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78 Weeks of Tarot: The High Priestess


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15 minutes ago, Decan said:

I think that in our societies the fault of jealousy is considered as female. In French language this word is female, and Picard and Poinsot were. Of course not only women are jealous!!


That I think is the origin and why it’s there. But as you say, it is something that is not limited to women.

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23 hours ago, Decan said:

I think that in our societies the fault of jealousy is considered as female. In French language this word is female, and Picard and Poinsot were. Of course not only women are jealous!!

 

Having the word in feminine form is something to think about. I'm not pointing a finger at the French, since I'm pretty sure all of the Romance languages have feminine and masculine words for things that, in reality, have no gender. I know that in spanish, the words for things like tools tend to be masculine while things in the kitchen are often feminine. (Ex: El martillo, the hammer, vs. la mesa, the table). It doesn't stop men from cooking or women from taking on traditionally male duties, though it probably did at one time. It's just the remnant of something old, like a vestigial tail. 😁  I suspect something similar might be at play with jalousie?

 

OTOH, our english word is gender neutral, but women get painted as jealous a lot more than men do. A woman with a legitimate complaint about another woman has to tread carefully, lest she be dismissed with "You're just jealous!" We have a woman at work getting special treatment because she puts out, and none of us complain since we'd be written off that way and it would backfire. But we're not jealous - we don't want those men! So it has to run its course. Eventually it will end. It always does.
 

On 9/30/2020 at 3:10 AM, timtoldrum said:


I like the edge of consciousness. It fits with the altered state. 

 

It's settled, then. That part stays. 🙂
 

Quote

It seems odd to limit jealousy to one gender. If the priest is a friendship betrayed (gender neutral), surely the Priestess can be similar? I think it’s more a case of evolving essence than forcing. It’s be one to track - but that can be hard. Jealousy is seldom overt at least in the first instance. 


Thinking of it as "evolving essence" does help. It's a great concept.
It's best to judge things on their actual merits. If something is cruel or erroneous it needs to go, IMHO, even if it's "traditional" or "cultural".  I'm normally a stickler for preservation, but some traditions involve quack medicine, horrendous animal cruelty, etc. Ascribing jealousy specifically to a woman while virtually giving the males an out (disgrace, unrest and betrayal - but not necessarily brought about by a man!) can go in the dustbin with the rest of the toxic, misguided ideas. Thank you!

Edited by katrinka
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Deck: Tabula Mundi

Card: The Priestess

Planetary Trump of the Moon

Hebrew Letter: Gimel

Tree of Life: Path 13 from Kether to Tiphareth 

 

Thoughts on this card:

This is a really striking image which is chockfull of symbolism. There are the usual things which are familiar from the RWS - the pillars, scroll, pomegranates and crown of Hathor. The blue of the water is the first thing which jumps out when I look at this card. Something about the pose reminds me of images of people burning with sacred fire but here she is being consumed by the water instead. 

She is Sophia, Gnostic goddess of wisdom. The guidebook mentions that in the Gnostic myth Sophia 'brings about instability in the Pleroma, in turn bringing about the creation of materiality.' I can't help wondering if pleroma is one of those words the early translators wrestled with. It means fullness or the totality of divine powers. She is both Binah, the Mother and Malkuth, the Bride.

Standing between the pillars of light and darkness, she represents the middle pillar - equilibrium in the polarity. 

The water swirls into the stations of the Tree of Life with her lunar headdress in the position of Chokmah. Her necklace is in Tiphareth. 

A close look reveals the strings of her lyre - there are eight of them to represent the eight lunar phases. The lyre is linked to Apollo which is another reference to the Sun and her path to Tiphareth. The bow of the lyre also gives a hint to the path below her which belongs to Art.

I love the way the pomegranates are shown here as part of hearts. The guidebook states that this is to show that the seeds of the greater mysteries lie in her transformed heart. A link to both Artemis and Persophone is present in the imagery of this card.

 

There is such depth to this card that it can be hard to translate it to more mundane situations. In essence, she reveals secrets, initiates us into wisdom and advises us to listen to our intuitive voice. 

 

In honour of her wisdom, here is a rendition of ‘O Virtus Sapientiae’ composed by Hildegard Von Bingen and performed here by Hildegard Von Blingin’:

https://youtu.be/C9K9PfjRjxM

 

F0DEA13A-CB16-4778-9A78-537AEE37243E.jpeg

Edited by Flaxen
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1 hour ago, Flaxen said:

She is Sophia, Gnostic goddess of wisdom.

