See Past the Obvious: The High Priestess

I hope you've been enjoying this dive into the Major Arcana so far. It's currently Week 3 and after tackling the Fool and the Magician, it's now time to head into the lush and sensation-packed territory of The High Priestess. Buckle your seatbelt and get ready to tap into your intuition for this one!

Deck used: Holly Simple Tarot (Holly Simple)

Deck used: Holly Simple Tarot (Holly Simple)

I love the Holly Simple deck because its off the cuff illustrations strips everything down so we're able to access meanings of the card that are relevant to modern day sensibilities. Unless you're incredibly steeped in woo-woo and spiritual culture these days, you don't really come across someone who calls herself a High Priestess, so figuring out what this archetype is, means or symbolizes can be a bit of a struggle compared to the other characters of the Major Arcana.

This High Priestess exudes a quiet and strong "boss" vibe—she's powerful but not domineering, calm, confident and secure in her psychic power. She's sitting high up on a chair (higher plane of existence!), feet off the floor, the moon on her third eye spot, representing wisdom and the ability to see beyond the real world and into the more subtle stuff between the lines.

Decks used: Centennial Smith-Waite (Pamela Colman-Smith, US Games), Lumina Tarot (Inner Hue), The Wooden Tarot (Skullgarden), Black Lilly Tarot (Aya Rosen, Gamecrafter)

Decks used: Centennial Smith-Waite (Pamela Colman-Smith, US Games), Lumina Tarot (Inner Hue), The Wooden Tarot (Skullgarden), Black Lilly Tarot (Aya Rosen, Gamecrafter)

Pretty Standard Stuff About The High Priestess according to the RWS :

  • She's wise. In the classic RWS depiction, she's reading the Torah and she's set right smack in the middle of those two pillars, which have some Biblical (King Solomon's Temple) and freemasonry associations too. I'm not going to pretend I know a lot about either, but I think all those symbols make it safe to say that she knows her stuff. 
  • That moon at her feet (and in the earlier Holly Simple depiction with the moon on her forehead) can symbolize how attuned she is to cycles. When we've built awareness of the subtleties of our patterns and that of the world, we gain just a little bit more knowledge about how the Universe works (or even the acceptance of its mysteries).

But what about cards that go off the beaten path? (See all the other cards in the picture above.)

  • The Lumina High Priestess presents reflections—seeing things upside down and right side up alongside each other. We can be presented something totally skewed and still be able to access its heart through our intuition. 
  • The Wooden Tarot's whale is able to move with the moon cycles—again a recurring theme in almost all the depictions of the High Priestess. The whale never overthinks, it just goes with what feels right. The High Priestess flows in all her mystical wisdom.
  • I don't usually pick up on the pomegranates that keep repeating in cards because we don't get pomegranates over in this corner of the world, but it's the first thing I notice when I see the Black Lilly's High Priestess. Mythology says that pomegranates represent the Underworld and to me, that recalls the idea of "mystery" in general. This High Priestess gets things that other people don't. She cracks mysteries because of she's so adept at being intuitive. She doesn't even need to open her eyes to understand the ways of the world and of people.

Here are prompts to ask yourself in order to meet your own inner High Priestess:

  • What do you know deep down? Say or write the first thing that comes to you—don't question it.
  • What symbols from your dreams pop out to you and why do you think they matter?
  • Have you ever been pointed to the right direction because you trusted your gut?

I hope this helps you get in touch with your subconscious mind and see you next week for another powerful female figure, The Empress!