Major Arcana II: The High Priestess

The High Priestess from Pagan Otherworlds deck by Uusi Design Studio
Gatekeepers, guardians, travelers between realms: unbind the stones from your feet and sing your life into the deepest part of the river. Listen, listen, listen, as Spirit speaks. You are not separate from any of it.
Your beauty moves in all the changing ways, without knowing who you will be on some other side, which is really always just right here, a black-winged moment, and you, inside it. Your will can’t hold transformation the way it wishes it could. You can only let it take you. If you trust nothing else, trust this. You and your beauty, changing, here and in every in-between.

The High Priestess is a gatekeeper to Mystery, who calls for us to access our intuition and innate wisdom from the depths of our psyche. She is the keeper of ancient knowledge passed down through the ages, who reminds us that surrender is sacred. She sees all as a wise observer, all-knowing yet neutral, a cosmic queen who walks the earth, moving like water between realms. She is visible when she wishes to be, and cloaks herself in the same breath if her intuition calls for it. The High Priestess honors the liminal, the ephemeral, and the empty spaces yet to be filled. She speaks to us of our ever-burning inner flame, kept safe within a temple whose walls hold the records of all that is, was, and will be. She calls us to settle into the unknowing, and let there be space to open into. The High Priestess is an archetype that portrays one aspect of the Divine Feminine, a term that I relate to as the yin essence, the fertile void, the unknown, and the connectivity of all things. Varying expressions of the Divine Feminine blossom and wither from one source of wholeness, as she is a container vast enough for all to exist within her.

A powerful way to explore different expressions of feminine energy and the complex layers of yourself is to dive into archetypes, which is why I love tarot and its connection to mythology. Persephone is a goddess I connect with whose myth tells the story of a maiden (Innocent archetype) torn from her life in the sun with Demeter (Great Mother archetype) and taken against her will to the underworld. But Persephone is also the High Priestess, as expressed through the Dark Goddess archetype. Her story through the patriarchal lens emphasizes her victimhood, diminishing her power as a realm traveling goddess of the unconscious, bravely traversing the shadow realms. What isn’t so widely shared is that she chose to stay in the underworld, and brought back gifts to the light when she was ready to share them, reflected in the changing seasons. She honors our countless initiations and threshold crossings, and our own timing through which we move. She reminds us to move at our own pace, to stand sovereign in our own energy, to own our choices and our power completely. Artemis is another goddess whose energy speaks to both the Wild Woman and Dark Goddess archetypes. She is the one of the woods– embodied, emotive, unapologetic, intuitive, creative, brave, and unto herself, belonging to the moon, the earth and the wild things. Exploring these expressions of the feminine connects me to my soul’s yearning to embody the fullness of me, to arrive here and claim my voice as the witch. The wild one. The deeply feeling healer. The empathic and psychic one. The writer. The creator. The shadow dweller. The light worker. Guardian and guide between worlds.

Ideas for Journaling and Self Exploration

What happens when I full on surrender to the present moment? How does accepting myself where I am allow me to actually begin changing? How do my own internal shifts effect change in the world around me?

What happens when I start to get more into my body? How does it feel to find stillness? How does it feel to move my body from that point of stillness? Note the sensations, emotions, and thoughts present.

Who will I be on the other side of another transformation? What will I have to leave behind?

What happens when I show up in the world with all the shadows and light that I know I am? What do I need on a physical and emotional level in order to feel grounded and safe? How am I meeting my own needs in these ways? How am I honoring my own growth and tending to my needs at this point in the process?

How does staying with myself and loving myself through my entire growing process strengthen me? What does trusting myself feel like physically? Does it feel calm, even if I don’t exactly “like” the information I am getting? How can I get myself to a place of calm in order to intuit from a more observational viewpoint? How does observing and witnessing my own experience help me respond, rather than react?

How can I cope with my own insecurities around being truly seen by truly seeing myself? What do I need to feel, accept and love about what I see when I explore myself honestly, so I can be with what is and transmute what I am ready to change? In what ways do I choose to be in alignment with my true needs, rather than in resentment because I am not honoring myself or listening to my intuition?

Will I be able to show up in my fullness without the fear of being “too much?” or  “enough?” What does the cultural programming of “enoughness” look like? How does it affect the choices I make? I willing to disappoint others, rock the boat, and be uncomfortable in order to stay true to myself?

