The High Priestess: From Beanblossom's Tea and Tarot

--By Hyperion Night of Beanblossom's Tea and Tarot


The Rider Waite Smith High Priestess Tarot card

The High Priestess

The unseen. Living with the mystery. Sacred knowledge. Intuition and the subconscious. Silence.


"I'm freaking out!" My friend Maya dropped into the chair opposite me and clawed both hands through her honey-colored hair. "It's too much."


I sipped my sake. "Tell me everything." We hadn't seen each other in ages, and I really wanted to know. Also, it was a gorgeous day at the beach, and I'd snagged a primo table on the restaurant's outdoor patio. Life was good.


She edged her chair closer. "So there's this guy, and I'm pretty sure he's been flirting with me, but I'm terrible at picking up signals. Also, he's not my type, so it would be crazy for me to think what's going on is what I think is going on. But he's really hot and smart, and kind and interesting, and it's driving me crazy."


"Bypassing the question about hot, smart, kind, and interesting not being your type, what's the problem?"


"The problem is my head's about to explode. Please can I have a reading? Just one card? Please, please, please?"


"Fine." I pulled my cards from the pocket of my jacket (I never leave home without them), shuffled, and drew one card, turned it over. It was the High Priestess. "No," I said.


"No, this isn't going anywhere?"


"No, I'm not telling you anything more. You need to live with the mystery."


"What?"


"The mystery is a big part of the fun," I said. "It's sort of the point of new relationships—the excitement of will he or won't he, figuring out of you're compatible. You need to let this play out, and more importantly, enjoy the play. Things can go either way, and the not knowing, the mystery, is the fun of life."


She sat back and folded her arms. "Well, that's no good."


"Imagine you're living a rom-com. Whatever's happening now is just a set-up for something big coming. But you have to be open to the big, and that means staying open to the mystery of now. Just chill."


"So your advice is to keep cool and enjoy the ambiguity?"


"Exactly. Well, if keep cool means staying present to what is."


Things played out exactly as I predicted. What happened with Mr. Wonderful was a big set-up for something even bigger. And Maya was ready for it, because she stopped playing mind games with herself, stayed present, and enjoyed the ride instead of second-guessing everything.


And that's the High Priestess. She sits still and unspeaking between two opposing pillars. They don't pull her one way or another. She's not having a panic attack about which pillar she should lean toward. She just… is. Life is a mystery. We don't have all the answers, and how boring would it be if we did? And as someone smarter than me once said, magic happens in the unknown.


Other symbols in the card give us emphasize the symbols of intuition and mystery. The pomegranates on the tapestry behind her likely reference the goddess Persephone, a psychopomp goddess who moved between the two worlds of the underworld (subconscious) and earth (conscious) – i.e. someone who knew how to tap into the subconscious and apply it in the real world. This seems like a pretty good definition of intuition to me. Her crown is a disk beneath two horns, similar to the crowns worn by the Egyptian goddesses Isis, whose cult focused on the celebration of the mysteries. The Priestess's gown turns watery at the hem, and a crescent moon rises from its folds. Both are symbols of the subconscious. The words on the scroll she holds is partially hidden. We can only catch a glimpse of the word TORA, which which A.E. Waite of Rider-Waite Tarot deck fame said represented the greater law, the law of the universe.


Now ask yourself:

  • Are you using your intuition?

  • Are you being present, still in the moment, or letting your mind run away with you?

  • Is there something hidden about the situation?

  • How can you enjoy the mystery?

  • Are you comfortable with being still?

  • Are you willing to go into the unknown?

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