 

In honour of her wisdom, here is a rendition of ‘O Virtus Sapientiae’ composed by Hildegard Von Bingen and performed here by Hildegard Von Blingin’:

https://youtu.be/C9K9PfjRjxM

 

 

I like the card.. The gnostic connection is interesting. If I remember right it was the attempt of Sophia to create which made the inferior material world that we are trapped in. however some of us have a part of the higher world inside us and it is this that we must find to escape. Perhaps this is the hidden wisdom of the High Priestess.

 

Love Hildegard. Have you heard: A Feather on the Breath of God – Sequences and Hymns by Abbess Hildegard of Bingen by Gothic Voices. Although it was recorded a long time ago, 1981, it is still amongst my favourites.

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Mermaid Tarot (by Leeza Robertson, Julie Dillon, Llewellyn 2019)


High Priestess

Description: Like the Magician, she is standing in front of a small table, which is actually a stone pillar rising from the shore. She is dressed in blue. She is focused and concentrated on the task at hand. She is not immersed in water but has risen above it to the surface. I first thought it makes her different, and that there is some significance in her being in an element foreign to her. But going through the deck, about half of the cards are depicting mermaids on earth, breathing air.

 

Book meaning: There is no hiding the truth from her. She only deals with the energy of your soul. She may see all, but she knows experience speaks louder than words.

 

Symbols: What’s with the flowing ribbons/garment? They look like octopus tentacles and remind me of the Hermit card (which shows a hybrid merman - octopus). High Priestess is partly a Hermit, too. She needs to be, to be able to hear her inner world better. The sea behind her is calm so the wind that moves her garment is probably of magical or spiritual kind.

There are lots of feminine and Goddess symbols; the full moon behind her and her silver moon jewellery, and all the items on the table in front of her:  seashell, pearls, green plant/seaweed branch, bowl. What is the dark item on the table on her left? Is that maybe a ring? The feminine symbols mark her as the guardian of feminine mysteries, processes, and rituals.

Interestingly, there are no books anywhere although it could obviously be arranged in Mermaid world since there is an underwater library in the Hierophant. I think it is an interesting choice. To me it feels like a walk away from patriarchal consciousness altogether. No written words for her. She relies solely on the physical, magical and spiritual from within.

 

Open ended questions - how, what, when: What kind of person are they

She is a craftswoman and a priestess who is very much concentrating on what she is doing.

The book seems to present her as someone to fear which is odd since she looks benevolent and kind in the card. There are some strange sentences in the book about her: “Be careful when you summon her because she will expect you to have already read the terms of the deal…” and  “As the Goddess works, she cares not about your fears, doubts and concerns..” I think I see what the author is aiming at but since there is not very much written about any of the cards, I think she might have chosen her words better. Especially since the picture is clearly of someone benevolent and friendly.

 

Embodying the card: Focus, concentration, seeing only the task at hand. Although the book says she sees all and everything I don’t think she notices that I’m watching her. If she raised her head, she’d probably be surprised to see anyone there. But then she’d just continue with her work anyway.

 

Notes:
The book mentions Calypso but I do not see a connection to Calypso of the Greek Pantheon. She was the nymph daughter of Oceanus and Thetys, who detained Odysseus on her island for seven years. She had to let Odysseus go because Zeus told her to. She was not a Goddess, although the Mermaid Tarot book seems to think so.

She is amazingly similar to the Magician in that both are active magic makers who have tables in front of them with magical items that they need to work on. Both are females. The main difference is that the Magician works with the four suits of this deck, representing the four elements. She seems to be creating the Minor Arcana of this decks, and particularly the Wands, whereas the High Priestess seems to work with feminine mysteries in general.

 

Edit: There is a huge full moon shining on the sea behind her. Unfortunately it got cut away from this picture. 

 

Mermaids-Tarot-2-High-Priestess-400x430.jpg

Edited by Hemera
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2 hours ago, surreal said:

Love Hildegard. Have you heard: A Feather on the Breath of God – Sequences and Hymns by Abbess Hildegard of Bingen by Gothic Voices. Although it was recorded a long time ago, 1981, it is still amongst my favourites.

I haven’t heard that one! Canticles of Ecstasy is my current favourite. So nice to meet. another Hildegard fan. :classic_smile:

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Lady Butterfly

Ok so, here goes my first submission to the Tough Cookies :bubble_bok:

 

I am going to start with the High Priestess from The Tarot of Pagan Cats:

 

02 The High Priestess

 

IMG_0059.thumb.jpg.801197d7311ab196b579c75d3f151710.jpg

 

The card itself: The High Priestess is a black cat sitting on what appears to be a window sill. Behind her is a curtain with a pomegranate  print.   To either side of her, there are curtains as well, one is black with white stars, and the other is white with gold stars. Behind the pomegranate curtain, we see the moon and a grayish sky. Hanging from the window sill, there is a sheet of paper with writing on it. The writing is not clear but the page also holds a picture of what appears to be an eclipse. The cat herself looks rather serious. Her expression is hard to read. She is facing inwards, the outside world is behind her.

