The High Priestess Tarot (II)

Key Meanings

Intuition. Knowledge. Understanding. Mystery. Inspiration. 

Meaning of the High Priestess Tarot

The High Priestess—Original Rider-Waite-SmithThe High Priestess—Original RWS

When you draw this card in a reading, it is about stillness, listening your intuition, and being receptive to any new ideas that come to you.

Patience, wisdom, silence can be meanings of the High Priestess.

This card is asking you to access your unconscious (or subconscious) mind. It’s about accessing inner knowledge and understanding—that given through experience.

The High Priestess sits between the veiled pillars of knowledge. She’s the guardian to secret inner knowledge, and she could indicate the need to find out the ‘inside information’ that’s useful to you—perhaps when searching for new work, or when trying to understand a relationship.

When reversed, this card could indicate surface knowledge, and, in general, the opposites of the upright meaning. It could also mean that all in not being laid on the table. Not everyone is being open.

Reversed cards (in general) can also be read as a blockage, or the same as the upright cards, but with less energy.

Astrologically, the High Priestess is related to the moon. 

Along with the Queen of Cups, this card relates more to intuition than any other in the tarot deck.

The High Priestess—Steampunk Tarot (Moore & Ali)The enigmatic High Priestess of the Steampunk Tarot (Moore & Ali). Here she provides access to inner knowledge with her crystal ball and tarot cards.

Images, Symbols, and More

The High Priestess tarot is the second of the Major Arcana, and pictures a woman sitting before a temple, the mysteries veiled from the eyes of the uninitiated. 

The crescent moon at her feet, and two more on her headdress, represent the moon.

She sits between the pillars of Boaz and Jachin (marked B and J), said to be the two pillars that stood at the front of the Temple of Solomon.

The book on her lap is the Tora—relating to divine law.

The High Priestess wears blue robes, and the veil of the temple (embroidered with palm leaves and pomegranates) is behind her, hiding the mysteries she guards.

Although most High Priestess tarot cards show an (often young) woman sitting between the pillars of knowledge, in the Animal Totem Tarot, a black widow spider waits in her web while the moon shines above, giving the feeling of stillness, receptiveness, and waiting.

The High Priestess—Jean DodalThe High Priestess—Jean Dodal

In the Marseille deck, La Papesse (the Popess), is more of a grandmother figure, and a teacher. She wears a triple tiara, indicating the spiritual, emotional, and physical worlds.

Major Arcana


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