The High Priestess Tarot Card Meaning
Keywords: Intuition – Mystery – Knowledge
Tarot Card Description:
The High Priestess, dressed in flowing blue robes, sits between two columns. Behind her is a tapestry decorated with pomegranates and palms, ancient symbols of fertility and wisdom. Beyond the veil lies still, deep, dark waters symbolizing the subconscious and intuition. The two columns beside her represent the pillars at the Temple of Solomon: Boaz (strength) and Jakin (establishing). On her head she wears a moon and horns, alluding to Ancient Egyptian spirituality and the goddess Isis. On her chest is a cross. She holds in her lap a Torah symbolizing her connection to religious teachings. At her feet is a crescent moon that symbolizes women’s mysteries, the subconscious, and intuition.
Upright Meanings For the High Priestess Tarot Card:
The High Priestess is a strong and clear message to follow your intuition. Whenever it shows up, you’ve got to dig deep and trust your gut feeling. Don’t discount any nagging feelings or instincts related to your situation just because they don’t make logical sense. The High Priestess is connected to the deep subconscious. There’s a lot more to your situation than it appears on the surface.
The High Priestess also represents hidden knowledge. On a practical level, this can be deeper mysteries and secrets that are not immediately apparent. Information is being obscured, but if you dig deeper you’ll uncover more layers to the situation.
Metaphysically, the High Priestess has strong connections to mysticism, Gnosticism, or occult traditions within organized religions. It can speak to priestessing in Neopagan traditions and women’s spirituality. This is a message to go deep with spiritual practice. Look beyond the surface of formal religious teachings to the core of the practice. It shows up in many of my client’s readings as stepping into a strong role as a spiritual advisor or healer.
The High Priestess card has elements within it symbolizing duality. The colors of the pillars, the pomegranate veil hiding another scene, and the contrast between religion and intuition all speak to the liminality of the High Priestess card. This card could be asking you to embrace those disparate parts of yourself and life. Sometimes this takes the form of shadow work, where you explore the repressed parts of yourself that often act out in subtle, sabotaging ways.
The High Priestess card can be a message to wait and be silent. You may have a goal that’s near and dear to your heart. Consider keeping it under wraps until a more opportune moment. When the High Priestess shows up in this context, there’s a chance that an outside force might unintentionally (or intentionally) sabotage its progress. Sometimes, there can be strength in silence.
Love and Relationships:
Women and men represented by this card can be a bit enigmatic. They’re usually calm, thoughtful, and great listeners. This makes them great friends or partners for fostering deep connections. In love, partnerships represented by the High Priestess can feel incredibly deep. These relationships can feel like past-life or karmic connections. It’s also a sign that there’s a lot of personal growth and healing that can occur in the relationship. This person can assist in learning trust. Through the relationship, you can uncover more about your true self.
Career and Work:
A career represented by the High Priestess is a deeply emotionally fulfilling one. This card commonly represents work related to spirituality and counseling. This can take the form of a religious leader, a psychic, astrologer, tarot reader, psychologist, or counselor. Anything that involves healing, guiding, and uncovering deeper mysteries. Jobs related to uncovering secrets and hidden motives are favored as well. If you receive this card as representing your strengths or abilities, then you have a gift for uncovering the truth of situations. Others may have difficulties connecting the dots as fast as you do. Trust your assessments of people.
People and Personalities:
In traditional tarot, this is the card of the “dark, mysterious woman”. Of course, it can apply to men as well! Individuals represented by the High Priestess may seem cold at first glance. In truth, they’re deeply introspective. They’re quiet because they listen carefully to others. They’re incredibly thoughtful and perceptive. If the High Priestess shows up as an unknown person in your reading, then be on the lookout for a mentor to appear in your life. She also represents a person who may arrive with a hidden piece of information regarding an issue. If the card represents you, then get ready because you are being called to step into a mentoring role for others.
High Priestess Reversed Tarot Card Meaning
Reversed keywords: Deceit – Secrets – Disconnection from Self
Reversed Meanings For the High Priestess Tarot Card:
When reversed, the High Priestess is most often telling you that you are disconnected from, or are ignoring, your intuition. Is there the nagging feeling like something isn’t right, but you’ve been pushing it away? Or are you faced with a decision that challenges conventional logic, but your gut has a clear answer? Ignoring these hunches can hold you back. At worst, you can wind up in a bad situation. Give yourself space and time to reconnect with your intuition. You may need to journal, meditate, or sit silently in nature for the answer to come through.
