High Priestess divinatory meanings

The mysterious, fluctuating energies of the Moon exemplify the High Priestess. Everything about rhythm, change and movement is emphasized. The cards around her will reflect this as instability.

The High Priestess represents the feminine inner intuition. She is a woman who chooses to go her own way; not for her the crowds. The High Priestess shows that you can navigate your way through life with few clues. It is as if you have your own internal satnav switched on.

If you are a man interested in a woman represented by the High Priestess, chances are she is a complete enigma to you. Does she want a relationship? Does she want to go down the same journey as you? Is she really the Ice Maiden, or will she thaw? If she does, it is because something within her says so, so impressing her with roses and chocolates is probably not going to work. Now, if she is the Empress, then those seductive gifts will do the business.

Rider-Waite: The High Priestess

Rider=Waite High PriestessShe has the lunar crescent at her feet, a horned diadem on her head, with a globe in the middle place, and a large solar cross on her breast. The scroll in her hands is inscribed with the word Tora, signifying the Greater Law, the Secret Law and the second sense of the Word. It is partly covered by her mantle, to shew that some things are implied and some spoken. She is seated between the white and black pillars - J. and B. - of the mystic Temple, and the veil of the Temple is behind her: it is embroidered with palms and pomegranates. The vestments are flowing and gauzy, and the mantle suggests light - a shimmering radiance. She has been called occult Science on the threshold of the Sanctuary of Isis, but she is really the Secret Church, the House which is of God and man. She represents also the Second Marriage of the Prince who is no longer of this world; she is the spiritual Bride and Mother, the daughter of the stars and the Higher Garden of Eden. She is, in fine, the Queen of the borrowed light, but this is the light of all. She is the Moon nourished by the milk of the Supernal Mother.

In a manner, she is also the Supernal Mother herself - that is to say, she is the bright reflection. It is in this sense of reflection that her truest and highest name in bolism is Shekinah - the co-habiting glory. According to Kabalism, there is a Shekinah both above and below. In the superior world it is called Binah, the Supernal Understanding which reflects to the emanations that are beneath. In the lower world it is Malkuth - that world being, for this purpose, understood as a blessed Kingdom that with which it is made blessed being the Indwelling Glory. Mystically speaking, the Shekinah is the Spiritual Bride of the just man, and when he reads the Law she gives the Divine meaning. There are some respects in which this card is the highest and holiest of the Greater Arcana.

High Priestess meanings

Secrets, mystery, the future as yet unrevealed; the woman who interests the Querent, if male; the Querent herself, if female; silence, tenacity; mystery, wisdom, science.

High Priestess reversed card meanings

Passion, moral or physical ardour, conceit, surface knowledge.

Book of Thoth: The High Priestess

Book of Thoth High Priestess tarot cardPurity is to live only to the Highest; and the
Highest is All; be thou as Artemis to Pan.

Read thou in the Book of the Law, and break
through the veil of the Virgin.

Pure, exalted and gracious influence enters the matter. Hence, change, alternation, increase and decrease, fluctuation. There is, however, a liability to be led away by enthusiasm; one may become "moon-struck" unless careful balance is maintained.

The High Priestess is associated with the Moon, despite there being a Major Arcana of the same name. This card reflects the lunar phases, so expect a lot of change and fluctuation in the situation.

More information

Golden Dawn - The High Priestess

Priestess of the Silver Star

Change, alternation, increase and decrease. Fluctuation.

Mathers: High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

High Priestess reversed card meanings

Conceit, Ignorance, Unskillfulness, Superficial Knowledge

Etteilla: Female Querent

The Woman Who Most Interests the Querent, if Male Nature, Rest, Peace and Quiet, Retreat, A Withdrawn Life, Alone, Retirement. Temple of Heat, Silence, Tenacity.

Female Querent reversed card meanings

Reproduction, Garden of Eden, Effervescence, Bubbling, Fermentation, Ferment, Levin, Acidity.

