easy tarot lessons



First the pomegranates. Pomegranates are so woven into mythos by so many ancient cultures, with so many variations that you can simply pick which interpretation you want to personally believe. 

That being said, the most appropriate one for the Tarot Priestess in use is that of Persephone [Per-sef-uh-nee], daughter of Demeter and Zeus, sometimes wife of Hades, and always “Queen of the Dead.”

This reinforces the notion that The High Priestess card is power beyond the subconscious, along with the sea behind her, the crescent moon of intuitive insight is at her feet, and the twin pillars of light and dark. 

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Our lady of mystery sits on a simple throne which is little more than a block, with pillars left and right supporting the weave of pomegranates behind her, masking off the evening sea of her domain.

Some argue the crown she wears is that of the triple goddess. It is, in fact, a pearl (see below), as the moon is already indicated at her feet, aswim in her flowing tresses of watery imagination. The equilateral cross (or its later Christian adaptation) marks her purity as certainly as her white tunic/robe. The Torah in her lap shows her to be a student of mysteries and spirituality, rather than a “woman of the world,” further indicating her great storehouse of knowledge.

Esoteric interpretation

In the High Priestess Card her crown can be interpreted as you like, but consider the pearl is the sea’s most precious and rare jewel. It has always been found only rarely in oysters that “swallowed” a grain of sand and built the pearl as a response (this ignores modern artificial culturing). Pearls are another statement of insight and purity, as well as representations of the moon. All miscellaneous aspects aside, the importance of The High Priestess is her representation of duality.

A sine wave arches “positive” and then “negative” as stimulus is offered and withdrawn. We see this as a polarity, most often in terms of male/female, day/night, “good/bad,” up/down, “heaven/hell,” right/left, “God/devil,” and so on, ad infinitum. She represents psychological dualism (the “this or that” paradigm that is all too common in bilaterally symmetrical life-forms). As The Magician is the act of will pressed outward upon the world (phallus), she is the receptive organ of creation (you can guess where this is going).

She is “imagination,” which is not to be underestimated simply because the act of will is so obvious. The High Priestess is a full half of the creation process, as she is the gateway to the ether. Neither she nor The Magician is more important nor more powerful than its counterpart. They are a team on a Tantric level of awareness few magical practitioners can even grasp, much less actually aspire to achieving.

traditional meaning

Intuition, imagination, dreams, creative spark or inspiration. She brings new understandings of situations through listening, not acting. She is communion, prayer, knowing when to seek guidance and doing so.

As The Magician is active psychic power channeled outward, she is receptive information gained, as well as active psychic power of calling in assistance. As forceful and direct as The Magician is, his partner is just as oblique. She “uncovers, or reveals” where he “takes action.”

Her abilities lie in everyone. They exist at all times in our subconscious minds and are our direct connection to whatever we individually call “God.”

The Magician card shows or advises reflection, quiet listening, intuitive work, seeking out expert knowledge and assistance (both on a “higher plane’”and physically). Pair this up with a “minor” Arcana card to see what she is alluding to.

HIGH PRIESTESS Reversed meaning

As a mental state or physical condition—confusion, alcoholism and drug abuse/ overdose, paranoia and superstition. Disillusion (especially with 6 of Swords, 7 of Pentacles, etc.) spiritual weakness, clouded judgment, false spirituality (look at aspecting cards), psychosis, fanaticism and extremism, not doing one’s research or homework, abduction, buried treasures, and bad pomegranates.

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