If you’re into tarot and oracle readings, you’ll know of the High Priestess tarot card, but what is the spiritual meaning of drawing this card in a reading?
This isn’t a website dedicated to tarot or tarot readings, but the Priestess is a powerful archetype for women, and that’s why I’m exploring this card and its meaning.
In the classic Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck, the High Priestess sits between two pillars (one white and one black), with a crescent moon at her feet and a veil behind her decorated with pomegranates.
The Priestess is the bridge between the physical and spiritual realms. She embodies the divine feminine. She is a vessel for truth, a lightworker, and is here to be of service. If the word “Priestess” resonates with you or stirs something within, this is a gentle nudge from the Universe and your intuition to go deeper.
What is a high priestess?
She is a bridge
In the traditional tarot deck, you’ll see the High Priestess sitting on a stone between two pillars. The right is known as “Jachin,” the pillar of establishment, and the left is known as “Boaz,” the pillar of strength. These two pillars represent the duality of life: masculine and feminine, light and dark, negative and positive, physical and spiritual.
The High Priestess is nestled between the two to symbolize her nature as a bridge between duality between the two worlds. She has one leg in each world: the physical and spiritual realms. This is why Priestesses often have spiritual abilities such as healing powers and psychic abilities. She brings the spiritual embodiment back with her to earth, which is her mission here: to reunite us with the sacred mysteries of the Universe. Both worlds hold unique gifts for us.
She deals in magic
The High Priestess carries the witch wound. The knowing that their mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers were tortured and killed because they were rooted in their magical powers, whether it was herbalism, healing, or divination.
Today, witches are still persecuted in certain parts of the world, but less so than during the witch hunts. However, there is still a lot of shame and ridicule around the witch archetype and anyone who believes in (or engages in) practices like tarot, spellwork, dream interpretation, moon rituals, astrology, etc.
The Priestess hones her craft and is in connection with her magical powers. She shuns man-made religion for spirituality, which she finds within herself.
She is a leader
The cross on her chest and the crown on her head cement the High Priestess as a leader. The cross represents the four directions of self: body, heart, mind, and spirit, and she is fully balanced in the four selves.
The scroll in her hand symbolizes the spiritual knowledge she has come to earth with from another realm. She is not reading the scroll because she already knows what’s written.
She is a courageous woman who is willing to do the inner work, stand in her light, and serve as a pillar for others to reconnect with their own light. But to do this, we must go beyond what we can see, beyond the physical, beyond materialism.
She is the feminine
The High Priestess tarot card shows a crescent moon at her feet, the meaning of which is her innate connection with the divine feminine. She is deeply connected to her own cyclic rhythm and the rhythm of the earth, the seasons, and the moon (which is the feminine).
The veil of pomegranates also symbolizes the feminine. Persephone ate the fruit of the Underworld, which allowed her to travel back and forth between the realms. It also represents the idea that the High Priestess is a keeper of the mysteries, and only those initiated may enter.
The high priestess tarot card meaning: upright
Key meanings of the High Priestess tarot card upright:
- Inner voice
- Divine feminine
- Thirst for knowledge
- Higher power
1. Listen to your inner voice
One of the strongest meanings of the High Priestess tarot card is inner knowledge. Pulling this card is an invitation to reconnect with your intuition and trust this voice rather than the voice of your intellectual, logical mind.
What is your intuition whispering to you? What do you think is the best path for you? Is the Universe sending you any signs or symbols?
2. Connect to your feminine energy
The High Priestess card also relates to the divine feminine. We live in a masculine-driven world where the feminine has been shunned and forced into her shadow side.
Have you been neglecting your inner feminine in favor of the masculine, knowingly or not? Where do you feel out of balance? This is what the Priestess archetype embodies: the duality of the masculine and feminine and the merging of the two.
Drawing this card is an invitation to reconnect to your feminine energy. She needs your attention right now. The feminine is cyclic, creative, intuitive, nurturing, receptive, compassionate, being energy. And we need both the feminine and masculine to feel balanced.
Don’t think, but feel. Instead of looking for logic, let your intuition guide you. Instead of doing, just be.
3. An initiation
The Priestesses were always the keepers of the ancient temples. So another meaning of pulling the High Priestess card during a reading could be that you are currently facing a “gatekeeper” in your life. And this is an initiation.
She encourages you to release worry over the situation and stop focusing on the outcome. Channel your energy into learning, growing, and preparing yourself for all outcomes. This way, once it becomes clear, you will be in the right position to take action.
4. Growth awaits you
The final potential meaning of the High Priestess tarot card in an upright position is the evolution of your soul.
The Priestess urges you to listen to the message she brings you. Follow it, and journey into the depths of your shadow. There is inner work to be done here. Journeying into the darkness and the unknown is scary, but this is how we heal and grow.
Do the work, take the time to heal, and trust your intuition, and you will find the answers you seek. Everything you are searching for is already within. If you haven’t found it yet, go deeper.