 

From the LWb:  Knowledge that can only be gained and understood through direct experience. Foreknowledge is not possible because experience is essential. Reversed: Someone is hiding something.

 

Observations: She is looking inward. She is focusing her attention on the things others cannot see. The High Priestess is associated with the element of water, this tells me she relates to the unconscious and to the intuitive part of our beings. She asks us to look into ourselves, to the person we are underneath, away from the masks we show to the outside world.

This kitty looks like she is not too happy though, I'm not sure why. Perhaps she doesn't like what she sees? Or perhaps she doesn't want to know?

The image on her scroll makes me think of a lunar eclipse, a feeling that there is more to a situation than I can see. The room she is looking into looks very colourful and vibrant, but what lies beyond the curtain looks grey and less appealing to me.

 

Next is the High Priestess from the Faery Wicca Tarot

 

IMG_0061.thumb.jpg.1f0fe1e3f2bcf726d4f2b92d51e927f8.jpg

 

The Card Itself: The High Priestess Brigid stands between two rods, each of which holds a candle, while having a pot at their base. One candle is white, the other is black. There are oghams and Gaelic letters adorning the rods. Behind her is a window, showing a tree and a horse, as well as some berries on lower bushes. The window is adorned with curtains, one blue and one red. She wears a thick, velvet like gown and holds a large book in her hands. The pages of the book are not visible. Her headdress is simple, with a crescent moon shape.

 

From The LWB: You have arrived at the portal to the Garden of the Goddess. The Great Mother's holy priestess and daughter, the Maiden Brigid must as you of your worthiness - there is only one answer, which you must give from your heart. The wisdom and teachings of the Mysteries are beckoning to you to move deeper. Are you the student or the teacher?

 

Observations: The depiction of Brigid does resemble the way the Goddess Brigid is illustrated. It is believed that the Celtic Goddess Brigid and the Christian St. Brigid of Kildare are one in the same. The belief being that the Saint was used to ease the Irish folk into Christianity and away from their Pagan roots. Traditionally Brigid is a Solar Goddess, which to me, makes the choice to use her here unconventional... although, she truly was a high priestess. Also, some do call Brigid the Goddess of the Well, which does then link her to water.

Looking at the card, the woman depicted seems more obviously a teacher than the RWS-esque Priestess is usually shown. She seems to carry an expression that implies to me that she already knows the answer you will give her, and she is just waiting to see if you will be truthful or not. The window behind her is not really obscured to me... it does not give me a feeling of mystery. In fact, I almost feel like a school child, looking beyond the teacher to the fun I could be having, if only she would finish the lesson and let me go.
 

I had a go at deciphering what is written on the two rods... I did not manage to get anything that makes sense. I'll post the alphabet and ogham sheets from the LWB if anyone else wants to take a stab at it.

 

IMG_0063.thumb.jpg.f69703c675d03521187bb34d6bb52c2b.jpgIMG_0065.thumb.jpg.b9437af9553d18a99685c887159774c5.jpg

 

In comparing the two cards, I immediately notice how the Cats one has more of a feeling of mystery to it. Obviously it is heavy with RWS ideas, and that makes the two cards very different although they both have some underlying similarities that show that they are different takes on the same idea.

 

 

Edited by Lady Butterfly
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17 hours ago, katrinka said:

 

Having the word in feminine form is something to think about. I'm not pointing a finger at the French, since I'm pretty sure all of the Romance languages have feminine and masculine words for things that, in reality, have no gender. I know that in spanish, the words for things like tools tend to be masculine while things in the kitchen are often feminine. (Ex: El martillo, the hammer, vs. la mesa, the table). It doesn't stop men from cooking or women from taking on traditionally male duties, though it probably did at one time. It's just the remnant of something old, like a vestigial tail. 😁  I suspect something similar might be at play with jalousie?

 

OTOH, our english word is gender neutral, but women get painted as jealous a lot more than men do. A woman with a legitimate complaint about another woman has to tread carefully, lest she be dismissed with "You're just jealous!" We have a woman at work getting special treatment because she puts out, and none of us complain since we'd be written off that way and it would backfire. But we're not jealous - we don't want those men! So it has to run its course. Eventually it will end. It always does.
 

 

It's settled, then. That part stays. 🙂
 


Thinking of it as "evolving essence" does help. It's a great concept.
It's best to judge things on their actual merits. If something is cruel or erroneous it needs to go, IMHO, even if it's "traditional" or "cultural".  I'm normally a stickler for preservation, but some traditions involve quack medicine, horrendous animal cruelty, etc. Ascribing jealousy specifically to a woman while virtually giving the males an out (disgrace, unrest and betrayal - but not necessarily brought about by a man!) can go in the dustbin with the rest of the toxic, misguided ideas. Thank you!


