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.


Gentle, Luxurious Taurus

Taurus calls, to my mind, absolute luxury and beauty. It is ruled by Venus, planet of not only beauty and luxury, but also love.  Taurus loves deep and warm, but since its energy is that of the element Earth, they have a practicality and steadiness. While Libra is also ruled by the planet of love, the energy of love in this placement is, in keeping with the air element, more intellectual, more abstract, and, when the Libra is out of balance, fickle.  Taurus is steady as a rock, and while the swift lyricism and charm associated with Libra is not normally associated with Taurus, Venus gives this earthy placement a nice boost in that department. The Taurus has exquisite taste, and a poetic mind.

The Earth energy aligned with Taurus is the energy of the lush rain forests, succulent flower gardens, fecund fruit orchards, and fertile fields.  Taurus energy is not just vibrant green and rich brown, but the brilliant pinks, reds, blues, purples, and aquamarines of all the flowers and gem stones the Earth gives to us as gifts.  If Taurus were fabrics, it would be velvet and silk.  It is a musical energy, and music is a gift for Taurus–even if they can’t sing or play, they are deeply affected by and resonate to music.

I have a friend who is a Taurus, and a friend who has the Moon in Taurus.  They are both very dear and they are both fabulous huggers.  You can seriously melt into their arms.  Raven Kaldera (buy his book!)  describes Hathor, the cow goddess of Egypt that he has assigned to the Taurus Moon, as having “restful arms” (64).  This is certainly true. There’s just something so comforting about a Taurus presence. This is a soft-spoken, gentle energy.  They also tend to smell nice, like a lawn after a soft rain.

It is fitting that the animal for Taurus is the Cow. Cows are known for being sweet and wide-eyed, and nurturing toward their young. A calf is open and trusting. Someone with the gift of Taurus energy has a talent for making people feel loved.  If a Taurus loves you, you feel amazing and deserving. They open up to you and trust you.

Naturally, their is a Shadow to the Taurus, and that is the Rampaging Bull.  Bull-rage is not something to mess with. This is a very physical, visceral anger, that is slow to build and then explodes and flows over anything in its path like lava or scalding steam.  Taurus does not intellectualize his or her anger, and the ability to reason oneself out of one’s emotions is not one of the gifts this energy gives to the people who tap it.  Another good analogy is thunder and lightning. Thunder may begin as a tiny rumble, but then it increases into the darts of the gods.

Another aspect of the Shadow of Taurus is gluttony. This is the sign of the Gourmand, but it can easily devolve into having no standards, and, with the natural exquisite taste and aesthetics of this sign, that is a waste of potential.

Another Shadow of this energy is that of the Indolent.  An unbalanced Taurus has no curiosity. This may not be due to a boring personality, though that may be the case, but to an aversion to change. The Taurus, as we all, must remember that even the Grand Canyon was created through a process of change. If it must be taken slowly, that is all right, but steps must be taken, because the purpose of the motionless is to deaden and decay, making room for and feeding growing things.

Taurus has a gift for creation. This is a creative energy, and, just as important, a sustaining one. Taurus is strong and resilient, and willing to get their hands dirty and put their backs into it.  If this dirtying of the hands and straining of the back is done for the people they love, this could be as much a pleasure as lounging on a satin divan, listening to a sunset concert while sipping ice-wine and letting chocolates melt in their mouths. For many Taurus people, or those who are in the stream of Taurus energy, giving is as effortless as the giving of the Earth herself.

Archetypes, people and animals associated with Taurus

The Cow

Hathor, the Cow Goddess of Egypt

Thor, Norse God of Thunder

The Gardener/Nature Child

Gaea, Tara, and other Earth Goddesses

The Sensualist

The Artist/Musician

The Poet Rumi (read his poetry, it’s down to Earth and yet has that warm, ruby center that the Earth itself possesses

Elephants–for their quiet intelligence (Kaldera 224-225)

Ganesha–for his lust for the finer things in life, as well as his earthy intelligence and loving nature (Kaldera 224-227)

Hints for bringing Taurus energy into your life–

Go to a lush, green, growing place. Surround yourself with flowers, vegetables, and fruit, which are not only lovely but symbolize Earth’s fertility

What do your eyes find beautiful? Your ears? Your nose? Your mouth? Your fingertips? Feast on these things at least three times a day.

Give and receive more hugs. Most mammals die without physical contact. This is quite true for Taurus. Get massages.

Are there any rumblings of thunder in your life? Any irritations or angers threatening to explode into a fire storm from the sky? How can you solve these problems?

Carry a little elephant around, to remind you of Ganesha’s relaxed wisdom, to bring luck, or just to make you smile.