The High Priestess

In review:
In the beginning was The Fool, the beginner’s mind, new experiences, birth and rebirth.

Tara, the Tibetan goddess of compassion and protection, symbolizes New Beginnings in Kris Waldherr’s Goddess Deck. If she appears, she will keep the questioner safe from harm as they begin their new adventure. In fact, Tara translates to “She who causes one to cross.” So, the first step of the Tarot Major Arcana journey is one of getting the courage and security to set out on your adventure.
Next is gaining mastery over the self and the environment, represented by the Magician:

And now, after there is self-control and external power, the adventurer becomes introspective, and looks to the abstract.

And we have moved from the Magician to the High Priestess. While the Magician is about skills, the High Priestess is about knowledge, especially knowledge of the Self, and knowledge of the Spirit.   Kris Waldherr chose Sarasvati for the High Priestess of the Goddess Deck, and called the card itself Wisdom.  Sarasvati is the Hindu goddess of wisdom, music, education, spiritual knowledge, and the arts.  She floats on a lotus, a flower that symbolizes resilience. The lotus can grow out of the murkiest depths, and knowledge and enlightenment can occur in the most unlikely places.
Kris Waldherr added many wonderful details to her illustration. Look closely at Sarasvati’s arms, of which she has four. This shows the reach of wisdom; enlightenment can be found in all four corners of the earth. Also, to connect her to the Magician, I would say that the four arms can symbolize the four elements, of which the High Priestess would also have mastery. The four limbs can be spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional well being and balance, as well. The book is education and commitment to learning. The beads represent spiritual commitment and ritual, and the lute she strums symbolizes music, the marriage of both the left and right brain, showing both emotional and logical balance.

The Celtic Deck’s High Priestess is shown standing in front of the moon, a symbol of feminine intuition, wisdom, and the subconscious. The moon is full to show the fertility of her imagination. Her robes are those of a priestess, someone who has been initiated onto the path. The inside of her robes is dark blue, the color of the night and the subconscious. Her sash is gold, the color of solar or male energy, showing her ability to translate this knowledge from subconscious to conscious, abstract to concrete.  She stands on a verdant green lawn, vines climbing up the bricks. This is a place of mystery.  If the High Priestess comes into a spread, secrets may be revealed.
Since The High Priestess is shown outdoors, she shows an understanding and a closeness to nature, a potent source of wisdom, and a source as beloved and valuable to the High Priestess as any book.

Robin Wood’s High Priestess shows a woman wearing a robe in shades of blue and green, the colors of night and of water, both associated with the feminine, the subconscious, and dreams. She holds a book, to show her devotion to study, and a crystal ball, to show her sharp intuition. Her hair is black, in keeping with the mysterious colors of night, and is highlighted with silver, a feminine color because of its association with the moon (gold and the sun are masculine).  Her necklace is, if you look closely, a pentacle. She also has mastery over the four elements.  Her headband has a crescent moon, which is a symbol of rebirth and regeneration, as well as the cyclical nature of life, as the moon wanes or “dies” and then waxes, or is “reborn.”
In a reading, the season depicted in the card may seem to be autumn/early winter, or early spring.  The beauty of the Robin Wood deck is the careful detailing. One detail may stick out to you out of all the others on the card.  What does this detail tell you? What does it mean to you? Why does it stick out?

