High Priestess Tarot Card Meaning, A Complete Guide!


The High Priestess Tarot Card, A Complete Guide
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The second card of the Major Arcana and the first woman in the series is the High Priestess.

She’s a cloistered woman holding a scroll or a book in her hands, seated between two pillars that mark the entrance to the Temple, and bearing a cross on her chest.

Her headdress resembles the three lunar phases and, along with the crescent moon at her feet, reveals an intuitive and feminine connection between her and the Moon card.

Behind her, there’s a curtain decorated with pomegranates, symbols of abundance, life, and fertility. While this can seem like a veil, it’s not hiding anything. Any secrets the High Priestess may be holding she will freely give to the initiate who approaches her with a pure heart.

In this comprehensive guide, we shall explore the symbolism of this mysterious and divine woman.

What does the High Priestess Tarot Card mean?

Guardian of mysteries and teacher of the sacred, the High Priestess resides between the conscious and unconscious, between the material and the divine.

The High Priestess card symbolizes knowledge, intuition, faith, mystery, and a pure heart. She’s the divine feminine guarding the threshold between two worlds; light and darkness, spirit and flesh. When she appears in a reading, it’s a sign to still the mind, listen to your inner voice, and look for answers within.

After the youthful Magician, who chooses one single direction from which to act in the world, the High Priestess takes us to the crossroads of duality, from where we can reach a higher level of consciousness and transcend both mind and matter. Her knowledge and her wisdom are as old as the Earth itself.

Here, on the threshold of the temple, there is no choice but to stand still and listen to the voice within our hearts.

The High Priestess appears in the guise of a nun, a virtuous woman who has devoted herself to God (or to the Goddess). Representing the ability to learn, teach, and nurture, she fosters understanding and harmony.

The scroll she’s carrying contains sacred knowledge hidden in plain sight, accessible to those who know where to look. The word TORA is similar to the Torah, the first part of the Jewish bible. It can also be read as an anagram of Tarot, thus referring to the cards themselves and the art of intuitive interpretation.

The two pillars refer to the ancient Temple of Solomon. The letters B and J stand for Boaz and Jachin, symbolizing strength and stability. Colored black and white, they hint at the coexistence of opposites, and the notion that one must accept and know the dual nature of all things to enter this sacred space.

In a reading, the High Priestess often indicates an actual person in the querent’s life, or the querent if female. Furthermore, she implies the writing of a book or journal, a map of the soul, and the reading of texts, sacred or otherwise. To enter the mystical world, one has to be adequately prepared, for there’s no greater benefit in life than knowledge and wisdom.

Only a pure heart can approach the Priestess. She’s beyond desire, passion, emotion, and petty thoughts. She may seem cold and distant like the moon because her faith and her purity are truly otherworldly. Her beauty is the beauty of God; timeless and irrevocable.

While she may resemble the Virgin Mary, she doesn’t deny pleasure. Her love is sublime and unquestionable. She’s cautious, not shallow, nor celibate, offering herself so entirely that it’s beside the point to question the purity of her motives.

The feminine principle of this card is all about receptivity and acceptance, where two become one, not by summation and union, but in a spirit of progression and conjunction.

She accepts the other without ever changing because she’s already complete.

On a deeper level, this card suggests patience and faith. Like one who has given up on all petty expectations and has faith in the will of the universe for better or for worse, the High Priestess urges those who seek her advice to look no further. The answers we are looking for can only be found within. All we have to do is learn to wait until the time is ripe and listen to our inner voice.

The High Priestess Upright Keywords

  • Intuition
  • Purity
  • Faith
  • Wisdom
  • Patience
  • Gestation
  • Duality
  • Information
  • Enlightenment
  • Mystery
  • Sacred
  • Sanctuary
  • Solitude
  • Knowledge
  • Receptivity
  • Tender
  • Preparation
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Forgiveness

 

What does the High Priestess Tarot Card mean reversed?

