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Tarot Card Meanings for the High Priestess

shadowscapes tarot high priestess

intuition ~ secrets ~ keeping your own counsel

Keywords for the High Priestess
Mystery, intuition, inner-knowing, self-trust, spiritual insight, emotional stability, divination, esoteric wisdom/knowledge, things yet to be revealed, your higher-self, spirit guides, discovering your own truth, a single woman; a chaste woman; morality, sanctity.
The High Priestess Reversed
Information withheld, secrets, misusing spiritual gifts, not trusting your intuition, being lied to, not listening, immorality; misusing your spiritual gifts, blocked intuition.
The High Priestess as People
Psychics, mystics, healers, teachers, mentors, nuns, therapists, spiritual coaches, psychologists, researchers, genealogists, librarians, spa owner/staff, mediators, educators.

What Does the High Priestess in Tarot Mean?

The High Priestess in tarot is seen as mysterious, she is the keeper of secrets, the guardian of the veil, the holder of the book. She is the Middle Pillar on the Qabalistic Tree of Life – she is therefore the balance between severity and mercy – Boaz and Jachin – the black and white pillars she sits between in the Rider Waite-Smith version. The path that the High Priestess travels on the Tree of Life is long and it covers the void and hidden sephira, Daath – hence the veil and the seemingly endless ocean vista behind her. The spiritual path is long and often difficult, made easier by having a relationship with the High Priestess through meditation and pathwork.

Where the Empress is your material earth mother, the High Priestess is your spiritual mother, in the mystical and ethereal realms, but also in this one. My Reiki teacher is my earthly High Priestess, my spiritual mother. She nourishes me and guides me and helps me see through my layers and beyond my own veil.

To see the High Priestess in a reading indicates that you are being beckoned to look beyond the veil. In your everyday world, be aware of secrets, yours or someone else’s. Reading, writing and learning can also be indicated when the High Priestess shows herself to you, as indicated by the book on her lap. This is serious learning of deeper mysteries and knowledge, but also covers scientific and technical subjects.

Being ruled by the Moon, the High Priestess also relates to psychic ability, clairvoyance et al, enhanced dreams, premonitions but not nightmares, they belong to the Moon card, numbered 18. The High Priestess lifts you up and helps you on your journey, when you find her, the Moon tests you. These two cards are inextricably linked but they are not the same.

Tarot Card Meanings for Specific Decks

The Lo Scarabeo Tarot attempts to fuse the three main tarot decks of the West, namely, the Rider Waite-Smith, the Crowley-Harris Thoth and the Tarot de Marseille. It depicts the main elements from each deck making it an excellent tool for widening your tarot vocabulary. Exploring this deck helps to see the differences between these three, clarifying the origins of the different meanings being applied to the same card.

lo scarabeo tarot high priestess


Secrets, mystery, unrevealed future. Silence, tenacity, wisdom, science. Conceit, surface knowledge.


Pure, exalted & racious influence enters the matter. hence, change, alternation, increase & decrease, fluctuation.


Wisdom combining intellect & intuition. A spiritual mother. Sanctuary, fidelity, family devotion. Lost vitality, emotional blockage, coldness.


Intuition. Assumption.

Correspondences for

Timing is hidden
Related to 11, Justice and 20, Judgement
Count9 – Planetary Trump
This table assumes you are following the Rider Waite-Smith ordering of the trumps, otherwise 11 will relate to Strength as seen in the Crowley-Harris Thoth and Tarot de Marseille decks.

Posts Featuring

Reading another person’s perspective on a card is always interesting. When I did an online tarot reading I got just that and so I posted it on my blog. You can read another take on the High Priestess in Free Online Tarot Readings, Do They Work?

The Gaian Tarot – An Interview With Joanna Powell Colbert depicts some of Joanna’s favourite cards from her beautiful deck, and how she interpreted them in her own way. You can see and read how she depicts the High Priestess in this enlightening interview with her.

Bibliography & Further Reading

Tarot Deck Credits

Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-mun Law published by Llewellyn Inc

Lo Scarabeo Tarot by Mark McElroy and Anna Lazzarini published by Lo Scarabeo

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