Symbols - What does heaven look like
The High Priestess
The High Priestess (II) is the second trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. The description from Wikipedia of what the card shows is quite helpful so I will quote it here with the links to all the symbolism shown. Then I will explain what she symbolises
In the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck, [shown above], The High Priestess is identified with the female in dwelling presence of the divine. She wears plain blue robes and sits with her hands in her lap. She has a lunar crescent at her feet, "a horned diadem on her head, with a globe in the middle place" similar to the crown of the ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor, but with the horns having a shape more like half-crescents, and a large cross on her breast. The scroll in her hands, partly covered by her mantle, bears the word TORA [see Note below]. She is seated between the white and black pillars—'J' and 'B' for Jachin and Boaz. The veil of the Temple is behind her: it is embroidered with palm leaves and pomegranates. The motif that hangs behind the High Priestess’s throne, veiling what ever mysteries she guards, is suggested in the pattern of The Empress’ gown. The two are sisters, one bringing life into the world, the other inviting the living to the esoteric mysteries. Further behind all of that, is what seems to be a body of water, most probably the sea. The water flows through most of the cards of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot.
Note: The word TORA comes from Levi’s [a contributor to tarot symbolism] playing with the letters to make TORA(H) and ROTA (Wheel) out of TARO(T). Thus we see here the wheel of life – the continual cycle of rebirth – the process or reincarnation – birth, life, death then birth again. The High Priestess is the means by which the Initiate could leave the wheel.
The High Priestess was a role in the Mysteries. She was not the male equivalent of the Hierophant. She was herself a 'goddess' having been through all the stages of the spiritual path and having become a goddess thereby.
Some Geisha were High priestesses, which is why they were so revered. The Vestal virgins were probably High priestesses. The role was always that of a woman, and was probably the most important role within the Mysteries.
This is why we now use the term to mean the pinnacle of achievement in any profession, for example
Coco Chanel was the High Priestess of fashion. The editor Françoise Verny was the High Priestess of publishing,
and so on.
Through the High Priestess one meets Death and becomes a Star. If you can do this you by-pass the Sun and the Moon altogether [as Planets] and go beyond. Beyond the abyss and into the realm of the Creator and Created - Mother and Father. Difficult to understand I know. A bit of fun to lighten things up - the other card I have provided is Crowley's....
In the Wind of the mind arises the turbulence called I.
It breaks; down shower the barren thoughts.
All life is choked.
This desert is the Abyss wherein is the Universe.
The Stars are but thistles in that waste.
Yet this desert is but one spot accurséd in a world of bliss. Now and again Travellers cross the desert; they come from the Great Sea, and to the Great Sea they go.
And as they go they spill water; one day they will irrigate the desert, till it flower.
See! Five footprints of a Camel! V.V.V.V.V.
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