Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Journey through My Tarot Decks: The High Priestess

In this series of posts, I plan to discuss all of the Tarot cards in order, using a different deck for each card. Although I originally planned to use my decks in alphabetical order, I have changed my mind and will proceed more randomly.

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This week's card is The High Priestess (Trump II) from the Haindl Tarot created by Hermann Haindl. My study of this card is aided by Rachel Pollack's book The Haindl Tarot, Volume I: The Major Arcana. My study of this complex deck is ongoing, and my goal here is simply to provide what insights I have been able to gather on this card to date.

Pollack writes: "The central theme of the Haindl Tarot [is] the renewal of the Earth - not just the material resources, but the spiritual Earth."


Gimel, camel * Ur, U, Bison or Rain * Moon (Water)

Rachel Pollack writes that number Two "signifies the female principle. Just as one is phallic, so two, or II, suggests the vaginal lips."

The symbol in the upper left corner of the card is the Hebrew letter Gimel, meaning "camel." Indeed, we see a camel crouched at the feet of the woman (below her root chakra) on this card. The camel looks away, "into the past" (Pollack).

The rune in the upper right corner is Ur or U, meaning either "Aurochs" (bison) or "Rain." The dress of The High Priestess seems to pour down like rain on the camel and the land. As the bison, the rune connects to a primordial cow in the Norse creation myth, calling to our attention "the patterning power of the universe, giving form to basic energy." Pollack notes that the modern word Ur means "before all," and that this rune also refers to "the mythical lands of Ur, Thule or Avalon."

The Moon is the heavenly body associated with The High Priestess. As ruler of the zodiac sign Cancer (a Water sign), the Moon is commonly linked with the element Water. The High Priestess on this card is "a transfigured woman with a sphere floating before her." She has a Moon diadem over her forehead, with one horn bright and the other dark.

We see a "stigmata of light" in the High Priestess's palms, signifying "the life-giving energy within the unconscious."

Diviniatory Meanings suggested by Pollack are: A time for quiet, for looking inward. Seek peace. Use intuition and feeling. Peace and joy. Possibly a lover who needs solitude or is avoiding commitment.

Reversed DMs are: A time for action, for involvement with others. Commitment in romance.

5 comments:

  1. The Haindl Tarot is an interesting deck. I rather like this rendition of the HP which your narrative helped bring to life for me. I like that she has diadem over her forehead in the shape of an upturned moon with opposite ends different colours. As you say illustrating the duality that exists within her -- unconscious and her conscious. She recognizes both of these and understands that she can meld them to work in unison.

    Thank you for showing this card. As you know I do not possess many decks just a mere 26, so it gives me great pleasure to see these images of decks I do not have.

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  2. Hi! We haven't met, but I am a friend of Helen's on FB, and wanted to comment on this because the High Priestess has been stalking me lately, most recently this morning when I drew from the Motherpeace deck. I was thinking about the number two, mainly how in the minor arcana all the twos except the two of cups seem somewhat at odds (swords), disconnected (wands) or trying to find balance (coins)~ the two of cups can indicate a harmony of things. The High Priestess, I think is telling me that there is a way to make connection in my current conflict ~ if I just shut up, and pay attention lol...

    All the best,

    Eartha

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  3. Helen, I'm glad you enjoyed *meeting* the Haindl HP.

    Eartha, it is interesting that the number Two expresses itself most harmoniously in the Two of Cups (Water) and perhaps in the HP (a Water card in that it is associated with the Moon, which rules Cancer).

    Perhaps your feeling that the HP is stalking you relates to a need to resolve your conflict at a deep spiritual (or emotional?) level.

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  4. I looooove how watery this card is, like spring rainfall. It's fresh and clean, with the smell of ozone in the air... I didn't even see the camel, all I saw was a raincloud! O_O The subtle shading from dark to light on her diadem is a masterful touch.

    I never get tired of the HP; very few decks make a mess of her and it's lovely to see a more unique approach to the imagery. I'm looking forward to enjoying the rest of your decks, albeit vicariously! :)

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  5. Thank you, submarina! I often "miss" things in the Haindl cards when looking at them, so I'm glad I have Rachel Pollack's book to point them out!

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~ Zanna