Can I identify when a wounded aspect of me is operating and clouding my judgement? What aspects of me still remain as fragments awaiting full acceptance, unconditional love, and forgiveness? Can I acknowledge them, hold them, and release them with deep love so I can more fully occupy my own body and energy? Can I begin to notice when I am grasping outside of myself for validation to quell inner discomfort? In what ways can I validate myself? How does validating my own experience create more grace and ease in my life?

Affirmations

I belong on this wild, breathing earth. I am capable of holding this great responsibility. I am brave. I am powerful. I call all of my power back to me now. I am safe. I am grounded. I am connected. I am fully resourced and operate from my wholeness. I trust myself fully. I validate my own humanity. I feel my own divinity. I am loving. I am patient, gentle, and honest with myself through the journey, accepting my wholeness as I change. I honor my interconnectedness with all things. I practice responding rather than reacting by slowing down and asking myself what I truly need. I take time to feel what is present for me and I listen. I practice receptivity and openness when my protective pieces urge me to shut down, trusting and loving all facets as sacred. All I need to do is be here, and pay attention to what moves me. I am dissolving every belief and pattern of energy that does not belong to me, and that is no longer mine to carry. I am allowing myself to receive new information about all the ways of being that reflect my truest essence.

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I am continually diving into the way these archetypes are reflections of my being, feeling how they hold and nurture each other, how they are part of a greater cycle, and how they cycle through me in my own phases. Below is some more writing that came exploring these faces of the Divine Feminine.

I went to the water with my heaviness today. This is my secret spot I always go to alone. This water hasn’t flowed here in a very long time. The first water in a drought will conjure up all that has laid dormant, it will run muddy and carry with it tangled branches, and it is not conventionally beautiful or pristine. The first water will bring to your attention all that you wish you didn’t have to see. It will tell you stories you wish you didn’t have to hear. Chasing the light is easier than communing with the shadows. After a little while the clarity comes, the peace comes, if you submerge and surrender for long enough. After a little while you understand that the light doesn’t care to be chased, just respected as an integral piece of the spectrum, a warming ray of what is possible, of who you are at your core. I prayed into the water, washing my hands clean, asking for guidance. She told me to listen, and to trust what I hear. She reminded me that there isn’t a savior beyond our own understanding that we are part of an eternal river’s ebb and flow. There are layers to healing. There is no easy answer or endpoint, just the willingness to pay attention, to feel, and to trust the wisdom of our experience. The more powerful we become, the more we are asked to kneel closer to the earth, and let go, deeper and deeper. The more we allow energy to move through us without resistance, the more we get to experience moments of radiant fullness, connected to our place in the web, strong in our clear presence, humbled by all that is beyond our control. In this state of surrender, we feel empowered to choose our next step. Our hearts will not stop their work of breaking, but we will stop hoping for that anyway. Often the most we can do is honor the water’s wise path, sometimes bone dry, sometimes teeming with life. Listening, trusting, listening, trusting. I trust my body as an extension of the earth, my vision as an extension of her knowing. I trust her cycles and I trust my own. I listen to what calls me further in. I trust presence, the movement that spirals out from stillness. I listen to what I don’t understand. I become the river who always meets the sea.

We are not initiated once, but thousands of times. Many of our leavings and arrivals are barely noticeable, but we notice, and we are changed. We are led, continually, over thresholds we cannot plan for. Divine order changes its tune as we sing along. And the chords we strike, just by being, create cosmic waves. Barely perceptible or earth-shaking, our energetic signatures exist here as an essential part of our collective experience. As we empty the vessel of striving, we make space for what forces desire to come alive through us. It is simply a welcoming. An opening. A walking through. We are merging worlds, grooving gracefully and tumbling foolishly between the accepted and the unacceptable, learning to tone in resonance with Mystery, breaking contracts with which we no longer agree, weaving our stories one revelation and one question at a time. One toe always in the water, inviting the ceremony of entering. The soul is not static. Spirit shifts. Bodies soften and harden with the rivers and tides of time and emotion. The mind is as pliable as it is powerful. We are called to crack open wide, not for ultimate bliss but for ultimate presence, as we leave behind the comfort of knowing and enter the realm of soul that begins at the edge of the woods, at the precipice of comprehension. Transformation asks of us full devotion. It can be terrifying, to let go, yet it is the only thing that ever really happens, awakening in the center of silence. Even stillness changes shapes. But your hands know the heartbeat of everything. You will remember. And it will be beautiful.

