The Qabalistic Thoth Tarot-Key 2- The Priestess & The Legends Tarot-Key 2-The High Priestess
, in Qabalah, are referred to the Hebrew letter Gimel,
which means Camel. The letter Gimel
is shown on the lower left
of the Thoth Tarot card. Therefore, the Path of the Priestess or High Priestess
represents the Camel; a Path of psychic forces that carry the Personality
and safely traverses the Desert of the Abyss
into the "Dark Night of the Soul"
Here the High Priestess may 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 "personal belief systems", indoctrination of
the self-conscious; However, we haven't reached the end and have not
seen the Whole Truth of Self as of yet, as 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 Priestess or High Priestess, is the virginal most pure state of unconsciousness symbolized in the Tarot. She is the very source of all Water and/or all consciousness.
The Source of Water and/or Consciousness, is the essence of the idea
behind form. She is the Pure Anima, or Divine Imagination. Since,
imagination means, "image-making", here is where Creation begins to take
form. Here we have the beginning of "what is feminine" and/or the Concept of Divine Creatrix.
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." The same can be said for "mother's blood", for all beings are created from it.
As you may see
this is a difficult idea to grasp for in this case, Sephiroth #2-Chokma
(is a Feminine noun in Hebrew--as the word wisdom is the feminine
Sophia in Greek) expresses itself as The High Priestess, or
Priestess and is now feminine. The act of expression is ejaculation, and
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. Hence, the Thoth Priestess is shown with hands spread
wide in a crescent shape, invoking curved feminine lines of energy,
that are oval or egg shaped.
Crowley put it this way,
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 invisible Sephiroth-Daath, Knowledge, which is at the "head" of
the Path of the Priestess. Therefore the Priestess part of the
Unconscious is our first Mother whose "womb" is Knowledge, placing that
womb/moon in her Hathor Crown
. Here begins Time/Space and the vibratory seeds of form
Here begins the concept of the "figure eight", as seen across her eyes
as if a mask. The concept of the 8, is often called the symbol of
infinity. This is true, however, it also is the Fool-0-twisted into the
new concept of 2-the Creator and Creatrix by the act of "understanding itself" and/or "looking upon itself".
The Legends Tarot-High Priestess
also displays a Moon Goddess Hathor type of symbolism, with crescents in the border and a large full Blue Moon in the background.
Hathor, being one of the "cow" goddesses of ancient
matriarch religions, was symbolized in Egypt as upright cow horns with a
full moon between. The Egyptian Mother of the gods and Queen of Heaven,
Hathor, was originally called Het-Hert-meaning- "the House (or Womb) Above"; later she was Hat-Hor-meaning- "the House (or Womb) of Horus". The Egyptian clergy, stated that She "brought forth in primeval time herself, never having been created."
The Red of
Menstrual and/or virginal blood, another aspect of the Creatrix is shown in her clothing, in
the starry sky border of this card. Virginal, for again, mother's blood is
the purifying blood and unchanged . Depending on the mythology, from her milk or blood,
she created the Milky Way Galaxy.
According to the Sinai Tablets, the Hebrew workers in the mines of Sinai, about 1500 BC, worshiped Hathor, as Astarte.
Although she is shown
as one of serious countenance, she is wise, just and compassionate.
Standing upright on her, posed in a "summoning" or invocation, she is centered and neutral, neither does
she "wax" nor "wane, as she doesn't lean towards the left or the
right. In her right hand is a summon circle of light, implying her knowledge of light. In her
left hand is a large wand or scepter, indicating her wisdom and authority. Wisdom in Greek, is
known as Sophia, who is also a goddess image.
Around this wise
High Priestess's neck, is a choker consisting of the colors of the 4 elements.
The blue of water, is all around her, in the hooded robe she wears and in the blue sky background.
There is a common occurrence of dragons, in the art of Legends Tarot, as seen in the clothing of this High Priestess. This is fitting, since Dragon's are of legend, and are shown as wise and powerful, which are also attributes of the High Priestess.
