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Leisa 
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Alchemical Study Group - II The High Priestess


"Wheresoever we have spoken plainly, there we have spoken nothing, but where we have used riddles and figures, there we have hidden the truth."
--Rosarium Philosophorum (pg. 47)


The image of the High Priestess is influenced by the soror mystica, mystical sister, portrayed in the Mutus liber, who holds her hand to her lips in a sign of silence. This gesture has been associated with Hermetic philosophy since antiquity, when the Greeks misinterpreted the Egyptian image of the infant Horus sucking his finger, and transformed him into Harpokrates, the god of silence. This card represents the language of silence, and the presence of mystery. It is the truth behind the trickster's verbal illusions, but a truth that can be penetrated only through perseverance.

The High Priestess represents water, which is an archetypal symbol of the unconscious. Sailing in her moon boat on the sea, she becomes the gateway to the deepest parts of ourselves. She acts as the messenger that surfaces from the unseen depths, bringing our inner wisdom to our conscious awareness.

When we attune to the energies of the High Priestess, we come into contact with the Great Goddess, who governs the cycles and rhythms of nature -- the very mysteries of life. Her moon, which waxes an wanes -- the rhythm of life -- symbolizes the highest expression of female spirituality, it is the origin of all mystery traditions. She is luna, the feminine aspect of our hermaphroditic soul.

The High Priestess expresses an esoteric spiritually, which is not found in books, but comes from direct experience and initiation into the mysteries. Like the mysteries of life hidden in the womb of the Great Goddess, the wisdom of the High Priestess is hidden. Thus, her book is closed, and she is silent. She beckons to lead us to a gnostic, or personally realized, spirituality, but once we are at her gateway we must discover her secrets ourselves by solving her riddles and deciphering her symbols.

The High Priestess begins the alchemical process called dissolution, in which the prima materia, symbolized by the Magician, is dissolved and separated into its four elements, water (the High Priestess, feminine/soul), earth (the Empress, body), air (the Emperor, spirit/mind), and fire (the Hierophant, masculine soul).

Tarot wisdom: Two is the number of openings, because two haves create a space between themselves -- the image of a doorway. The High Priestess opens the door for us to probe the mysteries that lie beneath our experiences. She encourages us to look for what is hidden -- to read between the lines, to find subtleties and nuances. This is the card of intuition, dreams, and esoteric knowledge.
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Old 19-04-2008     Top   #1
mac22 
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How do we separate HP esoteric knowledge from our esoteric knowledge from media sources [books, Internet etc.]? Is there a difference?

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Old 19-04-2008     Top   #2
Kenny 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac22
How do we separate HP esoteric knowledge from our esoteric knowledge from media sources [books, Internet etc.]? Is there a difference?

Mac22
Isn't it all one and the same in the end? All things come from one source and so lead to one source. Yet the truth found in a book is not the truth you will ultimately find; that truth will be unique for each person.

Searching for the truth is a way of finding yourself and though finding yourself you will find the divine.
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Old 19-04-2008     Top   #3
sapienza 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisa
The High Priestess begins the alchemical process called dissolution, in which the prima materia, symbolized by the Magician, is dissolved and separated into its four elements, water (the High Priestess, feminine/soul), earth (the Empress, body), air (the Emperor, spirit/mind), and fire (the Hierophant, masculine soul).
Before I begin on this card, I just need to say that the paragraph above has had an enormous impact on how I view the major arcana. I just love the way he corresponds these four cards to the four elements.

Now, on the High Priestess... When I first saw this card I wasn't sure I liked how far away she was, I wanted to see more of her face. I began to realise that this was a wonderful way of representing the High Priestess, kind of unaccessible, not easy to see, kind of drawing you towards her. I love that she is surrounded by water. I also like that she holds her book (her secrets) close to her chest. The answers to the mysteries are not obvious, it will take time to unlock them.

I think the Queen of Vessels in this deck is quite similar in some of the symbolism and is perhaps a personification of the High Priestess (but that's a discussion for another thread )

I really do feel like this card draws you in. It's as if she's beckoning me to follow her into the water.
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Old 20-04-2008     Top   #4
Leisa 
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Priestess Closeup


I wanted to share a closeup of the Priestesses face. Its from an ad for New Leaf.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PriestessFace.jpg (59.9 KB, 69 views)
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Old 20-04-2008     Top   #5
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Wonderful. Thanks for sharing Leisa
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Old 20-04-2008     Top   #6
Kenny 
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The finger in front of the face is supposed to be a miss-seeing of the baby Horus sucking his thumb in Egyptian art.

Seeing this card though I thought of King of Vessels, the Whale surfing the seas during day, a person who had completed his lessons on emotions. The High Priestess is a lady who knows the seas of emotions and the divine grace of God and is comfortable to sail the waves even in the dark of night taking the lessons of the King of Vessels further than he is able. She is not tempting you rather she is trying to expand your mind and knowledge beyond what you have seen before. The book of secrets she holds in her arms is there to tempt you, but the real secret is that in learning to reach the book you no longer need it.

She is inviting you to follow her into darkness, into fire, into the deep. Face your fears and you will find her. Love and you will find her. Live and she will be your companion on your trip though this life.

Could she be your daimon (daemon in Pullman's world)?
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Old 20-04-2008     Top   #7
mac22 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny
The finger in front of the face is supposed to be a miss-seeing of the baby Horus sucking his thumb in Egyptian art.

Seeing this card though I thought of King of Vessels, the Whale surfing the seas during day, a person who had completed his lessons on emotions. The High Priestess is a lady who knows the seas of emotions and the divine grace of God and is comfortable to sail the waves even in the dark of night taking the lessons of the King of Vessels further than he is able. She is not tempting you rather she is trying to expand your mind and knowledge beyond what you have seen before. The book of secrets she holds in her arms is there to tempt you, but the real secret is that in learning to reach the book you no longer need it.

She is inviting you to follow her into darkness, into fire, into the deep. Face your fears and you will find her. Love and you will find her. Live and she will be your companion on your trip though this life.

Could she be your daimon (daemon in Pullman's
world)?
Very good insights IMHO, thanks.

Mac22



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Old 21-04-2008     Top   #8
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Is it raining in anyone elses card? There are superthin white stripes going from top right to bottom left.

(I love this deck but the print job is horrendous. I have dings, pings, color blotches and all sorts of stuff in it. So I'm not sure some of these elements are intentional)
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Old 01-09-2008     Top   #9
sapienza 
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It's not raining in my card. It sounds like your deck is a particularly bad printing. If you got it through Tarot Connection I'd get in touch with Leisa and let her know. At one stage I think she was offering to replace significantly misprinted cards. I can't remember where and so I hope I'm not making it up. It would be worth contacting her though if you actually have blotches of colour where they are not meant to be.

Good luck!
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Old 02-09-2008     Top   #10
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