The High Priestess- Card number two
From “The Tarot; A Spiritual Art, Twenty-Two Steps to Enlightenment” By Raymond Castrogiovanni
The High Priestess. Is there a connection with the The Knight Templars? They supposedly searched for the Holy Grail, throughout the Holy land; especially in Jerusalem. For the Knights Templars, it is thought that this was possibly their true crusade.
A tale is firstly told of Crusaders, who’s only mission was not to fight Saladin’s forces. Many believe that they were under orders from the Pope the find the Holy Grail, the cup of Christ; the cup which the apostles and Jesus drink from, during the last supper. Yet it was believed that the Crusaders failed in their mission. As a result, they perished in tunnels deep below the Temple mount.
The truth may be different. It is said by some that what the Knights Templers discovered was not the chalice known as the Holy Grail. It was something else. Something kept secret, a secret guarded jealously by the descendants and wards of the Templars, who were as a result charged with keeping the secret of that ancient discovery.
Connections with Freemasonry
Suspicion surrounds Freemasonry, it has been suggested the secret of the Freemasons is possibly what the Knight Templers discovered. It is said that this was even more significant, but far too damaging to the world order of the day.
A hint of that discovery from the times of the crusades, first emerges during the renaissance of medieval northern Italy. Tarot cards became popular as a pastime, card games for amusement and gambling. The cards being a mischievous distraction in a world ruled by piety and warring states. The cards made up of two decks in-one; the Minor Arcana and the Major Arcana. These later cards were often set aside from the Minor, during card games it was thus the minor fifty-six cards people played with.
The Major Arcana, perhaps seen as a mystery. By some others as a satirical swipe at the powers that be, whilst others again used them as a secret language between alchemist, intellectuals and heretical individuals. Some of these are said to see themselves as the Illuminati. It is in this time of rebirth and during this enormous shift in enlightenment, that we consequently see is therefore a glimpse of what it was those Knight Templars of the Crusades supposedly found.
So, who is the High Priestess?
The card of the High Priestess; consequently we may make the link between the Templars’ discovery and irreverent irony expressed in the early depiction of the cards. In those early decks, she was referred to as the Papesse (the female Pope). The title Papesse was therefore pure satire; a chance to thumb one’s nose at authority. Showing a female figure dressed in elaborate robes and papal tiara reading the Bible, and seated on a throne between two pillars (these pillars are the clue). The female representation of the pope; is actually a reference to an English woman (Johannes Anglelicus), who it is said, because of her intellectual brilliance, was raised to the papal chair as Pope John VIII.
In later and more recent decks the card is titled the “High Priestess”, and it is here we see the wise woman seated on a simple chair. She is dressed in white and pale blue robes. You can see her wearing a headdress of three moons and upon her lap she holds a scroll, with the word “Tora” visible. At her feet are horns resembling another moon. Behind her, a curtain depicting images of pomegranates is draped from one pillar to another. The pillars, one black emblazoned with the letter “B”, the other white also boasting a letter, this one being a “J”.
It is here that I feel we have hidden in plain sight; the secret of the Knights Templars and the thirty third degree of the Freemasons.
The Secret Revealed
What those knights of old discovered is therefore believed by some to be the entrance of King Solomon’s Temple. With this, the remains of a High Priestess and many scrolls containing ancient wisdom. Taking a closer look at the card, we see all the secrets hidden in plain sight. The black pillar (Boaz) and the white pillar (Jachin) are the supporting pillars of King David and King Solomon respectively, holding up the doorway to heaven. The drape of pomegranates is present to remind us of the story of Persephone, the Greek Goddess, kidnapped by Hades and stolen away into the Underworld. She was tricked into eating some pomegranate seeds, causing her to spend several days a year with him in the Underworld.
The Egyptian Connection
The three-moon headdress and the horns at her feet remind us of other gods; those of ancient Egypt, Horus and Ma’at; the gods of the sky and stars, also Isis and Hathor, the queen of the moon and the goddess of the west or spirit world. The High Priestess is therefore sometimes referred to as the “Priestess of the Silver Star”. Some believe she is Mother Earth; manifest in the water of the world and her spirit made visible in the oceans, seas, lakes and rivers. Moonlight reflects upon the surface of every body of water. Even the smallest pool is seen as a wind of the earth or at night as mirror of heaven. In many cultures, it was believed water is the entrance to both Heaven and the Underworld.
The scroll or book she holds is titled “Tora”, represents all the wisdom of and in the world. The Tora is said to be the wisdom of the Cabbala; the source or wellspring of all wisdom of humanity. It is seeing the High Priestess in possession of the Tora; tells us of her unquestionable wisdom. You can see she is a wise woman.
Her Life in Colour
Her garments of White and pale or sky blue; speak to us of the gentle feminine, she is innocent, virginal and tranquil. The colours also remind us of water and sky, the spiritual link of humanity and the spirit world or universe. It could almost go unnoticed; but if we look closely we see in many decks she wears a cross, which when taken with the inner white robes and the outer pale blue cape she becomes “Mother Mary”. Not just a goddess but the mother of the Christian God. The High Priestess is a representation of many feminine deities. The representation is not intended to be benevolent, she is rather an expression on wisdom.
Finally, the High Priestess is also the soothsayer of the ancient world, the pomegranate curtain consequently being the veil that one steps beyond when consulting the Oracle at Delphi or other temples of the Oracle. She is intuitive revelation or creative inspiration of the Lady of Light, pointing out hidden pathways with gentle guidance. The High Priestess is also the feminine element in man, that which bring balance and harmony, ironically this leads to the darker side of the High Priestess. Some attribute the sacred feminine as the “femme fatale”. Hence, she is Hecate, the Queen of the Dark of the Moon, or Lilith, the Weaver of illusions who destroys her lovers.
The revealing of that which is hidden, therefore enabling hope and building self-confidence and personal strength. Intuition and creative insight into the myriad of issues life hurls your way, consequently helping you find your own solutions. The card also suggests to us the influence of a woman who is wise and inspiring. To the creative individual, she represents inspiration, to the narrow minded she may be a warning of a malevolent person.
Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
And wouldn’t you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight
And who will be her lover?
All your life you’ve never seen
Woman, taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Fleetwood Mac Stevie Nicks
Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd
This is the Third of a series by Raymond Castrogiovanni, who makes regular television appearances at Psychic Today. Speak to Raymond for your own personalised card reading