Tarot Card Meaning: The High Priestess
The high priestess wears the pearl of wisdom for a crown, and her throne sits between the black and white pillars of the temple, representing the end and the beginning of all things. Between those pillars is a tapestry with pictures of lush grapes, symbols of fertility and plenty. Her robes are blue, the color of the higher mind. She holds a Torah scroll on her right, half hidden under her robe, and on her left, she balances a crescent moon with her feet. The Moon is instinct, intuition, and the hidden parts of us. Is she balancing it, or is it balancing her? Behind her is an endless blue sky.
The black and white pillars bear the letters B and J respectively, for Boaz and Jachim, roughly meaning the end and the beginning. The beginning is on the right, the path of righteousness, and the black is on the left.
The High Priestess represents intuition, wisdom obtained from within, not from the world. She holds the Torah, but she’s not reading it, and she’s hiding some of it. Some wisdom is hidden, and some cannot be obtained simply by reading. To get to the temple and to the fruits of plenty, one has to go through her. The Priestess shows that it’s not enough to interact with the physical world. The spirit is important, too.
The High Priestess shows where a person is understanding, calm, and intuitive. This may be a place where the client or querent simply lets things be. It can also indicate a source of native wisdom the querent has that wasn’t learned. This is the gut, the feeling of “just knowing” something. There are no rules here, or steps to take.
The High Priestess shows knowledge beyond linear thinking. It represents a part of the querent’s life that they don’t plan or think through, but simply feels right, especially what may be called matters of the heart. It may also indicate psychic ability, or the ability to read beyond what is hidden or behind a veil. It could also indicate a person, usually a woman, who intuitively understands the querent.
The High Priestess reversed is a denial of her powers and gifts. When this card comes up reversed in a reading, the querent is ignoring their gut feelings, usually to their detriment. It also indicates that the querent may be paralyzed from not acting because of their gut feelings or because they ignore them and listen to what other people say.
This card reversed can also indicate people who have too much control over the querent’s mind and heart. The priestess sits alone, looking at the querent. When reversed, it shows that the querent looks for approval from others before having their own thoughts and feelings, or that they let someone else’s impressions and gut reactions take precedence over their own.
It may also indicate a stifling of the imagination in favor of what seems sensible, realistic, and easier for others to understand.