The high priestess tarot card meaning: reversed
Key meanings of the High Priestess tarot card reversed:
- Repressed intuition
- Blocked psychic powers
- Sexual tension
- Fertility issues
- Hidden motives
- Uncontrolled outbursts
1. Are you ignoring your intuition?
The High Priestess reversed can be a call to slow down, tune in, and reconnect with your inner voice.
Have you been ignoring or repressing your feelings or emotions? Do you feel a nudge to make a big move but fear the leap? Or are you caught up in other people’s opinions, preventing you from making the right choice?
Are you pretending to be someone you’re not? Are you too caught up in drama and gossip that you ignore your soul’s desires? Do you find yourself easily swaying from one side to the other, unable to make a clear choice? Are doubts, limiting beliefs, and negative thoughts more common than positive, empowering ones?
For whatever reason, you may be struggling to hear or follow your intuition. Take some time to reconnect with your true self and clarify who you are and what you want.
2. Is there a blockage that needs to be released?
Another meaning of the High Priestess tarot card in reverse is an emotional or mental blockage that must be addressed and worked through. Usually, this means confronting something we would rather not, something that is difficult to face.
This is what shadow work is all about. While it may be uncomfortable, it is far better to address any feelings that linger because this is how we move through them and prevents these blockages from growing into something bigger.
3. Release the need for approval
Are you ignoring your intuition or true soul desires because you want approval from other people in your life?
The High Priestess card, in reverse, reminds you to stay true to your beliefs and walk the path you came here to walk. You do not need approval. Follow your inner voice, and you will always be okay.
4. Create stillness to hear your guidance
The final meaning of the High Priestess tarot card in reverse is that you may not be allowing yourself to be in the feminine state of “being” as much as you should.
In our world, doing, achieving, and having are celebrated, whereas being is not. Being is seen as lazy, unproductive, and a waste of time. But being is just as important as doing. Being allows us to connect to our inner voice, process feelings, and recharge.
The high priestess card meaning: health
When it comes to health, the High Priestess tarot card can point to hormonal imbalances, fertility issues, and pregnancy.
It’s also a nudge to trust your intuition regarding your body. Do you have a gut feeling that something is wrong? Is there a deeper, underlying cause for a current illness you’re experiencing?
Think about how you can boost your vitality and vibration, whether it’s changing your diet, how you move your body, your sleep ritual, where you live, the people you spend time with, and the work you do.
The high priestess card meaning: love
Drawing the High Priestess card in love usually points to yourself and your needs and desires and asks if these are being met. Are you feeling dissatisfied in your romantic relationship? Is there something you’re not receiving that you crave?
Let your true feelings and emotions rise to the surface. If it involves someone else, don’t be afraid to presence how you feel in a thoughtful, calm way. Honesty is essential in all healthy relationships.
If you’ve been trying to fix things to no avail, stop and take a step back.
The high priestess card meaning: career
In terms of career, the High Priestess card can mean you’re about to enter into a period of education, a mentor or guide might show up at your door, or new inspiration will strike and lead to a new project.
If you’re about to make a big decision in your career (moving jobs, switching fields, starting a business), the High Priestess card asks you to tap into your intuition and let your inner counsel lead the way, even if the path is not clear.
The high priestess card meaning: wealth
Although she is not directly connected to wealth, the High Priestess card could be a catalyst for you to find your greatest passions and desires and manifest wealth by following this path. The roadmap will often be unclear because this is part of the journey. Each step you take will lead to growth, which will guide you to the next checkpoint.
What is holding you back from pursuing what you love? What are your biggest money and abundance blocks? Think back to what you learned about money and success as a child and whether the beliefs you carry are empowering or limiting.
The high priestess card meaning: yes or no
If you pull the High Priestess card during a “yes or no” reading, it means “yes, but only if it is for the greater good.”
This is what the Priestess embodies every day. She is willing to walk an untravelled path and be of service even when ridiculed, shamed, or oppressed because she knows her work is for the greater good.
Your intention is always the most important thing. So if you want to do something or make a change, clarify your true intention. And if it is for the greater good, then go for it.
The high priestess card meaning: numerology
The High Priestess is tied to the number two; in numerology, this is the number of the feminine. Two is unity, balance, and duality. One opposite balances the other.
The high priestess card meaning: astrology
The moon is deeply connected to the High Priestess card, which we see in the crescent moon symbol at her feet.
The water sign Cancer is ruled by the moon, so the astrological energy of the High Priestess is most attuned to the energy of the crab. Water is the element that represents the feminine, intuition, fluidity, receptivity, and nourishment. Cancer is a highly intuitive yet sensitive and empathetic sign, which ties in with the energy of the Priestess archetype.
What does the priestess archetype mean to you?
When I first heard the term “Priestess” a few years ago at my yoga teacher training in Thailand, it deeply resonated with me, as though I remembered something from a past life.
Ever since, I have been on a Priestess path of initiation, temple-keeping, leading, and being of service, mostly through my sacred work as a writer, guide for women, and the Creatrix of this media company, Revoloon.
I’d love to know what the word Priestess and the archetype mean to you?