When reversed, this card implies mental and spiritual dissonance. The querent may have been ignoring the messages of their unconscious mind, and their motives may be dubious or selfish.

The reversed High Priestess indicates isolation, coldness, jealousy, and passivity. Possibly, the querent feels disconnected from their intuition. They may have been ignoring the signs and messages of life and looking for answers in the wrong place. Now more than ever, it is time to have faith and let go of the illusion.

Loneliness and frustration, giving up on yourself and blindly trusting others, or simply being silent in a time when your voice needs to be heard; the negative aspects of the High Priestess define a state of mind where uncertainty, doubt, and passivity have taken the place of wisdom and enlightenment.

She whispers of a quiet, even invisible torment. It is the deafening silence of isolation when we lose our genuine connection to the world.

Like the Moon, we all have a dark side. We have to trust and nurture it, so it doesn’t turn into a cold, secretive void. We also have to accept that all people change in time, and too often things are not what they seem.

This card also indicates jealousy and obsession. A seemingly virtuous person can turn out to be a liar whose thoughts and actions are pathological and chaotic. Often they will obsess over a person, try to approach them in an almost invasive way, or blame them for irrelevant matters.

In their attempt to justify their destructive patterns, they will find problems everywhere and often say hurtful things to establish their sense of superiority and false righteousness. They will conceal and twist the truth so it fits their agenda.

A reversed High Priestess can also mean that you have been silencing your inner voice. You see the veil as reality and refuse to let go of the illusion. Have you been hiding your true self, out of anxiety or stubbornness?  

Maybe you allow the opinions of other people, who have not your best interest in mind, to influence you to the point that you doubt yourself all the time. How will you become a complete being if you don’t accept that we all make mistakes, but we also have great potential for wisdom and greatness?

And if you’ve been keeping a secret that day by day weighs down on your soul, it will eventually find its way to the surface so why not find a way to address it while you can? Whether it is by meditation, writing a journal, or talking about it with a considerate friend, let it go, for the truth will eventually reveal itself, no matter what we do to deny it.

Again, this card urges you to calm down, listen to your own voice, and tune in! The two sides of all creation may clash in conflict and confusion but they are complementary to each other, and together they form a greater picture.

The High Priestess Reversed Keywords

  • Loneliness
  • Isolation
  • Anxiety
  • Counter-intuitive
  • Secret
  • Guilt
  • Cold
  • Silence
  • Obsession
  • Gossip
  • Confusion
  • Resignation
  • Inflexible
  • Passivity
  • Pitiless
  • Strict
  • Stubborn

The High Priestess as How Someone (He/She) Sees you

When someone sees you as the High Priestess, they think you are wise, intuitive, and mysterious. While they may adore you with reverence and devotion, you may seem as unreachable, secretive, and difficult to comprehend, someone who conceals their self under many layers.

Make no mistake; the person you’re wondering about perceives you as a beautiful, unique, and mysterious being. To them, your presence radiates respect and adoration.

This sublime image, however, may create the illusion that you’re above the ordinary, human life. That’s why they may be afraid or hesitant to approach you.

Your gaze seems like it can pierce the very soul, while your secrets are numerous and hidden from prying eyes. And there’s no questioning your motives in their mind; they are as pure, clear, and mesmerizing as moonlight.

Furthermore, they may believe you can teach them the secrets of life, or at least help them understand a different way to perceive the world.

You can show them that there is no greater teacher than their inner voice and that this image of beauty and mystery they see in you is, in fact, a reflection of the virtues they have not yet accepted in themselves.

What does the High Priestess mean in Love?

The High Priestess is a sign of deep and pure love. Intense, almost enchanting emotions may develop, along with an everlasting bond. The challenge here is to know whether this affair is a purely intellectual one, or if there’s a way to advance on a meaningful relationship.

The Priestess card always represents honest, true feelings. Her love is immortal and fills the heart with joy. It is a bond that words fail to describe.

If single, it’s a sign to develop trust and open your heart. Don’t judge your feelings, instead follow them and look for a partner who will do the same without a doubt.

