The number 5= 4 + 1 indicates the unity of superior action or consciousness standing before matter, as represented by 4; it has therefore the power of acting and of purifying this matter.
The number 5 can also be defined as 2 + 1 + 2, the principle of unity mediating between the two aspects of the material world: that which tends towards a stasis, and that which tends towards action; between what leans towards the negative and what tends to rise above it, that is, towards the positive. Card V, depicting the Pope before two figures, indicates more specifically the second sense given to the number 5, that of the mediator.
General and Abstract Meaning
This card represents: SPIRITUAL POWER TRANSMITTING PRINCIPLES.
This card occurs directly after the Emperor since it dominates over it, for the Pope represents the spiritual immensity which dominates the world, the spirituality in all things, and without which there can be no evolution. Without the Pope, the Emperor and the Empress would be negatives and remain sterile.
The Pope wears a crown [tiara] identical to that of the Female Pope. His red cloak, longer than the Emperor’s, shows that his force of action is more powerful and that he can wrap himself around matter at will, realizing thus an act of concrete manifestation permitting him to express himself in the physical world. Its border is gold and indicates, by keeping the tangible within its confines, that it is surrounded by intelligence. It is equally the symbol of the presence of the divine spark in the concrete.
Under his red cloak he is dressed in a blue robe, indicating a capacity for psychic undertakings.
The gold medallion attached to his collar in whose center is a white gem shows his purity of intention.
His arms, covered in white, indicate their abstinence from action and show that this card represents a mental symbol that can only act on the physical plane through the mind.
He holds a cross of gold with three arms representing the three worlds–the physical, the spiritual, and the mental—and symbolizing as well as dominance over the temporal and the spirit of sacrifice. His left hand, covered with a yellow glove bearing a cross, shows that he must not handle the cross without appealing to his intelligence, marked by the seal of sacrifice.
The two blue pillars placed behind the Pope represent through the right pillar the ascent of action, and that of feeling through the left pillar; when these two poles are balanced through spirituality, they are planted on a solid foundation which cannot be toppled.
The two figures at his feet symbolize the dualism of the forces which are in Man and which are able to turn towards Good or Evil, depending on whether they emerge from matter or sink into it.
The person to the right of the Pope has a yellow tonsure, signifying intelligence, and a crown of hair, flesh colored, indicating the physical plane. With his right hand turned downward, he represents the descent into physical manifestation whose good qualities he releases through spirituality, and that which he directs through white magic or the kind of magic permitted when overseen by higher intelligence (the yellow coat of the figure) or by spirituality (the blue hat). The red hood shows that he is able to cover himself for protection on the plane of passions.
The person on the Pope’s left, whose hair and tonsure are both flesh-colored, represents the work on the plane of passions for his elevation into the spiritual plane, as indicated by his left hand directed upward.
The yellow stole wrapping around his red robe signifies that the lowest life most always, in order to elevate itself, have a particle of intelligence embedded in it; it is the divine spark which permits it to evolve. The absence of a hat shows that spirituality is not able to change the material world directly, and can only act through the intermediary of mentality.
Orientation of the Figures
The position of the Pope, sitting and facing us, represents direct action through instruction. The two figures, seen from behind and facing the opposite direction, indicate their standing still because of their submission and attention.
Specific and Concrete Meaning
The name of the card indicates that “LE PAPE” represents the one who receives divine inspiration and who judges and instructs with complete fairness.
Meanings as They Relate to the Three Planes
MENTAL. The Pope, representing an active form of human intelligence, only gives logical solutions.
ANIMISTIC. Powerful feeling, deep affection, solicitude which does not give way to sentimentality; it indicates normal feelings in the circumstances in which they occur.
PHYSICAL. Balance, security in a situation and in health. A secret revealed. Religious or scientific vocation.
Inverted. The card of the Pope inverted is very unfortunate, as it indicates beings left to their judgement and to their instincts lost in confusion, because they have no spiritual support. A project delayed, a vocation coming late in life.
In sum, in its elementary sense, “Le Pape” represents the obligation Man has to apply divine teachings to his actions and to subordinate himself to their laws.