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
-Understanding being the All Mother Binah and Daath
Hebrew letter for knowledge, which is the Invisible Sephiroth on the
Middle Pillar that is right on the Path of Gimel
and therefore "the Womb
of the All Mother". To me, the Sephiroth-Daäth represents the invisible
Womb of Binah, The Qabalah's All Mother and is called the Priestess
or High Priestess; invisible because it was before there was visible
light and therefore, hidden by the veils of light that she weaves into
manifestation. 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 we can clean out the trash
thought of enforced indoctrination and "Know ourselves", i.e. our True or Higher Self.
As previously stated: The Priestess or High Priestess
Key 2, also refers to the Moon which is the general symbol for the
feminine, cycles and fluctuations and of the second order corresponding to the Sun as the Yoni does
to the Lingam. The Moon in this case, is universal, and goes from the highest to the
lowest; However, The High Priestess is the first card that
connects the Supernal Triad (Supernal Triangle) with the Hexad (The Holy Hexagram); her Path-Gimel
directly connects the Father in his highest aspect (Kether) with the
Son (Tiphareth-6th Sephiroth) 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.
Thoth Tarot card, The Priestess, also represents the highest form of
Isis the Eternal Virgin and is shown as Artemis of the Greeks, another
"cow" or Moon Goddess.
GIMEL:The Path of the Priestess or The High Priestess-key 2:
Meaning: Camel From the root Ger-meaning stranger.
a stranger dwells among you in your land, do not taunt him. The
stranger who dwells with you shall be like a native among you and you
shall love him like yourself, for you were strangers in the land of
This old testament quote (there are many in the old testament)
reminds us that we are "Strangers in a strange land". We are Spirit,
who often feels "enslaved'' by the world of man made economics as well
as by the very bodies we animate! We, as conscious micro-wave energy,
know how it feels to be out of our element (The Supernal Triangle) and
should remember to look kindly on the stranger in our midst....after
all, they are just another way to be you! Each of us, Spirit, Mind and Body.
This Hebrew letter
also reminds us that although the Jews suffered, humiliation,
enslavement and oppression in Egypt, they also had a sense of
settlement there. So when the time came to journey to the "Promised
Land" (Higher Self) there was resistance to motion, for the unknown is
not as comfortable as the known discomfort!
The Path of Gimel,
on the Tree of Life, reminds us that all the self-illusions are
removed and on this Path as the Supreme Mother has removed her
smiling mask and reveals the cold, stern expressionless face of
immortal beauty ...like a perfect black diamond. This is well
illustrated in the Tarot- Priestess card, as she is all
energy- dark energy, with the menstrual red slash of color, reminding us that she is
the Mysterious Purifier.Hence, the Legends Tarot combination of black and red in their art of the High Priestess.
In reading The Priestess, or
High Priestess tarot, one must understand that all the maternal help of The Empress has yet to be established and we
must face the crystalline reality of our own free-will....a most
difficult task of the Mysteries related to the crossing of the Abyss. We
must be as the camel, able to cross the most difficult of terrain that
is the abysmal desert where reality is just dust, and the Real is Darkness of
the Ancient Unconscious.
The 3 Paths of the Hermetic
(Priestess), Samekh ( Art or Temperance)
, and Tau (The Universe or the World),
aspects of the same energy conscious which together make up the Middle
Pillar of the Tree of Life. These 3 Paths are related to the Moon and
are Paths to the "Dark Night of The Soul" where our personality is
definitely a "stranger in a strange land". All this may seem terrifying
and negative. But if you look at it from Qabalistic point of view, it
makes positive sense: Sometimes you need to lose yourself in order to
find yourself; to take the road less traveled to find the right path for
you and sometimes you need the chaos of the Tower in order to free
yourself from illusion that you can't travel the Path of Enlightenment. Yet you have already done that, for it is just spiritual memory. Hence, "Know thyself",
which reclaims your inheritance as a Supreme Spirit Self. Gimel
(camel) is about being a Traveling Stranger....fearlessly enjoying the
unknown and later finding it very familiar!
The Wisdom of THE HIGH PRIESTESS or The Priestess, is in regulation,
as Her fluctuation rates establish the direction for the "First Matter"
as it descends in to greater and greater density. Thus she is THE MOON,
that regulates the tides of the Waters of consciousness.