In a relationship or an affair, there are two possible interpretations. You’re deeply in love, but you shouldn’t forget to care for yourself. While you and your partner form a great couple, neglecting your personal needs and desires can lead to coldness and passivity.

Simply let what has already formed blossom, without trying to control things.

If reversed, or if the High Priestess appears to conflict with the other cards, there may be a secretive and passive-aggressive attitude that undermines the relationship. This can lead to doubt and insecurity, quickly dissolving any attempt at a genuine connection.

There’s also the possibility that you’re not seeing what’s going on beneath the surface, focusing on superficial trivialities. What’s the truth beyond all the drama, coldness, and distancing?

Another meaning for this card is that of a platonic, intellectual relationship that may not or should not reach the physical level. Some things are best left as they are; pure, untouched, unspoiled by lust.

It refers to falling in love with the idea of love itself, or to the desire of the forbidden, that which we cannot have. If that be the case, consider the complications and consequences of wanting such a relationship. Your heart will know the answer.

What does the High Priestess mean in Friendship?

Concerning friends and family, the High Priestess brings very positive energy, caring, and affection. She represents unconditional love and wanting what’s best for the other. Her wisdom is to know when to be silent and listen, and when to offer advice.

Confucius said that silence is a true friend who never betrays. Such is the nature of the High Priestess as a companion. One who knows how to listen and thus allows the true self to emerge, a considerate friend who will not inappropriately chatter about themselves to steal the others’ thunder.

When she does speak, it’s to advise you for the best. Sometimes her words may sound harsh or evoke tension because the truth is not always easy to accept. That’s when the roles change, and you have to remain calm and learn to listen.

Be that as it may, the reserved character of the High Priestess makes her a friend to admire. Her introvert side may be difficult to understand, but her advice is most valuable.

When reversed, this card is a sign that your relationships are not what you think they are. Secrets, gossip, jealousy, or undeserved cruelty may be going on behind your back.

The root of these behaviors could be jealousy or simply a lack of prudence and consideration on the other person’s behalf. It is a tricky situation that you may want to avoid.

Bad blood can only lead to more enmity. Avoid those who ignore your feelings and disrespect your value as a human being. They are people who think they know, while they know nothing, and in their path towards oblivion, they would desecrate and diminish even the noblest heart.

The High Priestess Tarot Card as Emotions

When the High Priestess card manifests as emotions, it suggests a subtle, yet powerful feeling that cannot be put into exact words and is only felt intuitively on a subconscious level. There may be two opposing feelings that are building up and have not surfaced yet.

If you are wondering what to make of your emotions, or what somebody else is feeling and the High Priestess shows up, it’s a matter of emotional stability and security.

The person in question wants to feel safe and form a soul connection. While the High Priestess as an archetype transcends feelings and stands alone, she may appear as a guide for someone who doesn’t entirely comprehend themselves and what they’re going through emotionally.

Feelings can overwhelm us to a point where we can neither describe nor control them. And that is OK because they’re not meant to be precisely understood. They’re feelings, not concepts or ideas.

It’s natural to have mood swings and to admit that you feel sad, lost, or insecure. Only by accepting what we do not know can we truly learn in time.

Reversed, the High Priestess can be translated to emotions of guilt and shame. She abandons the world to hide from the judgment of others, leaving for a place where solitude and contemplation will serve as penance for her sins.

This card can also be a sign of being too secretive with your emotions, thus repressing them. Well, you’re not fooling anyone! The truths we deny always find their way to the surface. Maybe it’s time for introspection, to reconcile the conflict within.

Knowing what you feel means realizing that you are not your feelings, but you experience and radiate those feelings without letting them control your actions.

The High Priestess Tarot Card as a Place

So where exactly would someone find a Priestess?

The High Priestess card points to a quiet, mystical and ancient place, like a shrine or a secluded temple. It can also refer to libraries, studies, secret rooms, and the workspace of someone who practices divination and witchcraft.

