Category Archives: Tarot Cards

The High Priestess History of Origin

W2the high Priestess II

The High Priestess History of Origin

The High Priestess Tarot Card, where did she come from?  In the early history of Tarot, the “Goddess”  Temples had been smashed and no High Priestesses were performing rituals or were you able to consult such a figure-head in the 14th century Europe, perhaps in England the pagan HP was still practicing, I do not know of this, but certainly possible.  In one of our earliest of Tarot decks we find her represented as “The Popess” or it looks to me like the Mother Superior of all Mother Superiors, not all decks are related to the papacy. “La Papessa in the Visconti-Sforza Tarot has been identified as a depiction of Sister Manfreda, an Umiliata nun and a relative of the Visconti family who was elected Pope by the heretical Guglielmite sect of Lombard.” Wikipedia.    In the 1JJ Swiss Deck she is JUNO, or Junon, The Roman Goddess as the Queen of Gods.  Later we find that the Virgin Mary or Isis is the traditional association as the metaphorical Bride of the Church.   The other association is that she was created from the association with the Pagan Oracle at Delphi, the Priestess who channeled the Greek God Apollo.  In the 12 century there were many iconic images of a woman of the highest moral and religious virtues, often known a “Faith” of the virtues. Faith being the first of the octave verses from the “Fides” painted by Giotto in the Chapel in Padua. “Many other images of Fides (the High Priestess) are to be found in renaissance and baroque art: we find one with the same attributes on the marble tomb stone of a Master of the Order of the Knights of Malta inside the church of Saint John at La Valletta and a second in an image of  Petrarch’s Triumph of Love (Venice, 1488) “ Andrea Vitale. Andrea also says, “It is an undeniable fact that the High Priestess of the tarot represents Faith”  from the online “History of Tarot the Trionfi museum of Tarot.

This is the High Priestess from my Bali Tarot Deck which is as yet unpublished. She is a living practicing High Priestess today in the religion and tradition of Balinese Siwa-Buddha, Balinese Hinduism.

The High Priestess of Bali becomes initiated when her husband becomes the High Priest. She assists him in all rituals and spiritual work, ritual and ceremony. She studies as he studies the occult, the secret mantras, the rituals, traditions and is in fact a gatekeeper of the secrets that only the High Priest/Priestesses can know and perform. When her husband passes on she will take up the mantle of her High station and perform all duties as he did until her death and the title passes on to her sons or daughters, or kin.  I was fortunate to be the first westerner invited to a High Priest initiation ceremony of the 14th lineage holder of High Priests/Priestesses. I had attended a few years before the High Priests mother’s cremation ceremony, she was a High Priestess of Bali and around 90 years old when she passed and still was performing ritual right up until the passing. Their daily life is only concerned with the work, the sacred duty and study of the secrets and spirituality. They are never to be touched, hugged for example from their family after the initiation, they are pure vessels of God.  They do not go to movies, attend parties, or do any normal activities of humans, they dedicate their lives to spirit.  This image you see is one that I saw my second month living in Bali. She sat on a bale that had been erected on the beach, a few blocks from my home. I had gone for a walk in the early morning and heard a bell. I followed that and found the High Priestess performing ritual on the beach, dressed like this image above, her eyes closed, deep in communication beyond the veil, into the world of inner knowledge and channeling the Gods. Her body a metaphor for the gateway to the Gods.  I took that image into me and accepted the message, she was telling me to go within, to access my inner knowledge and wisdom of my higher self, she asked me to acknowledge my intuition.  She told me that I would become enlightened soon on a problem I was wrestling with, however, I needed to do the work first or the answer would not be revealed to me. She did reveal my truth, the answer was within me and was made manifest a month, or full lunar cycle later. ( that story is soon to be published).

If you have drawn the High Priestess today, take a moment to meditate and or contemplate, ask and you shall be given the answer. You might want to contemplate on the image here, for she will reveal to you what you are seeking.

In Bali they do not say, Namaste, they say Om Swatiastu. (swas-tee-as-two).

The Fool

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The Fool~Tarot Card Number 0

“Only a fool tests the water with both feet.” an African proverb

“To the wise, life is a problem, to the fool a solution.” Marcus Aurelius

The Fool represents the Divine Cosmic child and is seen stepping lively along the path with not a care in the world. His energy is one of openness to the great adventure that lies before him as he begins his life’s journey in complete innocence and naiveté; it is the soul’s journey of the transformation of consciousness. The Fool’s face is full of yearning for adventure and the exploration of something new. He is depicted approaching a precipice, symbolizing the descent from the cosmic heavens into earthly matter. His ever faithful dog is by his side, the Balinese breed Kitamani, the dog represents the evolution of lower self to the higher, as the domesticated dog evolved from the wild wolf. The dog is warning him of the peril that lies before him in the unknown. The dog here symbolizes the instinctual side of the Fool’s nature guiding his every step and often represents your friends, the loyalty of friends.

The Fool relies more on his innate intuitive wisdom rather than conventional logic.  He is the dreamer and the mystic with his head in the clouds. In his right hand he carries a staff supporting a bag of tools. These are the tools for life’s challenges but it is light as like a child, he trusts in life and need very little for the journey. The feather in his cap represents air, freedom and the wind as well as his connection to the heavenly Spirit. This card’s element is air. The mountains are an important symbol as they are seen as attainment and self-realization. It is the path leading to heights, abstract thought, and the long mystical journey through the stark mountains. The Fools journey is the number 0: cyclical, pure potential, new beginnings and endings. He is also facing left and in many tarot decks appears somewhat feminine, left is the feminine yin, the direction of the unconscious and the unknown. The white Lotus in his hand is seen as purity, a person free from animal desires and innocent.

The Fool has a two part personality.  He is a rather complex character and is either the jokester/clown who is about to make or actually has made a huge mistake or he is the pure, cosmic divine child. The Fool plays, laughs and is totally trusting.  This allows him to give life his all and dare to leap into the unknown without fear. He follows his bliss, his dreams, and his passions. He can take us into madness or bring us joy and new life. He is the new soul full of potential, starting out on his journey with fresh innocence.

When the Fool appears in a reading you may want to ask yourself these questions: What new beginnings am I willing to create?  Am I following my bliss? Where am I fearful? Is it time for a change? Who do I not trust? Am I paying too much attention to images and not enough to my values?  Have I over extended myself in work or my commitments thus am creating an out-of-balance life? Am I not allowing for play time? Is my head so much in the clouds that I cannot see reality?

Are you about to start a new journey a new phase of life?  Dare to dream and breathe in fresh air. By accepting the Fool into our lives we will bring in new energy and fresh ideas. By getting in touch with the child within, we place our trust in the universe and have faith that we are being taken care of.  We can then relax, laugh and play with the magic and wonder of life.

The cards of the Major Arcana Tarot represent the mythic journey of our soul’s transformation into awakened consciousness through their imagery and symbolism.. As we study the cards we will turn our experiences into wisdom. In essence the archetypal symbols of the Tarot represent the human condition as it relates to our lives. We can then learn to listen to our inner voice and know that we are all spiritual beings in human bodies.

Jean has read the Tarot cards since 1982, started teaching Tarot classes in 1999. She has been a Metaphysical student since 1979. Jean lived in Bali for over 7 years and created/designed the Bali Tarot Deck, The Major Arcana, yet un-published.

Blessings, Jean