Barbara G. Walker’s Papess is also full of exquisite detail. What stands out to me, right now, are the Alpha and Omega symbols on the pillars behind the Papess. Her knowledge is the beginning, the end, and everything in between. She studies the book in her lap, calm and alert, flanked by the ivory towers of accomplishment. These ivory towers may mean something else to you. On the ground in front of the Papess are two keys, which allow insights, foresights, and treasures of the subconscious to be yielded to the questioner.
At first glance, the Papess may appear to be wearing a Devo hat. This is actually meant to represent a beehive, and at the top is a crescent moon, the symbol of cycles and regeneration.  The High Priestess/Papess, because of her wisdom, understands and accepts the cycles of life. The beehive is symbolic of devotion, for she is as intent on gathering wisdom as the bees are at gathering nectar. Just as bees instinctively go to the best flowers, she uses her intuition to guide her. She is wearing purple, the color of royalty, and the other dominant colors of the card are red and white–red is commonly associated with passion, and white with purity. What do these colors mean to you?
If the questioner receives this card,  it could represent aspects of the questioner. The questioner may be going through a period where they feel passionate about learning. They may be having very intense, even prophetic dreams. They may be feeling very close to nature, or may have had a transcendent experience in a sacred place.
The High Priestess/Papess may also represent someone in the questioner’s life.  This person may be very encouraging, intuitive, and/or intelligent. This may be a female teacher, therapist, or mentor, especially in a spiritual capacity, a mother in an initiator role, or a friend who gives good advice.
The archetype of a High Priestess, which can also be found in a male, is that of an intuitive, wise, spiritual woman, a woman who perhaps is close to nature.  She may be mysterious, but nurturing.
In its reversed aspect, the High Priestess could indicate a stinginess with wisdom–the questioner or a person in the questioner’s life is choosing not to help a someone seeking answers.  It can also indicate someone who thinks he or she is wise but is actually not experienced enough to give accurate counsel. It can also mean an estrangement from one’s own intuition or subconscious, or a refusal to follow one’s gut feelings. The High Priestess in reverse can also show that the questioner, or someone close, is having a full-blown spiritual crisis.

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10 of Cups

In numerology, the number ten symbolizes the end of an old cycle and the beginning of a new one.  Because of this, it resonates with a very similar energy to the number one.

 

The suit of Cups is the suit of Water. It is associated with the feminine, and with emotions, creativity, intuition,  psychic ability, caring, and relationships.

 

The Ten of Cups is thus associated with great joy in its upright position.

 

 

Robin Wood’s Ten of Cups shows a very happy family who has seemingly found Heaven on Earth.  The circle of the rainbow shows the full-circle completion represented by the Earth. In a reading, the reader may also sense that the rainbow may symbolize joy after pain.

The Ten of Cups shows a very happy family life, a very happy marriage, or the realization of a dream.  If this card appears, the reader may be, or will be, in a euphoric state. It may also symbolize an awakening or a healing.

 

 

The Celtic Deck shows a young couple who look to be just starting out.  They have their “Cups stacked.” A life role has ended–that of being single– and a new one is beginning.  They are becoming life partners,  and possibly parents.  For a single person, this card may symbolize another new, happy beginning. Perhaps they may have finally found a publisher for their novel, for example.

Like the Robin Wood deck, there is a message of hope–the clouds above are clearing, and the couple may have walked “out of the woods.”  This may be another message of the 10 of Cups; the questioner may have emotional clarity after being muddled.  They questioner may finally be stepping into the light after a dark night of the soul.  

 

 

The 10 of Cups for the Goddess Deck has the rainbow making an appearance.  The “full circle” is there too; look at the reflection in the water! The water is also calm and clear.  There is serenity and clarity.  Kris Waldherr, who chose Venus for the Cups suit, reminds us that Venus was born from water like this. A major theme of the Cups is love, after all.  The moon above, like the element of water,  represents the divine feminine and emotions.

 

Barbara G. Walker’s Ten of Cups shows a white castle, which may symbolize the goal of spiritual enlightenment, a creative endeavor, or true love.  He is guided by his feminine side, his anima, or emotions. He is thinking with his gut and heart, which will lead him to his goal.  The Ten of Cups may be advising that you may need to turn off the logical, reasonable part of the brain, which may be keeping you hemming and hawing, and instead listen to your emotions.  When you think about a certain course of action, how do you feel in your body? Do you feel lighter and relaxed, or heavy, tense, and queasy? Does the “sensible” course of action leave you feeling numb, cold, or sad?  These feelings shouldn’t be discounted.

Another interpretation for the Ten of Cups, as seen in the Barbara G. Walker deck, is that love can save.  Salvation can be found through strong, loving relationships with others.  Unconditional love is especially potent as an agent of healing, whether this healing is physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual.