Away from the noise of a bustling town, the Priestess resides in a secret sanctuary that few have knowledge of, or in a nunnery exclusive to women who have dedicated their lives to God.

Unlike the Hierophant, who can be found in a grandiose cathedral, her home is humble, forgotten, or concealed.

Imagine scented candles, old volumes of herbalism and Wicca sorcery, and a shrine dedicated to the Moon goddess Hecate. A curtain separates the outside world from this sanctuary, where negative energy is cleansed and the silence allows one to hear the voice within.

Apart from the occult, the High Priestess card possibly refers to a place where knowledge is kept and is accessible to whoever wishes to learn and study, namely a library, an archive, or a university.

The High Priestess Tarot Card in Career

In case you asked a question regarding employment and the High Priestess card showed up, it’s almost always a positive sign, although it may be a while until you see the fruit of your labor.

The High Priestess advises patience and careful study in career matters. She may refer to a career in the holistic field, like divination, Reiki healing, and alternative medicine. She also resembles scientists, academics, librarians, writers, historians, doctors, and nurses.

This is not the time for changes, bold moves, and risky, new enterprises. The Priestess card urges you to think carefully, consider all your available options. Have patience and listen to your intuition.

Maybe you have to acquire important knowledge and information before making a move forward. It’s going to take some time until the reserved and careful Priestess gives birth to the abundance of the flourishing Empress.

This card indicates the possibility that you will discover a vital piece of information that will offer you an advantage. Whether it is rare knowledge or an investment tip, keep this a secret and discuss it only with close friends and trusted colleagues.

It’s also a sign for students that they’re on the right track. There’s a great potential for progress if you pay attention to your teachers. Even if you’re feeling overwhelmed by projects and unsure about the future, keep at it and answers will arrive.

When reversed, this card implies that you’re out of your depth. You don’t know enough about what you’re getting into, you’re indecisive and cannot see clearly.

You may have made the wrong choices in the past. Consider your options. Is the career you’re pursuing what you really want?

If your work creates a conflict within you that affects other aspects of your life as well, it’s time to calm down and find the peace of mind that will allow you to direct your efforts towards a career path that you enjoy.

Concerning possible career choices, the High Priestess usually signifies a well-educated person or a healer. She can identify with a theoretical scientist, a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, a scholar of history or literature, and any other similar profession.

Of course, she’s always associated with books and the writing process. Librarians, writers, poets, and journalists may identify with the High Priestess and find affirmation and inspiration when she appears in a reading.

Finally, the traditional interpretation for the Priestess card is that of a psychic or a spiritual healer. This includes intuitive and Tarot readers, but therapists and psychologists as well.

The High Priestess Tarot Card as a Situation

In the past position, the High Priestess denotes stability and passivity, in the sense of calmly waiting for answers and events to unfold.

The High Priestess defines a situation where patience, stability, and reflection are of the utmost importance. A problem or a riddle may have been troubling your mind. It’s too soon to tell what will occur, so you might as well keep your thoughts to yourself for now.

This is a pause for reflection. Waiting is a period of learning.

A sign to sit quietly for a while, the High Priestess card is the opposite of action. Her virtue is, as we’ve already established, patience. Your plans need time to materialize. Being too eager and hasty will bring you no closer to your goal.

Think of a butterfly. It cannot emerge from the cocoon before the transformation is complete like most flowers only blossom in spring.

It is a time to rest, heal, and recollect ourselves. Don’t venture forth into the unknown. Stay safe and enjoy the silence. Observe your problems from a distance and, in time, more choices and solutions will present themselves.

Reversed, this card describes a situation of anxiety and impatience. Maybe you wanted to be the first one to discover a secret, and now the dangers and afflictions of knowing too little have fallen upon you.

Perhaps you ignored your gut feeling and strayed off the path, leaving you exposed and vulnerable. You read the cards wrong peeked where you were not supposed to or were too anxious to get results.

There’s no shame in admitting a mistake, as long as you find the goodwill to make things right and recover.

