The Hierophant can represent conformity, structured, formalized education, organized religion or a combination of any or all of them. It can also represent a person or an institution that displays those characteristics, not necessarily a religious one but, for example, a university or organization where the leaders have a deep-rooted belief in their structure and approach towards their mission, and one has to adhere to their rules to gain and retain admission. Looking at the card in the RWS deck, there are parallels between the Hierophant and the High-Priestess—both sit between two pillars of their temple like a gateway to what lies beyond. You need to get their blessing to be admitted.
The Six of Wands is about success, leadership, and being acknowledged for your achievements. Reversed, it is more probable that this card is referring to someone who is not much of a leader, and not very successful.
Which brings me to a reading I did for myself the other day in which these two came up together—the Hierophant as what I need to know for that day, and the Six of Wands reversed as the possible outcome. As it happened, I had a job interview scheduled for later in the day. I looked at these cards and thought, “I’m not being hired for this job.” I was perhaps being too pessimistic, one of the hazards of reading for yourself, but I had become used to disappointment since my last contract ended and this seemed to be a fairly clear message, or so I thought.
So I “go” to the interview, online, and meet the Hierophant who seems to be a jovial and benign character, not out of line with the card that represented him in my reading. He’s not the Emperor after all, and he’s quite satisfied in his world. As it happens, this was a position with the internal education department (more Hierophant vibes) for a major technology company that has many large customers in a niche market. I knew I didn’t tick all the boxes for the job description requirements. I discussed that with the hiring manager at least twice. (they reached out to me based on my CV). The answer I got was basically, “Don’t worry about it.”
I discussed this during the interview with the Hierophant, as well as other work-related things. But a significant amount of time was spent talking about who I was as a person. The focus seemed to be on whether I would fit in with my prospective colleagues more than whether I was a worthy candidate work-wise, which seemed to be a forgone conclusion based on my CV. The interview went well and ended with me being pushed forward to go to the next phase of the hiring process. I got past the Hierophant after all.
So was the Six of Wands reversed wrong? No, because in my pessimism earlier in the day I completely ignored that this card reversed can also indicate success delayed, not just outright failure. That absolutely fits with what happened. You see, I was first contacted by this company in May, then never heard from them again until October. By the Hierophant’s own admission, the company moves slowly. That already makes this the longest candidacy for a role I’ve been through. And the next phase where I meet with a couple of other people to further discuss my technical knowledge will happen….in a couple of weeks. And then, sometime in the future beyond that will be a writing assessment to prove I can actually write, par for the course with these things.
So I suppose today’s message is, when you see cards that seem to be delivering bad news, don’t just jump to the worst-case scenario. Be open to other possibilities. Being in a hiring process that takes half a year or more to complete isn’t brilliant news, but it’s better than a “no”.