The High Priestess
In the High Priestess card, a woman sits in a Temple. This woman has been known by many names, and is associated with many goddesses including many goddesses of the moon. She sits in the Temple of Solomon between the pillars of Boaz and Jakin, symbolizing the male yang principal, and the female yin; the duality.
She is separated from what is behind her by only a thin veil. The veil is meant to keep out the uninitiated, but not meant to obscure all that is behind it. What is behind the veil? The scene that you see in The Moon card. One goes through quite an initiation on the Journey between encountering the High Priestess and then to The Moon. She is associated with moon goddesses such as Artemis, Diana, Isis and Hecate, as well as Persephone, symbolized by the pomegranates on the veil. Persephone is a young virginal maiden as well. The High Priestess identifies with any goddess associated with the moon, or female independence.
This is a time when everything is not as it seems. The High Priestess is shrouded in mystery, and holds many secrets. She is the counterpart to the Hierophant, but while he is outwardly seen holding the "Keys to the (Spiritual) Kingdom" for the sake of appearances, she quietly moves behind the scenes, getting things done. When the High Priestess comes up in a reading, the matter in question is secretive, a mystery, a puzzle to solve. There are things that you are not aware of, and you must seek this knowledge, solve the puzzle. This is not a time for fact-based logic and reasoning. This is a time to listen to your intuition. There is a very feminine instinctual energy at work here. There is a lot going on behind the scenes and you need to slow down and start following your gut instincts.
There are things going on that you may not yet be aware of. You may have a choice to make. It is a good time to pay attention not only to the voice deep within you, but to the messages that may come through in your dreams and begin to consciously take notice of the synchronicities in your life. There may be something hidden in your subconscious or deep in your memory calling out to you.
Even if you have never formally practiced meditation, it is a good time to quiet the mind and look for the answers to your questions there. A woman may figure very prominently into the situation. She holds the keys to the mystery you are trying to solve. But she will not give them away willingly. They are only available to those she deems worthy. This may be a good time to seek out the wise counsel of a woman. She may know, but she doesn't tell. She will guide you to look within yourself for the answers you seek. For a man, she may represent a secretive mysterious woman in your life, very sexual yet aloof. The High Priestess symbolizes feminine independence. She does not bode well for questions of romance or relationship, due to her very nature of independence, or her air for secrecy.
Return to Major Arcana Overview
The High Priestess Reversed
Something that may have previously been hidden from you should soon reveal itself to you. Either you are keeping a secret or someone else is keeping a secret from you. Under the intense light of the full moon, this secret will come to light. Not all secrets are bad, but if they are kept in a manner that has the propensity to hurt someone, it can be destructive. If you know that your life is on the straight and narrow, then you should be on the lookout for some type of reveal headed your way.
On the other hand, this can also be a sign that you are not listening to your gut and you need to follow your intuition on any matter near and dear to your heart. When logic and reason are not enough, you need to quiet your mind, and listen to your inner voice. It will not lead you astray. This card frequently comes up reversed when we are not listening to the inner voice inside of ourselves. When we are not paying attention to the signs all around us. We have lost touch with our inner knowing, our intuition. Things may be pointing to the unknown, and things once taken for granted, may be changing. Trust yourself to make the right decisions.