The High Priestess as What Someone Wants

When a person’s desires and intentions align with the High Priestess card, it means they want to be more spiritual, authentic, and calm. They want to attain perfect knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, develop their intuition, and have a stable routine.

The High Priestess describes a person who wants peace and quiet in their home. A balanced daily life without distractions inspires them to become better versions of themselves.

You could find them in a tidy house, reading a good book, having a hot cup of coffee, and waiting for their faithful lover while a jazz record is playing in the background. That’s all they really want.

However, what they desire most is, perhaps, mental clarity and living a meaningful, personal life.

Contrary to what one might think, this is not a person who wishes to be left alone, but one who chooses their friends and companions with great care. They want people who inspire them and share their knowledge and experience.

They aspire to be creative and enjoy the little things in life, always seeking stability and a beautiful stillness, like that of an old photo. Their low profile enables them to avoid shady and uncomfortable situations.

Should a reversed High Priestess describe a person’s intentions, it means that what they desire could be well concealed. They may have a secret plan or agenda.

It could just as well refer to a person who is confused and doesn’t know what they want. They withhold their intentions because they are unclear, shrouded by uncertainty and delusion.

Another way to interpret this card in reverse would be a compulsive curiosity to know others’ secrets and peek behind the curtain, so to say. One may even feel shame and guilt because what they wish for is considered immoral or extreme.

Is the High Priestess Tarot Card a Yes or No?

While a positive atmosphere surrounds the High Priestess, in a yes or no reading she implies that the answer is not that simple for this matter. You have to wait to see how things will unfold. Maybe you already know the answer.

Sitting between a black and a white pillar, the High Priestess is a reminder to avoid absolutes and find the middle way. Maybe the answer is unclear because it’s too early to tell, or you have the answer but feel uncertain.

She suggests that there is no right or wrong or wrong way to go about this matter.

You could interpret this card as a ‘Yes, although…’ meaning that the answer is a positive one, yet there are complications to be considered. As always, your intuition is your best bet.

Remember that someone with the High Priestess qualities wouldn’t even ask such a simple question. She does not need affirmations because she’s in control of her life and can make essential decisions.

The same goes for a reversed High Priestess. The answer can be negative but the tables can turn with a careful and considerate approach. You may have guessed wrong, or your question may be misplaced.

However strange this may seem, this card can mean ‘Yes AND No.’

You’ll eventually find out for yourself and will probably get what you want, but it may be different than what you expect. You possibly have not considered all the factors in play and won’t know for sure until you discover the truth for yourself. It may be a while until you realize that there was no reason to wonder about this subject in the first place.

The High Priestess as an Obstacle

A reserved and conservative introvert, the Priestess archetype can block one’s path towards being spontaneous and joyful.

The High Priestess appears as an obstacle in the form of a cold and distant maternal figure who smothers her child by being overprotective.  She may indicate anxiety and doubt, ignorance, passivity, a crippling feeling of loneliness, the inability to trust in your intuition, or someone who’s been keeping secrets from you.

For sure, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Nevertheless, in the crossing position the High Priestess card becomes an irrational fear of the outside world. The resulting isolation separates one from the environment, and ultimately from the true self.

It refers to waiting for something that will never come and mistaking ignorance for wisdom. It is a passive-aggressive halt from activity, a denial to accept change and the flow of life.

It can indicate an actual person in the querent’s life, a family member or partner who had an unforgettable influence over them in the past in a disarming and smothering way.

Or it can be the querent’s doubts and anxieties that silence their inner voice, making them unable to participate, a motionless statue, an observer stuck between two worlds.

The High Priestess Tarot Card as Action

The High Priestess is a card of non-action. She suggests careful consideration and reflection before deciding to make any kind of move. By observing from a distance and not interfering, she allows the natural course of events to unfold.

There is a peculiar grace in the art of non-doing. One can learn to avoid conflict and disarray simply by not interfering at all. It is wise to know when to stay away from a battle when the chance of success is thin.

