From the Old Notebook: High Priestess

Howdy! I’m reviving notes from my first tarot study group in 2008. For more of an intro, click here. Original notes in black, new notes in purple.

*I think the references to Solomon’s Temple check out, but I am no expert. If something is incorrect, please let me know.

Pamela Coleman Smith High Priestess

High Priestess–keeper of records

Name–origin, Egypt (see below)

Throne–at doorway to Solomon’s Temple (veil kept commoners out.) Slightly hidden (guarding mysteries!) made of stone (permanence. tradition.)

Pillars–pillars in temple of Jerusalem & temple of Isis. Duality: Spiritual/Physical, Female/Male.

White Pillar–Jakin, positive energy, mercy, action, consciousness

Black Pillar–Boaz, negative, severity, passive, mystery
(Remember that “negative” here doesn’t mean “bad.” Think of it as the act of receiving, or as a void, a vessel, depths, subconscious.)

(Also remember that, esoterically, Masculine energy is outward, pursuing. Female energy is inward, receiving. These are archetypes–themes–and don’t mean actual women and men.)

Lotus Buds on Pillars–Egyptian–potential & virginity

Scroll–Torah. Ancient knowledge, not easily available

Dress–looks like a waterfall. Stream of consciousness.

Water in background–unconsciousness, truth & secrets, depth

Veil–mysteries of life & death.

Pomegranates–desire, creative energy, fertility, abundance

Palm Leaves–Victory (Someone once told me they were traditionally used as an offering or blessing.)

Cross–uniting female/subconscious (horizontal line) with male/conscious (vertical line)
(Also, physical expression of time meeting spiritual expression of growth)

Moon crown–phases of the moon, wisdom and virginity

Thoughts from the future! (aka today.)

The High Priestess guards the subconscious, and our oldest secrets. These secrets are written in our DNA. The dream world, the collective subconscious, and unconscious habits all effect us constantly–every day–but we don’t see them. Our past lives, the history of our race, the history of the cosmos, all locked in those mysteries.

On one hand, I think certain information should be difficult to get to. I think there should be secrets. On the other hand, the information is always there. Just like a cave or a deep ocean–if you dare to enter.

On a personal note, I have always had an intimate relationship with the subconscious. I’ve had episodes of deep depression my whole life. In adolescence, I experienced intense apathy (sounds like an oxymoron, right?) It was intense because it took over all my senses. It was like I was in a bubble–nothing was real.

Because I ended up in the depths of my subconscious with no understanding and no navigation, it was all very bizarre and it effected me in negative ways. When I started learning the arcane, it was the only thing that ever made sense to me. Mainstream religions, “common sense,” and institutions could do nothing for me. This is because they operate on the conscious level, in the light, with masculine energy. They don’t truly dive down to the depths (I understand there are exceptions, but work with me.) They don’t embrace the darkness, the void, the feminine.

So that’s where I’m at. Not to bash any religion or anything… just to recognize that there is a whole part of our existence we ignore; a HUGE part. And the High Priestess is the door-lady. She might just let you peek behind the curtain into the endless depths.

Tell me what you think!
Till next time,


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