Jealousy is often painted as a feminine flaw.  Culturally, it is steeped in both misogyny and what is popularly referred to as toxic masculinity . Tarot is steeped in cultural perception — look no further than the queen of swords (bitter divorcée) or king of cups (effeminate man). 
 

Tradition should not be a carte blanche for bigotry or damaging cultural norms. Like you say, we wouldn't want to preserve certain things. Sometimes it means doing your own thing and walking away (I did that when I came out). That is why tradition is evolving, and we change. 

Edited by Guest
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4 hours ago, Hemera said:

Wow, that Tabula Mundi is wonderful with all that symbolism! The Ace already got me interested and the Priestess is not helping. 😆 I fear I will soon need to go to the de-enabling thread and ask for some help.

I’m glad I am not the only one. Both cards are stunning 

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The High Priestess – The Hermetic Tarot by Godfrey Dowson

The Priestess of the Silver Star

HP.jpg.3622db9abeb472f347e7c3dd98ad0c02.jpg

 

Significant Symbology and Meaning

 

  • Number – 2
  • Letter – Gimel
  • Gabriel  גַבְרִיאֵל
  • Isis
  • Two Pillars
  • Moon
  • Light Veils
  • Book of feminine light
  • Lyre 

 

The High Priestess depicted as Isis the feminine aspect of divinity (also linked to Diana, Artemis and Hecate), sits on a thrown straddled by the two pillars representing the Temple of Solomon. Though the card is uncoloured (as the Golden Dawn made this a task for the initiate), traditionally they would be coloured one black, one white. The duality symbolising an important interplay of light and dark energy and their natural fluctuation. This is reinforced by the moon, a planetary body to which this card is influenced representing the waxing and waning of vibration, and a representation of our consciousness and the covered and uncovered elements of the greater universe. The veil is represented by the bands of light emanating from the moon above.

The moon, together with the spheres in the pillars and those lying at her feet comprise a crude 'Tree of Life', as Isis herself forms the path she rules. The four steps of the alter, represent the four rivers of paradise in the Garden of Eden – The Pison (River of Fire), The Gihon (River of Water), The Hiddikel (River of Air), and The Phrath (River of Earth). In Hebrew Gabriel is written on the card, another link to the Garden of Eden story, where a ‘tree of life/souls’ blossoms and creates new souls. Gabriel selects the souls that are to be born. While the High Priestess, is said to control the energy of life that runs between the two pillars. She holds the book of feminine light in one arm. In the other she clutches a lyre, a reminder of The Magicians energy of ‘first matter’ from which The High Priestess uses divine wisdom to reconcile. The first sound may belong to The Magician, but The High Priestess turns it to music or a ‘lyric’.

The High Priestess is balance, a personification of divine wisdom, and the elegant fluidity with which creation is managed.

 

 

Astrological Aspects

The Moon is displayed prominently at the top of the card, as a symbol of the pure consciousness and the natural fluctuations required for creation. It also speaks of the hidden realms, and suggests a relationship to the water element even though it is not expressly exhibited in the drawings.
 

 

Exploring the Tree of Life position

The Uniting Intelligence

Path 13 – From Kether (Crown) to Tiphareth (Beauty)

The thirteenth path of Gimel is the longest in the Tree of Life, and therefore often cited as the most important. It is apt that Gimel (which means camel) was chosen to help carry 'The High Priestess' along this journey. When you consider the end points of highest divinity (Kether) and harmonious beauty (Tiphareth) – the energy of the thirteenth path feels particularly dignified. It is challenged by what is referred to as the ‘dark night of the soul’, which is interesting as it passes through Daath when crossing the abyss, a kind of hidden sefirot.

 

The High Priestess on this path is pure essence of consciousness, the source of water as an unchanged virgin substance – from which other forms can take place. She retains, not only water but also memory of all things ever to have been. The anchorage in the Sun of Tiphareth, explores the idea of light as a concealing veil as much as is the dark might be. The tarot label of ‘Priestess of the Silver Star’ further touches on those ideas, and continues them along the middle pillar with the ‘Maiden of the Silver Bow’ Diana or the Archer of Temperance (Sagittarius) as we move down the tree. There is a comfortable flow and connection with the concepts as they move along the extended path, but it lives on in itself as a kind of enclosed life cycle that is noted by the Triple Goddesses. All the phases of woman are embodied here, a uniting intelligence, a secret ‘church’.
 

