The High Priestess Tarot Card is the second Tarot Major Arcana card. It’s based on Tarot’s 2nd trump. In the 18th-century woodcut Tarot de Marseilles, this figure is decked with the Papal tiara and titled perhaps referencing Pope Joan.
In the Rider–Waite Tarot deck, the Popess was altered to the High Priestess. She wears a Hathor-like crown and has Marian motifs. A. E. Waite, co-creator of the Rider–Waite deck, believed the card represented the Mother deity= Mary.
The Female Pope
This Tarot card was originally named “La Papesse” Some cards showed a lady wearing a triregnum Papal Tiara, linking her to the pope. Marseilles decks incorporate the papacy’s customary emblem, the keys to the kingdom. Post-reformation nations, Tarot cards utilized pictures of Pope Joan, alluding to the idea that she was elected as a male and only revealed as a woman when she gave birth. She represents allegorically the mother mary.
Veil of the Empress – A thin veil embroidered with pomegranates rests in front of the High Priestess. The veil separates the visible from the invisible, the domain of the conscious from the realm of the subconscious. Those who have not gone through the proper channels of initiation are not permitted to enter. Persephone, who was cursed to spend another year in Hades after eating a pomegranate seed there, reveres the pomegranates that decorate the curtain as a sign of prosperity, fecundity, and the sacred feminine.
Temple – The entryway to this hallowed, magical temple is flanked by two pillars, one on each half of The High Priestess . This is a masonic referrel to the temple of Soloman. The letter B represents Boaz, meaning “in his might” is carved into a black pillar, while the letter J which represents Jachin, meaning “he shall establish”. It is carved into a white pillar. The black and white of the pillars represents the masculine and feminine, darkness and light, Anima and Animus, Yint and Yang and the acceptance and understanding of duality necessary to access this holy place.
Blue gown– blue is connected with wide spaces, freedom, intuition, creativity, inspiration, and sensitivity. Blue is said to symbolize both the sky and the sea. Additionally, the color blue is associated with the concepts of profundity, trustworthiness, loyalty, honesty, knowledge, self-assurance, stability, faith, and intellect.
a crucifix on her breast, and a Horned diadem – These are symbols of her superior heavenly wisdom and her position as a celestial ruler.
A manuscript in her arm– with the symbol of TORA, representing the Supreme Law, rests on her lap (according to A. E. Waite). This precious wisdom is both overt and covert; it will be disclosed only when the pupil is ready to see beyond this world. The crescent moon at her feet is a sign of her connection to the moon and the divine feminine, her intuition, and her unconscious mind.
Reversed High Priestess
The message of the High Priestess in reverse is to quiet the mind and go inside, where your own voice and knowledge may be heard. It’s easy to be caught up in the drama of others and their views when you should be doing what’s best for yourself. There comes a moment when one must be still and withdrawn from the outside world in order to listen to the advice of one’s inner self.