This is the third installment of the Weekly Tarot Card. You can read the first two installments in the following links:
On Monday we spent time observing the High Priestess and noting what we found. Yesterday we took the time to step into the High Priestss Card, spending some time embodying her.
Today we’ll start looking at more universal understandings of the card, starting first with the element and number. Tomorrow we’ll go on to look at common symbolism of the card.
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Water is the element of intuition, of emotions, of creativity, and the subconscious. It flows as do each of the attributes, and can sometimes be nourishing and peaceful, but likewise can be turbulent.
It corresponds with the suit of cups, which, as a result, also deal with emotion, creativity, and intuition.
Water is a life fource, without it, nothing can survive. We may go without nourishment, light, heat, but if we go without water for more than a few days, we perish. The implication of water and its relation to the emotion and the subconscious reveals that we need these aspects in order to survive and grow as beings.
Dreams are like water in that they can be clear and vivid until you hold on to them, at which point you begin to lose them. Dreams are an attribute of water, and a window with which can view our subconscious.
The High Priestess is the number II in the Major Arcana, which holds the message of partnership, of balance, and duality.
The High Priestess is the first card to be the reflection and counterpart to another card, which is the Magician. Considering the Fool to be the first point, the Magician to be the second point, the High Priestess is the third point, which makes the first solid shape of a triangle. Thus, not only is does she have the numerological value of 2, she also has the elements of 3 within her.
The Two represents balance, and it is a balance between dual natures. In traditional depictions of the Priestess, as is seen in The Rider-Waite Tarot and the Spiral Tarot, she sits between two pillars, black and white, the combination of opposites which come together.
Similar to the 2 of Cups, the combination of the element of Water and the number 2 calls us to consider where our harmony lies. What are we reflecting, and what is a reflection of ourselves. However, being a Major Arcana, the High Priestess isn’t reflecting the mundane aspects, but the higher aspects. She calls for us to balance the inner and outer, higher and lower. She is the reflection and completion of the Masculine. She is the feminine counterpart to the Magician, and thus, she must be in balance and unity with him, the first point, as she is the second point. Together, they create.
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The Aquarian Tarot in a Tin by Italian-born, American-raised David Palladini, was published originally in 1970 by U.S. Games Systems Inc, and then republished again in 2016 in a smaller size. Named after the Age of Aquarius, the Aquarian Tarot is a midieval depiction of the Rider-Waite Tarot system. The images are closer, and thus might give the impression of being more character-based rather than relying on symbolism. This intimate deck provides a stark reflection of the human condition in it’s journey through the tarot.
Faerie Tarot by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc, 2008. Hertz is a French artist, and the creator of several other beautiful tarot decks. The Faerie Tarot was ‘inspired by the flora and fauna of the French countryside,’ and ‘invites you to see the world in a delightful new way…blending fantasy, whimsy, and nature.’
Impressionist Tarot by Arturo Picca (artist) and Corrine Kenner (author), published by Lo Scarabeo in 2015. This deck takes works of classic impressionist paintings and recreates them to fit the meanings of the tarot. It pulls from works of Edonard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gough, and Paul Gauguin. A truly beautiful deck, especially for those who have interest in the art world.
Prisma Visions Tarot by James R. Eads, 3rd ed., published in 2016. The deck itself is beautiful, though perhaps not for the beginning tarot reader. The suits all fit together to create a master picture displaying the energy and progression of the suits. The figures and images flow from one card to the next, showing movement within the stationary cards.
Rider-Waite by A. E. Waite. The deck used in these photos is currently out of print. I won’t say much about this deck, as it is fairly standard and probably one of the most produced decks. It serves as a standard for many tarot readers and artists, depicting classic images relating in part to the original playing cards that tarot developed from.
The Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon. With turn-of-the-20th-century style art, this deck takes from the classic Rider-Waite deck and brings it up to the late 1800-early 1900’s, a time of industry and contemplation for the western world as it moved forward into a more technological era. I am a little biased toward this deck as it’s been my main deck for 15 years. The cards are thick with additional symbolism that can be tricky to pick out of the traditional Rider-Waite, and adds layers of Greek myth throughout the Major Arcana.
Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley (designer and author) and Lady Frieda Harris (artist), published by U. S. Games Systems, Inc., in 1978. This deck takes from most esoteric imagery, and requires the reader of the deck to have deep, initiate knowledge of the symbolism used. There is nothing within the cards that is without meaning. However, on a more surface level, the deck draws from Egyptian symbolism and from the style of the Marseille Tarot (mostly seen within the Minor Arcana). For those looking for deeper understandings of the universe, I recommend this deck. I would caution that this deck is highly advanced, and might be avoided for the budding reader.
Vampire Tarot – by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. in 2000. As mentioned above in reference to the Faerie Tarot, Hertze is a French artist who gained her notability through the publication of her tarot decks. The Vampire Tarot was a bestselling deck upon its release, and plays on more gothic symbolism, providing more jarring interpretations to allow for the accepting of negative forces within the world to compliment the positive forces. The deck brings together myths and legends in the form of vampires, which ‘gives tarot readers a macabre passport’ into the world of divination.
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