 

Overall Meaning LWB

From the LWB:

Meaning: Change. Alteration. Fluctuation. Wisdom. Sound judgement. Common sense.

Reversed: Ignorance. Short-sightedness. Lack of understanding.

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What a wonderful relaxing day, just me and my tarot cards...

 

@katrinka... I love the connection to that trance state of theta. That resonates with me somehow, it feels 'right'. 

@Flaxen... I'm starting to get seriously jealous of your deck! 😆 This is the one card I want to see in colour. Maybe because I love blues, and I love this card especially. Although I realise the GD decks are meant to be coloured in, I would probably end up defacing mine and I wont risk that. But I love the blues! 

@Hemera... Wow! There is no escaping the links to The Magician with that one. Very much a 'feminine form' of the same, different feel though. I love the movement in the cape, fits very well the idea of constant change.

@Lady Butterfly.... I deciphered:      1) an fimnfach fhm,     2) rex no ni hex
I ran it through some translators, and got nothing. I probably matched them up all wrong, but the second one seemed like it was closer to something real. Rex is King in latin, so perhaps something about the King? The thirteenth path ends at Tiphareth, which is the home of the four Kings. It's a stretch, but you never know!

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Lady Butterfly
6 hours ago, Grace said:



@Lady Butterfly.... I deciphered:      1) an fimnfach fhm,     2) rex no ni hex
I ran it through some translators, and got nothing. I probably matched them up all wrong, but the second one seemed like it was closer to something real. Rex is King in latin, so perhaps something about the King? The thirteenth path ends at Tiphareth, which is the home of the four Kings. It's a stretch, but you never know!


I also got those letters but couldn’t translate them to any intelligible words.

I found a dictionary which lists the words in her title “bansagart ard” since even they don’t translate on most sites... but even it has none of these words beyond ’an’ meaning ‘the’. 
 

In the LWB, the author says she will leave the deciphering of the ruins to the reader should they want a more intimate connection to the cards, but I’m staring to wonder how one should do that is there is no translation for the words.

 

You might have a point with ‘Rex’ but I’m not sure she uses it that way. The basis of the deck and faery faith is the four faery cities. In the king cards, they are named High King, Ard Ri.  When I am on P.C. later I will post some of the commentary from the LWB to the thread where we talk of things specific to our decks.

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9 hours ago, Lady Butterfly said:

You might have a point with ‘Rex’ but I’m not sure she uses it that way. The basis of the deck and faery faith is the four faery cities. In the king cards, they are named High King, Ard Ri.  When I am on P.C. later I will post some of the commentary from the LWB to the thread where we talk of things specific to our decks

Very interesting! It feel like a treasure hunt of sorts... a little mystery to uncover. 

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And here is Morgan Greer's HP. I'm actually beginning to enjoy the writing process. I got the card sitting up above my space at home so I can see it all week, and a few ideas start popping up, and then in my Sunday lunchtime ritual after finishing my chores, I write down the story. I think my stories do follow usually the very traditional meanings, but then the deck pretty much follows the traditional RWS images. I think the way I write is not so much the telling of a story of what is happening in the card, but a bit more the "Entering a card" exercise Mary K. Greer describes in her Tarot for Yourself book. Anyway, I'm rambling. Here we go:

 

DSC_0979.thumb.JPG.20285f7beabad6d0da8834613b76f632.JPG

Description

A female in a blue habit, had and shoes sits between a black and a white pillar, her feet resting on a crescent moon She wears a small crescent moon on her head, a silver equal armed cross pendant around her neck, a silver cuff around her left writs and arm. She holds a blank scroll in her hands. An indigo and violet veil between the pillars separates her from the background, through the gaps appear a blue sky background with a bit of a haze and an ocean with horizon.

Symbols

equal armed cross - astrological symbol for Earth; 4 Elements; 4 directions

ocean - water, unconscious

moon - feminine, receptive, cycle, light

blue - imagination, expansiveness, inspiration

indigo - emotion, strength, fluidity

violet - spirituality, communion, high-ideals, devotion

pillars - male v female, intuition white v action black; the in-between the absolutes, the grey zone.

gauntlet - defense (she's not a weak woman pushover)

Story

"Excuse me? Are you the High Priestess?"

Indeed I am!

"well err...ok...." I stutter, feeling the blood rising into my face and making me blush.

She raises an eyebrow at me, enquiringly."Well, you are not really what I expected when I got sent her to find the High Priestess." Her eyebrow is still still raised at me. "I have to admit I had a slightly different figure in mind. I mean, the High Priestess made me think of the Oracle of Delphi or something like that. I had something or somebody mysterious in mind, wild, untamed, shamanic and magical, feminine and sensuous, arcane and cosmic, surrounded by smoke screens, midnight curtains and silent servants. And a bit more Bling. I wasn't really expecting to meet a Mother Superior in blue habit and coif." - Oh crap! WTF all this just slipped out of my mouth, I could not stop it! It must be her making me say all these things?

