Tarot cards are ancient; only a few have retained the ancient images that are important as we tap into those memories that take us back to the beginning; back to find our intentions as we planned this journey we have embarked upon. This series is based on the Rider Waite Tarot cards.
The story of The Fools journey, described in part 1 of our series, was followed by the Magician. As we continue the journey, he now encounters the High Priestess.
Water Sign Ruler Moon
High Priestess Symbols
Blue, white and black colors, pomegranates, the moon crown of Isis, veil, solar cross, crescent moon. Black & white lotus, pillars; B stands for Boaz, signifying negation, J signifies Jachin, meaning the beginning. She holds a scroll with the word Tora on it either the Jewish Torah or an anagram of the Tarot, where the final letter is left unseen.
High Priestess Story
Continuing his journey, the Fool comes upon a beautiful and mysterious veiled lady enthroned between two pillars and illuminated by the moon. She is the opposite of the Magician, quiet where he was effusive, still where he was in motion, sitting while he stood, shrouded in the night where he was out in the bright of day. Sensing that she is a great prophet, the Fool lays out his sword, chalice, staff and pentacle before her. “The Magician showed me these, but now I’m in a quandary. There are so many things I could do with them. I can’t decide.”
The high priestess remains silent; she hands him a pair of ancient scrolls. Seating himself at her feet, the Fool puts his decision-making on hold and reads by the light of her crescent moon.
“I did not know any of this,” says the Fool. The scrolls (representing our ancient memories), like a secret manual, have given him insight into his new tools. “This information helps me to narrow things down, but I’m still afraid of making a wrong decision.”
The words come to him then, not from without but from within: “What do your instincts tell you?” The Fool reflects on that, and that’s when he knows what he should do. His decision now made, he rises to leave even though he suspects that the High Priestess has more secrets she could reveal to him–like what lies behind the pomegranate curtain. Right now, however, he is focused and ready to be on his
Thanking the High Priestess, he heads off. But as he leaves he hears that inner voice, rising like the waters which spring and flow from beneath her throne: “We’ll meet again… when you’re ready to travel the most secret path of all.”
As we have learned, the thought precedes the word and then action. Once you have an idea, you also have decisions to make. The High Priestess holds scrolls of arcane information in her arms. In addition, the moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate. But then, you need some alone time, some quiet time to meditate and reflect.
She is seated between two pillars as between two choices; the High Priestess is not about making a decision so much as holding decision-making at bay while you take time to listen to your inner voice. She wants you to gain knowledge before you act: instinctual knowledge, supernatural knowledge, secret knowledge, the knowledge you brought with you on this journey, self-knowledge.
The High Priestess, however, goes beyond even that for those who seek more.
Behind her throne is the curtain that leads to the deepest, most esoteric knowledge; the pomegranates that decorate it remind us of Persephone, who was taken down into the land of the dead, ate its fruit and became the only goddess allowed to travel to and from that strange land. The High Priestess is our guide to all that is mysterious and mystical.
While the Magician is about revealing, the High Priestess is about keeping things hidden behind the curtain. The Magician urges you to articulate what you’re thinking, while the High Priestess urges you to silently reflect on your feelings; your own inner guide.
She is not only the complement to the Magician, however, but to two other majors.
She is the counterpoint to the Hierophant, maintaining secret traditions and rites passed from seer to successor, rather than advocating community traditions. And she is the natural moonlight to the Hermit’s manmade lantern, equally solitary and of the night, but acting as restful librarian of information rather than restless seeker of it.
The High Priestess reminds us that our journey requires time for solitary investigation and to trust your instincts; your inner guides. Things kept secret will be revealed, either passed on to you by another or coming to you psychically through dreams or conversations with spiritual guides. The High Priestess represents a still, quiet incubator where the “idea” can remain stable and protected until it is ready to be revealed.
Thanks to the Magician, there is a new idea; but now there are decisions to make. What direction should one take this idea? The High Priestess not only offers illumination, revealing secret paths and hidden dangers, but also a still, quiet place between the pillars of dark and light, existence and negation, wax and wane where one can pause, see, feel and reflect on what one really wants to do with this idea.
Most importantly, the Magician card stands for the ‘reveal’ – as in a magic trick. The handkerchief is draped over an empty box, the Magician waves his wand, magically, and there is a dove in the box. The Magician does the same for you; it reveals new ideas. The High Priestess then protects the idea and allows it to crystallize.