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Tarot Study: The High Priestess

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  • Tarot Study: The High Priestess

    Now for the High Priestess. This card has a lot of somewhat obscure symbolism in it. Take a look at this Rider-Waite, or at the High Priestess in your own deck, at first forgetting what you already know about the card. Tell us about the figure, any colors, the symbols. Does anything confuse you?

    Then go ahead and tell us what you know about the symbols on this card or your own card. Do these symbols help with your understanding? Or are they just confusing? Do you even notice the overt symbols in your tarot cards?
    ~mudweed~
    If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand.
    the Buddha


    mudweed is

    Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha

  • #2
    I'm going to go ahead and post a meaning list, because I should go ahead and do it while I still feel motivated.

    nonaction
    unconscious awareness
    potential
    mystery
    inner knowing
    psychic ability
    esoteric knowledge
    something hidden
    guidance
    moods
    thinking in pros and cons

    "The knowledge that I seek is within myself awaiting my question"
    ~mudweed~
    If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand.
    the Buddha


    mudweed is

    Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha

    Comment


    • #3
      I know the symbolism of the B and J pillars, but I'll wait and see what other people say.
      Ben Trismegistus
      Super-Cool Retired Admin Type

      R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me. Click here.


      Check out my former rock band, Wayward Sun!

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      • #4
        This is going to be very scatter-brained.. I'm a little sleep-deprived right now.

        First off, the woman on the card you posted reminds me of a cross between the virgin Mary, and Isis- who are usually equated in myths. Both have a very strong connection to the male divinity, but are wise and divine in their own rights. She holds the Tora, which is the scrolls of hidden knowledge to (I think) Gnostics. She also sits in front of a curtain of pomegranites, which were the fruit of the gods in Greek mythos. She is a guardian or gatekeeper between the mundane and spirit worlds. The B and J pillars represent duality- blakc and white, and if I remember correctly, creation and destruction.

        For meanings: I agree with most of them, but I don't understand the connection to moods. Would someone mind elaborating on it?

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        • #5
          aftershocked,

          You're right - the headdress she wears in the R-W card is associated with Isis.

          There were several ancient cultures which used two-pillar symbology. The Egyptians used two pillars to symbolize the kingdoms of Northern and Southern Egypt. But these specific pillars refer to the two pillars which stood at the entrance to King Solomon's Temple. The left-hand pillar is called Boaz, and stands for Strength. The right-hand pillar is called Jachin, and stands for Beauty. These pillars came to symbolize the state of Israel itself, and turned up in the symbology of many other esoteric societies throughout the years, including the Templars, the Freemasons, and the Golden Dawn.

          Of course, placing a High Priestess at the entrance to King Solomon's Temple is curious in itself.
          Ben Trismegistus
          Super-Cool Retired Admin Type

          R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me. Click here.


          Check out my former rock band, Wayward Sun!

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          • #6
            Back to the World Spirit Tarot. I don't particularly like or dislike this card, but here it is.

            This card shows a nude woman standing in a clearing under an eclipsed full moon. The light from that moon throws her shadow between two column-like trees. In the left hand tree an owl perches, and at the base of the other two red flowers bloom. I think the lunar associations of this card are pretty clearly shown by the full-moon-circle feel it has. Very pagan feeling card, to me.

            While Ben explained that the two pillars in the R-W stand for Strength and Beauty. I see my two "pillars" as standing for intuition (the owl) and earthly knowledge (the flowers), and the balance between the two.Those flowers could also correspond to beauty, I suppose.

            I think it's most interesting to note the woman's shadow: it appears to have horns, or perhaps the echo of the headdress of Isis that the other HPS has. Either way, it speaks of mystery and magic... the unknown.
            ~mudweed~
            If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand.
            the Buddha


            mudweed is

            Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha

            Comment


            • #7
              The High Priestess is the card I pulled today for my daily reading.
              This is what I came up with:
              Knowledge that is hidden, power that is used in a subtle manner, peaceful, intuitive woman, keeper of mysteries, balance and wisdom

              Symbols that I see are her crown-signifies mysteries, balance -within the pillars. the moon at her feet shows me feminine powers and intution- a tangible sign of women's intuition. The scroll also shows that she is educated, and knows certain myteries of life. The blue robes also shows wisdom.

              (sorry this is choppy, I have enchiladas in eht eoven and are almost ready to come out.)


              My Blog: The Musings of Faery-Wings

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              • #8
                Interestingly enough,I pulled this card again for my daily draw today. Whatever I was supposed to get out if it yesterday, I obviously missed. I am looking forward to reading your interpretations to see if any lights go off in this brain of mine.


                My Blog: The Musings of Faery-Wings

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                • #9
                  I see the two columns; one in black with the letter “B”, the other in white with the letter “J”. The black/white symbolizes to me opposites, total opposites of something. It could be good/evil, personality differences, anything (dependent on what you feel when you are reading the card). The priestess stands between the columns to balance out these opposites.

