Hi, Priestess

I have talked a little about the Feminine as it relates to the Tarot, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the other great aspect of the Feminine contained in the Major Arcana. After describing The Empress as the fertile aspect of the Feminine, I need to explain another aspect that’s typically attributed to the Feminine, namely, intuition.Zc2 - High Priestess

Enter the High Priestess (my hand colored version of her is at right). She is a very deep archetype, and is associated with species memory, as well as personal memory. Meditating on her image often brings about new insight and messages from the deepest recesses of our psyches. Notice the scroll she holds in her hand. Here is where the secrets are kept.

Flanked by the two pillars of the temple, and hidden by the curtain behind her, resides the Holy of Holies, the very abode of God (in whatever way we understand that concept). Also notice the water of Life originating from her robes. This is the water that appears as the river and waterfall in The Empress card.

On theTree of Life, the High Priestess connects the highest sphere (Kether, the Crown) and the very middle of the tree (Tiphareth, Beauty). I talked about these and the other spheres of the Tree before.

(The cross over the High Priestess’s heart is a representation of how her path and that of The Empress cross on the Tree; the intermingling of the spiritual – the High Priestess – with the physical – The Empress)

The association of the High Priestess with intuition is hinted at by her crown, which holds the silver moon. The Moon has long been connected with intuition, and with the Feminine. It is frequently colored silver (“By the light of the silvery Moon”), in contrast to the gold of the Sun. These are the two great currents of existence. You can think of these as similar to the Chinese concepts of Yin (Moon) and Yang (Sun).

Furthermore, the High Priestess is connected to the Sixth Chakra (the Third Eye of intuition) in the B.O.T.A. tradition. It is in communion with her that we can know that which we cannot know by other means. To connect with her, do a variation on the meditation I presented in the post on The Empress. Pay particular attention to the scroll. Let it open to give you insight.

Powerful ladies, The Empress and High Priestess. Part of the powerful system for personal development known as the Tarot. It ain’t just for telling fortunes, gang. In fact, fortune telling is, in many ways, the least of its uses.

The Holy Family of the Central Pillar

The central pillar of the Tree of Life (TOL) is composed of four spheres: Kether (Crown, white), Tiphareth (Beauty, golden yellow), Yesod (Foundation, violet) and Malkuth (Kingdom, multi-colored). A brief explanation of them can be found in my two previous blog entries on the Tree itself. The relationship among these spheres is fascinating, and is worth many hours of meditation.

[For the rest of this entry, I may be coming off as a little sexist, or at least a little genderish. Please don’t get all upset with me. I’m talking gender polarities here. I’m not trying to be either misogynistic or misanthropic. Sorry for the interruption, but I had to say that. These days, people can get so sensitive.]

First, Kether is the outpouring of the Divine, and is like God the Father in Christianity. Next comes Tiphareth, seat of Christ Consciousness; God the Son, if you will. It is also the seat of the ideal, primal human or Adam Kadmon. At the base is Malkuth, God the Holy Spirit. However, Malkuth is also the seat of the Shekinah, the Female aspect of the godhead in ancient Hebrew mysticism. At times, Qabalists will refer to Malkuth as “the bride” of Kether. I didn’t forget Yesod, but it is the odd one out. This sphere is where little ol’ us come into the picture. Yesod is the residence of the human collective unconscious, and the individual soul. This is the place where we get messages from the Divine.

Looked at another way, the central pillar represents the Holy Family of Joseph (Kether), Jesus (Tiphareth), and Mary (Malkuth) – or as my mother used to swear at us kids, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! If you kids don’t quiet down, I’m going to . . .” (insert here the scariest thing you can imagine a Sicilian mother doing with some unnamed cooking utensil)

The Holy Trinity, the Holy Family; sometimes I miss Catholicism, but only sometimes. At any rate, the way these spheres, and all spheres, connect on the Tree is via paths. Each of these paths has a Tarot trump associated with it. From Kether to Tiphareth, the High Priestess is the path. From Tiphareth to Yesod, it’s Temperance, and from Yesod to Malkuth, it’s The World. (I will talk about these cards and paths in due course. For now, just take my word for it.)

This gets complicated quickly, so I will try to be brief. The High Priestess is the holder of memory and guards the entrance into the Holy of Holies. Temperance is represented by an angel (Michael, angel of the heart and Tiphareth). When we communicate with our highest nature, the Christ Consciousness, we are having what Qabalists call the “conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel.” This is how high consciousness speaks to us meat puppets. Making our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs into 3D reality is accomplished by the force symbolized by The World, a card associated with limitation and restraint. How else could the chaos of our minds become reality without a little restraint?

It is said that the Tree is embodied in us, and that the Malkuth of any Tree is the Kether of the next. Like Ezekiel’s wheels within wheels, perhaps. Nevertheless, it is possible for us to commune with the primal forces of the Masculine, the Feminine, and their union, the Child. This is done through the powers of our imagination and our intuition which, not so coincidentally, are said to reside in Yesod.

If you aren’t completely confused by now, congratulations. Now do you see why some people say we made our first mistake as a species when we came down out of the trees?