Martha Adams © All Right Reserved 12-9-16
This article looks at The High Priestess II from The Rider Tarot and The Tarot of Marseilles. By turning The High Priestess card upside-down all symbols, elements, objects, details and aspects in these cards become inverted and mostly, ill-defined to reflect qualities or aspects that are unpleasant, undesirable, discouraging, or simply to serve as a warning.
Upside-down, the wisdom, character and power of The High Priestess is brought into question. Her lovely face, her head, the magnificent crown and the veil of secrecy are bumping around on the bottom of the card; and not a very reverential.
In The High Priestess: Marseilles, the Papal Tiara is inverted and, as it is no longer connected top of the card, it no longer holds the position of the 7th Chakra and the Divine. This suggests the heavenly revelations for which she is recognized come with difficulty, are misconstrued or not at all. One must question her ability then to convey the knowledge and authority of the Church, Government and State (Rome), that is traditionally vested the upright Triple Crown. Additionally, the face of this woman is at the very bottom of the card, looking to the right and perhaps at the abundant barley and wheat fields, in The Empress III. But her disconnection from the Source and the ill-defined weight of the image pressing down on her mind possibly leads to her being unable to understand the nature of fertility and what has created the abundance.
The High Priestess: Rider is seen with her own face and head plunged to the lower regions of the card pulling her out of contact with the energy of the 7th Chakra. She wears the inverted sun disk and horned crown symbolising the powerful Egyptian goddess Hathor. The reversal of this symbol may represent dislike or animosity, ill-health, barrenness and foolishness.
The High Priestess: Rider’s upside-down veil also holds the upturned symbols of fertility and creativity, the pomegranates and corn-cobs, which implies problems or difficulties in the natural order of things and in the process of creation. The veil of secrecy is the wrong way up indicating she may be prone to gossip. The veil is unsecured; unwittingly or purposefully she could be exposing personal and public confidences that are better left unsaid. The idea of a disturbance to perceptions of normality is repeated by the switch and reversal of white and black columns; suggesting a significant change in her perception of the duality that upkeeps physical life.
The upright Cross is a symbol of God’s love and justice. The reversed Cross on bodice of The High Priestess: Marseilles traditionally, can mean humility or meekness. But the lower section of the Cross appears like a sword that points diagonally at the Holy book perhaps indicating her outlook is pessimistic and unbalanced; and, either through ignorance or design, her teachings do not bear the whole truth.
The Greek cross on the bodice of The High Priestess: Rider is symbolic of the human desire to know and experience the unfolding mysteries of life. However, when inverted it suggests she may be blocked to such knowledge and experience, or is unsure as to how to attain it.
The large and powerful image of the sickle moon – now waning – has risen to the top of The High Priestess: Rider image signifying that her capacity for ‘illuminating’ others and herself and her 6th sense, are dwindling or diminishing. Additionally, the colours of pale blue and white that envelope her and represent her deepest qualities – are traditionally symbolic of the ethereal, peace, serenity and spirituality – are now ill-defined. This suggests there is instead, a lack of these elements in the reversed image. Together with an inverted Tora scroll that she hold on her lap suggests problems and with both the content and intention of her communication; the spiritual information and advice she understands herself or offers to others maybe more gibberish than sound.
The Holy text is held upside-down on the lap of The High Priestess: Marseilles, becoming unintelligible. How is she able to provide insightful counsel from pages of an inverted Holy text that can no longer be read? She may be speaking words and ideas which are negative, nonsensical, irrelevant or incoherent.
The gentle pale blue and white of robes and cloak in the The High Priestess: Rider would represent peace, mystery, spirituality and intuition. However, as these colours are ill-defined, they may well illustrate feelings and qualities that are more antagonistic, covert, secular or physical or perhaps at an extreme, insanity.
In A Reading.
In a reading, The High Priestess II indicates that a normally intuitive and well-balanced person is out of touch with her own inner-life and her own needs. She may be ignoring or suppressing her true feelings or her instinct, or ignoring something she knows to be true about a particular matter - usually an important issue. This may cause excessive worry about other people’s problems, or about issues that do not concern her.
Or she may be too reliant on the opinions and approval others and be wandering from her true path. In this way she becomes the source of her own (and other’s) confusion and chaos.
The High Priestess II upturned is an indication that concepts of the workings of the subconscious, elements of fertility and how things will eventually manifest has not been ‘seeded’ on sound facts or deeply understood ideas and feelings.
The High Priestess II reversed asks you to tune into your sub-conscious for self-awareness, authentic guidance and to reconnect to your intuition. Because The High Priestess II is also about secrets and holding confidences she may be encouraging you to insist on the hearing the truth not just from yourself, but from others. It may be necessary to stop others from withholding vital information.
My best wishes to you,
Visual Oracle Ultimate Edition Lite, 16.3.28. 2.jpg (The High Priestess II). (Lifetime License).
B.P. Grimaud, 1963. The High Priestess II. The Tarot of Marseilles, France.