(hī′ər-ə-fănt′, hī′rə-, hī-ĕr′ə-fənt)
1. An ancient Greek priest who interpreted sacred mysteries, especially the priest of the Eleusinian mysteries.
2. An interpreter of sacred mysteries or arcane knowledge.
3. One who explains or makes a commentary.

[Late Latin hierophanta, from Greek hierophantēs : hieros, holy; see eis- in Indo-European roots + -phantēs, one who shows (from phainein, phan-, to show; see bhā- in Indo-European roots).]

hi′er·o·phan′tic adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Transcendent Imagination: The Divine Poems and Hierophantic
Pareidolic tendencies are sometimes hierophantic, such as the Man in the Moon or urban legends about a prophet likeness arising from a toaster.
This interpretive quest includes deciphering the marginal and enigmatic "Chele fermi!" as the means of understanding Hieronimo's role as the hierophantic figure who conducts the mystery playlet and causes the fall of Babylon/Spain.
Such anthologies (including those of the Futurist, Imagist, and Spectra hoax coteries, Others, The Lyric Year, and the radical social anthologies of Nancy Cunard and Alain Locke) cannot be caricatured as hierophantic consecrators of prestige nor as defenders of canonical distinction.
(65) Le Neveu de Rameau "lays bare the principle of insincerity upon which society is based and demonstrates the loss of personal integrity and dignity that the impersonations of social existence entail." (66) Rameau's ne'er-do-well nephew demonstrates that everyone in society, without exception, acts a part, even the king himself, "who takes a position before his mistress and God: he dances his pantomime steps." (67) Hegel greets Le Neveu de Rameau with "hierophantic glee," finding within it the next phase of the development of the spirit, a phase transcending virtue and vice.
(6) Later in the work he develops this idea of hierophantic time: illo tempore, when the creation took place, and all was flux and everything was possible.
This space was hierophantic because the deceased could ascend to heaven from the banks.
Just as Deronda is rewarded when his "quest for his family roots and his search for a public career ultimately coalesce in an idealized Judaism," Gwendolen Harleth "is subjected to the painful discipline of rods, scourges, and what emerges as the most formidable hierophantic device, the lying pen of the scribe" (223)-the pen of Eliot herself.
Twain's precocious and wayward protagonist is hailed as a depositary and a hierophantic flag-bearer of the broad frontier-territory-wilderness ethos.
Macmillan Brown's works are beset by a series of dilemmas: on one hand, the common culture is great; on the other, the educator is still a kind of hierophantic figure who must provide students with something that is not simply their common culture.
"Nabi" is Hebrew for "prophet" and some members went in for the usual hierophantic accoutrements-special clothes, symbols, and so on--but neither Vuillard nor Bonnard had any truck with that sort of thing.
I am happy to say that, unlike some of the more hierophantic philosophers and theoreticians whom it cites, this book is explicit in its design and organization.