The High Priestess also represents secrets and hidden information from the querrent. In fact, sometimes this card will come up as a kind of “dead-end’ to the reading -very similar to the Two of Swords. Someone or something is blocking the information from being available to you. In this case, wait and revisit the question later. A more negative aspect of this card is seen when another person related to the issue is purposefully withholding information. Keep a look out if any hidden motives are at play in your situation.
Sometimes the High Priestess can indicate an unbalance with the shadow self or deeply repressed subconscious. The Shadow self is a Jungian concept of all the socially unacceptable parts of ourselves that we repress. In truth, they lie beneath the surface of our everyday consciousness. You may be witnessing the shadow self rearing up if your situation revolves around negativity, lies, aggression, or jealousy. In this case, explore what lies in your shadow. Everyone has one, so you’re in good company! Embrace and work through your own complicated, messy motives.
Reversed Love and Relationships:
A friend or partner represented by the High Priestess reversed may appear needy or unsure. Rather than looking to themselves for answers, you may find them leaning on you for guidance. This can begin to feel like a burden if you don’t nudge them to decide for themselves. At worst, you may need to set firm boundaries if this person is continually tapping you for advice and reassurance. A negative aspect to this card is that the person in question may not be giving you all of the details. They may gloss over their own actions and motives to appear the victims of a story. Sometimes this can manifest as a person who wants to vent about the conflict in their lives but does not understand the integral part they’re playing in it.
Reversed Career and Work:
For careers and workplaces, the High Priestess reversed can signal confusion, sabotage, and drained emotional reserves. The work atmosphere can be chaotic through the clashing of egos and hidden agendas. This is made worse by the High Priestess’s association with secrecy. Conflicts might be occurring out in the open, but often there’s a weird vibe. You can’t help but wonder what’s really going on.
For those who work in counseling others, this card can appear when you’re burning out. If this is the case, take a break if possible. Connect with a peer or healer to work out emotional blockages. Case in point: most professional therapists have another therapist that they go to for counselling. Work related to the High Priestess can be very heavy. You must find a way to decompress. Allow yourself to receive that same care from someone else.
Reversed People and Personalities:
A dark side of this card reversed is a person who can’t keep secrets. This can be as innocuous as someone who is too chatty and self-disclosing. For example, individuals who don’t mean any harm, but have no filter. On the other hand, it can indicate an individual who purposefully discloses information to hurt you or improve their own social standing. In the case, proceed with caution when divulging personal information. Suss out any hidden agendas.
Astrology: The Moon
My inner voice and inner knowing guide me true.
A Few of My Favorite Examples of The High Priestess
The Dreaming Way Tarot has a charming High Priestess figure who carries the traditional symbol of a Torah scroll. She sits on a crescent moon, representing intuition. The imagery is dream-like, pointing towards looking to the subconscious and dreams for answers.
The Ostara Tarot subtly incorporates a few of the traditional symbols of the High Priestess into its cards —as well as some clever twists. The High Priestess holds a pomegranate, as in the original Rider-Waite-Smith tarot. There are moon patterns on her dress, symbolizing cycles and intuition. Her eyes are concealed by a veil. The figure is bee-like with antenna protruding from her head. This could be a reference to the Melissae (having origins in the Greek language for honey and bees) who were priestesses of Demeter in ancient Greek religion.
The Prisma Visions Tarot card for the High Priestess has a dreamy, watery feel. The figure walks in water, dropping portions of pomegranates to the ground. A crescent moon glows beside them. This interpretation of the High Priestess symbolism touches on elements related to dreams, intuition, and inner wisdom.
The Starchild Tarot’s High Priestess card is a modern reimagining of the Rider-Waite-Smith imagery. It adds beautiful pastel hues and a galaxy aesthetic along with Egyptian imagery. Trivia: if the model for the High Priestess looks familiar, she’s is the famous Bri Luna of The Hoodwitch.
The High Priestess from the Fountain Tarot is another modern reimagining of this archetype. The High Priestess sits inside of a crescent moon, holding a scroll. The two curtains allude to the duality of this card. Behind the thin veil, we see a glowing full moon in a black sky. Her facial expression is mysterious and ambiguous.