Thierens: II. The High Priestess. Taurus

The second stage in macrocosmic evolution is the polarity of the omnipotent might of Self, omnipotent possibility of the field of manifestation, universal passive richness, the Kamaduk or Most Beloved Wish-Cow of the Hindus. This macrocosmic field is the Temple of the Great Magician or Architect, in potency at least. It is the Bull, Taurus, of astrology, the house of sound, art, faith and richness. To speak truly, it is not so much sound as the principle of the soundbox, sound itself having its origin in the next step. Therefore Papus may well compare this card with the hieroglyphic meaning of the Hebrew letter Beth, which relates to "the mouth of man as the organ of speech." But it is not "God the Son" as he says elsewhere. It might be called 'God the Woman,' the Divine Mother, the 'Eternal Feminine.' As the passive richness of the Universe awaiting him that will be able to see it and appreciate it, this principle may well be symbolised by the image of the High Priestess, sitting in an attitude of waiting, between the pillars of the Temple, B and J, standing for the Two, from which will spring the worlds of spirit and of matter. Being Supreme Objectivity, it is the symbol of receiving, of possessing, of cult and adoration. It symbolises womanhood in general, as the first card symbolised manhood.

Mr. Waite has restored in his images the original picture of Isis, reposing on the crescent moon, which indeed I should say must be regarded as the best representative of the goddess of Taurus, in which sign the moon is 'exalted,' as astrology teaches. But Isis is not so much to be regarded as representing "Science, Wisdom, Knowledge" (M.) — as the goddess "of Nature, whose veil must not be raised before the profane." (P.) and of supreme consciousness, because 'consciousness' is the faculty committed by Earth.

W. calls her "Second Marriage of the Prince" and says, that in divination she stands for the querent if female. Now I should say, this cannot be altogether true, as in the horoscope the first house indicates the personal temperament, etc., for a man as well as for a female querent. So in cards the Magician must always bear the meaning of the querent personally, but if a female she will be largely influenced by the High Priestess, as this is the representative of the feminine in general and female properties. It may be true, more or less, that for a man this card represents "the woman who interests the querent" (W.), just as on the other hand the Magician represents the man who interests the querent if this happens to be a woman.

The High Priestess symbolises constancy, fidelity, repose, stability, but also dumbness, laziness, resistance, endurance as well as passive opposition. It rules everything in connection with art and the artistic abilities, with wealth and with the masonic lodge.

2. La Papesse - Paul Foster Case

The keys in the Knapp version repeat Oswald Wirth's variation from the older symbolism. They do not belong properly to this card. The lunar crescent surmounting her crown identifies La Papesse as the Tarot symbol of the Moon. The symbol of Mercury on her breast suggests that she reflects the power of the preceding Key, just as the subconscious mind, whose principal power is memory, is responsive and reflective in all its activities, which are controlled from the Mercurial, or self-conscious, level.

La Papesse - meanings

The divinatory meanings are the same as those of the Moon in astrology: Fluctuation, reaction, change, alternation, increase and decrease, instability, secrets, things hidden, the unrevealed future, Whether these meanings are good or evil depends altogether upon the dignity of the card in the divinatory layout.


Occultism. Esoterism. Mysticism. Theosophy. Initiation. Isis. Mystery.

When I lifted the first veil and entered the outer court of the Temple of Initiation, I saw in half darkness the figure of a woman sitting on a high throne between two pillars of the temple, one white, and one black. Mystery emanated from her and was about her. Sacred symbols shone on her green dress; on her head was a golden tiara surmounted by a two-horned moon; on her knees she held two crossed keys and an open book. Between the two pillars behind the woman hung another veil all embroidered with green leaves and fruit of pomegranate.

And a voice said:

"To enter the Temple one must lift the second veil and pass between the two pillars. And to pass thus, one must obtain possession of the keys, read the book and understand the symbols. Are you able to do this?"

"I would like to be able," I said.

Then the woman turned her face to me and looked into my eyes without speaking. And through me passed a thrill, mysterious and penetrating like a golden wave; tones vibrated in my brain, a flame was in my heart, and I understood that she spoke to me, saying without words:

"This is the Hall of Wisdom. No one can reveal it, no one can hide it. Like a flower it must grow and bloom in thy soul. If thou wouldst plant the seed of this flower in thy soul - learn to discern the real from the false. Listen only to the Voice that is soundless... Look only on that which is invisible, and remember that in thee thyself, is the Temple and the gate to it, and the mystery, and the initiation."