 

Wholly-Holy-Ways

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New Moon in Taurus altar made in Belize in the late spring…feels so very fitting here, now, at his New Moon in Capricorn in the early winter; Pictured is the Rider Waite Smith deck, and Goddess Knowledge Cards with art by Susan Seddon Boulet

 

 

 

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Ixchel from Goddess Knowledge cards, art by Susan Seddon Boulet; Queen of Wands from The Fountain Tarot

 

 

A message from Inanna, The Sphinx, Ix Chel, Justice, and the Queen of Wands

 

You belong in your becoming, you belong in your blooming, you belong in your dying. In the shadows, your clarity of purpose will be visible through light-filled eyes. Open to faith in the materializing and surrender to disintegration. The breaking down breaks you open in service of awareness and integration, obliterating outdated patterns and easing you into equilibrium. Your response to your experience in every moment becomes your life. Stay gentle inside your soft center, with all those pieces that don’t know yet how they will let go, or where they will go when they do. Maybe there is nowhere else to get to that isn’t here already. Maybe grace comes alive in the un-knowing. Remember when your knees buckled and you fell to the earth? That was when you called it in, arms open wide, because there was only one way to go at that point: the way of the miracle. Imagine you are a vessel of spirit, and that magic lives not only in those heavenly moments of wings-widespread, but in the messiness of loss, the reluctance to release, and the moment of freedom, as you offer yourself to the call, following the current that pulls you deeper and deeper in.

What is ripening now, just below your glassy surface, or just below the crackling surface of your beloved Mother Earth, nurturer of creation and conductor of destruction? If you are her wise seed pulsing with potential in the dark of the moon, how potently are you experiencing each sensation? What twinges and aches call your breath to deepen and your pace to slow? How free are the butterflies in your belly, and how warm is the fire in your chest? Are you allowing goosebumps and uncontrollable, inappropriate laughter, dancing, and tears? Are you welcoming stillness, quiet, and dreaming into nothingness? What are you letting yourself feel in the caves of your inner being? If you get quiet enough, can you feel what you have been denying? Can you feel your longing? The Sphinx, Egyptian guardian of Mystery, tells us there is no riddle to be solved that is separate from the self. Let the mind rest, allowing tendrils of emotion and vision to expand in your core, which is the core of the earth, and the roots that grow through your feet are the ancient roots. Let it die, let it grow. Decay enriches the soil of dreams.

You will be revealed here in beauty. Inanna, Sumerian goddess, tells you that each garment stripped in your descent into darkness has shown you the glimmering, groaning underbelly-self, whose tenderness expresses itself in all-the-ways, the-fearful-ways, the-angry-ways, the-beauty-torn-weeping-ways, the-love-worn-wise-ways, the-essential-ways. Ix Chel, Mayan deity, moon goddess of becoming, honors all phases as vital. She is the jaguar who sees past nightfall, sleek, piercing, knowing and silent until it is time. She is medicine woman, midwife, creatrix, and weaver. And the Queen of Wands comes again, another passionate, creative, confident, feline one, free and bursting forth with the radiant sun. They call for you to celebrate the return of the light, earth tilting just so, moon reflecting sun, each integral piece welcomed home. Thank your ancestors’ wisdom, all that has brought you here. Thank your shadows and receive your gifts from the depths. Thank your not-knowings. Thank your certainty. Thank your cycles. Set down what cannot be carried past this point. You will not abandon yourself or your beloveds, but you will respect your capacity, and bring only what is needed for the next leg of the journey.

As the scales find stillpoint, true inner power is understood and fully claimed. Drink the sweet, dark moonsugar. Feel the shifting structure of memory. Pyramids and treasure, star roots, scars, new skin, and the light of hope that blooms from blood and fear. Lightbeam eyes and puddle-jumping hearts. Communion across time and space. Past life convergence and relentless miracles. What can’t be explained. What mustn’t be repeated. Origins. Healing. Transience. Connection. Belonging. Longing. Need. Desire. Loving you. Loving me. Loving this fucking insane, suffering world, shadows lit up. Filling, emptying. Staying close to feeling. Admitting it. Accepting it. Breathing. Loving what can’t be unfelt or unseen. Somehow. Finding your way. Illumination is not for the faint of heart. But remember this: you are creating the pathway forward, dreaming in the brave-and-true, wholly-holy-ways, holding your humanness, holes and all.

