The Messenger (Hierophant) In The Pride Tarot

“The Messenger asks you to lead by offering truth and elevating the voices on the unheard.”  – by Christy C. Road (Pride Tarot Guidebook, © US Games Systems, Inc)

© US Games Systems, Inc

Suggested Archetype: The Caregiver

In post-Jungian psychology, the Caregiver archetype is applied to people who, at their core, are compelled by empathy, compassion, and a desire to help others.  This is the aspect of human nature that is motivated by goals that protect and nurture families, communities, and societies. 

Many modern Caregivers are activists.  Jennicet Gutiérrez is the specific model for this card according to the Pride Guidebook.  They are a founding member of the Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement.  In a conventional RWS style deck, the Hierophant is a mystic who connects the Divine and serves as its voice to the rest of humanity.  The Messenger might likewise be a mystic but could also simply be a humanist whose humanitarianism and caregiving for marginalized people isn’t attached to a spiritual belief system.  The inspiring role the Messenger plays within our psyche- religious or secular- is something to seek out and manifest.

Primary Symbolism

Jennicet Gutiérrez: In 2015, Jennicet was invited to the White House to attend a Pride Month event being hosted by President Obama.  When they interrupted his speech to cry out ” “President Obama, release all LGBTQ immigrants from detention and stop all deportations!” the President angrily snapped “You are in my house!  Shame on you, you shouldn’t be doing this…Can we escort this person out? You can either stay and be quiet or we’ll have to take you out.”   Jennicet was booed and ridiculed as they were taken out.

Jennicet wrote about the incident, as did others

The podium:  The Messenger is on a platform slightly above the crowd with a lectern-style podium and three microphones in order to be better seen and heard.  Lecterns are traditionally used by teachers; pulpits are traditionally used by preachers.  The Messenger is serving all those combined roles.  I don’t think it was intentionally symbolic of the synthesizing principle for there to be three microphones but it is very fitting. The Messenger often being someone who is all three things: public speaker-teacher-spiritual leader.   Three is a powerful number in esoteric tarot that plays out multiple times in this card.

The crowd with signs:  The central figure is surrounded by a mono-hued crowd with signs that support their message. They are there to listen to a message they already believe in.  The coloring (or lack of it) suggests the while each person there is an individual, they are also a collective.

The yellow sky:  In esoteric tarot, yellow is a color associated with the Sun and Yang-traits along with the planetary Mercury and communication.  It is also associated with empowerment, the intellect, and achieving clarity.  Taken together, this symbolizes The Messenger as a dynamic force of change and transformation who is accomplishing their goal.  

The three figures: At the very bottom of the card, there are three figures who do have color.  Their backs are turned to us, lending them androgyny.  Two have the same black-white hair as the speaker (which is very yinyang) and create another trinity through that.  The position of these two corresponds very well with the two acolytes on a conventional RWS Hierophant card. 

Between the other two figures mentioned above is a third.  This one has red hair and is wearing a purple shirt with ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards) on the back.  This is a very antinomian image, representing that even if the crowd is a collective?  Each person there is also an individual with their own personality and personal truths.   

Reading The Messenger (In General)

Upright this card could mean something like:

  • You need to sincerely and honestly talk about what is going with all the people involved in the topic of the reading
  • Do not let others shame you into silence; be vocal about people and causes that matter to you.
  • Even if its not obvious right now, the things you are doing and saying in your everyday life are appreciated and helping people.
  • The person this card signifies in your reading is sincere. They have the best of intentions and genuinely want to help others from a place of compassion and goodwill.

Reversed this card could mean something like:

  • It might be time to focus more on self-care and your own wellness than trying to help other people.
  • Don’t let your desire to help other people turn into an obsession or compulsion.
  • If you are in a situation where you are being abused or taken advantage of, you have to find the strength and courage to leave.
  • Try to keep an open mind and unbiased perspective and listen to other people; truths are relative. 

The Messenger In Questions About Relationships

You as The Messenger Upright:  As a compassionate person it is probably second nature for you to want to help people who are struggling.  You work really hard to provide for the people you love. This can be exhausting and sometimes goes unappreciated.  The best thing you can do for this relationship is to find the right overall balance between what you give and what you receive. 

You as The Messenger Reversed:  The things you need for your own security, happiness, and wellness are not going to come from this relationship any time soon.  This other person and you have very different priorities and expectations. For this to be a good relationship for you both, there would need to be a lot of adjustment on both sides of the fence.    

The Other Person as The Messenger Upright: This person is very compassionate and driven to take care of people or a cause that matters to them.  There’s a chance that their profession or vocation (being a doctor, activist, teacher, minister, etc.,) is going to make it a challenge to be in a romantic relationship.  As their partner, you will need to be extremely patient and selfless.  As long as you share in their vision and feel the same commitment to the same people as they do?  This could be the most engaging and profound relationship of your life.


The Other Person as The Messenger Reversed: Codependency is an obsessive over-reliance on a specific person to meet our needs.  It shares many of the same symptoms as alcoholism and drug addictions. This card reversed suggests that either the other person (or both of you) are suffering from codependency; this relationship won’t really improve and become healthy and sustainable without fixing that.  

Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected.  Mahatma Gandhi

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