The four paths rising into the Supernal Triangle (top 3 sephirothic triad),
each represent a Alchemical element, each a composite of the "Garden of
Eden". THE PRIESTESS, is the Uniting Spirit, the Fifth element,
symbolized as the top point of the Pentagram. THE HIEROPHANT= Earth,
LOVERS= Air, THE CHARIOT= Water, THE EMPEROR =Fire . The THE HIGH
PRIESTESS= Spiritual Mother and/or Womb of Knowledge.
Overall, THE HIGH PRIESTESS or The Priestess, is the vessel (womb-mind)
for all operations of the Supernal Triangle; she is the crucible-womb
where the alchemical activity of Mercury, Sulfur, and Salt take place.
She is also the source of the Four Rivers of Paradise, The Pison (River of Fire-The Emperor), The Gibon (River of Water-The Chariot), The Hiddikel (River of Air-Lovers) and the Phrath
(River of Earth-Hierophant). Which goes a long way in describing her
fluctuating nature, as rivers are often "waves of serpentine flow".
As I have mentioned before,
the journey up the Paths of the Tree of Life, is about remembering our
beginning, a critical part of "Above all things, Know thyself". THE
PRIESTESS, conceals within Her Vibrations ( or robes), all the knowledge/memories
of the Race, as well as, those of the Cosmos.
Behind Her, on the Qabalistic Tree of Life,
resides the Sephiroth- Daath
(Knowledge), the invisible one that is made visible as a scroll of knowledge in the Witches Tarot Card; However Daath
is invisible as is all knowledge harbored in the Unconscious
and also because of Vibratory Veils of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.
These veils, are shown as Light in vibratory form, on the Thoth Tarot
Card; And a circular pattern of blues in the art of the Legends Tarot-High Priestess card. The Qabalist knows that it is Light
the True Spirit---the one we've called "The Fiery Darkness", because
Dark Energy is the True Light of the Dark Fire, as it is the substance of Supernal
Potential that is the "Dark Ocean of Binah".
To look upon the Light of the HIGH PRIESTESS,
one must become Virginal in nature, for it is a dark- Light "so bright"
one of mundane persona can not look upon it and will be shocked right
back into there Malkuth realm of race sponsored consciousness. If the
desire conscious is conquered, the Light of the High Priestess is
welcoming, and brilliantly beautiful...but without heat. Thus, it is a
cool light resembling the dazzling brightness of Ice in full Sun or Moon
Light. Passing through the "light veil", one enters the Abyss of Dark
Matter/Dark Energy where the only sense is the original "I" sight of the
Obviously, when considering light, the
Qabalist must re-think the essence of light for only .4% of the
Electromagnetic Spectrum of light is visible. It is apparent to the
researcher that all religions that stress "the Light", are based on The
Sun God (Son of God) of old religions and who is the 6th Sephiroth- Tiphareth on the
Tree of Life. For instance, religions based on the teachings of Christ,
Buddha, Apollo, Osiris, Ahurda-Mazda, Mithra, etc. However, the Gnostic
Mysteries, unlike organized religions, states that Light conceals, rather than reveals, by its very brilliance.
As does the Moon
so does The Priestess or High Priestess, go from brilliant light to
absolute darkness. Thus, the Mythology of the Moon and her deities, such
as, Hathor, Ishtar-Inanna, Dianna-Artemis, Hecate and Hel-Aine (Later as
Helena), better known to those of Celtic origin as Elaine the
Thoth Tarot Card Shows THE PRIESTESS as Hecate-Selene (The Triple
Goddess as described by Hesiod) which means "The Far Shooting Moon", an
aspect of Artemis. Artemis is also known as the "maiden of the silver
bow", suggesting the lower aspect of THE PRIESTESS,(The ART card), which
is Sagittarius, the archer. That is why she is illustrated with a bow
across her knees.
Artemis is the triple Goddess,
represented as the Maiden, then the Orgiastic Nymph, then the Old
Crone. As some say, Maid, Mother and Crone.
To reiterate: The
Priestess or The High Priestess, acts upon the First Matter of the
MAGUS, causing it to function in the pattern of a figure eight lying on
its side, the lemnistrate and/or Mobius Loop. This represent a total
unified energy cycle of both opposed and duplicated vibration. This holding, enclosing, and duplicating function is that of the first female quality on the Tree of Life.
THE HIGH PRIESTESS or The Priestess, represents what Carl Jung called the "virgin anima",
related to "virgin milk" which he called the "life giving power of the
unconscious." The Word "virgin milk", is really a arcane meaning for
menstrual or Mother's blood.
To the inquiring mind, I
really recommend one gets the book: THE WOMAN'S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MYTHS
AND SECRETS, by Barbara G. Walker and looks up the Moon Goddess Myths. The Priestess or High Priestess relates a concept so subjective, that much repetition of information, in differentiating perspectives is greatly recommended.
Hence, to further understanding, I shall reiterate:
Is The Path of Gimel of the Hermetic Qabalah. She is not a literal
return to the warm enclosure of the Cosmic Womb, as is THE EMPRESS.
Rather, she represents the Supreme All Mother, without her smiling mask,
revealing a True face of cold yet beautiful countenance; this is the activity of the Pure Mind of the Supernal Triangle.
When visiting the Inner Purity of Mind, 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 self-consciously weak.
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 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, applying the seed of expansion contains
its own limitation which is that of intent. 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 into which to
contemplate any possibility, i.e. the All Seeing I of the
Original consciousness. The Word Sapiens, of Homo Sapiens, is also a Latin word for
Wisdom, also showing her link with Chokmah.
Now I know this concept of the Womb of Unconsciousness is
an impossibly difficult one to understand and the most descriptive of
Qabalistic terms may seem nonsensical, but the Priestess/High Priestess, is not only 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 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 Dr. Paul Foster Case, creator of the B.O.T. A., 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."The Same can also be said for "Mother's blood".
Remaining "over itself" may also be a clue as to why Lilith, the
Biblical First Wife, wished to lay on top of the First Male Form called
Adam, in Genesis and was banished from the Garden for a more complaint
Eve. A convenient revision so that the Patriarch could be placed 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",
specifically the grace of the Triple Goddess, shown as the Three
Graces, Muses and or Fates. 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 the All- She is able to "carry One
across the Abyss, into Daath (Knowledge) the invisible Chakra of the
Tree of Life, that resides below Kether, on the Middle Path. It is that
Knowledge that our conscious essence is seeded from, so that the Psyche,
(soul) could become the operator of the "I-mage of God".
Dark-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.
Therefore, The High Priestess/'Priestess is often called the Prima Materia, or Root Matter (First Matter) as her work 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 " vessel of mind" and/or "Holy Gaäl", capable
of encompassing 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 Tarot
Card as a figure composed of vibratory waves of energy.
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
the Ice Queen of the Norse and Durga the Hindu goddess of life and
death. 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 Self. I have met her, "face to face" (faceless Abyss of Intelligent Energy) and She is a
scary Black Diamond-fiery Beauty who will assist you in self dissection...often without
permission, for that permission was given by entering the Abyss. To those who think bravery is an ego trip, don't try this ....ever!
Ask a Mother of a large family, what bravery is for they know how to give of themselves to form another. Then do your best to incorporate that
idea into your heart, you may then survive the ordeal of the "Dark night
of the Soul".
When The HIGH PRIESTESS or THE PRIESTESS, is thrown during a reading for the non-initiated, the Querent is:
- Experiencing the principle of self-trust, indicating an easily working state of harmony and inner independence.
- A self knowing.
- Accessing hidden Knowledge from the unconscious.
- Self-sufficiency, self-trust, and intuition
To the initiated male, She represents:
The Spiritual Bride of the Just man (The Prince, no longer of this world).
When he reads the Law, she gives the Divine Meaning of that Law.
The Arcana is revealed, the Mystery is unfolded, an futures are seen.
To the Initiated Female:
is the Papess, associated with St. Mary Magdalene, or the Great Shakti
of the triple Hindu Goddess Kali, or the Greek Gnostic Sophia, the original Mother of the Holy Trinity.
Considered one of the Highest and Holiest of the Major Arcana.
Complete development of Feminine Powers (Womb rite) that go deeper in meaning than the words, intuition or insight, can convey.
She is the Law of inherited Wisdom.
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper.