Tarot Card Comparisons: The Qabalistic Thoth Tarot-Key 2: The High Priestess & The B.O.T.A. Tarot-key 3: The High Priestess
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Tarot Card Comparisons: The Qabalistic Thoth Tarot-Key 2: The High Priestess & The B.O.T.A. Tarot-key 3: The High Priestess

The Tarot of Eli
The Qabalistic Thoth Tarot-Key 2- the High Priestess:
is referred to the Hebrew letter Gimel, which means Camel. The Path of the High Priestess is as the Camel; a Path of Forces that carries the Soul and traverses the Desert of the Abyss into the "Dark Night of the Soul". Here the High Priestess can seem very vengeful as she removes all that is not worthy of the "Truth of you".



On the Path of Gimel She
 begins tearing apart our Soul's "personality belief systems"; However, no matter how disturbing, we haven't reached the end and have not seen the Whole Truth of Self as of yet. This initiation is done through the auspices of the "Lower Chokmah", where Chokmah (Wisdom) expands outward; the seed of expansion carries its own limitations. 

The High Priestess, is the virginal-most pure state of unconsciousness symbolized in the Tarot, as the very source of all Water. The Source of Water, is the idea of the idea behind form. She is the Pure Anima, or Divine Feminine/Imagination.

Dr. Paul Foster Case said it this way,"...no matter how many forms develop from it, the virgin substance is itself unchanged. Like water, which holds matter in suspension or solution, this substance remains over itself. Here is one key to the alchemical mystery of the First Matter. Here, too, one may find a clue to the inner significance of the Virgin Myths of all religions." 

As you may see, this is a difficult idea to grasp for in this case, Chokma (is a Feminine noun in Hebrew--as the word wisdom is the feminine Sophia in Greek.) expresses itself as The High Priestess, and is now feminine. The act of expression is ejaculation, and the obvious male symbol, the act of suspending or encompassing an idea is to begin Understanding---which is a feminine concept, for to understand, is to "give birth" to its form.

Crowley put it this way, " This first and most spiritual manifestation of the feminine takes to itself a masculine correlative, by formulating in itself any geometrical point from which to contemplate possibility." This point of contemplation is the High Priestess, our first Mother as we are all a geometrical point of possibility! 
Each of us is an entity which in the Physics of Thermodynamics is known as a Point in Time and we are also the knowledge born of Understanding(Daäth in Hebrew letter) which is the Invisible Sephiroth on the Middle Pillar that is right on the Path of Gimel. To me, the Sephiroth-Daäth represents the invisible Womb of the High Priestess; invisible because it was before there was visible light and therefore hidden by the veils of light that she weaves.  What is simply stated here, is that we are all inheritors of the First State of Conscious (The Unconscious is: The First state of conscious) and it behooves us to return to that State, with our personality software, so that "She" can clean out the trash thought and therefore allowing us to "Know ourselves".

The High Priestess, Key 2, also refers to the Moon which is the general symbol for the feminine, of the second order corresponding to the Sun as the Yoni does to the Lingam. The Moon is universal, and goes from the highest to the lowest, but in this case, The High Priestess is the first card that connects the Supernal Triad (Supernal Triangle) with the Hexad; her Path-Gimel, directly connects the Father in his highest aspect (Kether) with the Son (Tiphareth) in his most perfect manifestation. Thus the old axiom," Through Her shall ye know Him". This is the purest and most exulted conception of the Moon which controls the tides of the unconscious.
The Thoth Deck card the High Priest represents the highest form of Isis the Eternal Virgin and is shown as Artemis of the Greeks.
KEY 2-The High Priestess-Part 2
 
As previously stated, The High Priestess is represented as the Most Spiritual Form of Isis and in the case of the Thoth Deck, as the "Form of Artemis" (Greek Isis). Her clothing is only veils of light for it is known to high initiates that light is not the perfect manifestation of Eternal Spirit, but that which veils and hides that Spirit. Spirit is of the "Dark Energy", the Limitless Light of the Ain Soph, that cannot be seen and it is timeless (eternal=time without end) and infinite ( space without end).  Hence, the Infinite and Eternal has no beginning nor end to see. That would also mean that the First Matter, is "Thought", a dark and invisible energy and not visible light. 

