The High Priestess tends to meet up with us in wordless spaces so trying to capture her or do her justice in words is tricky at best. Her voice is poetry and her language dreams. She meets us with visions from our own depths and makes us be still to receive divine wisdom as well as an understanding of the deeper meaning of what is happening all around us. Through the use of symbols, she reveals layers of truth that cannot be accessed any other way.
She teaches us to keep secrets so that our heart energy does not become diluted. The third eye belongs to her and by virtue of ruling our emotions, she also rules large portions of our health – both physical and mental. Her wisdom is veiled from waking consciousness but can be accessed through dream work and divination.
She is the feminine portion of the unconscious that Jung referred to as the anima. Many tarot readers identify with the High Priestess and I believe that women who are highly attuned to their High Priestess archetype are often seen by men as the ideal woman (a projection of their anima) and therefore out of reach.
“I am like those temples where exorcism is practiced, where you must take off your shoes before entering, where the air is purified with incense, where believers are washed with holy water.” – The High Priestess in ‘And If The High Priestess Spoke’ from the book The Way of Tarot by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Meditating with The High Priestess for my 2012 Tarot vision board, I received a vision of her handing me a basket, delicately woven of white feathers. This basket held only one treasure – a precious pearl. Ever so slowly and gently, the basket was lowered from another realm until it rested firmly on the foundation of my heart…
See what I mean about the High Priestess and language? There is no way for me to explain what ‘the foundation of the heart’ is other than to say, ‘It has nothing to do with anatomy.’ And this is often the way of the High Priestess: She defines what is by showing us what it is not. The spiritual gift of the High Priestess is wisdom.
Emotionally, she grants us receptivity (a prerequisite for empathy). Her physical gift is relaxation and her blessing on our intellect is serenity. By virtue of corresponding to the Moon, female cycles and health issues fall under her domain. She rules the conditions for fertility, while The Empress rules pregnancy and sexual health issues.
Breast cancer and costochondritis are physical symptoms relating to the High Priestess. Lymphatic disorders and problems with the glands are also in her domain, as is weight gain due to comfort eating. The High Priestess contains within her the full expression of the lunar Triple Goddess but she only reveals the relevant face/phase. The anima may reveal the appropriate face/phase for integration in dreamtime.
Psychologically, healthy boundaries might be an issue for someone who has not learned to protect the High Priestess energy. They become psychic sponges and take on problems and even diseases from other people without ever being aware of it. Scan the third eye and sacral chakras to see if they are too open. The antidote is the discernment brought through the Judgement card and the 9 of Wands.
People with underdeveloped psychic energy (closed down third eye) often overdevelop their sacral chakras and become dependent on the approval of other people. This could be the underlying problem for gossiping and backstabbing (seen in the 7 of Swords).
Mental health issues connected with unbalanced psychic/lunar energy fall within the bipolar spectrum. Being hysterical is also a condition connected with the High Priestess. The etymology of hysterical is interesting since it means ‘of the womb’ – a part of the anatomy ruled by the Moon.
Archangel: Hanael and Gabriel
Chakra: Third Eye, Sacral Chakra
Colour: Indigo, White, Black, Orange
Crystal: Lapis lazuli, moonstone, carnelian, pearl, obsidian, jet
Body: The digestive system, breasts, sternum, uterus, ovaries, glands, lymphatic system, pancreas
Exercise: Only gentle exercise such as belly dance, yoga, qi gong
Stance: The corpse pose (Savasana – see pic above)
Magickal Tool/Ingredient: Crystal ball, scrying mirror
Associated Major Arcana Cards (through numerology): Judgement, Justice
Associated Minor Arcana Cards: All card associated with the Moon (these are the minors to use in the Healing Key Spread).
- 9 of Wands (Moon in Sagittarius). Healing through establishing healthy boundaries in relationships.
- 4 of Cups (Moon in Cancer) Healing through engaging in creative pursuits and nurturing others as well as self.
- 2 of Swords (Moon in Libra) Healing through allowing the mind to calm the emotions by analysing the situation objectively.
