The High Priestess
Professor of Divination
The professor of divination teaches her classes in a
small, turreted room that faces east, to greet the rising moon. Before you
step into her parlor, take a deep breath — and be prepared to come face to
face with the hidden secrets of your existence.
The High Priestess is the embodiment of mystery. Like
the ancient oracles and Sybils, she has the gift of prophecy; she can see
into the next world and into the future. She makes an excellent teacher and
guide into the world of spiritual enlightenment.
The High Priestess is associated with the moon, a
symbol of intuition, guidance, and the cyclical nature of life. The moon,
which reflects the light of the sun, symbolizes reflection on a spiritual
and philosophical level, too.
The moon’s influence is everywhere in this image,
starting with the dominant colors in the card. Silver and purple are the
colors of the moon in an indigo sky.
The High Priestess reads cards by the guiding light of
the full moon. She wears a headpiece made up of the waxing, full, and
crescent moon, as well as gleaming, moonlike pearls.
A lunar moth, drawn to the flickering white candle on
the table, represents the irresistible draw of the moon. The aura around the
candle flame resembles a moon, too.
The High Priestess’s familiar, a witch’s black cat,
chases the moth like a shadow chases light. A triple-moon charm dangles from
the cat’s collar.
The drapes on the window represent the veil between
this world and the next. The High Priestess routinely parts that veil to see
into other realms.
The drapes are reminiscent of the twin pillars of mercy
and severity, light and darkness, spirit and matter, and destruction and
creation. They’re two shades of dark and light, which also reinforces the
theme of polarity and duality — and they’re covered with images of palms and
pomegranates, which are symbols of male and female fertility.
The violet color of the High Priestess’s tablecloth
symbolizes psychic ability.
The High Priestess lays her cards in the shape of a
Mandrake Cross, a variation of the classic Celtic Cross.
She holds her tarot journal close, ready to record her
insights and observations.
The Hebrew letter Gimel, which means camel, dangles
like an amulet from the back of the High Priestess’s chair. The letter
symbolizes the power to carry a burden across the desert from one land to
another. As an oracle, the High Priestess also travels across a vast expanse
from this world to the next.
The High Priestess has mastered several forms of
divination, including crystal balls for scrying and reflection by moonlight.
The palmistry hand is a reminder that while divination may offer insights
into the future, we each hold our destiny in our own hands.
At Mandrake Academy, students don’t undergo extensive
training in tarot theory. Instead, they learn the ancient art of divination
by practicing it, with only minimal instruction beforehand. It’s easier than
it might seem, especially with the High Priestess as your guide.
Before you begin any tarot reading, clear your mind,
take several deep breaths, and focus on the question or issue at hand.
You might want to work in a circle of sacred space,
just as you would for any other magical practice.
Shuffle the deck and deal the cards one by one from the
top of the deck.
Lay the cards face down in a spread.
Turn the cards over, one by one, as you would turn the
pages in a book.
Say the name of each card aloud, and then describe the
image in as much detail as you can muster.
As you make your way through the spread, pay attention
to symbols that seem to stand out from the rest, and notice recurring themes
and motifs. Describe their importance. Try to connect them to real people
and events from your everyday life. Feel free to make educated guesses.
As you conclude, look through the spread a final time,
and summarize the meaning of each card.
When you finish a tarot reading, record it in your
tarot journal. Be sure to include the date, time, and place of your reading.
You can combine your tarot journal with a Book of
Shadows — a handwritten grimoire of spells, rituals, incantations,
invocations, correspondences, elixirs, alchemical formulas, and magical
The High Priestess's Mandrake Cross
Priestess. This card represents you. Whenever you read tarot cards, you
embody the mysterious spirit of High Priestess.
The Magic of the Moment. This card represents your
situation at the moment of your reading.
Magic Currents. This card represents the swirling
energy around you, along with outside forces that might be affecting your
Magic Powers. This card represents your magical
talent, abilities, and experience.
Moments Past. This card represents the last six
months to a year.
Guiding Light. This card represents your higher
self, universal consciousness, and the best possible outcome of your current
Moments Yet to Come. This card represents the next
six months to a year.
Magic Mirror. This is how you see yourself.
The Academy. This is how others see you.
Moonlight and Shadow. This card represents your
hopes and fears.
Prophecy. This card represents the most likely
outcome of your current path.
Return to the Study Guide