So you are disappointed by my image? By my exterior shell?

Ashamed I look at my toes, like a little child shifting my weight from one foot to the other. "I guess so ma'am." I mumble quietly, still embarrassed about what I said.

Let this be your lesson then: The outside and the inside are not always the same. On the inside I may be wearing Princess Leia's bikini from Jabba the Hut's palace. But you can't tell because there is more to me than you can see. More than that superficial image. You have to go deeper than that to find the truth. As I sit here, between the black and the white pillars and with the moon at my feet, I am in solitude and trying to find my peace so that I can go deep within me. Only then I can pass through the veil behind me and see the ocean of unconscious and find the wisdom within it. It is deep. The deeper you dive, the more you will see and hear of the knowledge that rests hidden inside.

Let me give you this scroll of paper. It contains the wisdom that I guard.

I reach out and take the scroll. I open it and find nothing but a blank piece of paper. As I stare at it, I notice my body calming down my breath becoming deeper and more relaxed and I am beginning to listen to my within, I accept the feelings and voices that rise from my own intuition and start filling the scroll with words.

Go now, this is a hard lesson to learn and will take some time.

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@katrinka I can see the female causing trouble in your card, your HP looks so pious and innocent, butter wouldn't melt.

As for jealous female or male: another example that what can be seen as neutral/positive for one gender, is seen as negative in the other: Jealous man: "oh he just wants to have what he deserves, protect what is his, bla bla bla", jealous woman: "crazy b***h (please note that these are just examples and definitely not my personal opinion). Attributes assigned to gender by our society. Sad sigh.

 

aaah @Flaxen I think she is my favourite HP ever! And thank you for sharing Hildegard von Blingin', this is new to me 🙂 

 

@Hemera how interesting that she works with the symbols of the deck's minor arcana. I can't wait to see more cards of that deck!

 

@Lady Butterfly i don't think there are any happy looking High Priestesses. Great to see you do two decks. I like the Brigid card a lot. 

 

@Grace so much info! I love it 😄 

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THE HIGH PRIESTESS 

20200829_145444.thumb.jpg.2f306971e4c3ef0fd036ce8d42f186e9.jpg

Image: Persephone, princess of the daylight and queen of the underworld descends the dark stairs leading from the brightly lit and ripe, fertile lands of her mother, Demeter, into her realm. She wears a gold crown and a flowing white gown. On either side of her stand two columns, one black and the other white. She holds in her right hand a pomegranate like the one she ate to bind her to Hades and the underworld. In her left she is dropping the narcissus flowers she was gathering when Hades abducted her. In the background, through the entrance to the stairs you can see the bright daylit world she leaves behind. 

 

Brief myth of Persephone: After Hades stole her away from Demeter and the world above ground, Hades gave ge a pomegranate, which she ate.The pomegranate is the fruit of the dead and she was forever bound to Hades. Persephone represents the link between the conscious mind, (the brightly lit and fertile land above) and the subconscious mind, (the dark world below which we cannot see). She symbolizes the part of us that knows all the secrets but only appears to us through dream fragments or fleeting coincidences. She guards the knowledge we hold within our subconscious but shows us only glimpses of her world in dreams, fantasies and intuitions.

 

Reading Persephone as The High Priestess: Her appearance implies that some encounter will pull back the veil between the conscious and subconscious, revealing our undeveloped potential or hidden patterns at work in our lives. The fool now recognizes the existence of another facet to his being - he is more than just a physical body, more than the sum of his parental figures. There is a mental layer of the mind that is consciously inaccessible but which contains the secret of his true purpose, if he only knows where, when and how to look for it.

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@6xscorpio... I love how you match crystals to the cards! Your High Priestess is so ethereal... I want to ask her where she got her dress! I particularly like the doorway in the background, nice double meaning threading the myth to the card meaning. The lightness and inviting warmth of the known, and the more grey and colder unknown realms (as at least so we think...).

@Rupicapra... Flash backs of going to the Principals office (not that I did that much 🤣.). 

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On 10/6/2020 at 6:12 AM, Grace said:

Flash backs of going to the Principals office

lol oh I love that!!! That totally sums Up the feeling!

 

@6xscorpio I love Persephone as the HP. I do have the deck and a couple of others that are in this study, but I don't read much with them. I find that this study helps me a lot a to get closer to them.

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Although this is a RWS influenced deck the High priestess does not have the RWS symbolism.