As the clothing of light is dazzling in its brilliance, so it becomes a blinding form that cannot be seen past. So The High Priestess is shown in veils of  dazzling brilliance thus making her form light and the body of light; her Force is unseen and she can be called the Soul of Light.  [Many young men have this problem in the world of form, and cannot see the beauty of the Feminine beyond the form.] Thus, the High Priestess is known as the Truth behind the veil of light.

 In the Thoth Card depiction, upon Her knees is the bow of Artemis (Diana)  for she is a huntress. The bow is also a musical instrument (string vibrates) because she hunts by enchantment. The Idea that is the High Priestess, is regarded by the initiates of Qaballah as the third veil of the original Nothing (No-Thing).   This third veil of "No-Thing" is often called the Menstrum of manifestation, and was known to the ancient Egyptians as the goddess Nuit (Dark Goddess) who is the "possibility of Form" and represents the Dark Star filled night sky.

In the Thoth Deck, The High Priestess is shown softer and more feminine above the bow and more masculine and muscular below the bow. This dichotomy represents the fact that the Virginal Goddess takes on a masculine action/correlative by formulating within itself  any geometrical point in which to contemplate possibility. This contemplation produces the "Point in Time" that Physicists call, "Entity".  The virginal goddess is seen as the potential goddess of fertility. She is the idea behind all form (entity) ; through her the Idea flows below the Abyss (Dark Energy of the Unconscious Collective) and becomes concrete.

At the bottom of the Thoth High Priestess card, are seeds, pods, whorls, crystals, ( all symbols of the beginning of life) and the Camel that crosses the Desert of the Abyss. The Camel being the Force that transports the Idea through the Formless desert of I to the Am. Thus this High Priestess is the link between the archetypal and formulative worlds.

To meditate on this card is to contemplate that which is wholly feminine and virginal, and is the Mother/Father of your Conscious (consciousness is self-conscious and that comes later in creation). The High Priestess represents the means of manifestation ( or from below, attainment itself). The High Priestess represents possibility in its second stage, without consummation. It is the Maid part of the ternary Goddess, Maid, Mother and Crone; and yet She is also Hermaphrodite, because of being able to "formulate within Herself" and is the reason behind the Myth of Virgin Birth.
 
For the Initiate of the Gnosis/Qaballah, this all must be understood before one is stripped of their own veils of light and taken into the "Dark Night of the Soul"....let me tell you, this is not just having a "nervous breakdown" which in itself is challenge enough; this journey upwards on the Camel, is an annihilation of all self-conscious, where one revisits the beginning of Potential Self.
Therefore, The Path of Gimel is not a literal return to the warm enclosure of the Cosmic Womb, as is THE EMPRESS. Rather, she represents the Supreme Mother, with out her smiling mask, revealing a True face of cold yet beautiful countenance.  All veils are removed, all illusion is dispersed, and we must face the crystalline reality of our own absolute free will; a task not for the weak.
 Again, her planet is the Moon,and her Path is Gimel, meaning camel, which is most appropriate, as she is the one who "carries our Personality across the vast desert of the Abyss" which is a great metaphor for the Moon carrying the Sun's light across the abyss of the night sky.
 
In the Hermetic Qabalah,
there are three Paths that represent the same energy-intelligence, although as different but similar aspects, they are:
  1. The Paths of Gimel (THE HIGH PRIESTESS).
  2.  ThePath of Samekh (THE ART Card). 
  3. The Path of Tau (THE UNIVERSE Card) which together makeup the devotional middle pillar.
The Indigo (the color of "blue jeans") Middle Path color in Atziluth ( the highest of the Four Worlds) is a deep-dark- water blue that suggests the Moon, as all three Paths relate to the Moon.

