The Manara-Key 2- The Priestess, card may seem offensive to some, for the female yoni is not sacred in our culture. However, it is the gate way to the Womb, The Abyssal Womb being the Priestess Tarot Card. A nun, represents a virgin in our culture and therefore, is the perfect image of a Virgin Priestess, who has known no man. This is because, The Will to Form of the Divine Feminine, hasn't produced a Form of Self yet. Also, the mirror represents the reflected light of the Visible Universe, the Visible light being the Creation of the Priestess, as waves and particles. We know particles to travel in straight lines and Waves, are serpentine flow of particles. This is better shown on the Thoth card that shows the background, curving lines and straight lines that are attributed to Female-receptive and Male-expressive, aspects of the One Energy.
Hence, you have a virgin priestess, exposing her yoni to a mirror, with her eyes closed, but with a smile on her face. This is the Androgyny of the Priestess, for the Virgin force of I Am, is strongly being expressed here. Here also is acknowledgement of the Sacred Yoni, from which all things are born. It is too bad that we have cursed each other and our own bodies with profane fear of life, for in so doing, we have cursed the yoni as the birth of sinners. In reality, the Creatrix creates Self-Image, in the reflections of I AM and the Self-Reflections of I AM ME. Each of us exist, because we are supposed to: The Goddess doesn't create what she doesn't want to be. The Priestess is the entrance Sephiroth called Daath, meaning "Knowledge", and Knowledge is information. Information, becomes form in Energy. Hence, the Souls-individual examples of Self-Knowledge called "Souls" begins here. Thank you, Milo Manara, for exposing our ignorance and our misogynistic fear of being born as Spiritual Flesh.The Priestess is therefore, the Masculine expression of "I Will Be" and the Feminine expression of " I Am Being". Being is Sacred to Self. Thank you, Milo Manara, for exposing our ignorance and our misogynistic fear of being born as Spiritual Flesh. For we have each profaned the Sacred by believing that sex is not a Sacrament.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.
-K. Gibran, The Prophet
ATU 2, THE PRIESTESS, is the image that represents an androgyny universal principle of intuition, independence, self-trust, self-knowledge and self-resourcefulness. This is the androgynous figure that represents balance known to Chinese scholars as the female magnetic force, curved, soft and receptive, that is Ying. From the navel down, this androgyny is all straight lines, strong, dynamic, yang.
This card reminds us that we are all composed of the receptive female magnetic and the strong assertive electric forces of male.
The High Priestess, wears a sun and moon crown to remind us that we are all are committed to have and achieve an equal balance in strength and softness.
The faceted crystal background reminds us of the multifaceted aspects of intuition that are present at each level of consciousness:
- Mental intuition (the triangular crystal);
- Emotional intuition (the round crystal);
- spiritual intuition (the diamond crystal).
- And physically noted information (the octagonal crystal). Intuition is the Great calm Sea of spirit that is reflective, deep, contained and always present, waiting to be accessed and trusted. However, we must first trust and love ourselves to be aware of this quiet power.
The Priestess is a powerful symbol to use as a visual skrying affirmation to enhance self-trust, independence, and resourcefulness. She is "The Knowledge" and not thinking. Thinking is the brain, translating the images of intuition into words. Intuition is not "thought of", it is received directly from the "Womb with a View"-The Priestess-Daath, the Womb of Self- Knowledge.
THE PRIESTESS: The Path of Gimel
The Priestess is not a literal return to the warm enclosure of the Cosmic Womb, as is THE EMPRESS. Rather, she represents the Supreme Mother, without her smiling mask, revealing a True face of cold yet beautiful countenance. All veils are removed, all illusion is dispersed, and we must face the crystalline reality of our own absolute free will; a task not for the weak. Her planet is the Moon, a mirror that reflects light. Her Hermetic Path is Gimel, meaning camel, which is most appropriate, as she is the one who carries our Personality across the vast desert of the Abyss, to the Source.
Tree of Life-Paths that represent the same energy, although as different but similar aspects, are The Paths of Gimel (THE PRIESTESS), the Path of Samekh (THE ART) and the Path of Tau (THE UNIVERSE) which together makeup the devotional middle pillar. The Indigo Middle Path color in Atziluth (the highest of the Four Worlds) is Indigo, a deep-dark- water blue that suggests the Moon, as all three Paths relate to the Moon.
The pure state of Intelligence that is The Path of Gimel, will carry those cleansed of desire thinking, across the longest and most important Path on the Tree of Life; A path which radiates down from the Supernal Triangle, composed of unimaginable potential, to the Ethical Triangle, the "actual", also making this the path a position between God the Father in Kether, and God the Son/Sun in Tiphareth, making this a Path of the Highest Initiation.
The common description of the Priestess is that she is the most pure essence of consciousness, symbolized in Tarot as the very source of all Water (Consciousness); However, to the initiate, she is considered The Lower Chokmah (Wisdom), wisdom is being expressed here as both masculine and feminine (The Goddess Sophia of the Greeks-means Wisdom) When applied to Chokmah the word Wisdom is masculine, for here it is "sent forth" and as the Seed of wisdom is ejaculated, it expands outward, in this action the seed of expansion contains its own limitation. Hence, Chokmah is considered to be a type of "Big Bang" expression of energy-in-motion. One could say the beginning of Emotion.
