There is no other card in the deck that took a deeper dive into Hermetic imagery than this one. The two columns represent Boaz and Jachin, said to have guarded the entry to King Solomon’s temple. The TORA scroll represents the divine wisdom and secrets of Jewish Kabbalism. One imagines that the exact directions for this card came from Arthur Edward Waite, rather than the fertile imagination of Pamela Colman Smith, who painted it.
Leaving aside the rather glaring irony that women were not even ALLOWED in the inner sanctum of Solomon’s Temple (unclean creatures, doncha know?) we can move right along and affirm that the Lady on the card is a lunar Goddess. The crescent moon at her feet is a common symbol of the lunar Goddess and is found even in Christianized versions of her such as the Virgin of Guadalupe’.
The real message in the imagery of this card, though, is about balance between opposites and the center point where intuition reigns. The cross on her chest is the solar cross rather than the Christian cross, its’ four arms all of exact equal length from its’ center. She sits exactly between the white and black opposites of the columns. The crown she wears is a solar disk surrounded by crescent moons, emphasizing the opposites of night and day.
By now most of us are familiar with the left brain/right brain dichotomy. While not absolute, the left brain tends to be more involved in so-called rational, logical thinking, while the right brain tends to be more involved with imagery, emotion, and artistic endeavors. Mysteries, omens, subconscious patterns tend to percolate and grow in the right brain. At a certain point they may cross over into the left brain and become a conscious realization. That phenomenon is often described as the, “Ah, ha!” moment when something which was previously puzzling and odd suddenly makes sense. It’s also described as intuition and intuition is what the High Priestess is all about.
When the High Priestess appears in your reading it means that it’s time to start paying very careful attention to your intuition and subconscious. Answers to problems which have been bothering or blocking you can be found in dreams, sudden insights, or hunches. This card points out the need to trust your deep Self. Listen to your inner voices. If you’re having trouble hearing them then take the time you need to meditate or go sit by yourself in isolation. Let the answers bubble up from your subconscious and trust those answers.
If the card applies to a person in the questioners life it may be a very intuitive, mysterious, but fairly asexual person.
Reversed: The questioner isn’t paying attention to his or her intuitive nature. This is a card of being out of touch with your inner Self. The pomegranates on the tapestry in this card hearken back to the myth of Persephone, a Goddess of crops and Spring who was kidnapped by Hades, dragged into hell, and then forced to live there half the year because she had eaten a single pomegranate seed. It was a myth which was meant to explain the changing of the seasons: when she was living in hell the world turned into winter and the crops died.
It can have a deeper meaning with the reversed presence of this card. The creative, intuitive, feminine right side of the brain is being overpowered and held hostage by the logical, sequential, male left side of the brain. Intuition and creativity are being ignored in favor of so-called rational thinking. There is a need here to reconnect with your primal self. Take the time for meditating, long hot baths, dancing, art. Get back in touch with your creative energy.
Just as an interesting side note it’s been absolutely fascinating watching the rise of the new women’s movement in the United States. Starting with the massive march on Washington, D.C. right after Trump’s inauguration and running through today’s Me Too movement, we’re seeing a massive awakening of Right Brain perception in the United States. The Divine Feminine is asserting itself and the Goddess is alive and well. No doubt the High Priestess is hiding a smile.