 

The Ten of Cups reversed may indicate dissatisfaction. The questioner may be blind to the good things in her life. The Ten of Cups may also indicate discord or disharmony, or a lack of love.  There may be fighting, or the thrill may have gone out of a relationship.  There may be problems between parents and children.  Other cards will help the reader figure out what is happening.  

Luna

I think it’s time to change Cancer’s name.  Please don’t take this to mean I’m arrogant enough to suppose a name thousands of years old can be changed because I want it to. It’s more that I personally feel uncomfortable referring to myself and my brethren as a disease. Let’s face it, we don’t think of the constellation; we think of the illness.  I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel kind of shitty.

Just for fun, what could Moon Children call themselves? Here are some ideas:

1) Selene. Selene is the goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology. This name is easy to remember, and sounds as lovely as the goddess herself.

2) Fegarri. Fegarri is the Greek word for moon. I think it sounds harmonious with Sagittarius and Virgo. The bad part is that it sounds like an alien race from Star Trek. 


3) Huitaco (pronounced we-tah-co) (thanks to my awesome soul sister and colleague, Whitney. Check out her blog, wheresmytower.wordpress.com). Huitaco is the Columbian goddess of the Moon and protector of women. She was also the goddess of pleasure and happiness. The frequently tangled with her consort, Bochica, the god of hard work and sorrow. Bochica reminds me of Saturn, the planet that rules Capricorn, the sign of hard work and hard lessons. Moon Children oppose Capricorn (not OPPOSE oppose, but are opposite each other on the zodiac wheel).  There’s some nice synchronicity there, but the name sounds like “Wheat Taco” which is what we will forever be known as to people who don’t know about the myth.

4) Luna. Italian for Moon, and the Roman parallel to Selene.  Yes, it’s a Harry Potter character (and a character with very Piscean energy, at that, but Leo is a DiCaprio).

I think, for this article, I will refer to this energy as Luna/Lunar. It is the name of our Moon.

I myself am a Luna, and far from perfectly balanced.  I tend to focus on what is difficult about this energy. Luna is a water sign, and Lunar energy is highly emotional. I mean, EXTREMELY so.  It is difficult to separate this energy from these emotions and look at things rationally and impersonally. Also, this is an intense energy. Irritation quickly becomes raging frustration.  The blues and everyday disappointments can lead to sogginess from copious weeping.  On the other hand, contentment becomes joy, happiness is euphoria, and love turns into rapture. We are also literally quite watery; we tend to weep a lot.

The stomach and the breasts are the organs ruled by Luna.  It’s fitting that the breasts would be the organ for Luna–these are the mothers of the zodiac, after all, and the stomach keeps us alive through nourishment, another forte of Lunar energy. The stomach is also full of associations of being loved and mothered with food.

Lunar energy also helps you think with your gut, and aligns you with the third chakra, the bright, sunshine yellow spot of energy located behind your navel.  This spot in your body corresponds to your personal power.  While Capricorn’s lesson is that of mastering perfectionism, and to release the need for external validation, and Scorpio’s lesson is to learn to accept the dark parts of the Self, identify the dark parts that are useful, transmute the useful and let go of what’s not, and eventually rise above the dark parts as a new Self-creation, the energy of Luna is to discover power.  Notoriously timid, this energy’s lesson is to develop a belief in one’s Self, and in the Self’s worthiness.

 Luna rules the stomach, just as Capricorn rules the knees (the work horses of the body) and Scorpio rules the genitals (the seat of birth and death–“Le Petit Mort”).  This is the location of the third chakra. The third chakra is the seat of self-esteem, responsibility, and courage.  Out of balance, this is the seat of low self-esteem and fear, especially fear of rejection and failure (Myss 167-168).

The dark side of Lunar energy is a mess of insecurity. Luna energy that is out of balance give themselves impossible standards, standards so high the person becomes frozen out of fear of failure. It is the same kind of fear that keeps people lonely, because they aren’t willing to approach others.  Lunas are extremely hard on themselves, and tend to say “I’m sorry” a lot.