Therefore the State of Intelligence that is The Path of Gimel, will carry those cleansed of desire thinking, across the longest and most important Path on the Tree of Life; A path which radiates down from the  Supernal Triangle, composed of unimaginable potential, 
to the Ethical/Creative Triangle, the "actual", also making this the path a position between God the Father in Kether, and God the Son in Tiphareth, making this a Path of the Highest Initiation.

The common description of the High Priestess is that she is the most pure essence  of consciousness, symbolized in Tarot as the very source of all Water (Consciousness); However, to the initiate, she is considered the "lower Chokmah" (Wisdom), wisdom is being expressed here as both masculine and feminine (The Goddess Sophia of the Greeks-means Wisdom) When applied to Chokmah the word Wisdom is masculine, for here it is "sent forth" and as the Seed of wisdom is ejaculated, it expands outward; However, applying the seed of expansion contains its own limitation. The Feminine is Formative. Therefore Wisdom is taken into the most Spiritual (Spiral) manifestation of the feminine and formulates it into herself as any geometrical point (an egg) into which to contemplate any possibility, i.e. the All Seeing IAm of the Original consciousness.

Now I know this concept is an impossibly difficult one to understand and the most descriptive of Qabalistic terms may seem nonsensical, but the High Priestess is the Womb of Consciousness, but she is both Male and Female, much like a Hermaphrodite ( Hermes-Aphrodite) that can impregnate itself. The Higher Chokmah is a Sun, and the Lower Chokmah is a Moon. Thus when viewing THE HIGH PRIESTESS Tarot card, you will see a slight feminine figure with arms raised, behind curved vibrations of light (Feminine) and a strong lower masculine leg section with the a bow across the knees, with a background of straight lines of light (Masculine). Yet she is a virginal force, because no "Outside" Male force fertilizes her. From Her, the source of Water/Consciousness, is the idea behind the idea of form.
I think Paul Foster Case said this best in saying that,"...no matter how many forms develop from it, the virgin substance is itself unchanged. Like Water, which holds matter in suspension or solution,  this substance remains over itself. Here is one key to the alchemical mystery of the First Matter.  Here, too, one may find a clue to the inner significance of the Virgin Myths of all Religions." [ Remaining "over itself" may also be a clue as to why Lilith wished to lay on top of the First Male Form called Adam, in Genesis and was banished from the Garden for a more complaisant Eve. So the Patriarch could "pretend to be" in charge of sexuality. A fun and enlightening study for the curious.]

In his book, THE THIRTY TWO PATHS OF WISDOM, Dr. Case calls the Path of Gimel, the Uniting Intelligence, because it is the "Essence of Glory" and/or "The Grace of God". No matter the terms, the fact is that your personality must be shed of all the reality and desires that our conscious has constructed before She is able to "carry One across the Abyss, into Daäth , meaning-Knowledge, which is a return to the Womb of Conscious; the invisible Chakra of the Tree of Life that resides below Kether, on the Middle Path. It is that Knowledge that our conscious essence "consumed", so that it could become the operator of the "Image of Goddess/God" and returning to that womb, is the baptizing of the True "Born again Consciousness".   
 
Interestingly, the invisible Sephiroth Daath is no longer invisible to one who has entered the "Garden of inherited Knowledge" that resides between the Mother named Understanding and the Father named Wisdom.
The High Priestess is often called the Prima Materia, or Root Matter (First Matter) as she can be considered the result of Self-Conscious.
Now the MAGUS,( Will-Kether), symbolizes a condition prior to "Unconscious thought"  This condition acts upon THE HIGH PRIESTESS in such a way, that the Path of Gimel  becomes the "mind" capable of carrying the thought forms (knowledge) of which the Universe will eventually be composed. Being that She is the source underlying all vibratory patterns that compose form, she is shown on the Thoth Deck Card  as a figure composed of vibratory waves of energy.

