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.
For iPad/iPhone users: tap letter twice to get list of items.
- Acteon and Artemis
- Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius - Sacramentum matrimonii antiquissimum est - 05
- Albrecht Dürer – 02 High Priestess
- Ancestors, the - Art - West Coast Rock Art
- Apuleius - The Golden Ass - The Navigium Isidis festival
- Boehme, Jacob - Aurora - Spiritual path
- Celtic - Diodorus Sicilus and Pindar - Stonehenge
- Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz - The Third Day
- Clement of Alexandria - The Stromata - On ascension and the spiritual path
- Crowley - 02 High Priestess
- Crowley - 06 The Lovers
- Crowley, Aleister - Book of Lies - The Glow-worm
- Dalí, Salvador – 02 The High Priestess
- Egyptian Old Kingdom Man 6th Dynasty - 2300 B.C
- Father Bernabe Cobo - Inca Religion and Customs - Eclipses of the Moon
- Father Bernabe Cobo - Inca Religion and Customs - Temple of Coricancha, Cuzco
- Father Bernabe Cobo - Inca Religion and Customs - Titicaca Temple of Sun and Moon 1
- Hypnerotomachia Poliphili - The High Priestess
- Incas - Macchu Picchu - The Power of Three
- Indus valley - Mehrgarh
- Indus valley - Mohenjo-Daro - 04 Great Granary
- Indus valley - Mohenjo-Daro - 06 The Dancing girl or Deva-dasi
- Jason and Medea with a living fleece
- Jason, medea and the teeth of the Dragon
- Jean Noblet - 02 La Papesse
- Karnataka and South India - 03 Airavatesvara Temple
- Karnataka and South India - 05 Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur
- Little Bo-Peep
- Malta - 04 Venus of Malta and Alchemy
- Malta - 06 Tarxien Temples
- Malta - 07 The Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni
- Malta - 10 Ħaġar Qim
- Maria Prophetissima - And unification
- Mesopotamian - Means of achieving spiritual experience - The prevalence of spiritual experience
- Mesopotamian - Means of achieving spiritual experience 07 Sex
- Mesopotamian - Means of achieving spiritual experience 07 Sex Enheduanna - The Exaltation of Inanna
- Mesopotamian - Means of achieving spiritual experience 07 Sex High priestess Puabi
- Mesopotamian - Means of achieving spiritual experience 07 Sex High priestesses from the cult of Ishtar
- Mucha - 02 The High Priestess
- Nuremberg Chronicle - Felicitas
- Organisation of Pictish society – Roles - The High Priestess
- Rider-Waite - 02 High Priestess
- Rolling Stones - Child of the Moon
- Rosary of the Philosophers - 19 Deification
- Samavedas – Book 06 Chapter 01, IX Soma Pavamana
- Samavedas – Book 07 Chapter 03, X Soma Pavamana
- Schuré - The Great Initiates – The roles
- Shah, Idries – The Sufis - QSS and Alif Ba Lam
- Shaivism - Concepts and symbols - The High Priestess
- Soustelle - Aztecs and Mexica - The Making of a High Priestess
- Tarot - 08 Major Arcana - 02 High Priestess
- Tepe Tureng
- Totem group – Picts – Elements - Angels and Deer [Aether]
- Von Stuck, Franz - 1906 Salome
- War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness – 02 Reorganization of Temple worship & Programme of the forty years’ war
- Waterhouse, John William - Circe offering a cup to Ulysses
- Wirth, Oswald – 02 High Priestess
- Ynglinga saga - 04 Chapter Four
- Zoroastrian - Means of achieving spiritual experience - 02 Sex