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Elendil 
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Ludy Lescot - High Priestess II


The image depicts a young woman emerging/writhing upwards from a mist covered pool upon which lotuses float. Bubbles also rise and form, floating into the air. Behind the figure in the mists can be made out bare trees and two tower-like structures (one on either side of the card). The woman's arms are raised and she clutches at her flaming red hair. Oddly, her hands seem to be webbed. Her eyes are streaked and from the left corner of her mouth blood appears to trickle.


The image provokes some interesting thoughts:

The knowledge offered by the High Priestess is steeped in mystery (the misty setting). It arises (like her) from the pool of the unconscious. It cannot be rushed lest the 'bubbles' burst before they are fully formed. Only once we have understood this knowledge will we be able to penetrate the mists which obscure the distance and will provide a path that can be travelled between the two towers (which are reminiscent of those found in other Tarot decks where they represent the pillars of Boaz and Jachin, the pillars which stood at the entrance to King Solomon's mystic Temple).

Knowledge does not always come without some form of sacrifice (even if this is only commitment to change/transformation) and it may take its emotional toll upon us (the tearing eyes and the trickle of blood).

The lotuses which grow and bloom upon the surface of the pool may very well be significant because the aroma of the lotus is said to bring both tranquillity and heightened awareness.

The image on this card also provides a possible a link between the High Priestess and the water nymph Lotis daughter of Neptune who was transformed into a lotus plant by the gods to protect her from the unwanted (sexual) attentions of the violent and predatory Priapus. (This mythological connection might also explain the 'throes of transformation' posture and the webbed hands of the priestess).

There are hints here, perhaps of a 'victim' theme entering the deck...and a developing response to the attentions of a predator (which might explain those feral females from Card I and the whole 'vampire' overlay in the images we are provided with for many cards in this deck).

FWIW

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Old 02-09-2011     Top   #1
Hemera 
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Id say this is not the actual Lotus plant (Lotus nucifera) but probably a waterlily (Nymphea). The symbolism would remain the same, however. The spiritual teaching about Lotuses and Waterlilies is that they bring forth something divinely beautiful from the depths of mud. They are well rooted in mud and darkness and only therefore are they able to bring forth beauty. So I think in some way we also need to be well grounded and rooted, we need to be able to face our dark depths and muddy things and get our wisdom from there in order to be able to Walk in Beauty.

She could be doing an erotic dance? Maybe the blood she has sucked has been tasty and good for her and now she is stretching like a cat after having eaten the mouse?


Picture from Alida.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg High Priestess.jpg (24.9 KB, 66 views)



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Last edited by Hemera; 02-09-2011 at 16:10.
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Old 02-09-2011     Top   #2
Elendil 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemera View Post
Im not sure she is suffering.
I didn't mean to imply 'suffering' as such - but rather an 'emotional sacrifice/payment' necessary to access knowledge via transformation. (Perhaps this is 'pushing' the envelope of possible meanings too far...)

What do others make of the webbed hands?

ETA: The streaked/tearing eyes seems to be a feature of many of the women in this deck and is probably 'artistic' as opposed to a sign of distress.
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Old 02-09-2011     Top   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil View Post
I didn't mean to imply 'suffering' as such - but rather an 'emotional sacrifice/payment' necessary to access knowledge via transformation.
Yes, I know. I re-read your post and I edited mine to remove it at the same time you were quoting it

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What do others make of the webbed hands?
Merwoman? Ill have to have a closer look when I get the deck. (Hopefully it comes today)

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Originally Posted by Elendil View Post
ETA: The streaked/tearing eyes seems to be a feature of many of the women in this deck and is probably 'artistic' as opposed to a sign of distress.
This is odd.. Yes, you are probably right that its supposed to be "artistic". The streaked eyes also make me think of Shapeshifting. You know, in all those movies where people become Werewolves etc. they have such funny eyes.



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Last edited by Hemera; 02-09-2011 at 17:09.
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Old 02-09-2011     Top   #4
Elendil 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemera View Post
... to be able to Walk in Beauty.
" SHE walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that 's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes. "

(Lord Byron, June 1814)
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Old 02-09-2011     Top   #5
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When I first saw her, I thought "she's a ghost". I find such a contrast between her and the Magician...

I think she is trying to lure you in, like a siren... or a rusalka.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusalka

Now that would fit with a "revenge" idea. She was jilted by her lover/ left at the altar and drowned herself, now she drowns young men.

ps have read the C.J.Cherryh rusalka series which is probably why it sprang to mind



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Last edited by Aerin; 03-09-2011 at 00:51.
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Old 03-09-2011     Top   #6
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Whenever I look at this card I'm always struck by how unnatural her position is. If I tried to stand like this I'd fall over, she's not seemingly supporting herself at all. It reminds me of the way the three vampires in the '90s film slink backwards away from Jonathan Harker. I agree that she's of the water, a possible siren of some sort or merperson.

I'd go so far as to suggest she's some kind of monster, not the kind of thing you'd want to find in a swamp, wandering late at night.



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Old 03-09-2011     Top   #7
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I wanted to post something about at least one card today.

I spend a lot of time comparing the images on the Ludy Lescot to meanings and symbolism of more obvious RWS decks and this one is no different.

This II High Priestess is very much a part of her environment, like someone who meditates often feels they are part of something much bigger. She's part of the emotions indicated by the water, which I think is more of a swamp (so the imagery of something emerging from the muck would work).

I like the idea of her being a bit of an omen as mermaid, or an ondine. An oracle, which is what she is. But the white dress, to me, indicates her chastity even as she seems sensuously alluring.

The mist is the veil blocking the view to what lies beyond the two towers. I wonder if the bubbles allude to the phases of the moon?
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Old 12-01-2012     Top   #8
Hemera 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RunningWild View Post

The mist is the veil blocking the view to what lies beyond the two towers. I wonder if the bubbles allude to the phases of the moon?
You know, I never saw any towers here before I re-checked after your post! Interesting. So thank you for posting this.



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Old 13-01-2012     Top   #9
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Quote:
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You know, I never saw any towers here before I re-checked after your post! Interesting. So thank you for posting this.
I just got home from work and saw this. Let me pull out the deck again...


oooo maybe they're NOT towers..but a crumbling gate? That's what I get for looking at a card when I'm tired. Sorry!
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Old 13-01-2012     Top   #10
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