The High Priestess tarot card is the second trump or Major Arcana card of the tarot deck. Powerful yet intriguing, the card represents sexuality, mystery, and general higher power. Whereas many tarot cards involve taking action or making a move, the High Priestess is a card of nonaction–meaning one who draws it should consider withdrawing involvement. Instead of trying to control the narrative, look for potential and possibilities.
In a reading, the High Priestess often suggests that it is time to retreat and reflect upon the situation at hand and trust your inner instincts to guide you through it. Here you find a detailed tarot card meaning of the High Priestess including keywords, upright and reversed card meanings.
The High Priestess Key Words
Before we dive deeper into the upright- and reversed meaning of the High Priestess, we wrote down the most important words represented by this Major Arcana card.
The High Priestess Tarot Card Description
The High Priestess tarot card shows a woman sitting on a cubic stone between two pillars. The B on the black pillar stands for Boaz, the pillar of strength. The J on the white pillar stands for Jachin, the pillar of the establishment. The black and white colors of the pillars symbolize duality: masculine and feminine, good and evil, negative and positive. They state that knowledge and acceptance of duality are required to enter this sacred space.
The High Priestess’ location between the two pillars suggests that she acts as a mediator between the depths of reality. She symbolizes the third pillar or the path between. Her belief is that both pillars are equal and there is knowledge to be learned in both worlds.
In her hand, the High Priestess holds a scroll with the word Tora on it, a reference to the Jewish scripture or an anagram for the tarot or maybe both. The scroll is partly covered. This implies that sacred knowledge is both explicit and implicit and that you can only see it when you’re ready to look beyond the material realm.
The crown and the blue robe are both symbols of the divine knowledge of the High Priestess. The cross on her robe represents the four directions and the balancing of the four selves: body, heart, mind, and spirit. Unlike the Magician who externalized the four aspects, the Priestess’ cross represents her internalization of power. That’s also why she’s holding the scroll and not reading it: she already knows its contents.
The crescent moon at her feet also tells us that she is illuminated through reflection and symbolizes her connection with the divine feminine, her intuition and subconscious mind, and the natural cycles of the moon.
The veil of pomegranates symbolizes abundance, fertility, and the divine feminine. It also evokes Persephone’s eating the fruit of the Underworld, allowing her to move back and forth between the upper & lower realms. Besides, the veil hides secrets behind her and serves to keep casual onlookers out. Only the initiated may enter.
The High Priestess Meaning
When the High Priestess appears upright in a tarot reading she usually indicates a time for learning and listening to your intuition rather than prioritizing your intellect and conscious mind. She tells you to slow down and reflect on what you’ve learned and to acquire even more knowledge before making a decision or taking action.
Are you facing a big choice or dilemma? Let the High Priestess guide you on your venture deep into your subconscious mind and try to connect with your higher self. While doing this, answers will flow freely as they come from within. Once you have learned to consult your inner silence for answers to your practical dilemmas, you have achieved the ideal of the High Priestess.
The High Priestess tells you to listen to your intuition rather than prioritize your intellect and conscious mind.
The High Priestess also calls on you to connect with your divine feminine side. She tells you to embrace your sacred feminine in order to bring your masculine and feminine energies into balance again. Feel, rather than think, and trust your divine feminine energy, even if the masculine energy around you may appear to be stronger.
Often being considered as the gatekeeper at the ancient temples, the High Priestess can also show up in a tarot reading when you are facing a “gatekeeper” in your daily life. Her advice is to stop worrying about the outcome and trust the decision of the gatekeepers. Meanwhile, use your energy and time to reflect on what you’ve learned and to prepare yourself for all possible outcomes. Once the outcome is clear, you’ll be ready to act upon it.
Money and Career
Although not closely associated with wealth, the High Priestess does come up in career readings, especially those that involve going back to school or seeking knowledge of some sort. What are you passionate about? What are your greatest desires? These are questions to ponder. The answer to what you should do to earn more money isn’t cut and dry with the High Priestess since she is full of wonder. This doesn’t mean that she can’t provide some guidance, though.
Are there hidden factors at play that are stopping you from progressing? What is going on behind the scenes that need to be revealed? This Major Arcana card urges you to take a step back and look at the situation as an observer. What advice would you give a friend in your shoes?
Love and Relationships
The High Priestess is a ‘self’ card more than anything else, so she usually shows up in love or social/friendship readings when you need to focus more on having your own desires and needs met. If the High Priestess represents you in a reading, you might be feeling dissatisfied with many areas of your life, including love. If she represents your partner or friend, you’re probably feeling like you can’t achieve intimacy no matter how hard you try.
