The Fool’s Journey Lesson 6: #2 The High Priestess

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Welcome back to The Fool’s Journey! In this video, we discuss The High Priestess, card number two in the Major Arcana of the Ryder-Waite-Smith Tarot!

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A Note on the Ryder-Waite-Smith Deck

Someone posted a comment on the last video, asking if it’s absolutely necessary to use the the exact same deck while following along with this course. That may sound like a silly question, but its actually a very good one! What you’ll find about Tarot decks is that there are hundreds of them designed by different artists, but a vast majority of them will be based on the Ryder-Waite-Smith system. Ryder was the original publishing company of this deck, Waite was the writer who came up with the concepts for the cards and the system, and Smith was the artist who designed the images. The deck I’m using is called the “Universal Waite” which uses the exact imagery and color scheme of the original Ryder deck, but this artist used colored pencils and made the pictures look more vibrant.

To answer that viewer’s question, it depends. Look at the card images below from the original Ryder deck. Does your deck look very similar, or at least follow the same chronological order with most of the same content in each image? If you can easily answer ‘yes,’ to that question, than chances are you’ll be able to follow along with this course using your version of the Tarot. If its hard to make a clear connection between your deck and the below images, and/or if your cards go in a totally different order with totally different symbolism, you may have a deck that follows a different system.

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When I first started learning about Tarot, before even purchasing a deck, I read the book Tarot for Beginners by Barbara Moore. She teaches using the Ryder deck, but she also paired up with the Shadowscapes Tarot, a very whimsical deck with images that are somewhat loosely based on the Ryder deck. She points out the ways that the symbolism points to a similar meaning.

As beautiful as that deck is, I knew I wanted to begin my journey into the Tarot with one of the traditional decks, not only because most standard lessons on the Tarot will match up to it, but also because I believe that there is an old and magickal energy to the original imagery. As discussed in our Tarot History video, it is believed that the images on the Ryder deck were passed down from ancient knowledge, and each and every symbol has meaning within it that resonates with us on the level of the subconscious as well as the human collective consciousness. That’s something I really wanted to be a part of!

Whether you use the original Ryder deck, or follow along with a deck that follows the Ryder system, I’m sure you can stretch your imagination to follow along with this course, as well as get some insight into what the artist of your deck might have been thinking when they designed their version of the images!

Now, without further adieu, The High Priestess!

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Happy journaling! Until next time, Brightest Blessings!

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6 thoughts on “The Fool’s Journey Lesson 6: #2 The High Priestess

  1. When I first started really delving into the cards, and my cards in particular, I looked in all my books that I have on Tarot and online, if that wasn’t enough. The symbolism was the easiest and most difficult part to memorize. I’m always still learning. I’m top of joining your vlogs I am a part of a couple of local Tarot groups. We, in fact, discussed the High Preistess in the last group. She also used the deck you are, but everyone there had there own as well to compare. The differences and similarities are neat!
    What I have learned about the High Preistess is that she is showing the light on part of the subject and keeps the other hidden; a mystery. She does this to show that even the Cards can’t answer everything. Life is about risks, conquering fears and taking that first step. This Unknown that we all fear has a sly smile behind it and she is called the High Preistess. A new path, direction, purpose or door. She wants to show us the other side. Are we brave enough to take her hand?

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    1. Great insight! I can totally see what you mean about the High Priestess representing the unknown! Its the aspect of the unknown that presents itself to us for further investigation, and like you said, we have to choose to take her hand or not. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. As I sat coloring, looking more deeply into the meaning of the High Priestess I noticed she looks rather stern. I think she looks this way to allow the seeker to understand that this next step is a serious one. Her robe is blue and it is a color of intuition so she is asking the seeker to look inside herself, how does she feel and what is she feeling? This is a question to be asked of one’s self before stepping through the veil because once you step though there is no going back. There are 7 pomegranates which says the seeker is a thinker and a teacher of truth, and is also spiritual but not religious. She wants to understand the hidden truths which of course are in the Tora. So as the Magician travels now to this next level he has his tools but now has to decide how to use them in the card of the High Priestess.

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    1. Since you mentioned coloring the cards, I’ve actually tried coloring in the printouts I use for the videos, and you’re right, it does help you to connect with the details of the card! Of course, I decided to do mine in neon colors for a glow in the dark poster, but it definitely was helpful! Great ideas about the High Priestess!

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  3. I love your ramble at the end, because I believe so much in what you say, about the power of writing our thoughts down and the power of learning through teaching.

    I am currently in the beginning of a course of study about teaching and learning, from an instructor’s point of view. I have been assigned a project to “learn something new” in order to be put back in the student’s chair. Because I enjoy these Tarot videos so much! In addition, I have always wanted to learn more about Tarot and how to read them but I was never able to find the motivation for self-study or justify the time involved. Now I can blissfully and without guilt indulge in a creative learning experience!

    This card represents my hesitation from having yet delved into Tarot: it confuses and slightly overwhelms me. I am an impatient learner – I like to be able to pick knowledge and practices up quickly! When I am challenged, it is my character defect to back away or save it for “later” (whenever that may never be). I look at the High Priestess sitting on her throne – or bench, however you see it – and I feel intimidated. I feel as if I would be bowing, or cowering, if she were actually in front of me. I sense her as unyielding in what she demands.

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    1. I know how you feel about wanting to learn quickly and focus on things that are ‘efficient’ rather than indulging in learning for fun. I actually justify the time I spend studying spirituality by saying it’s for my blog, but really I’m benefiting from everything I learn on a personal level as well. I wanted to learn the Tarot as quickly as possible at first too, but I know now that there is no learning it fast. Even if you memorize some “standard” meanings for each card, you will never stop learning additional meanings if you continue passionately with this tool. I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying this course!

      Blessings!

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