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The Major Arcana In-Depth: II The High Priestess

This is an article in a series in blog posts…. the “The Major Arcana In-Depth” series! Every few weeks I will be featuring one card of the Major Arcana, from the Fool to the World. Come take a tarot journey with me!

To learn about the Major Arcana overall and the first card in the Major Arcana, The Fool, go here.
To learn about the Magician, go here.

The Mysterious High Priestess

This is the one card I better know back, front, sideways, and inside-out… because She is now permanently on my body! Why the High Priestess card? people have asked. My response is that She is a constant reminder to always always ALWAYS trust my intuition. What I really love about both my tattoo and the placement of it is that it does have multiple meanings, including the reversal. When most people see my tattoo, they are seeing the High Priestess card upright (and therefore all the meanings of the upright association). When I look at my tattoo, I am seeing the High Priestess reversed (because I must bend my arm at the elbow to take a good look at her). The reversal of the card is a reminder that every time I haven’t trusted my intuition, I always end up regretting it.

Keywords: intuition (specifically the phrase “female intuition” but intuition is certainly not limited to one gender!), deep knowledge, inner wisdom

Applicable Quotes: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”—Albert Einstein

Traditional Meanings

The meeting of a very wise woman with spiritual and hidden knowledge. The scroll that the High Priestess holds often is a symbol of the Akashic Records, a record of everyone’s lives, both past, present, and future. The clues to the traditional meanings of the High Priestess are often indicated in the symbols most often seen on this card, such as the two pillars light and dark (walking between the worlds), the scroll, the flowing blue robes (oftentimes the water element is associated with this card), the number 2, her foot upon the crescent moon (symbolizing mastery over intuitive arts), etc. This card can also be associated with the Moon card in the tarot… if you look carefully past the High Priestess figure in the card, you can see the Moon temple from the Moon card off in the distance (in some decks). Have a look!

Personal Meanings

What I think of when I see the High Priestess: This depends on the client, the reading, and the other cards in the reading. But overall, I tell the client to start trusting their intuition (or continue to, as the case may be). As silly as this sounds, the intuitive hits one gets may seem to be as counter-intuitive as possible and impractical! This is not to say to act on your intuitive hits… sometimes this is impossible. However, acknowledging your inner voice is key.

When the High Priestess is reversed (upside down) in a reading, I let clients know that sometimes our interpretation of our intuition can sometimes be wrong, but the actual intuition itself is never wrong.

When The High Priestess Shows Up in a Reading

Upright: trust your gut, a wise woman shows you the way, psychic dreams

Reversed: time to eat some humble pie, backlash from not trusting an intuitive hit, tuning out other people’s opinions in order to better listen to your own wisdom


Ultimately, if/when you read for yourself, please keep the things I listed above in mind… and if you disagree, PLEASE use your own meanings for this card. Your thoughts on each individual card are invaluable, and lead you to a multi-layered understanding of the tarot that no one individual book/Little White Book/teacher can give you. Your experience with the cards counts, too!

Tarot class dismissed!

Image: courtesy of Hilary Parry (yes, that’s my tatt!) and the Mighty Horseman Tattoo Co.

How do you relate to The High Priestess? Are you trusting your gut (or having trouble trusting your intuition)? Share your experiences in the Comments section below.

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2 Responses to The Major Arcana In-Depth: II The High Priestess

  1. LOVE this, Hilary! What a perfect reminder about trusting intuition. I love your thoughts about placement as well. 🙂 Yay! Thank you for sharing!

  2. […] reader Hilary Parry has the High Priestess inked onto her […]

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