The card is a relatively simple one. It looks a little intimidating and I think this is because she is guarding her knowledge. As the lbw says:

“The high priestess sits as a winged sentinel over the city. She protects the knowledge she holds inside, for wisdom must be earned through the trials of life.”

 

This card also has a lot to do with the unconscious. The split face has two parts: a white and a dark moon. The white moon is conscious knowledge and the dark moon is an endless stream from the unconscious. Like the Deviant Moon Fool the High Priestess lives in booth worlds at once. This split face occurs in other cards and is a theme of the deck. I think the strong influence of the unconscious is one way that this deck diverges from the RWS.

 

Another reoccurring theme is crossed objects in this case it is the arms. It is present in the Page of Wands formed by the crossed stilts. You may notice the Page also has the split moon face.

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Patrick Valenza , The creator of the Deviant Moon Tarot, says in his book on the deck:

“In the card, the crossed stilts form an X, which means the Page has reached a defining point in his journey. His daring excursion will either turn out successful or end in catastrophe.”

I think the crossed arms of the High Priestess say something similar. Enter at your own risk! To Quote Oscar Wilde:

“All life is surface and symbol. Those who go below the surface or interpret the symbol do so at their own risk”

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This is probably not intentional but the bit I have put the red circle round looks to me like the tail of a snake. I think it will always make me think of the path of the serpent on the tree.

 

This is probably not intentional but the bit I have put the red circle round looks to me like the tail of a snake. I think it will always make me think of the path of the serpent on the tree.

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The Hight Priestess


IMG_6162.thumb.jpeg.3740c076a71bc06ef9c3e2a455443c1b.jpeg
Deck: Forest of Enchantment
Name of the card: 2 - The Wisewoman


Description: There’s an older woman with grey hair sitting in the middle of the picture. She is wearing purple-blue dress and a long blue cloak. She also has a necklace that seems to be made of red and blue stones. From her hands she is dropping small items including bones, feathers and acorns on the cloth laying on the ground. The woman is looking down. Right behind the woman there’s a tree filled with fruits. On the left the fruits are silver and on the right they are gold. There are also two small birds in the tree. Left from the tree there’s a path that looks dark and on the right there’s a path that is bathing in sunlight.


First impressions: When I first saw this card I didn’t even notice that there’s so many details! I completely missed the two paths representing the pillars in the traditional RWS High Priestess card.


Meaning at a glance according to the guide book: Wisdom. Spirituality and mysticism. Oracular advice. Seeing the unseen. Lifting the veil.

 

Symbols:
Old woman – wisdom, eternal female nature
The two paths – possible futures
Birds – deepening spirituality, freedom
Blue and red stones (jet and amber) – light and dark, day and night, illumination and mystery
Silver apples – the Moon
Golden apples – the Sun
The blue robe – flow of life, water
Oracular charms – divination, hidden knowledge


In pre-modern Europe ”wise woman” usually refered to a folk healer or midwife. In Jungian psychology, the Wise Old Woman and the Wise Old Man are archetypes of the collective unconscious.


There’s a wisewoman in many myths and fairy tales. In those stories the "Wise Old Woman" is kind, compassionate and wise but also mysterious, magical and prophetic. In folktales she is the protective old woman who comes to the aid of the hero and the one who test the worthiness of that same hero. She is the keeper of traditions and knowledge, the voice of nature, independent, and respected, eccentric, intuitive and instinctive. She is the one to be listened to, for she knows the truth and can see through any illusion. At times she is benevolent while at other times she appears detached, cryptic and even cruel. She is both judge and jury and dispenses justice to those who are found by her to be unworthy.

Traditional meaning:
Upright: Intuitive, unconscious, divine feminine, sacred knowledge

Reversed: Repressed feelings, withdrawal, silence, secrets

Numerology: 2
Feminine force, cooperation, intuition, partnership, duality
Numerology Link: 11 Justice, 20 Judgement

The suit / element: Water
Water is associated with feelings, emotions, intuitions, relationships, healing and cleansing.

 

Astrology: The Moon
The Moon represents our deepest personal needs, our basic habits and reactions and our unconscious.


What I see as very different from the traditional RWS High Priestess is that The Wisewoman does not have any moon symbols aside from the silver apples that are not that obvious. Also I think that it’s interesting that the scroll or the book that the High Priestess usually has that symbolizes the spiritual knowledge is replaced by the oracular charms. While the Enchanter learns from books and is connected to the material world, the Wisewoman seems much more connected to the spiritual world and intuition when she uses the charms.
 

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At long last!!  The High Priestess

 

From Margarete:

 

Isis, Moon-Goddess, Keeper of cosmic wisdom,
you dwell in the Temple
of eternal metamorphoses.
Visions born from silence.
She who moves oceans
and red rivers.
Black moon -- white moon —
Deep breathing in and out
Ebb and flow --
To see without judging.
Mother of two-ness.
Sometimes creative, she opens her heart.

