The Gothic Tarot by Vargo - II The High Priestess


This study group is exciting!

Dark Angel has already written a text about the High Priestess in the thread "Comparative Study - The High Priestess" here: . I prefer letting Dark Angel rewrite her text here and maybe add other things of her own, so I won't copy-paste it, but I'm giving the link because I think she wrote interesting stuffs.

cjtarot has also written interesting stuffs on this card, and other cards as well, in a thread on The Gothic Tarot and he/she accepted graciously to be quoted here.

cjtarot said:
I want to respond to the quote about the Lovers, the High Priest and the Empress standing in the same arch...

The Empress, guards her home...the relm of beond. (note the Emperor is inside with all the babe's doing NOTHING)

The Hight PRiest guards the knowledge in the Relm of beond

The Lovers..It is your choice (or is it) to enter into the Relm..note the lovers almost look farther into the arch..

Also look at the High Priestess and the 9 of cups...
The HP..guarding the unknow of our sub consious - or the door to the afterlife.

The 9 of cups.. Cups are emotion, our life flow if you will..the 9 is showing the final preperation before we are fufilled, before the final journey into the ultimate unknow..(Note the 10 of cups is within that arch..the claiming or the dark angel leading you away)


The card is monochromatic here, and there's a door again, this time it is egyptian style. The priestess is an egyptian priestess, wearing a long skirt, and wear the pharaoh mask-crown with the serpent (she could be the pharaoh's wife), and an hathor crescent moon on top of the crown. She has tattos of snakes and many jewels, including an ankh on her breast. She stands between two black pillars with hieroglypghs, an ankh at the top. Anubis is engraved at her right while Khousou, Ra's son, is at her left. Her knees look weird.

As we know, Anubis was bringing the soul of the dead in the underworld. For Khousou, he was Ra's son; Ra was the sun while Khousou was the moon, bearing the crescent moon on his head. Ankh means immortality and can also mean the key that opens mysteries and visions, but these must be kept secret and only offered to the initiated.

Vargo's cards were based on previous works, you can see some on his website. It's possible that this card was based on the novel "Queen of the damned" by Anne Rice, explaining the origin of vampirism going back to the pharaoh couple vampirised by a demon.

I like Dark Angel's idea that this High Priestess hunts down for knowledge.


The High Priestess is the very antithesis of The Magician, who commanded the powers of the universe. Here, to gain access, you must submit – and she looks…hungry.




First of all, Anubis is on her left, and he is the one who would guide the souls around the underworld into the realm of Osiris, in fact, he once ruled the underworld, but Osiris ended up taking that over.

And the one on her right certainly SEEMS to be Horus, the Falcon headed Sky God.

This would make the two gods engraved on either side of the priestess pretty much polar opposites. An underworld and funerary god facing and opposing a sky god.

Abover her and directly below her is a symbol of Maat, the goddess of law, truth and justice. She has her hands resting on two eyes of Ra, who was pretty much the creator god.

It looks like the rest are pretty much a random selection of hieroglyphics. They do have meanings, but not in the formation Vargo ahs placed them.

It is hard to tell but it looks like she could be wearing one of the head dressed that Isis (a goddess of royalty, family and commitment) was traditionally shown wearing.

I guess that'll be all from me about the egyptian aspect of this card, cause I could go on.


I've noticed a few persons saying that they don't understand why the High Pristess is Egyptian. In Seventy-Eight degrees of Wisdom, Rachel Pollack writes that the RWS High Pristess is Egyptian, the two pillars behind her are also egyptian style.

"The name (The Papess) persisted until the 18th century when Court de Gebelin, believing the Tarot to originate in the Isis religion of ancient Egypt, changed the name to the High Priestess. Today both names exist (as well as 'Veiled Isis'), and the Waite image of the card derives directly from the High Priestess's symbolic clothing, particularly the crown representing the three phases of the moon."


Wolfy, I also thought of the Isis tradition when viewing this card. To me, she *is* Isis, Goddess of Heaven. With her, Osiris unites and they create the Mystery that awaits each of us to find.

To her right, the creative (or "male"/active) side is seen - She is The Queen of Heaven. And, to her left, the passive (or hidden/inactive) force, the under world of Anubis.

The Anubis reference would also point to Her wisdom of the Other realms. A tomb is her home. The Underworld is just another place for Her, I would fancy. One she's very content with. Come on in.... If you dare.

She is not guarding her treasure, so much as comfortable in her own realm. Power is attractive, and her sense of self power is evident. And attractive.

And she looks too skinny. I bet Umbrae's right, she's hungry.

September Pixie

Oddly my take on this is a little different than most... I see her standing in the door way of a tomb, etched on the walls are the scolls of life and the scrolls of the dead.. scrolls to live by and also scrolls to guide your soul into the passing of the afterlife. The Egyptians didn't think getting to the other side was as easy as we do now, and they had to over come obstacles and tricks to get there.. I think the symbols represent the way to 'Heaven'.

It would be really interesting to try and read them ;)

I also see her as all knowing, standing between the doorway of the living and the dead.. and I see her as something sort of inbetween.


The High Priestess

The picture is that of an immodest vampiric priestess in a seductive pose, while standing in the entryway of an Egyptian temple. There are hieroglyphics written all over the arch of the door and the two columns on either side, I am not sure if they are pertinent. On the column to your left the deity depicted on the center of that column is Khonsu, God of the Moon and the son of Ra, the God of the Sun. On the other column is Anubis, conductor of the dead to judgement, son of Osiris, the God of the Dead. On the supports between the header of the entry and the ceiling is an Ankh. The priestess is wearing an outfit that goes around her waist and has a long cloth in the front and in the back that goes down to the floor and the head adornment of the Egyptian Queen or a priestess of Hathor, Goddess of Queens. It represented a sun disk sitting between a pair of cow horns. Hathor was also considered the Goddess of the World. The High Priestess also has various other strategically placed pieces of jewelry and armbands.

Rather than a veil to mask the contents of the temple that is used in many decks for this card, this temple is veiled in darkness. A dark priestess guards the way as well. Her body position might be considered seductive and inviting, especially considering her apparel, or lack there of. Since she is a priestess of the Goddess of the World, she obviously has many secrets to protect. She appears to be hungry. Her gaunt form although alluring, shows lack of proper nourishment. Any mortals she can tempt though that portal will not likely be returning to share any secrets they may discover.


Her whole posture is that of relaxed, at ease and at home where she stands between the veil of two worlds. And yet something is obviously very wrong. (Her stomach/ribs etc)
Being a vampiress, it would appear she needs to feed. So there is deception here.

Behind that door is a realm where secrets await. To get past you will encounter her!
AND she is hungry and needs to feed. So if you really desire to go through with
this, be prepared for it will cost you dearly, (at great risk to you).


Mysteries and secrets, delving into the unknown, into things perhaps you shouldn’t, although they may appear quite alluring? Tempting? However gaining extra knowledge to better one self is always a good thing. There is just that warning to be careful of just what it is you seek?