Moreover, nothing can grow in the Garden of the Empress without this wave structure that underlays energy. It is for this very reason that the Moon is assigned to this path, for it is a pattern of waxing and waning, fluctuation, dualities and tides, just as the waves of energy in a vibratory pattern. Here, the Goddess is both Force and Form, and as a Moon she controls the tides of consciousness.

Now if you wish to skry this card, remember, She is Pure Virginal Conscious and without empathy, She is as Durga of the Hindu or the Ice Queen of the Norse. Unless you have a mentor who has been through the initiation of THE HIGH PRIESTESS,  you may find her Cold Beauty destructive to your sensibilities as she strips your personality of all that is not worthy of Pure Conscious. Oh, by the way, I know her as Elizabeth (Chosen of God), as She is permanently aware of her  initiates and often renames them, she calls me Prometheus which I translated into the Qabalistic Eli Serabeth ( Temple of the Fiery Daemon)  She is a scary Beauty who will assist you in self dissection....often without permission. To those who think bravery is an ego trip, don't try this ....ever! Ask a Mother who willingly goes through birth pains, what bravery is, then do your best to incorporate that idea into your heart, you may then survive the ordeal of the "Dark night of the Soul".
The B.O.T.A. High Priestess-Key 2, follows the Hermetic concept of the Moon as representative of the High Priestess. Here, the Silver Crown is a Crescent Cup, that represents receptivity; the properties of the unconscious. This crown also represents the Waxing and Waning of the Moon that symbolizes periodicity and rhythm.

Since one must color these cards themselves, I made the central orb of the Silver Crown, a Sun, for She is the Mother of the Consciousness and/or "masculine" part of the Divine Creative Collective Unconscious.  Therefore, one can readily see the factors of reflection and duplication, which are essential to the faculty of memory whichis symbolized by this key.

Hermetic Qabalists have known for centuries that the Universe is made up of Mental Energy (some scientists call this "mind stuff"); the Hindus call this Mental Energy-Prakriti. No matter what name you give it, this "One Energy Mind" has always been symbolized as water and a Virgin. Hence, the High Priestess is dressed in watery blue and virginal white. The curtain behind her also represents virginity, as it connects two pillars, one of light and the other of darkness, and therefore all other pairs of opposites. Hence, she is the associating power of the Unconscious. The Palm trees and Pomegranates, on this curtain/veil, continue the concept of opposite connections, as one is the Passive (tree) and a the other is the active (fruit) mode of Life's Power of self-expression. 

The stone cube she is sitting on is a complicated esoteric representation of  Union, Life (understanding) and Wisdom, that is called the "Cube of Space", which is also used on the Tarot Card Box that the B.O.T.A. tarot cards come in (I colored this, so I could differentiate it from other boxes).

The scroll in her hands, represents memory, history, and the record of experience. Therefore, she symbolizes the Universal Collective Unconscious. The word TORA, that is on the scroll, represents law.

When the High Priestess Card is thrown during an divination she represents;
  • Change, alteration, increase and decrease.
  • Fluctuation in identity; either for good or evil as defined by the dignity of the accompanying cards.
  • There is a Oracular gift here of knowing the Past, Present and Future and an awareness of the Greater Self that expands  into Intuitive-Awareness.
  • One is experiencing the original union of Anima and Animus.
  • The gift of a Seer. This gift must be attained before one can see Auras. and Chakras, which are normally "invisible light". 
  • Intuitive sight---is "I" sight rather than the crude sight of eyes, that only see reflection and are blinded by reflection.
  • This is a very Feminine Force of Magnetism/Will to Form that is projecting the very masculine Will to Force.
  • Voluntary change of self-perspectives.
Thank you for your interest,comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!

 

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