The High Priestess represents this concept more than any other card. As a nun, she steps back from action, because she trusts in God’s plan. In other words, she has mastered the virtues of patience and meditation.

That is the way of least interference. The simplest solution requires minimum effort, accomplishing everything without trying and struggling like light removes darkness in the succession of night and day.

Furthermore, this card may suggest that a making plan or studying thoroughly is needed before acting.

Reversed, she may indicate that passivity and avoidance have dulled the querent’s senses and it’s time to get up and do some work!

You can achieve a lot regarding your inner world through meditation and stillness. Nevertheless, you have to know when to wrap things up and move forward.

The High Priestess Tarot Card as Advice

Quiet your feelings and still the mind. Look within. The answers will appear when you will have accepted yourself completely.  The High Priestess is a call to know thyself and build patience.

There can only be one way to interpret the High Priestess when she appears in the advice position: there are hidden aspects to the situation that you have to discover before deciding what to do. Wait, and be patient.

We cannot stress this enough. This card is a sign to listen to your intuition and follow your gut feeling.

Do not actively interfere before you’ve seen the entire picture. Avoid conflicts, ultimatums, and extremities because there may be some unknown element to the equation.

Consider writing a journal to see how the progression of time and different thoughts and situations affect your mood and daily life. You may be stressed out and anxious, so why not relax, lie back, and enjoy a good book?

When reversed, she urges you to disclose the secrets and feelings that have been gnawing at your mind. Find someone you trust, tell them of your troubles, and listen to their insight.

The High Priestess in the Future

The High Priestess signifies an arrival to a new kind of awareness in the future. You will evolve, acquire valuable knowledge, and embrace your true self. This card is often a sign that you will meet someone who will greatly affect your emotional domain.

This is about the expansion of consciousness and inner bliss. By knowing when you can change something, or that there’s nothing else to do than to accept what has happened and move on, you will discover a simple, yet vital truth that will help you to better understand the world and yourself.

You will learn an important lesson, or a secret will reveal itself. Any existing tension will find relief, and conflicts will soon be solved.

Perchance a long-awaited meeting will take place. An old friend may show up to see how you’re doing and share what they’ve been up to all this time.

And if the High Priestess appears reversed in the future position, you may go through a time of mild depression and loneliness. Don’t lose hope. View this as a chance to face your feelings so you can slowly rebuild a strong foundation.

The High Priestess as a Person

The High Priestess is a quiet person, even mysterious sometimes, someone who can offer great advice and help you solve your problems with an aura of certainty and integrity. She’s admired for her talents, her intuition, and her steadfast, albeit introvert character.

Often referring to a generous and kind female individual, the High Priestess radiates a graceful aura of devotion. She will be strongly devoted to at least one aspect of her life, be that a family, a career, art, helping others, etc.

She crafts meaningful bonds with the people who surround her and would go to great lengths to support them. Under one condition though: your motives have to be pure, and you have to earn her trust.

She may resemble the mother or grandmother of the querent, although we should not exclude a dearly beloved friend or lover.

In the negative sense of the High Priestess, we see a cold mother who refuses to let her child reach adulthood, smothers its dreams with her rigidity, and hides the beauty of the world from its eyes. It is cruelty and ignorance disguised as a moral facade.

What Zodiac Sign is the High Priestess?

The nurturing and sensitive nature of the High Priestess resembles the gentle soul of the Cancer sign. However, she may also represent kind, adaptive, and intuitive Pisces.

Her affinity to the Moon gives her great power over water signs.

Someone who was born under the sign of Cancer is a sensitive, eccentric figure who seeks joy and security, as well as to protect their loved ones.

Their unfathomable melancholy and sadness are only surpassed by the bright moonlight of their disarming smile.

And as for Pisces, they are the truly wise, old souls of the zodiac.

Creative and able to adapt under any circumstances, they always know what they want, and will easily get over anger and sadness in a matter of minutes, so they can move on to being happy and content.

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