Tarot School Class Three: The High Priestess and the Empress

The High Priestess

 The High Priestess
  Number: 2
  Class: Major Arcana

Characteristics: A woman dressed in robes, sometimes sitting, sometimes standing. She carries a scroll and conveys a kind of firm yet soft composure. She's a lot like a very young Principal or Headmistress who takes her job very seriously, considering every student in her school as important to her as her own children.

Basic Text Book Meaning:

The High Priestess represents a softer, more practical side of spirituality. She doesn't expect you to starve yourself, or suffer boils to prove your love and loyalty to the Deity, whatever name you chose to call Him or Her. In the upright position this can be a choice made based on confidence and personal education.

In the reversed position, the High Priestess can represent confusion. A desperate need to make a choice about something but holding back because of crippling fear or sadness.

Some anime chick from Yu-Gi-Oh represents the Empress.
Some anime chick from Yu-Gi-Oh represents the Empress.

 The Empress
 Number: 3
 Class: Major Arcana

Characteristics: A woman clad in robes, wearing a tiara or a crown and may also be seen sitting in a throne, though not always. She may be carrying a scepter. (Cause everyone works, except her. Get it. Hyuk.) In some decks she is viewed as pregnant, or carrying a child.

Basic Text Book Meanings:

Motherhood. Needing or having a mother figure. Nurturing instincs. Taking control of yours or someone else's life. In the reversed position this can mean the opposite, having no maternal instincts what so ever, or feeling like no one is taking care of you.

Student Questions

Blue J asks,

OK, posting with two questions:
1. Is it any different if you read the cards yourself or if someone else does?
2. Do people naturally know that you would normally expect something in return for the reading?

I respond:

When you read for yourself, you have a strong tenancy to bias the reading based on your insecurities or desires. It's very important when you read for yourself that you remain open and try to be as neutral as you would with a customer. This will keep you from telling yourself things to make you feel better, or conversely, make you feel more anxious.

And no, if you don't make it clear up front, most people will expect the reading to be free. When I was doing my readings on Church Street from 2007 through 2008, I was required to only accept donations. I couldn't out right charge for them and the donations had to be voluntary.

So, even though I had my little "Donations Bucket" hanging from the easel (See video) people would still just smile, get up and walk away, without dropping so much as a penny into it. Because whether the reading made sense to them or not, I was just there on tap for them.

I once had a ton of little kids sitting at my table while the parents stood off to the side. I answered a bunch of stupid little questions the whole time, thinking the parents would pay me for my time since I was basically babysitting them while they chatted on the phone. Not a cent.

So, you really need to make sure the person reading you knows how you feel up front. If you're just doing it to be generous, or to stretch your muscle, fine. But if you expect to be paid for it, say so at the beginning of the reading or arrange for the payment to be made up front.

Gotchaye asks:

(Paraphrased) Why do you believe tarot reading to be a spiritual pracitce and not a religious one? And can you explain why you consider it a science.

I respond:

Religion is basically a set of rules that are imposed upon us by a very human authority. As such, those rules are subject to change as the authority moves and times change.

The concept of divination, however, has been around since long before Christianity or even basic the concept of gods first came to be. When early man traveled the Earth in search of shelter and food, they would read the signs in the sky and the land. Some of these signs like whether a place was safe to hunt, or a cave safe to dwell in, were attributed to spirits whom they appeased with gifts and ritual.

When we are reading tarot cards and looking at their symbolism, we are asking the spirits to tell us a story through these pictures. What do they have to tell us that they need to explain to us in the images on these cards?

And when it comes to the difference between religion and spirituality, to me that's it: In spirituality, you are communing with spiritual beings. In religion, you're dropping money in a bowl and walking into a booth to spill your heart out to a guy in a robe.

When I refer to the science of tarot reading, it's really more of away to explain tarot card reading, or other types of divination to the skeptical crowd. See, unlike a devout religious person, a true scientist will never tell you that something is one hundred percent the way they say it is. To quote one of my own articles:

Scientific viewpoints are always being challenged, disproven, rewritten, and challenged again. New evidence comes to light as the times change and younger scientists realize that what was written before no longer applies.

That being said, if spirits exist, what are they made of? Energy. What do our brains run on? A form of biologically created electrical impulses, or, energy.

So if I'm reading tarot cards and the essence of the reading is my communcation with spirtual entities, then an exchange of energy is taking place. Could this energy be measured by instruments? I'm certainly willing to give it a shot if the invitation ever gets sent my way.

Comments 3 comments

qeyler profile image

qeyler 5 years ago

As the Tarot comes from the Torah; there is a religious connection, (glance at the High Priestess and see what she is pushing up her sleeve). The meanings can tie into Psalm 119 as well.


Owl Ka Myst profile image

Owl Ka Myst 5 years ago from In the Valley of Grapes

I can see how some of Psalm 119 expresses a bit the meaning of the HP.

34: give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

62: at midnight I will rise to give thanks....

But as a whole....I don't 'feel' the HP in most of those passages.

10: ....let me not wander from thy commandments.

* the HP is always exploring spirit - if she comes across something better, she is going to follow what her heart tells her regardless of the source.

49: remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope


NateSean profile image

NateSean 5 years ago from Salem, MA Author

Since most religions tend to feed off each other in terms of their doctrunes, it's fair to say that the Tarot does draw some influences from the Bible. But similarly, the Bible draws influences from religions older than Christianity.

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