Thankfully, there is an easy solution for both problems–stop trying! We aren’t saying to give up on life or your relationships, but simply take a step back and letting what already is, blossom.
In his book Fire in the Heart, a Spiritual Guide for Teens Deepak Chopra tells the story that his mentor, Baba, (a guru if you will) told him. It involved a young boy who was watching a caterpillar change to a butterfly. Right after the caterpillar emerged from its cocoon, it seemed to be struggling with its wet wings. Trying to help, the boy blew on the wings. The result? The wing tore and the butterfly lost its ability to fly.
If we force ourselves (or others) to commit or ‘be content’ before we (they) are ready, resentment begins to build. It truly is okay to be passive and patient.
Health and Spirituality
If you didn’t ask for health or spirituality reading specifically, the pulling of the High Priestess tarot card suggests you shift your focus in that direction. Have you been feeling like something is ‘off’ where your body is concerned? If so, follow your intuition and seek medical guidance. Because the High Priestess can represent hormonal and fertility issues as well as upcoming pregnancy, it is important not to ignore her messages.
The same is true for the emotional body and the soul. Have you been neglecting your spiritual side? Or perhaps you’re on a path to personal enlightenment. This card urges you to ‘stay the course.’ Look into ways to raise your vibration, connect with your inner voice, enhance psychic abilities, and manifest your greatest desires.
The High Priestess Reversed
The High Priestess reversed again tells you to slow down and take time to reconnect with yourself. The reversed card may be a sign that you’re repressing your own feelings and that you’re finding it hard to listen to your own intuition. Was there a situation where you had the feeling that you needed to follow your gut, but you ignored it? Or perhaps you were affected by other people’s opinions instead of thinking about what was right for you?
Be careful as others are trying to influence you; stand steadfast with your own beliefs. You do not need the approval of others. Instead, follow your own instincts, for the answers you seek are within. Get quiet and withdraw yourself from the external world to observe what your inner guidance is sharing with you now. Relax in the knowledge that you already have the answers you need within yourself. All you need is a bit of confidence in yourself to do what you know is best.
The High Priestess: Yes or No
When pulled in a ‘yes or no‘ reading, the High Priestess has a definite answer– “Yes, if it is for the greater good.” The intention behind a desire is of great importance. If you’re wanting a particular thing or desire to do something that will benefit others and yourself in the long run, this draw says that you are free to proceed.
Important Card Combinations
Life-changing experiences, time for action, and consult your Higher Self. When paired with other cards, the High Priestess can slightly change. Below I wrote down the most important card combinations.
The High Priestess and the Magician
On the surface, these two seem to be very different cards, however, they are both full of mystery and magic. The Magician tends to make external changes while the High Priestess works on the inside. When these two combine forces, the result is a life-changing experience. If you’ve pulled this duo, a serious life upheaval is on the horizon, however, this isn’t a bad thing. The end result of the changes that are ahead will be a life that is far better than your present.
The High Priestess and the Two or Eight of Wands
We mentioned earlier that the High Priestess is a card of non-reaction. This is the rule, but there are some exceptions, especially when paired with the Two of Wands or the Eight of Wands. The first combination suggests that it is time to act boldly. The Eight of Wands encourages action with a plan. What is it that you fear the most right now? Are you wanting to make a move, relationship, or career change but feel bound by fear? It is time to embrace courage and do what needs to be done!
The High Priestess and the Hermit
Although they have different meanings, I often see the Hermit as the masculine energy version of the High Priestess. When these two energies marry, what you have is a strong spiritual connection. If you have pulled this combination, inner work should be your number one focus at this time. Also, avoiding going to others for the answers you seek. The tarot, psychics, friends, and family can all be good for guidance, but it is your own Higher Self who knows what you need best. Spend some alone time without disturbance seeking within.
The High Priestess Card Art
Although I write all the descriptions based on the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, it doesn’t mean that I use other decks too. And there are so many beautiful decks out there! Based on my experience, I truly believe that it is important that you use a deck that resonates with you. As inspiration, I added some of my favorite High Priestess drawings to this article. If you need help with choosing a deck, I can recommend this article, where you can find tips on how to figure out which deck is best for you.
The High Priestess in a Reading
That’s all for the High Priestess tarot card meaning! If you have pulled this lady in your reading, did the meaning make sense to your situation in life?
I love to hear about spot-on readings so please take a minute to let me know in the comments below!