The Feminine is Formative. Here Wisdom is taken into the most Spiritual manifestation of the feminine Understanding and formulates it into herself as any geometrical point into which to contemplate any possibility, i.e. the All Seeing I of the Original consciousness. Now I know this concept is an impossibly difficult one to understand and the most descriptive of Qabalistic terms may seem nonsensical, but the Priestess is the Womb of Consciousness, and yet she is both Male and Female.......much like a Hermaphrodite (Hermes-Aphrodite) that can impregnate itself or as the ancient Greeks said about Mother Goddess Hera," From herself she made herself".
The Higher Chokmah is a specific Sun, and the Lower Chokmah is a specific Moon. Thus when viewing THE PRIESTESS Tarot card, you will see a slight feminine figure with arms raised, behind vibrations of light and a strong lower masculine leg section with the a bow across the knees. Yet she is a virginal force, because no "Outside" Male force fertilizes her. From her, the source of Water, is the idea behind the idea of form, I think Dr. Paul Foster Case said this best in saying that,"... no matter how many forms develop from it, the virgin substance is itself unchanged. Like Water, which holds matter in suspension or solution, this substance remains over itself. Here is one key to the alchemical mystery of the First Matter. Here, too, one may find a clue to the inner significance of the Virgin Myths of all Religions." The Priestess is often called the Prima Materia, or Root Matter (First Matter) as she can be considered the result of Self-Conscious.
[Remaining "over itself" may also be a clue as to why Lilith wished to lay on top of the First Male Form called Adam, in Genesis and was banished from the Garden for a more complaint Eve. So the Patriarch could be in charge of sexuality, for men feared the woman's ability to give life. A fun and enlightening study for the curious.]
In his book, THE THIRTY TWO PATHS OF WISDOM, Mr. Case calls the Path of Gimel, the Uniting Intelligence, because it is the "Essence of Glory" and/or "The Grace of God". No matter the terms, the fact is that your personality must be shed of all the reality and desires that our conscious has constructed before she is able to carry one across the Abyss, into Daath (Knowledge) that is the invisible Chakra of the Tree of Life that resides below Kether, on the Middle Path. It is that Knowledge that our "information"; conscious essence was born from, so that it could become the operator of the Images of God.
[.Daath is no longer invisible to one who has entered the Garden of inherited Knowledge that resides between the Mother named Understanding and the Father named Wisdom.]
Now the MAGUS, (Will-Kether), symbolizes a condition prior to Unconscious idea. This condition acts upon THE PRIESTESS in such a way, that the Path of Gimel becomes the mind capable of carrying the thought forms ( Understood-knowledge) of which the Universe will eventually be composed. Being that she is the source underlying all vibratory patterns that compose form, she is shown on the Thoth Tarot Card as a figure composed of vibratory waves of energy. Moreover, nothing can grow in the Garden of the Empress without this wave structure that underlays energy. It is for this very reason that the Moon is assigned to this path, for it is a pattern of waxing and waning, fluctuation, dualities and tides, just as the waves of energy in a vibratory pattern. Here, the Goddess is both Force and Form, and as a Moon she controls the tides of consciousness.
Now if you wish to skry this card, remember, she is Pure Virginal Conscious and without empathy; she is as Durga of the Hindu and the Ice Queen of the Norse. Unless you have a mentor who has been through the initiation of THE PRIESTESS, you may find her Cold Beauty destructive to your sensibilities. For she strips your personality of all that is not worthy of Pure Self-knowledge. Oh, by the way, I know her as Elizabeth ( Hebrew for-Chosen of God), as She is permanently aware of her initiates and often renames them, she calls me Prometheus which I translated into the Qabalistic Eli Serabeth ( Temple of the Fiery Daemon) She is a scary Beauty who will assist you in self-dissection....often without permission. To those who think bravery is an ego trip, don't try this ....ever! Ask a Mother what bravery is, then do your best to incorporate that idea into your heart, you may then survive the ordeal of the "Dark night of the Soul".
The Wisdom of THE PRIESTESS, is in regulation, as her fluctuation rates establish the direction for the First Matter as it descends in to greater and greater density. Thus she is represented as THE MOON that regulates the tides of the Waters of consciousness.
As before stated, the four paths rising into the Supernal Triangle (upper trinity of the Tree of Life), each represent a Alchemical element, each a composite of the "Garden of Eden".
THE PRIESTESS, is the Uniting Spirit, the Fifth element, symbolized as the top point of the Pentagram, she is the entry way of the Source of all Knowledge.
THE HIEROPHANT= Earth,
THE CHARIOT= Water,
THE EMPEROR =Fire and
THE PRIESTESS= Spirit.
Overall, THE PRIESTESS, is the vessel for all operations of the Supernal Triangle, she is the crucible where the Alchemical activity of Mercury, Sulfur, and Salt take place. She is also the source of the Four Rivers of Paradise, The Pison (River of Fire), The Gibon (River of Water), The Hiddikel (River of Air) and the Phrath (River of Earth).Which goes a long way in describing her fluctuating nature, as rivers are often waves of serpentine flow.
