High Priestess is the third card of the Major Arcana, and it is the first card where a woman figure is in the forefront. This card can be considered as the supplementary opposite of the Magician card. Whereas the Magician represents initiative, the High Priestess represents intuition; whereas the Magician is exoteric, the High Priestess is mystical and so on. She is the feminine principle of the Universe.
In this card, the High Priestess is depicted as a young lady sitting in front of a veil, between two columns, holding a half-concealed Torah scroll on her laps and with a lunar crescent at her feet. Her clothes are simple; they consist a blue garment. On her head is the Crown of Isis (or the Triple Goddess Crown). The columns she is seated between are of opposite colors; black and white, and they bear the letters B and J. The veil behind the High Priestess is decorated with pomegranates and leaves; partially hiding a body of water and distant shores.
The blue color of the garment, represents both tranquility and thoughtfulness. The half-concealed Torah scroll signs the possession of higher knowledge, be it esoteric or exoteric. The two columns are the columns of the Temple of Solomon, the letters being for Boaz and Jachin (1). The Crown of the High Priestess; showing the three phases of the Moon, represent three stages of a woman’s life (maiden, mother, crone) and stand for the feminine aspect of the Universe (2). The embroidery on the Veil, pomegranates does also serve the same purpose, symbolizing female fertility, inner Goddess, and secret knowledge. The body of water behind the Veil symbolize the subconscious on which the High Priestess has the dominion.
If such a consciousness truly is set loose in the world, nothing will be the same. It will free us to be in a sacred body, on a sacred planet, in sacred communion with all of it. It will infect the universe with holiness. We will discover the Divine deep within the earth and the cells of our bodies, and we will lover her there with all our hearts and all our souls and all our minds.
-Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter
The High Priestess is a card of tranquility, knowledge, and understanding; as her dominion is upon subconscious. Her tranquility, unlike the Magician, does not stand on the ability to create an impact; it stands on her enlightened concord with her inner self. She listens to and relies on her inner voice. As such, this card calls for going with instincts, indicating that some knowledge comes from intuition rather than observation and analysis. Furthermore, this card might also point out a change in the facts that are taken granted to be certain – in which case one would only have his intuition to trust upon.
In a reading, the person symbolized by the High Priestess would be calm, patient and be leaning to reclusion; letting the events unfold without her intervention; in accordance with their nature. The main feature of her character would be friendliness and benevolence; although she might be in need of solitariness from time to time. In a relationship context, this card might imply a deeper level of connection, where both parties share an inexplicable attachment to each other. Having said that, this card might also be pointing out that if the relationship is not “feeling right”, it might not be. Career-wise, this card indicates that one can also trust his intuition when evaluating and deciding upon the facts when the set of rules comes short.
No one knows what you have been through or what your pretty little eyes have seen, but I can reassure you ~ whatever you have conquered, it shines through your mind.
To sum up, the High Priestess is a card that calls for self-reflection and tuning to inner voice; reminding that sometimes the answers sought are in there, waiting to be listened.