Nurture The Spark: Tarot Inspiration

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Tarot card above: Ace of Pentacles from The Cosmic Tarot

 

Using tarot to nurture the spark, inspire creative mojo, and break up those blocks:

Take a few deep breaths and center in to yourself. Shuffle your deck, draw a card, meditate on it, explore the imagery, experience the emotions or thoughts the card evokes, and start writing! Use the card’s traditional meaning, your intuitive interpretation, experience, and imagination to awaken your innate creative energy and allow it to move through you. You can free write or create something more structured…just start, and keep going, without judging or criticizing what comes through. Surprise yourself, let yourself have fun, free yourself up for discovering something new…the possibilities are endless when we get out of our own way and enter into that space of simplicity and wonder, giving the critical mind a rest. If emotional energy comes to the surface, hold it as a gift, let the waves move through, rising and falling, expanding and dissolving. If writing isn’t your thing, try using the tarot as inspiration for any type of creative expression. The act doesn’t matter as much as the feeling it evokes. Do that thing that calls you into curiosity…that thing that maybe freaks you out, or makes you question yourself, but feels so delicious, expansive, and NOW that you just have to do it! It doesn’t have to be “big” for it to move you. There is no way to do it wrong. Your life is your art. The spark is your connection, your soul, your light. Nurture it.

 

Inspired by the Ace of Pentacles:

I found it
long before I left,
but kept it buried,
eclipsed by doubt
and the desire
for anywhere but here.
Core collapse
informed limbs outstretched
to live the longing
from within,
and in the returning
the green growing star
finally made a nest
in muscle and bone,
burrowing deeper
with each subtle arch
and sway-
coming home to itself,
unearthing
the little seed,
the bright one,
the gift.

 

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Using tarot for journaling:

I highly encourage using tarot as a journaling tool, as I find it to be a rich, layered, and invaluable way to tune into those subconscious undercurrents, bringing elements to the surface that need to seen, felt, held and released if needed. Below is a free-write journaling piece I wrote recently. I pulled a couple cards, but wasn’t feeling totally clear on them, so I meandered outside. While standing there observing the garden, breathing, feeling it all, the meaning of the cards started to settle in, and it felt like a revelation of sorts…the key was, yet again, getting out of my own way, by getting into my body and being present with myself. When I started writing, I knew it wasn’t a masterpiece, but did it matter? Of course not. The point is feeling, being honest, and really there with yourself. Try not to edit or censor…let the words & energy flow, see what comes.

 

I pulled Temperance from the Rider Waite Smith deck & Integration from the Osho deck…which are the same card essentially. So, ok. What a joyful synchronicity in this moment of feeling like my heart is poised for explosion, pulling in more than a few opposing directions. While the Aries new moon calls us in to our bodies, grounded for making confident decisions, I feel anything but confident, at least in confidence’s typical portrayal. I still feel the Pisces pull of my nebulous heart waters, though the land on the horizon is much clearer than the last couple months. How can I anchor in to myself here in these currents, moving forward in loving strides while holding the tension of opposites? Both cards offer the same message for me right now: Balance, Patience & Integration. I stepped out into garden in the rain to cry, because sometimes what the hell else can you do? And feeling, feeling, feeling it all is what I am good at, what my small self would prefer to numb or run from when it feels this big, & what I am giving permission & dedication to now. Feels like: How dying and blossoming  happen together, how roses existing on the same stem, within same root system, can be side by side in different points in their life cycle. How truth can exist within a container that holds seemingly disparate realities. How my anchor is my capacity for settling into the stillpoint, the center of the wheel in flux, without rushing to shut down or numb out to control what I simply cannot. To let it happen. To notice. Here, there’s no urgency, and I smile, because of everything that is blooming, everything I am capable of opening to, accepting, and loving so fully, that I can rejoice in this cleansing rain, bear witness to the totality of my experience, to see & feel the death & rebirth within and around me, feeling really fucking alive, skin prickled, blood flowing, movement in stillness.

For more expressions brought forth by my adventures with tarot + writing, check out my posts on Instagram @_emily_violet_ (posting more frequently there currently due to ease!) Encouraging you always to have FUN & DELIGHT in exploring, living and breathing curiosity, feeling FREE in your unique expression of the magic that is YOU, in all your facets, in all your layers. REAL is beautiful. It doesn’t have to be cute or pretty or shiny or acceptable. Your truth is your beauty, your ground, and your center. Keep going, keep sharing, keep shining, keep creating-just as you are. We need you, you need you.