Tarot Explained: The High Priestess

The High Priestess is known as the subconscious mind and the Keeper of Records. The Virgin Mary, Pope Joan, Persephone, Cassandra and the Oracle at Delphi are all archetypes synonymous with the High Priestess. She embodies feminine intuition, occult knowledge, spiritual wisdom and lunar consciousness.

Symbols & Characteristics

The High Priestess is represented by the number two, emphasizing balance, duality and reflection. She is also associated with the color blue, the musical note G# and the herbs mugwort and cramp bark. The Moon is the ruler of the High Priestess and she wears a crown featuring the waxing, full and waning moon; this is also indicative of her status as maiden, mother and crone. This gestation of the divine feminine foretells the unfolding youth, motherhood and years of wisdom.

Across the lap of the High Priestess is the Torah, documenting divine knowledge dating back to the beginning of time. She sits serene yet erect, with her attention facing forward; her demeanor is meditative and relaxed. The Greek cross on her chest is a symbol of peace and alignment with the divine. On either side of the High Priestess are pillars which stand for balance in dichotomy; the black pillar featuring the letter “B” stands for Boaz and the white pillar featuring the letter “J” stands for Jachin are representative of the pillars which stood on Solomon’s Temple. A crescent moon representing the goddess HathorBehind the High Priestess is a veil printed with pomegranates and palm fronds, separating the conscious and subconscious realms. Pomegranates are symbols of fertility, sacred to Greek Goddess Persephone. In the myth, Persephone is tricked by Hades into staying in the Underworld after eating Pomegranate seeds.

Reading The High Priestess Upright

The High Priestess represents intuition, one’s inner knowingness as a guide, and spiritual wisdom. Receiving this card in a reading may be indicative of one’s development in their psychic intuition, inviting them to go within for a solution. It may also indicate the information sought is not ready to be revealed.

Reading The High Priestess Reversed

The High Priestess reversed depicts a character out of touch with reality. Characteristics of this reversal include escaping into fantasy, inaccurate hunches and inconsistency. This card also indicates a suppression of self, including gut instincts and other true feelings.

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