Wednesday, 1 August 2012


©Virginijus Poshkus
The Radiant Rider Waite (U.S. Games, 2003) and the Tarot of the New Vision (Lo Scarabeo, 2003) offer us the chance to look at the High Priestess from different angles today.

The Radiant version shows her sitting in front of a pomegranate-decorated cloth draped between a dark and light pillar.  Behind it, we can make out a lake.  In front of her is a crescent moon, around which her dark blue cape drapes.  She wears a pale blue dress, with a cross over her chest.  A veil of the same pale blue falls from her triple moon crown.

This High Priestess is totally in tune with emotion, understanding the cycles of life and how they influence relationships, whether with others or with ourselves.  She guards the mysteries of the unconscious, understanding them both thanks to her learning, but more especially due to her own experience. 

©Cestaro & Alligo
A very different perspective greets us in the Tarot of the New Vision.  Behind the pillars we see two more priestesses, heads bowed and hands held together in prayer.  The veil has now slipped to one side, allowing us to see past it to the High Priestess and the crescent moon in the sky above her, as well as the sandy beach and gently splashing waves of what seems like the sea.  Just behind the High Priestess' seat an owl sits on an enormous pomegranate, bursting with seeds.

This card suggests that the High Priestess has responsibilities beyond understanding emotions and using her intuition.  The two young priestesses imply that she teaches others, though whether didactically or by example is open to question.  The owl speaks of far-seeing wisdom, and the fact that it is nighttime in the card highlights the idea of the High Priestess connecting with that which is normally unseen.  The change from what seemed to be a calm lake to a somewhat wavey ocean suggests currents that run deep, and that things are not as calm as they may seem - that she is moved more deeply than she lets on by what she sees, hears and intuits.

I'll be seeing my therapist this morning, though it's not our regular day.  Although a man, he is far more connected to the High Priestess archetype - deeply intuitive, understanding the value of silence - than to the Hierophant or any of the other "masculine" cards.  The Tarot of the New Vision's perspective, including a teaching or hierarchical aspect, reminds me that I no longer "need" to see him, from the perspective of my academic learning.  Yet I get so much from our sessions, both personally and in terms of internalising how I would like to be with my clients, that I am not ready to end.  There is wisdom in seeing what I need, rather than accepting what is considered "normal".

I am grateful for a listening ear, and a good role model.

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