the high priestess card

The High Priestess Tarot Card Meaning

The High Priestess is a powerful card in tarot.

It represents wisdom, mystery, spirituality, sexuality, and higher power. It signifies that it is a good time to connect with your intuition and your inner voice.

However, what it can mean for you when this card is shown changes depending on its placement.

To gain insight into the High Priestess, let’s dive into it.

Overall Meaning Of The High Priestess Tarot Card

The High Priestess is the virgin daughter of the Moon. She illuminates our streams of consciousness with borrowed light.

At large, she stands for female wisdom and represents the entirety of humankind’s instincts and emotions. If you draw this from a tarot deck, there are a variety of things it can symbolize.

Symbolism Of The High Priestess Tarot Card

The High Priestess is the second trump of the Major Arcana.

It is similar in appearance to the Hierophant and Justice cards in that it shows a seated person in front of a veil and is sided by two pillars.

It is equally rich in symbolic themes:

1. Water

The card is sky blue, which refers to the element water.

This is also reflected in the drapes of the woman’s gown which cascade off the edge like a waterfall while overflowing the waning crescent at her feet.

The cross on her chest symbolizes the four elements earth, water, fire, and air.

In the psychic realm, this refers to consciousness beyond duality.

The High Priestess is the primary receptive of what in Hinduism is called Life-Power or Prakriti.

It is the first matter or prima materia of alchemy.

2. The Moon

As the Moon causes the Earth’s bodies of water to fluctuate, the High Priestess stands for passivity and reactive forces.

One crescent sits on the floor; the other is broken in two to create her diadem.

This type of headgear can be traced back to the Egyptian goddesses Hathor and Astarte.

Given that the Moon was seen as the “ship in the sky” by some ancient cultures, the High Priestess also represents travel and transportation.

In the psychic realm, this relates to subconscious telepathic communication.

3. Fertility

If the querent of the tarot reading is male, the High Priestess signifies his ideal woman.

Her presence on the spread is great news for a person’s love life!

This is further depicted by the palms and pomegranates on the drapery.

The pomegranate also betokens the indissolubility of marriage.

In Greek mythology, Persephone ate one and as a result, was irreversibly tied to Hades. In Persian mythology, it stands for invincibility in battle.

In Judaism, where the tarot system stems from, it means abundance and fertility.

The orb on her crown is a womb, signaling motherhood and childbirth.

This ties back to the Moon since according to a study on lunar cycles, Moon phases seem to influence the gender of babies.

So it’s a good idea to check that Full Moon calendar in case you have any plans.

4. Balance

The High Priestess is sandwiched between two pillars, one black and one white.

The B and J stand for Boaz and Jachin. Together with the veil decor, they belong to the Temple of Solomon, the first temple in Jerusalem.

Their lotus-collared, chalice-shaped chapiters refer to the goblet’s abundance or the Suit of Cups in the Minor Arcana.

Sitting between darkness and light, peace and strife, initiative and resistance, affirmation and negation, the High Priestess acts as the uniting intelligence who strikes a balance between extremes.

If this is your card, it’s likely that you need to work on keeping the mind centered on the spirit instead of day-to-day emotions.

Non-traditional meditation is a valuable tool to help you focus.

Reversed Meaning Of The High Priestess

When she appears turned upside down, the High Priestess draws attention to her hidden knowledge.

This is represented by the Torah scroll she conceals underneath her robe. Incidentally, it is an anagram of the Latin “rota,” which is the word for Wheel of Life and is thought to be the precursor of the word “tarot.”

She is also a master of figuring people out and detecting dicey circumstances.

When drawing the reversed High Priestess, you are to be observant not to fall victim to hidden agendas and dishonest contracts.

It can also mean the presence of a duplicitous woman in your life.

There can be passions at play, conceit, moral or physical ardor, and surface knowledge.

Remember to trust your own intuition when life tips out of balance.

On the emotional plane, you are bound to be subject to hormonal and emotional imbalances. Focus less on others’ opinions and approval and more on your own inner wisdom.

For diviners who experience strong negative emotions during the consultation, it is wise to cleanse your tarot deck for the next reading.

Final Note

The High Priestess is a complex card to interpret.

Deciding how its many possible meanings weave into the custom tapestry of your life can be difficult. It is recommended to meditate on it to find the threads and meanings that work for you.

But not while abandoning the original intent as per the rules of the tarot deck you are working with.

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Ralph Zoontjens

Ralph Zoontjens

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