The High Priestess sits upright and graceful on a stone stool. She is dressed in a blue cloak reminiscent of healing power and a white dress indicating purity of intention. The blue cloak is the same colour as the background sky, reiterating natural connection. On her head is a crown echoing the phases of the Moon (new, full and old) which in turn symbolize the maid, mother, crone aspects of the Goddess.
Around her neck is an equal sided cross (described in the The Pictorial Key to the Tarot as a solar cross) indicating equality, four elements and higher power.
In her lap, The High Priestess holds the Torah, the name of which we can partially see. A crescent Moon lays at her feet, specifically beside her left foot, showing that her wisdom and understanding are based upon her intuition. Typically the left side of the brain is associated with logic but the logic of the High Priestess is informed by her intuitive response. The Moon at her feet generally shows she has mastered her intuitive instinct rather than being a slave to it. It underpins everything she does.
At each side of the High Priestess stands a column: one black, one white, inscribed with the letters B and J respectively. These columns refer to the first temple of Solomon. The columns represent the balance of power – dark and light, separate yet inseparable.
Behind the High Priestess hangs a curtain embroidered with pomegranates and palm leaves. It is said that perhaps the pomegranate rather than the apple was the original ‘forbidden fruit’ so there is a sense that The High Priestess guards great secrets. The palm leaf may represents integration and balance of male and female, conscious and unconscious mind, the seen and the unseen.
When the High Priestess appears in a spread, she points you towards using your intuition. She asks you to consider what your senses are telling you. She may represent dreams as she is connected to the collective unconscious. As guardian of mysteries, she counsels developing awareness in order to trust your inner voice. If you are unsure of the direction to take, the High Priestess reminds you to listen to your gut instincts before proceeding. Don’t be afraid to ‘sleep on it’.
With the Moon at her feet, the High Priestess is completely in touch with her emotions yet she is not controlled by them. Her manner is serene. Her emotions inform her of the subtle signals in the atmosphere around her. The High Priestess may be asking you to sit with your feelings for a time instead of reacting.
When you see the High Priestess in as spread, she may represent a mystery, something that you cannot quite see, yet sense. You have received a message intuitively but you have yet to understand it consciously. She is knowledge in the dark. To access this knowledge, it may be necessary to work creatively to engage your imagination. Your unconscious mind speaks in symbols. Sometimes the appearance of the High Priestess can specifically indicate synchronicity appearing in your life which helps to reveal the unknown.
The triple Goddess in the crown the High Priestess wears is an allusion to change. The High Priestess knows that change is the one constant thing in life. Likewise in life, nothing can be held onto; it is already changing.
The High Priestess may appear when you are considering psychic and spiritual development. She may stand for Goddess orientated spiritual paths. The partly hidden text of the Torah may amongst other things indicate that reading is not enough – the spiritual path must be practiced. With her left hand visible, spiritual development must walk hand in hand with personal development.
The presence of the High Priestess in a reading shows there is a magical force at work in your life. Not everything can be explained. Sometimes there are more questions than answers. The High Priestess is your inner guide to personal transformation.
In reverse, the High Priestess may point out that there is something which you do not know. She may show you were you are refusing to see something you already know to be true. With the Moon now at the top of the card, your emotions may be getting the better of you. You may be in danger of over-reacting. Sit back.
You may be lacking in awareness or not listening to your own inner voice. Take some time out to re-connect with yourself. Time away from the world is important. Retreat into silence. If you don’t know what to do, wait.
You may be frustrated by not having ‘the answer’. Nothing makes sense. Perhaps you feel as though a secret is being kept from you or someone is telling lies. Once you are certain of where you stand, calmly ask for the truth.
Maybe you have come to a plateau in your spiritual studies. Maybe you are following a path that doesn’t fulfill your soul calling. You may be skating the surface of knowledge without undertaking deeper but necessary work. Sometimes the High Priestess reversed can represent a loss of spiritual connection through emotional overwhelm. Alternatively, a lack of spiritual connection may stem from emotional repression.
I am in touch with my intuition
Keywords and phrases
Upright: The divine feminine, magic, mystery, Guardian of the Gateways, synchronicity, dreams, astral projection, psychic abilities, clairvoyance, intuition, witchcraft, serenity, hidden knowledge, awareness, the collective unconscious, the subconscious, spiritual enlightenment, Shekinah, Isis. Deep knowledge, wisdom in silence.
Reversed: Dark magic, dark Moon, lies, armchair spiritual seeker, the glamour of mystique, a femme fatale, emotional detachment, over-reaction, unawareness, concealment, out of touch, in the dark, ‘curses’, hidden agenda, misogyny, skating over the surface.