E2 Tarot Cards

Aleister Crowley's description:

Your description/thoughts/experiences:

Card II of the Major Arcana of the Tarot

The High Priestess is a card of thoughtful calculation. The Priestess' power lies not in her ability to exert brute force but in her ability to know when and where to exert that force. The priestess spends most of her time considering, reading, taking in.

The Priestess in a reading often means that the time is right to wait, that energy would be best spent in research rather than in action.

My personal favorite. There are no weak women in the tarot, and she is the most powerful. Quiet, serene, she goes through her life with a Mona Lisa smile. She knows what all of us are searching for, and rarely will she disclose the Secrets she is in charge of. The moon at her side, she is attributed with all of the qualities associated with the three water signs. The mystery, memory and intuition of cancer, the deep rooted attachment scorpio feels for death, the occult and the otherworld, and the ability to walk between these worlds and the unknown that pisces posesses. She is the epitome of feminine knowledge, guileless in her attempts to aid and teach those things humans can never actually reach out and touch. Men want her, women want to be her, and both are very obtainable once one has found the gumption to simply let go.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
Albert Einstein

Where the Fool points to new beginnings and the Magician action and knowledge, the High Priestess represents the inner mediator and balance within each of us. Within her lies the center of the universe, and she embodies the infinity of the cosmos.

The major Arcana speak of a spiritual path we follow in order to become more "enlightened", and the high priestess is the third step in the process. The fool takes a leap into adventure, the magician takes action upon the path based on the facts at hand and mastery of his craft, and the High Priestess is the mistress of crossroads, a muse and a balanced nature.

In Wicca the High Priestess represents the leader and guide of every coven and circle. She is the balance and mediating force. Both a source of the divine, and the physical world (as a fertility and growing symbol she is exceptionally strong).

Ideas and life are both born in this pagan goddess. Emotionally she is healthy and knows herself. Although less active than the Magician, she is the source of inspiration and active voice of the spirit.

Magick comes from the spirit initially, regardless of the tools or words we choose to create spells and rituals. Without a center that is balanced and a clear understanding of both the darkness and light in ourselves we can become lost in our own creations.

Often shown as a keeper of wisdom writing words on a scroll, she may be surrounded by three cycles of the moon. These can represent either the Id, Ego, Superego, or the cycle of life depending on the source.

Regardless, she always holds aspects of both the subconscious and the active mind, and unites everything with her "calm wisdom".

When this card appears in a reading, there is need for soul searching, and balance. She may represent a benign force and the presence of natural magick or "miracles"- either experienced by the questioner or caused by them depending on other cards in the reading. She is always earth based and intuitive in her abilities. It may mean that the seeker is faced with a choice.

Even reversed this card is not overtly negative. General issues may include inequality, limbo, or worry about that which is not within one's control. The ability to heal or inspire is only possible if we are emotionally healthy and stable. Seek within for answers and guidance, they will not be found in the stars.

"Whatever we conceive well we express clearly."
Nicolas Boileau-Despreaux

My favourite card. Here is everything that I know about her:

Secrets, mystery, the future as yet unrevealed; the woman who interests the Querent, if male; the Querent herself, if female; silence, tenacity; mystery, wisdom, science. Reversed: Passion, moral or physical ardour, conceit, surface knowledge.

The scroll in the High Priestess' hands is inscribed with the word Tora, signifying the Greater Law, the Secret Law and the second sense of the Word. It is partly covered by her mantle, to shew that some things are implied and some spoken.
from Waite's Pictorial Key to the Tarot

She is adorned with the headdress (Waite calls it a diadem) of the Ancient Egyptian god Hathor. However, its symbolism represents the ancient Egyptian godess Isis: the roles of Hathor were eventually assimilated into those of Isis. Isis is a mother god, and is associated with light, life, and the earth. Her ethereal robe, the crescent moon at her feet, and her solar cross suggest maternal aspect:

She is, in fine, the Queen of the borrowed light, but this is the light of all. She is the Moon nourished by the milk of the Supernal Mother.

The scenery around the Priestess is described in the Torah, in 1 Kings 7.13-23:

He (an appointed coppersmith) cast two columns of bronze; one column was 18 cubits high and measured 12 cubits in circumference, and similarly the other column. 16 He made two capitals, cast in bronze, to be set upon the two columns, the height of each of the two capitals being 5 cubits; 17 also nets of meshwork with festoons of chainwork for he capitals that were atop the columns, seven for each of the two capitals. 18 He made the columns so that there were two rows of pomegranates encircling the top of the one network, to cover the capitals that were on the top of the pomegranates; and he did the same for the network on the second capital. 19 The capitals upon the columns of the portico were of lily design, 4 cubits high; 20 so also the capitals upon the two columns extended above and next to the bulge that was beside the network. There were 200 pomegranates in rows around the top of the second capital. 21

He set up the columns at the portico of the great hall; he set up one column on the right and named it Jachin, and he set up the other column on the left and named it Boaz. 22 Upon the top of the columns there was a lily design. Thus the work of the columns was completed. 23
from the JPS (Jewish Publication Society) Tanakh Translation

Behind the High Priestess are two pillars, one black and the other white; they are bridged by a netted tapestry depicting pomegranates and (perhaps) palm fruits. This arrangement is that of Soloman's Temple, the first Temple of the ancient Israelites. The left pillar is Boaz (means strength), the right Jachin or Jakin (establishment/founding). They Jewish Study Bible suggests that they may be read together as may he establish in strength

The arrangement of the pomegranates on the netting behind the High Priestess could be interpreted as the shape of the Tree of Life, the Kabbalistic path to God. Theologically, she is associated with the Kabbalistic Shekinah:

According to Kabalism, there is a Shekinah both above and below. In the superior world it is called Binah, the Supernal Understanding which reflects to the emanations that are beneath. In the lower world it is Malkuth--that world being, for this purpose, understood as a blessed Kingdom that with which it is made blessed being the Indwelling Glory. Mystically speaking, the Shekinah is the Spiritual Bride of the just man, and when he reads the Law she gives the Divine meaning.

The scroll in her hands is inscribed with the word Tora, signifying the Greater Law, the Secret Law and the second sense of the Word.

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