Lunar love is intense and maternal. It is so intense, in fact, that it hurts. The goddess Raven Kaldera associates with the sun in Luna is Demeter.  Demeter, the goddess of the grain, deeply loves her daughter, Persephone, and when Persephone is taken away by Hades, it sends her into a tailspin, a tailspin that takes the whole world down with it. Crops stop growing, and the earth becomes a cold wasteland. When a Luna feels hurt or abandoned, the psyche becomes a wasteland. A Luna attaches herself to a loved one, not in a creepy stalker way, but a Luna opens her heart to any one she loves, and  gives freely of it.  When the person they love goes away, there is a definite ripping sensation in the heart.

Perhaps this is because Luna is self-protective. When they do trust and love someone, they have to remove layers of their hard, protective shields, the “shell” of the crab. When that trust feels violated, Luna rebuilds the shell again, and reinforces it.

This metaphorical shell is also like a turtle’s shell.  If a Luna is in balance, he can feel at home anywhere  he goes. He will be grounded and secure, and he will help others feel secure as well.

Lunas are all about the love. A Luna will give her all to her loved ones, and will feel guilty if she feels she comes up short.  They are warm, comforting, and sensitive, when in balance. However, when out of balance, Luna becomes clingy and possessive. Unable to express “negative” emotions (and thus possibly anger a loved one) Luna becomes passive-aggressive and as brackish and bitter as a polluted ocean. Alternately, if the Luna is not secure enough to set boundaries, the roiling anger builds up until the dam breaks, and the Luna drowns the world in her rage.

Like the Moon, and the tides the Moon makes, Lunar emotions ebb and flow. This is very feminine; the word “month” comes from the same root as Moon, as do the words menses and menstruation.  I have found that my physical energy, creativity, and motivation also ebb and flow, and I wonder if perhaps other Lunas feel like this. I actually find it rather comforting–I know that when I feel low or dry, the tide will rise and I will be nourished again. Meanwhile, I have spare energies that I can tap.

The Moon is a symbol of illusion. Lunas must be careful to see past illusion. They must be especially careful not to fall into the all-or-nothing thinking common with the shadow aspect of this energy.  When they feel unloved, they must ask themselves if it is really true. They must exercise their minds to see the opposites of their negative thoughts. Can a Luna think of three people that like her? Then, the negative thought is not true. If you feel abandoned by a friend, is it true? Did this friend abandon you? Or are you abandoning yourself by letting this event change how you perceive yourself and your own innate goodness? Did this friend really abandon you? Did a friend abandon you, or just an acquaintance? Or, worse yet, someone who was using you?

Lunas are blessed with great intuition and imagination. Even an out-of-sorts Luna can intuit for her loved ones, even if she can’t intuit for herself. Even if the Luna is suffering from depression or garden variety writer’s block, they have a rich inner life. Sometimes, they must sit down and let the ink flow freely, like water, without any censorship. This helps them access that powerful Moon energy. Since the tummy is the provence of the Lunas, many would do nicely to just think with their “guts” and not overanalyze a decision.

It must be remembered that the energy of the signs is not just for the people born in the sign alone. You may feel you have more energy associated with one zodiac archetype than another, but you can access the archetypal energy of any sign.

Questions for Reflection, and Tips to Bring Lunar Energy in:

1) When making a decision, pay attention to how your body feels, instead of endlessly reasoning yourself through it.

2) Keep a dream journal. Lunar energy, like the other watery energies of Pisces and Scorpio, works with the subconscious.

3) When you nurture others, do you also nurture yourself?

4) What illusions do you maintain? How do they benefit you? How would your life be without these illusions? How can you let go of them?

Archetypes, People, and Animals for Luna

1) Mothers

2) Nurses

3) Family Historians/Museum Keepers

4) Demeter

5) Kwan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Compassion

6) Turtles and Crabs

7) Wolves and Dogs,, symbols of loyalty, family, and friendship

Book recommendations:

MythAstrology: Exploring Planets and Pantheons by Raven Kaldera (You still haven’t bought it yet? It’s awesome!)

Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss (I cannot recommend her books highly enough. Expect more discussion of the chakras!)

Loving What Is, by Byron Katie (This is what inspired the suggestions for working with illusions. I’ve worked with Byron Katie not only through her books but on a stage in front of hundreds of people. It changed my life!)