 

From the Ironwing:

 

Crowned with horns like the moon, an extinct Australian Pleistocene tortoise Melolania carries iron ore on her back in the form of stromatolites fossilized in bands of jasper and metallic hematite.  Jasper is a kind of agate colored with red ochre.  Stromatolites are algae colonies that form mounds of banded limesone.  They are among the earliest life forms on earth.  Stromatolites replaced with iron ore like the one in the picture are about 2.5 billion years old.  The fossil tortoise represents geologic time.  Extinct 25,000 years ago, she is remote and unattainable as a living being.  But she speaks through the rocks that she carries, and all of earth’s history is laid out on her shell like a map or a book of oracles and wonder tales.  The dome of her carapace is cracked and sutured like the sliding plates of Earth’s puzzle-ball crust, and the channels and ridges on its surface resemble lunar landscapes and vanished watercourses.  She guards the “strong eye” of the seer and reveals secret doors to mysteries that we would not have guessed existed without questioning her with sincerity and humility.  She challenges us to look beyond the veil of wilful ignorance and learn to know, understand, and love all that is true and real in Nature, not simply be infatuated with the ideal or make-believe.  Scientific knowledge that is discovered, recorded, and used with care and respect does not diminish the earth’s mystery or magic, but illuminates its unique wonders, its fragility, and its deep living power that is the source of our own life.

 

My Thoughts

 

Obviously, I’ve struggled with the High Priestess.  She’s not a card I see very often.  I don’t know how it is for the other Tough Cookies, but when I read for myself there are probably ten or so cards that tend to show up over and over again, and other cards I never see.  I wouldn’t say “never” for the High Priestess, but very rarely.  I wonder if because for me she represents the spiritual journey, beyond tarot into the realm of whatever power animates the Universe, and during the last time I read often for myself, I was not particularly spiritual.  I was raised in a house that attended church, but for social reasons rather than spiritual.  My parents are completely non-spiritual.  I finally found myself on my own halting spiritual path about twelve years ago, about the time I stopped reading tarot.  I wonder if those years of tarot served to dig a well down to the secret spring?

 

Now I’m not sure how to connect my 12-year spiritual journey with my return to the Tarot.  I sense some connection, but it isn’t coming clear to me.  Would you say the High Priestess is the most spiritual card in the deck?  I might.  I think she connects us to the divine.

 

Mostly I am enjoying having the comparison of Margarete’s card with the Ironwing, but in this case it’s too much of a good thing.  Each is so rich in imagery.  But so different.  They do have two things in common - each guards an eye and each is accompanied by a crescent moon.  Vision beyond, and the feminine side of the divine.  But that’s it for similarities.  I have to say I am most surprised by the Ironwing High Priestess, as the deck is generally a mix of spiritual and scientific appreciation of the natural wonders.  I would expect something shamanic of this card in particular.  But Lorena takes it in a completely different direction.  She talks about geologic time, and the first forms of life, and the wonder of understanding nature through a scientific lens only.  There is a sense of wonder, but no journey to the Otherworld.  I’m not sure what to make of it.

 

Margarete’s High Priestess, on the other hand, is beginning to speak to me.  In addition to the crescent moon, she has a dark moon and a full moon, which makes me think of journeys through time, but cyclical rather than the Ironwing’s one-way trip.  The priestess herself has a body made of light, like an ethereal being “should”.  I guess I have my prejudices about what a priestess is.  I like her ethereal.  The card is a little different from many in Margarete’s deck, with conventional suit elements, the only card to feature them.  When we get to the twos, you’ll see how abstract she usually goes.  This card is much too concrete for my preference, saved only by the glowing light in the center.

 

I think I have a ways to go before I understand this card, in any deck.  But it has certainly been an intriguing study.  On to the Twos!!

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Actually, I want to add a postscript.  I've been spending some time with the Wild Unknown Archetype cards, which serve as a third lens of spiritual study, something familiar but seen in a new light through this deck.  Can one view one's life as a journey through the archetypes?  Do certain archetypes recur?  When I think about what the High Priestess means to me, this card from the Wild Unknown Archetypes seems much closer to her spirit than the two I posted above.  The journey to the Underworld is something most of us experience at least once, and it serves to alter our view of the Middle World (the normal world).

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@Kati and @surreal great that your cards are in posts next to each other, I like the contrast of the images between the two of them. 

@Gardener well done working through a difficult card/s. There is a whole geology lecture in the Ironwing HP.  I'm glad you brought up the Underworld, definitely gives me something to think about 🙂 

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