The High Priestess
The Great Mystery
The High Priestess, dependable in her spiritual nature, is the Tarot’s initial symbol of the subconscious. Her crown, depicting the phases of the moon and her gown, being the source of all water in the deck speak to the rhythmic nature of spiritual life. Her spiritual goal is reached by honouring not only the knowledge gained through disciplined study of scholarly texts (her scroll) but also an understanding of her intuition (the Water). In order to remain focused on her teachings she denies her binary nature, hence she sits as the neutral pillar of the the Tree of Life. Often the veil behind her is associated with her virginity but the concept of virginity is a mistranslation of the word intact. Which means she is beholden to no one but herself; self realized, self actuating and autonomous.
Enthroned upon the Cube of Space suggests her revelations and strength are of this world. As she is the gateway to the Great Mysteries, symbolically she is also telling us what that mystery is. Cube of Space: The mystery is of this world. Tree of Life; it is a diverse journey. Equilateral Cross: balance is essential, Scroll of the Tora; discipline and knowledge are key, Watery Gown; intuition can not be denied.
Recently I heard someone describe the subconscious as something that requires constant guarding. A highly suggestible victim that is easily influenced by external stimuli. Yet, symbolically, this card suggests that by enacting discipline and balance and with the proper knowledge and understanding the power of the subconscious can be realized and can become the gate way to the Great Mystery.