The second tarot card – and, thus, the second person we meet on the Fool’s journey – is the mysterious High Priestess, a beautiful, veiled woman sitting on a throne between two pillars under a bright moon.
The High Priestess is the polar opposite of the Magician, a creature of the night where he stands in the sun. The Fool, his arms full of the four tools presented to him by the Magician – the cup, the sword, the pentacle and the chalice – is confused, and unsure what to do with them.
So the High Priestess presents the Fool with two scrolls filled with ancient wisdom, which will give him the knowledge he needs to use his tools. When he reads the scrolls, the Fool is able to decide which path to take next.
The High Priestess represents mysterious knowledge, arcane wisdom and supernatural secrets. She may or may not share the wisdom that she has, but it’s within her power to illuminate the knowledge that the subject seeks to help them choose their next move.
The moon above her head shines down, and there’s a curtain behind her that conceals further secrets that may be revealed in the future. The Fool – and, by association, the querant – has arrived in a strange and new place on their journey, and the High Priestess indicates that they’re going to discover some unusual and fascinating things along the way.
Often, the High Priestess represents the person conducting the reading – someone with arcane knowledge, mysterious intuition and occult abilities. They have a lot of knowledge hidden behind the curtain and, if you’re lucky, they’ll share it with you.
Sometimes, however, the querent is the High Priestess, seeking wisdom and information by studying ancient texts. The search for secrets can lead the seeker to a greater understanding of themselves and answers to which direction to take. If the reading indicates that the High Priestess is neither the reader or the subject, then she’s a woman in the subject’s life. She’s a spiritual woman, a nun or reverend, perhaps, or a layperson with deep spiritual knowledge. This woman can offer unusual, perhaps even disturbing, knowledge, and has amazing insights into the querant.
Whatever the situation in which it appears, the High Priestess represents wisdom and insight. The subject needs to find their way along the path, and the High Priestess is the possessor of that knowledge.
Ruled by the moon, the High Priestess also represents the changing cycles of the tides and the lunar cycle. She serves as a manifestation of the spirit, a repository of positive and negative energy. As her knowledge is hidden, she is, above all, an occult character. She may choose to share her knowledge, but you’ll never know all of her wisdom.
As a meditation, pull the High Priestess card out of the deck and lay it down in front of you. Think about all that she represents and what she might have to say to you. Close your eyes and visualize her as she appears on the card, breathe deeply, and let the first few unconnected thoughts enter your mind. What knowledge do you seek? Are you able to formulate a question to consider? Or perhaps the High Priestess’ role as a woman with deep spiritual values rings a bell, and can allow you to analyze that relationship.
Consider the Fool’s journey and the opportunity that arises when he meets the High Priestess. Do you have someone like this in your life? Do you need to seek out someone like her for guidance?
By looking at the messages of the Tarot cards and considering their individual meanings, we can identify areas of conflict and needed growth within ourselves. Any chance we have for deeper understanding of ourselves is important, and we should eagerly seek that out. In the case of the High Priestess card, it’s an opportunity to think about secrets that have yet to be revealed, knowledge that we need to continue onward, and the success that we’ll ultimately achieve with the right combination of will and understanding.
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