In silence I hear the loudest and in stillness I know. Truths are freely given to those who have the eyes to see; beyond the veil of roses painted red. There is a spiritual master waiting to be awakened beneath the shroud of your skin. So, come inside and conceive the seed of your wisdom within.
What is Tarot anyway?
There is nothing we don’t already know. Things just need to take shape before our eyes so that we see it more clearly sometimes. Tarot is a sacred language leading us to our own spiritual center. It is an ancient system of knowledge that has been used for centuries around the world. Some believe it originated in Egypt, while others say Babylon, India and even date its source back to Atlantis. The ancient wisdom portrayed through the symbols in its esoteric images is said to have been the language of the wisest people. When philosophers, alchemists, astronomers, spiritualists and mystics would meet to share their knowledge – symbology was their common language, as they came from all over the world. These very symbols are the language of tarot; reflecting and embodying the book of “Higher Knowledge and Ancient Wisdom”. While many modern communities use the cards for divination, the philosophy of tarot is actually one of the best and most in-depth tools of self-exploration and spiritual development.
It’s the Mirror of Our Soul.
Just as we use a mirror to see our external self, we use the images of tarot to explore our inner reality; to look into the hidden corners of our psyche. The more we discover about ourselves by looking inward, the more powerful we become as co-creators of our own version of reality.
Looking at external mirrors reflects our visible realities and bodies without judgement. It is what it is. We can choose not to look at it but it won’t change our body unless we ourselves do something to change it or change our perspective of what we accept or describe as “beautiful” versus “ugly”. Tarot reflects our inner spiritual condition. It is a way of shaping our inner reality as an external image – so that we can view a new perspective through which we can gain more insight and make tangible changes. Confronting our inner selves can be really uncomfortable. It’s an intimate act; into-me-I-see. We usually spend great amounts of energy on hiding uncomfortable truths so that we maintain an illusionary facade. Yet the more we hide ourselves from ourselves, the more we separate ourselves from ourselves. When we decide to integrate all parts of us that were meant to be whole, is when we truly begin to love and accept ourselves. And that’s when we can truly share with others and build intimate, honest and long-lasting connections of deep, emotional fulfillment. We can only share and accept from others what we have discovered and accepted within ourselves. We can only truly change our so-called unpleasant parts, when we have explored them and recognized their needs.
Self-exploration can be difficult but its rewards are immeasurable. Every time we reveal a part of us, we let go of an illusion that was never truly serving us anyway. Knowing ourselves and living a life of self-truth is our most beautiful gift; as it allows us to live in peace and self-acceptance. When we let go of our illusions and old beliefs, we arrive at home; we come into our wholeness and holiness.
Tarot, above all else, is a way to be touched by our souls. As with any other intimate relationship, it requires trust, truth, integrity and dedication.
But tarot still predicts, right?
Yes, it can. You see, tarot is a snapshot of a person’s current energy and vibration. Based off of that, it is natural that the person will carry it on towards manifestation – unless, they change their vibration. This is why the more spiritually evolved we become, the more we are in tune with our creative abilities through self-awareness – and the more difficult it is to “predict” because we no longer follow a subconscious pattern of behavior. In many places around the world, if you go to an astrologer for example, they’ll ask if you are following a spiritual path. And if you are, they’ll tell you straight up, “I’m sorry I can’t predict anything because you are in control of your mind and are making choices based on self-awareness rather than following old belief systems and patterns.”
Progression Towards Self-Actualization.
The Major Arcana cards are symbolic of a person’s progression to individualization and enlightenment. According to Pollack, they are divided into the three major realms: 1. The Conscious (The Outer Concerns of Life) 2. The Subconscious (Our Inner Search of Who We Are) and 3. The Super Conscious (The Development of Spiritual Awareness and Release of Archetypal Energy). The Fool, numbered zero, is everywhere and nowhere; not fitting into these categories. He is non-dimensional, the spark of life, the beginning and the end.
Through my work, I want to inspire all of us to look within and become creators rather than just mere creations. I want us to explore and build deeper relationships, and tarot is a beautiful beginning for the introduction of the Sacred Arts. The symbolisms and esoteric images will speak uniquely to you; and this is how omens work as well.
It is up to you, dear reader, to uncover your own language within and establish your own relationship to spirit through the use of these beautiful external tools. Mysticism is what is unknown to us. Once known, it is no longer mystical. This is why we are our own greatest mystics; there is a spiritual master waiting to be awakened within the shroud of your skin.
Preface: My knowledge comes from many years of studying and practicing the sacred arts, including astrology, tarot, eastern philosophy, mysticism, folklore studies, esotericism, psychology and shamanism. And as passionate tarot collector and a lover of arts, I have found that observing various representations is an insightful and beautiful way of exploring symbolism further. So at the end of the article, I feature some of my collection for you to explore which ones of the images resonate with you and why; to use it as an intuitive exercise on how The High Priestess is represented through each of these decks’ perspectives.
© Maxime Simoncelli
The High Priestess
She represents the water element and is the embodiment of feminine power and its transcendent aspects. The Moon is the celestial body which represents her, alluding truth, receptivity, silence, inner knowing, secrets, mysticism, intuitive powers, magic, higher wisdom, spiritual ethics and equilibrium. The High Priestess sits in complete stillness and silence. In the Rohrig deck for example, she stands with closed eyes portraying that she doesn’t need to “see” to know. She has a deeply clear knowing and understands the external world of maya (illusion). She understands separation and collapses that into oneness; what is pleasure for one may be pain for another, what is on this side is the opposite on the other, and yet all is part of the same wholeness like the Moon.