- 7 of Swords (Moon in Aquarius) Healing through being honest, true to one’s word and keeping secrets.
- 6 of Disks (Moon in Taurus) Healing through engaging in mundane tasks, trusting that success will follow – an antidote to overly passive HP energy.
The High Priestess Through The Elements
Corresponding to the watery Moon, The High Priestess archetype finds its most positive expression through Water and Earth. This is where the High Priestess is serene, psychic and well balanced. She may not be very productive in the Earth element but she is able to use resources at hand with minimal effort since she is so intuitively attuned to their uses.
A fired up High Priestess might alienate herself through hysteria. Or she may choose to isolate herself from other people because she feels under constant attack due to projecting her own shadow on others.
An air-born High Priestess might suffer from an addiction to gossip and tattle magazines. Or she may become sharp-tongued and manipulative. There could be a total separation between mind and heart. Anxiety and poor digestion is a common problem with this energy.
Media (Air) bombards us every day to keep our High Priestess energy low. Turn off the telly, get off the mobile/cell phone and turn off the internet to allow your soul to catch up and rebalance the lunar energy within your psyche. Attune to the lunar cycles with some daily quality quiet time.
Remedies to increase the High Priestess energy in your life:
- You can make a tarot essence to increase The High Priestess energy, using the High Priestess card of your choice, along with any of the crystals above.
- The black crystals (obsidian and jet) are good for psychic protection.
- Pearl (or mother-of-pearl) heals feminine health issues.
- Carnelian is a wonderful healing crystal for the digestive system.
- Place the High Priestess card or lapis lazuli directly on your third eye to increase your psychic ability.
- Place the High Priestess card on your sacral chakra to decrease dependence on the approval of others.
- Create a Tarot essence of the Judgement card to transmute repressed or unawakened energy and to help you be more discerning about your personal boundaries
- Create a Tarot essence of one of the associated Minor Arcana cards (see above for uses)
- Keep a dream journal and divine the meaning of your dreams with the tarot.
- Mediate with your tarot cards to receive messages from your subconscious.
- Always trust your intuition. The more you do, the stronger it will get.
Affirmation: “I trust my intuition.”
- Grounding is especially important with an overactive third eye. Learn a method that works.
- Wear red to balance passivity. Better yet, wear red to an aerobics class!
- Learn basic psychic protection, including how to monitor and close your third eye.
- Burn the High Priestess card to banish infertility or to rid yourself of the influence of backstabbers.
LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS
The High Priestess often represents the anima of the seeker in a reading for a man. He could be projecting these qualities on a woman which inevitably leads to disappointment: first she can do no wrong (she’s an angel, his muse, a saint etc). However, after a while the rose-tinted spectacles fall off – she is torn to shreds and called a whore, a demon or worse.
However, she could also represent his soul mate and closest ally. Look for supporting cards around the High Priestess, such as The Lovers, the 2 of Cups or the 6 of Cups for confirmation of this.
As relationship advice, The High Priestess advises us to listen closely to that still small voice within. The answers we seek can be accessed on an intuitive level – perhaps in messages we receive in dreams.
Pay particular attention to dreams that contain water in any form. They will reveal a lot about the situation and the potential of a relationship. Dreams of snow and ice reveal frozen emotions or distance in a relationship. A tsunami could signify feeling emotionally overwhelmed and fearful about the future.
There is a lack of stability with this card. Emotions could rise and fall like the tides of the Ocean.
The High Priestess is also known to be quite secretive. There is an element of needing to uncover all the facts before taking the next step. Waiting a month could be a good idea.
Fertility issues and female reproductive health are addressed by this card as well as by The Empress card. The High Priestess relates to the female monthly cycle which is often synchronised with the Moon – the planet corresponding to The High Priestess. Within this card is found the secret of the unfertilized ovum, waiting for the sperm to find it.
It could indicate a risk of falling pregnant if you are having unprotected sex – especially next to The Empress, The Sun, the Aces and the Pages.
Sexually, the High Priestess teaches us to be more receptive and to flow with the natural cycles of the breath and arousal, without rushing toward a climax. Tantra, anyone?
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