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The High Priestess
Astrological Association: Cancer
Color: Blue, Silver
Upright: intuition, akashic records, the moon and stars, secrets, mother goddess, female dichotomy, ancient knowledge, meditation, stillness, divine feminine, subconscious mind, dreams, the astral body, introspection
Reversed: disconnection from intuition, withdrawal, jealousy, manipulation, the other woman, addictions, the negative side of secrets
The High Priestess Symbolism
A woman sits calmly between two pillars of contrasting colors of black and white, which represent the Ying and Yang of universal laws. She holds a book with the words “Tora” on it, which may be the ancient Torah book or it is the rearranged word Tarot. She guards the secrets to the book by not revealing the full title. Torah is also the ancient word for teacher.
Her scrolls contain all the written and subconscious memories of everyone and everything. She lets us know that nothing is forgotten and everything is recorded. Your subconscious never forgets. Written and oral messages may come through her to you.
She is sitting very still between two contrasting pillars. She represents the number two, which means duplicity. Duplicity conveys the idea of two opposites, which are really part of the whole. Light and Darkness. Waning and Waxing. Full and New.
Her stillness denotes patience and meditation. These are passive and non-receptive qualities and yet her gown is supposed to flow into water waves. Even though she seems passive inside her she moves, cyclically to the moon. She is always adjusting to the rhythms and flows of the moon. She is the push and the pull. She also represents the idea of water as a subconscious function. There is also repetition to the movement of the tides. And if you surrender to your subconscious tides, you will be more connected to the conscious of them all.
Behind her is a veil, which she only reveals to those who are ready. The veil is delicately embroidered with pomegranates. These pomegranates represent the high priestess’ divine female energy, the fertility of life itself, and a Ying harmony. The Yang or masculine energies is represented in the palm trees. The High Priestess represents all dualities and shows us that it is all the same because one cannot exist without the other.
Mythologically, the High Priestess represents Diana, the Virgin. She is also symbolic of the Virgin Mary, the incubator of a higher level of consciousness. The Virgin Mary is actually archetype of Isis, the creator mother who resurrected her brother to create a new life.
Her crown is one of the ancient Celtic symbols for the cyclic nature of the female: Daughter, Mother, Grandmother. The cross she wears looks much more like an X than a crucification device. It looks like if folded at the base of the cross it would fit perfectly into the circle, which is another cycle, or perhaps the flower of life or another Celtic cross.
A crescent moon lies at her feet because the moon serves her and she controls the ebb and flow. The High Priestess is connected to the Moon, which affects female cyclical menstruation. Menstruation contains massive amounts of energy. When the High Priestess lets you beyond the veil, you can learn how to use this energy of menstruation to further your chi. There is no reason to expend this menstruation every month. When the High Priestess realizes you are ready, she can show you that you can pull this dense sexual energy up to your body.
The High Priestess Upright Summary
The High Priestess is all about our intuition and trusting our inner instincts. The High Priestess is the keeper of all knowledge that is hidden. She is your intuition and guide. She is the consort of the Hierophant and the magical feminine of the Magician. She relates to the Hermit through his activity and talks directly with the Queen of Cups. Her planet is the moon, but I’ve always related Neptune to her. She follows the Magician, who has all the tools, while she has all the knowledge. The High Priestess is all about forethought knowledge, and balance. She is the “think before you act” of the deck. This is time to really listen to your gut. Before making a decision of power, look within and seek out the answers. You will find them within yourself, don’t ignore your gut. You don’t need confirmation from anyone but your own divine self.
This card is also about keeping secrets. If someone confides in you, take that secret to the grave. It isn’t your business to share unless of course, they are in immediate danger. We are divine within reason.
In the place of the past, the High Priestess, she shows a time when you had to slow down and be patient before proceeding. This can be in reference to a degree you worked on in the past or spending all day in a long queue for something incredibly important.
In the position of the present, the High Priestess suggests avoiding conflict and instead step back and think about or “meditate” on your present situation and what you’re being told. Remember that this is about your intuition and thinking before you act. Review what you’re being told at your present, and all that to shape your decision making. What someone is telling you may be a tall tale, and you have to step back and listen to your intuition, before just accepting their truth.
In the position of the future, the High Priestess would suggest the obstacle of personal patience. It can warn of someone coming into the picture who is not telling you a full truth, and a need to step back and examine the situation with a silent mind. It may also suggest the possibility of required patience or the unveiling of a secret that you might not be privy too, or will overhear.
When reversed, the High Priestess may cause your heart to break. She suggests a lack of listening to your intuition, leaving you heartbroken and alone. In extreme cases, she can suggest your lack of listening to your intuition, while your partner is cheating on you. It can suggest you going against your instincts or morals, walking you down a path you know is not right. You need time to reflect and listen to the wind and the moon.
If the card represents a woman, which it normally does, she is a jealous woman whose intuitive abilities are used like swords to hurt you. She conceals and lies. She may even be concealing something a serious as an addiction problem.
Featured Image by R. Black