The High Priestess represents the Unconscious; she knows the secrets of the world, seen and unseen, and all primordial wisdom and occult knowledge. She guides us to connect with our inner self, trust our intuition and build our code for spiritual ethics. She teaches us spiritual ethics and the balance of “give and take”.
When she represent a person, she describes women who are highly psychic, possessing occult wisdom and natural healing abilities. They are usually more quiet, domesticated and have an aura of mysticism. They somehow draw you in with a scent of sexuality which is never overt, but just deeply felt. They are spiritually balanced aligned within harmoniously and have an inner knowing of the laws of life/nature; such as “no harm done”, the power of three times three and energy exchange. They are very complex individuals and no matter how long you’ve known them – you just never truly know them. They are highly intelligent, spiritual and psychic while also, balanced, grounded and diplomatic.
The Master of the High Priestess is Master Lady Mary. She bestows intuitive wisdom to those women who aspire leadership in humanitarian affairs. Mary is always present in pregnancy and birth, and helps us to build deeper connections to nature and wildlife.
In the Thoth system of tarot, she is represented by the Moon-Goddess Isis, the hebrew letter Gimel and the rune Uruz.
Gimel is the camel who carries us upon its back through the dry lands of the desert until we reach oasis or the fertile moist home of our innermost core. As such, The High Priestess is guided only by her inner knowledge and intuitive abilities. She trusts in herself fully and completely. She perceives and is connected to her own inner voice, internal guide and healing powers. This reflects her responsibility towards her outern world as well. Like the camel, she can walk long stretches of dry lands in full confidence and deep knowing – because she has discovered her inner spring of water; of life. As such, we too are encouraged to find that oasis within us. No matter how dry and barren the lands may look, there is always water beneath our feet; even if we have to dig a long time. The more we connect and accept ourselves, the deeper our clarity will be and the deeper we’ll dig until reaching expansive wells of water.
Uruz is the rune which symbolizes the power to give form/shape or to manifest the unseen into the seen/tangible. Now, most people may not associate this card with sexuality – but she carries a lot of sexual energy, which is essentially the most powerful energy of manifestation. The High Priestess is seen as the dark moist womb. It is in this card that conception takes place; the Magician is the creative seed and the manifested is birthed through the soil of the Empress. Carrying the number two portrays the relationship or the interraction between the masculine and the feminine; the seed and the womb. But for something to birth into physical reality, we need to create a circuit, i.e. three points of connection. This is why in the Empress (number 3) we see the created energy grounded into the soil as physical manifestation. Now you see why it is impossible for anything to take place without the High Priestess; she is our relationship to life’s creation. If the Empress is our earth, the High Priestess is the Universe itself.
She is the channeler, connecting the worlds together; she is our link to the higher realms and allows us the opportunity to delve into the secrets of the universe and access all ancient knowledge and esoteric wisdom. She is someone who nurtures us and gently guides us towards our inner knowing.
The High Priestess reprsents extra-sensory perception and intuitive abilities; such as clairvoyance, clairsentience, claircongizance, empathy, telepathy, creative visualization, intuitive knowledge and healing powers. These abilities increase within us, the more we develop ourselves.
How can you build a deeper relationship to Her?
When she shows up for you, she is inviting you to go inside and access your intuitive powers. She advices you to guard your independence and learn the power of silence and stillness. Think of a nocturnal animal, for example a leopard. They are the most powerful animals because they can wait for hours and even days in complete stillness and understand the loud language of silence. Any answers you seek are already within you. But you need to develop yourself so that you learn true intuition versus projection. I often find people mistaking the two. We should also learn to discern “signs” from our mind’s fears. For us clairvoyants, we know too well that the language of the otherworld sounds different than our “ego”. The more we get to know ourselves and shed light on the hidden corners of our psyche, the more we’ll know what’s us and what’s something of the higher realm.
Are there areas in your life in which you allow others to influence you? When was the last time you followed your intuition? Do you trust your intuition? Think of a time when you didn’t trust your intuition: why didn’t you? How do you connect to your higher self? How do omens and signs speak to you? What does your intuition sound like and feel like? If you trust your intuition, what areas of your life would be different? If you had neither fears not external pressures, what changes would you make in your current life?
To connect with The High Priestess, build a deeper relationship to water. Connect to your feminine side. Embark on an inner journey for self-exploration. Learn more about spirituality, mysticism and the esoteric arts. Spend time developing your intuition. Learn the art of noticing and “seeing” through your senses (for example, how does something feel, taste and sound like if you wear a blindfold?)
Affirm to yourself: I trust my intuitive abilities.
Below is The High Priestess from some of my decks. Use this as an exercise: 1) How is She represented through each of the decks and what sides of her are expressed? What symbols are being used? 2) Which images are you drawn to and why? Which ones are you not drawn to and why? Reflect on how your feel by exploring your emotions and observe any thoughts that come up. If you have some particularly strong judgements that arise, examine why you’d feel that way. Remember that tarot is a commitment to self-observation. 3) If you could create your own version of Her, what would it look like and feel like? 4) How can you build a deeper relationship to Her and that part of you, which She embodies?
Medieval Scapini Tarot
John Bauer Tarot
Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot
The Daniloff Tarot
The Japaridze Tarot
The Rohrig Tarot
Margaret Peterson Tarot
Tarot of Delphi
Haunted House Tarot
Paulina Cassidy Tarot
The Linestrider Tarot
Tarot of the Hidden Realm
Wild Unknown Tarot
La Corte Dei Tarocchi
Much love & peace,
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