side-by-side: the high priestess

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It’s November, and I’m still working on the first half of the year with my side-by-sides! Hopefully I can get through these before I start again with New Year’s 2020…

Since I took these initial pictures for the next few cards, I actually picked up another deck — the Modern Witch Tarot — which I do intend to work into the side-by-sides eventually, but again, I’m still playing catch-up. They’ll show up eventually.

Thinking all the way back to April, it was a month of change and adjustment; I moved into a new apartment with my partner at the beginning of the month, and turned another year older at the end of the month (totally a Taurus).

Anyway, the High Priestess is one of the most recognizable cards; I actually picked up a tote bag from Powell’s that features the High Priestess as The Reader, which has become one of my preferred “yes I am a tarot reading witch” totes for witchy gatherings. She’s also one of my “Life Potential” cards — which, according to “Who Are You in the Tarot” by Mary K. Greer, is when you add the total of your full name and your birth date, then break it down. (In full math-y honesty, it’s actually 11, Justice, but that is mirrored with the High Priestess, so I took it down to High Priestess… because I wanted to. Math!)

In the Mucha Tarot, this is one of the few instances (that I’ve noticed) where the Mucha art really does pick up one of the subtle meanings of the card, which is the legend of Persephone. While there’s no pomegranates present (unless her hair flowers are pomegranate flowers? maybe?), there’s definitely a vibe of the Greek goddess in the underworld. In my original notes from my intro to tarot class, I have the High Priestess noted as Demeter, with the Empress as Persephone, but I’m of the opinion that Persephone can be seen in both cards.

The Ophidia Rosa tarot, as per usual, is a little more mysterious and abstract, but still features the mysteries of the moon, as well as the blossom (perhaps also pomegranate blossoms?) turning up to the moon. I really, really wish there was a more in-depth Little White Book for Ophidia Rosa — just an explanation of which flower is featured on which card would help my reading so much.

The Lioness Oracle highlights the knowledge of the High Priestess — the broad mind-expanding intuition and wisdom of the ancients. It also directly brings up the femininity of the High Priestess — one of the most interesting things I’ve read (and I can’t remember where!) was the idea that the archetype of Woman has to be broken into two cards — the High Priestess and the Empress — because we can’t hold all of the feminine archetype aspects in one. We have to have the Virgin & Whore dichotomy — and again, the two sides of Persephone, birth and death and growth and decay.

The High Priestess of the Wild Unknown is a far-gazing white tiger; again, the magic of the moon as well as the scrying crystal reflect the intuition and insight promised in this card.

Finally, the Wanderer’s Tarot’s High Priestess and their book of mysteries is the only one that features the classic TARO/ROTA/TORA from the RSW. The face is blank, so you can find little to no emotion except for what you yourself bring to this card. It reflects the breadth of knowledge of the High Priestess — from the books of mysteries to the intuitive nature of the witch.

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