The High Priestess (2)
“To know that you know, and to know that you don’t know – that is the real wisdom.” ~Confucius
The Rider-Waite deck portrays a High Priestess seated on a throne between two pillars, which displays the letters ‘B’ and ‘J’. The crown of Isis rests upon her head, and the waxing crescent moon lies beneath her feet. The symbol of an equal sided cross is displayed on her robes. In her arms is a scroll containing the word ‘Tora’.
Crown of Isis: Knowledge, understanding
Letters B and J: (Hebrew symbols for the entrance to the temple of Solomon) Holy place
Waxing Crescent Moon: Women’s mysteries, secrecy
Equal Armed Cross: The four elements — water, air, fire, earth
Tora: Hebrew word for ‘teaching’
Non-action, Unconscious Awareness, Wisdom, Mystery, Hidden Knowledge
The Fool next encounters a wise and mysterious woman. Majestically seated upon a throne between two pillars, her quintessential presence portrays her sense of hidden knowledge and unconscious awareness. She seems to be the opposite of the Magician, exchanging creative masculine action for feminine non-action and wisdom. She teaches the Fool the meaning of the tools the Magician has given him, and helps him determine how he can best use them. Although the Fool suspects that the High Priestess has more secrets she could reveal, for now he has the knowledge needed to continue his journey.
To learn how to use our intuition, and to find the inner wisdom and hidden knowledge in each of us.
As card number two, the High Priestess represents the feminine powers of the unconscious mind. She symbolizes the female passive principle, and the instinctual knowledge and intuition that each of us possesses. Many Tarot readers see the High Priestess as being the opposite counterpart of the Magician; both active and passive energies are required to achieve balance.
In readings, the High Priestess might ask us to look beneath the surface for hidden knowledge. Sometimes we overlook our innermost feelings and the messages of our internal voice, thereby missing valuable counsel in the process. Reflection, meditation, and communion with our Higher-Selves is necessary to illuminate the answers we seek.
The High Priestess can also represent a time of waiting and allowing. It is not always necessary to act to achieve our goals. Sometimes our purpose can be realized through a stillness which allows our aspirations to bloom within the fullness of time.