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Vixxia  Vixxia is offline
Join Date: 06 May 2007
Location: London, UK
Posts: 136

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The whip or scourge that the High Priestess has before her may look scary, but is actually a part of British Traditional Wiccan practice, and it isn't meant to be used as a terrifying punishment or as a penance or a way to be harsh on yourself. As Mi-Shell said it can be used to induce trance states, it is also a way of raising power and is part of BTW initiations. In addition to the links Sulis posted in the Wheel thread when this topic came up there I would like to offer this mini-essay by Melissa Zupan, an initiated Gardnerian Wiccan, on the topic of the scourge, where she talks about preconceptions when encountering this tool and the practical steps taken during its use: https://threehundredandsixtysix.word...y-risk-is-low/
Ms. Zupan also says later in her blog when discussing BTW pentacles that 'the S$ symbol at the bottom represents the kiss and the scourge, or the dichotomy of mercy and severity that exist in us all'. As mercy is something I associate more with the Empress than the High Priestess I can see why she would have the scourge in a Wiccan-based deck - a lot of the High Priestess cards I have look fairly severe or remote, they are keepers of knowledge and secrets, and can also stand for initiation into mysteries.

And I've just dug out my deck and had another look at the card. To me, it looks like her eyes are closed, but I can see why it could look like she was blind. Her eyelids are very bright, but they're not really any brighter in comparison to the rest of her face - I think it's just the brightness of the light falling on her that's giving her eyes that shine, and causing the dramatic shadows in contrast. Another reason I lean towards the 'eyes closed' as opposed to the 'eyes blind' view is the darker, thicker line of shadow under her eyes - it looks like the sort of shadow you'd get from both sets of eyelashes and an overhead light source. I do like MeeWah's idea that she is using her Second Sight though.
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