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is a person who brings religious congregants into the presence of that which is deemed holy.
The word comes from Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...
, where it was constructed from the combination of ta hiera,
"the holy," and phainein,
"to show." In Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...
it was the title of the chief priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...
at the Eleusinian Mysteries
The Eleusinian Mysteries were initiation ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. Of all the mysteries celebrated in ancient times, these were held to be the ones of greatest importance...
. A hierophant is an interpreter of sacred mysteries and arcane principles.
Rider Waite Tarot
In the Rider Waite Tarot deck and similar decks, The Hierophant
The Hierophant , in some decks named The Pope, is the fifth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.-Description and symbolism:...
(sometimes called "The Pope") is one of the twenty-two trump cards comprising the "Major Arcana
The Major Arcana or trumps are a suit of twenty-two cards in the tarot deck. They serve as a permanent trump suit in games played with the tarot deck, and are distinguished from the four standard suits collectively known as the Minor Arcana...
", and represents conformity to social standards, or a deference to the established social moral order. As the guide towards knowledge, insight, and wisdom, in a tarot reading it might, for example, represent a priest, scholar, therapist, or teacher although these individuals are more definitively represented by the Hermit, or suggested by the traits attributed to the King of Cups.