                  The priestess has a crown with a “crystal” ball on top of two horns. She may represent destiny. The crown is colored in a mist of white and blue, which for me stands for love and tranquility. The priestess wears a blue robe, which inspires in me a feeling of resolve. It’s like the priestess stands between the two opposites and inspires tranquility to avoid the chaos that may occur from the opposite forces.

                  Behind the priestess is a sort of rug held up by the columns. I see the symbols as a sort of fruit within a fruit. I don’t know what the fruits are, but the yellow is very empowering. I can’t get a grasp of what it is. Maybe this represents different things depending on the reading. But it feels a little chaotic to me. The priestess and the blue background is a bringer of tranquility within all this frenzy.

                  The priestess has a white cross, representing truth. A reminder, a symbol, of a sacrifice made without selfishness or materialism. At her hand she holds a scroll marked “Tora”, which I don’t know what it means, but it holds knowledge. And finally, I see the moon entangled at the bottom of her robe. Its color is yellow, and makes me want to pay attention as to what is happening at her feet. Maybe a situation has represented itself and begged for her attention and advice.

                  I feel the priestess is waiting for something. I don’t know if she’s waiting for something from me, or a destiny to occur. She’s just there, waiting between all the turmoil.

                  Right now I don’t know anything on this card, I’m going to see what was written in this thread, do some research and come back and look at my first impression of this card. J


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                  • #10
                    The High Priestess card in my deck sounds very much like the others mentioned by everyone with one exception...the columns are partly submerged or "grounded" (for lack of a better word) in water and her robes are trailing down into it. I think that this means that she is very aware of her sacred female energies......connotative of the moon in the background, she has knowledge of how to commune with the goddess and is well skilled and practised in this art....also, I believe that it indicates her knowledge of the tides of life...the circle of birth, growth, death, and rebirth...... As for the horns, they could be symbolic of the goddess Isis, and they could also mean that she is knowledgeable in the ways of men and the god (the horns could symbolize the god of the hunt as well as Isis) and the dance of polarity which also ties into the cycle of life. I think that Mudweed mentioned moods in her list of attributes for the card......I can see it in this card.....the connection of emotions with the element of water........part of this card is bathed in a seemingly serene pool, but there are little ripples which could denote a possible volitlity of emotions and the need to stay grounded....It is telling me that the High Priestess had to gain control over her emotions and desires to reach the level of learning that she is presently at.
                    Love & Light
                    D
                    Last edited by Dryad's Wyrd; May 7th, 2004, 11:53 PM.
                    Peace, Love & Light
                    D

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                    • #11
                      This Priestess is more "active" than the U. Waite Priestess, who to me, sits very passively. She is in control of her power as she holds a glowing crystal wand and ball. The two dragons represent conscious and subconscious thought. These are balanced within the priestess and she knows how to utilize them both as she gazes into the crystal ball which holds knowledge. She can see both future and past and looks at them clearly. This card says to me- look inside yourself- the information you need is there. It needs to be seen on both levels of consciousness- full consciousness as well as subconsciousness. But use your powers to look at it clearly.


                      My Blog: The Musings of Faery-Wings

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                      • #12
                        Dryad- I like the way you described the idea of being grounded in your Priestess.


                        My Blog: The Musings of Faery-Wings

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mudweed
                          Back to the World Spirit Tarot. I don't particularly like or dislike this card, but here it is.
                          I *love* this High Priestess. It's one of my fave cards in the WS deck.
                          (13th goes off to look for another card to describe)


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                          • #14
                            I am using the High Priestess from the Sacred Circle deck.

                            A pale, elegant woman is dressed in a white robe and silver crescent-moon fillet on her forehead, and she is holding a crystal ball. She is standing at the edge of a well in which you can see the light from the moon. The moon is full and there is a moonbow circling her. Next to the woman is a swan, and at her feet are snowdrops. In the distance there is a stone circle much like Stonehenge.

                            The well is a symbol of Brighid, and her festival is Imbolc....also snowdrops are a representation of Imbolc, as that is when they begin to flower.

                            The High Priestess IS the Witch. She relies on her intuition. She is knowledgable about he cycles of naure, the patterns of the stars, the tides of the moon, the habits of the animals, and the virtues of every plant.

                            She stands at a gateway, and makes herself known to those who seek to learn the hidden secrets. She helps us learn to trust our own intuition and develop our own psychic abilities.

                            I have read that this card represents the Witch being instructed by contact with the Goddess at Full Moon, by using the ritual of Drawing Down the Moon. I think that theory fits with this card, because of the setting.


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                            • #15
                              Okay, I wrote this before I read the replies here, so it's kinda....dumb.

                              The high priestess sits between two columns (however, I still haven’t figured out what the B and J stand for!). Behind her is an elaborate cloth-the pattern looks as if it is pomegranates, which probably say something, but again, I have no idea what it is. The whole look of the card is serene and calming. The priestess herself looks very calm and educated. From the look on her face, it is as if she cannot show any emotions, or be biased in any way. She carries a scroll, which, to me, shows her as being an intellectual.

                              Behind the cloth is the ocean (it looks like) or some body of water and behind that looks like rolling hills on a different island. It is almost as if she lives on her own island.

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