only tradition but a rigid worker within an institution. At his worst, the Hierophant is a bureaucrat with a passion for his work or the mid-manager for a cult following. This character cannot be shaken by direct confrontation of their ideas because those ideas all funnel necessarily back to faith. When the Hierophant archetype is called to surface from within a population, the intent is to root fundamentalist logic and rhetoric into everyday thought processing. The Hierophant cannot be directly conquered—he is a piece in the game who must be undermined indirectly. Where we find our own Hierophantic tendencies and solve these, we will also find approaches that suit the long-game we still must play.

The Devil slips in here, on our path, to gossip about The Hierophant and anyone else—everyone else, for that matter. The Devil points to the inevitable crucible which we face with The Hierophant. We can joke about it and even blow off some steam in a gossip session, but in the end we will need to look at the traps we are setting for ourselves. The Devil is mutable to the degree that any reason will do. He is always ready to obsess, and play stubborn, and extort this or that from whomever you wish. But he is just as willing to walk away or play different games altogether. The Devil likes games—this is so very true—but what games we decide to play are all the same to him. Right this moment, The Devil presents a sharp challenge to our most mundane demands, our most boring ego complaints. The Devil asks if we are absolutely certain that this hill right here, is the hill you wish to live on until you die? Because, after all, he reminds us, you could live a very long time, and you probably will.

The Lovers card opens to us in just the right timing; this is a big juicy moment that offers real incentives for making good choices. The Lovers are unbound from the field of play set up by The Hierophant and perpetuated through The Devil’s mischief. In The Lovers we come to a kind of epiphany on the nature of how we have often been the very ones to foment the circumstances and conditions that we did not desire—or we outright opposed. When we reject parts of the self that might be gullible or culpable or greedy or scared or dishonest, we leave ourselves vulnerable to any rhetoric looking for a voice to take for a joyride. The Lovers pull these pieces of self in close and teach them clarity from a place of love. We are each only a person replicating a process of life that is much, much bigger than us. May we accept our role in transformation.

illustration by Karla Rosas