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Observations placeholder

Wirth, Oswald – 02 High Priestess



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Tarot of the Magicians – Oswald Wirth English translation 1985 Samuel Weiser.

First published in Paris in 1927 under the original title: Le Tarot, des lmagiers du Moyen Age

The Priestess (Arcana 2) is seated motionless and calm, impenetrable and priestly. She is the priestess of mystery, Isis, the goddess of deep night and without her help the human spirit could not penetrate the darkness.
Her right hand holds half open the book of secrets which no one can take from her unless the Priestess gives him the keys which she holds in her left hand. Of these keys which open hidden aspects of things (Esotericism) one is gold and is related to the Sun 0, (Word, Reason) and the other silver, hence having an affinity with the Moon ([
(Imagination, intuitive lucidity).

That means that one must unite strict logic and sweet impressionability if one aspires to divine hidden things, the knowledge which Nature hides from a great number of us.
The divination which the Priestess inspires, applies to the discernment of reality which hides behind the veil of what is apparent to our senses. For the intuitive person, favoured by Isis, phenomena are a facade, which, by preventing physiological vision, stimulate the vision of the mind.
On leaving Unity in which all is merged, (Arcana 1) we come to the sphere of the Binary or of differentiation, it is the entrance square to the Temple of Solomon, wherein rise the two columns of Jachin and Boaz between which is enthroned the Priestess, in front of a veil with irridescent folds.

Of the two columns one is red and the other blue.

The Priestess of mystery is clothed in dark blue, but a luminous white stole is crossed over her chest. This forms a cross, of which each branch is marked with a secondary cross. This pattern suggests powers of revelation which make the occult clear, thanks to the light sent out by the conflict of two opposing elements.

So it happens that we see the Priestess enveloped in a purple coloured mantel with a wide golden border, and lined with green. This last mentioned colour is that of vitality. The conceptions which transfer transcendent truths for our use possess this inner vitality. These are the living ideas of conceptions which haunt the imagination of mortals without managing to take form. They feed our highest aspirations (purple) and initiate religions (golden
border) which give way only too quickly to the crude form of our conceptions.

The Priestess is not responsible for the wrong use of her teaching which is addressed, not to the blind believers, but to the thinkers, the craftsmen of a continual religious regeneration.

She leans upon the Sphinx who forever asks the three questions:
Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?

Around her, a space of paving stones, alternating black and white, give us to understand that all our
perceptions are subject to the law of contrasts - light is only conceived as opposed to darkness, good would be unknown to us if it were not for evil; we would not be able to appreciate happiness if we had not suffered.

The right foot of the Priestess rests on a cushion representing the very small quantity of positive ideas which we can acquire in the realm of mystery. This accessory, which is sometimes neglected, figures on a Tarot published in Paris in 1500.  It has its importance for it seems to be borrowed from Cassiopeia, the Queen of Ethiopia of the
heavenly sphere, the black but beautiful sovereign, like the Beloved of the Song of Songs

The source of the experience

Tarot, the

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps