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The Portal of the High Priestess

“So what do you want? Does what happens inside show on the outside? There is such a great fire in one’s soul, and yet nobody ever comes to warm themselves there, and passersby see nothing but a little smoke coming from the top of the chimney, and go on their way.”
― Vincent van Gogh, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh
The High Priestess is the wise woman.

She relies on her intuitive abilities to connect to her wisdom. She knows the ebb and flow of life, the tides and all natural cycles. She hears the breathing of animals and can read the patterns of stars. She resides in men and brings messages from the Earth about the hidden realm.

I see The High Priestess as a portal. When I engage with the imagery on the card I feel a shift within as if I am being taken through an entrance into an internal landscape that has no limits and an endless horizon.

The High Priestess is the psyche, the spirit within.

She does not feel the trammels and struggles of love, sex and war but she knows that the human does and bears witness to the experiences of the physical world.

Considering that we have this rich seam of inner activity it is surprising how little we actually, consciously take time to connect to it. Perhaps it is because it takes a bit of imagination to do so. We have been so programmed by the old Saturnian, linear way of realising things that we eliminate the imaginative process as a tool of the illusory and mentally inept.

The imagination is very much a part of the human experience.

It is a reality of this rich inner world and as such allows us to participate in a spiritual event. It is to that end that at the beginning of each class, consultation day or writing session, I leave the ordinary world of time, work, eating, talking and general busyness to go through the portal into the extraordinary world of The High Priestess. It can be so revitalising, (a lovely word...re-vital-ising, meaning to become vital once more). The act of putting oneself aside and stepping into the magical interior, that which we brought with us and have continued to evolve, to connect to that perpetual unfoldment is a true source of wonder. The inner voice of spirit, amidst the calm can now be heard like a ringing bell if we only want to listen.

The High Priestess is the subconscious.

A terrain that cannot be traversed through the intellect or the waking consciousness. This is the place of the intuitive, the healer, the visionary, the wise guide, the gnostic traveller and mystic. She works closely with The Moon and understands the mystery of regeneration and the cyclical renewal of the spirit. As we emerge from the quiet, it is to the quiet we must return. She steadies us in times of change and fluctuation. As all things come to pass, she teaches acceptance of change and encourages the shadow to reach into the light.

The High Priestess can hold the mirror to the past but reminds us that the eyes of the future are looking into it.

However, for all her determination, dedication and humility as to the ways of the heart she also can dwell in her own shadow. Her desire for progress and growth might be greater than her capability in the moment. She may lose her authenticity and her spiritual nature transgress as psychic discord. Her unfulfilled longing like the whale’s song in the deep, it reverberates as a plaintive which becomes lost in what is now superficial and confused. This shows that experiences and their subsequent response must be channelled into something purposeful or else she remains repressed and destructive. Soul food is what is required.

In the imagery from the RWS deck, she is seated between two pillars. These are the pillars at the Temple of Solomon and are the entrance to a journey within. Boaz on the left, ‘In strength' and on the right, Jachin, ‘That shall establish.’ The veil behind The High Priestess is covered with pomegranates and reeds; all this imagery implies masculine and feminine. The High Priestess herself becomes the third pillar. We can perhaps understand from this that the internal world is important to the overall function of being a human entity, it carries no gender yet is both and harmonises and protects.

It is The High Priestess that is our true nature, it is she that connects us to the natural world.

Her consort is The High Priest. He is physical, dogmatic and traditional and she is ethereal and otherworldly. But both speak of the need to remember that we are of this world and in this world at this present time.

“Each one of us is the custodian of an inner world that we carry around with us. Now, other people can glimpse it from [its outer expressions]. But no one but you knows what your inner world is actually like, and no one can force you to reveal it until you actually tell them about it. That’s the whole mystery of writing and language and expression — that when you do say it, what others hear and what you intend and know are often totally different kinds of things.” ― John O'Donohue

The High Priestess is our truth. Is it a case of don’t let the left hand know what the right one is doing or do we wear our heart on our sleeve and become the divine, wise voice within?


  • Mediation or visualisation is a good way to access the inner plane. Go with the flow of any imagery as it comes and see it as an inner dialogue.

  • Write down any message from the inner voice, this could be more than a hunch and provide important information.

  • Practice stillness. Quieten all activity at various points in your day, switch off and go inside. Breathe!

  • Create a unique ritual for yourself that engages you with your spirit.

  • People don’t see what your inner world looks like, try speaking from within to express what that world may look like.

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