As I have mentioned before, the journey up the Paths of the Tree of Life, is about Remembering our beginning, a critical part of "Above all things, Know thyself”…the Qabalistic axiom. THE PRIESTESS, conceals within Her Vibrations, all the knowledge/memories of the Race, as well as, those of the Cosmos.
Behind her resides Daath (Knowledge), invisible because of Vibratory Veils of light, hiding subjective potential. These veils, are shown as Light in vibratory form, on the Thoth Tarot Card and the black and white clothing of the Nun on the Manara Card. The Qabalist knows that it is Light that conceals the True Spirit---the one we've called "The Fiery Darkness", because Dark Energy is the True Light, as it is the substance of Supernal Potential. Visible light is only 1% or less of this Universe and is called the "1% world" of Hermetic Qabalah.
To look upon the Light of the PRIESTESS, one must become Virginal in the nature of consciousness,i.e. not violated by the indoctrination of man. For it is a Light so bright one of mundane persona or material consciousness, cannot look upon it, and will be shocked right back into their Malkuth realm of Race sponsored consciousness. If the desire conscious is conquered, the Light of the Priestess is welcoming, and brilliantly beautiful...but without heat thus it is a cool light resembling the dazzling brightness of Ice in full Sun or Moon Light. Passing through the "Light", one enters the Abyss of Dark Matter/Dark Energy where the only sense is the original "I" sight of the One; also known as “the seed atom” (Theosophy) of your beginning as consciousness.
Obviously, when considering Light, the Qabalist must re-think the essence of Light. It is apparent to the researcher that all religions which stress "the Light" as a high state of consciousness, are based on Tiphareth-The Sun God. For instance, religions based on the teachings of Christ, Buddha, Apollo, Osiris, Ahurda-Mazda, Mithra, etc. However, the Gnostic Mysteries, unlike organized religions, states that Light conceals, rather than reveals, by its very brilliance.
As does the Moon, so does the PRIESTESS go from brilliant light to absolute darkness. Thus the Mythology of the Moon and her deities, such as, Dianna-Artemis, Hecate and Hel-Aine (Later as Helen, Elaine and Eleanor), better known to those of Celtic origin as Elaine the Moon-Goddess. The Thoth Deck Card Shows THE PRIESTESS as Hecate-Selene (The Triple Goddess as described by Hesiod) which means -The Far Shooting Moon, and is an aspect of Artemis. Artemis is also known as the "maiden of the silver bow", suggesting the lower aspect of THE PRIESTESS, (The ART card), which is Sagittarius, the archer. That is why she is illustrated with a bow across her knees.
[Artemis is the triple Goddess, represented as the Maiden, then the Orgiastic Nymph, then the Old Crone. As some say, Maid, Mother and Crone.]
To reiterate, THE PRIESTESS acts upon the First Matter of the MAGUS, causing it to function in the pattern of a figure eight lying on its side. This represent a total unified energy cycle of both opposed and duplicated vibration. This holding, enclosing, and duplicating function is that of the first female quality on the Tree of Life. This is the infinity symbol, often shown above the head of the Magician. Where the unbroken line crosses itself is where the Priestess, Womb, abides, as one "end" is Masculine "Will to Force" and the other "end" is the Feminine "Will to Form", i.e. The Divine Twins and/ or the Divine Creative. One who is two.
THE PRIESTESS represents what Carl Jung called the "virgin anima", related to "virgin milk" which he called the "life giving power of the unconscious."
[To the inquiring mind, I really recommend one gets the book: THE WOMAN'S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MYTHS AND SECRETS, by Barbara G. Walker and looks up the Moon Goddess Myths. THE PRIESTESS relates a concept so subjective, that much repetition of information, in differentiating perspectives is required.]
When the PRIESTESS, is thrown during a reading for the non-initiated:
- The querent is experiencing the principle of self-trust, indicating an easily working state of harmony and inner independence.
- A self-knowing.
- Accessing hidden Knowledge from the unconscious.
- Self-sufficiency, self-trust, and intuition.
- Experiencing mystery, secrecy,knowledge and hidden treasure.
To the initiated male who she has taken across the Abyss:
- She represents the Spiritual Bride of the Just man (The Prince, no longer of this world) When he reads the Law, she gives the Divine Meaning.
- The Arcana is revealed, the Mystery is unfolded, and futures are seen.
To the Initiated Female, who she has taken across the Abyss:,
- She is the Papess, associated with St. Mary Magdalene, or the Great Shakti of the triple Hindu Goddess Kali, or the Greek Gnostic Sophia, the original Mother of the Holy Trinity.
- Considered one of the Highest and Holiest of the Major Arcana-the birther of Souls.
- Complete development of Feminine Powers (Womb rite) that go deeper in meaning than the words, intuition or insight, can convey.
- She is the Law of inherited Wisdom.
If ill defined by the surrounding cards:
- Fluctuation and emotionalism.
- Reacting instead of acting.
- Confused intent.
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper.