Secret of the High Priestess Spread
This spread makes a nice alternative to the Celtic Cross, which covers basically the same ground. It is useful when a question doesn't quite call for the Ankh spread. This tarot spread is helpful for looking into a current trend. The High Priestess may or may not present a mysterious secret to be analysed after the rest of the spread.
1. & 2. Main impulses representing the topic at hand. They may compliment or oppose one another.
3. This is the current influence at this time.
5. The Waning Moon is the influence that is moving into the past.
4. The Waxing Moon indicates what is on the horizon, or the approaching influence. This is the immediate future.
7. The Light is what is clearly recognized, consciously.
6. The Dark indicates what is there but not fully perceived, though noticed on a deeper level of consciousness.
8. The Next Step is the near future, where this journey leads.
9. The final tarot card, only if it happens to be of the Major Arcana, reveals the Secret of the High Priestess. This is a special message that should be given added weight.
Your Secret of the High Priestess Reading
|The Waxing Moon
4 of Pentacles
|The Full Moon
7 of Swords
|The Waning Moon
4 of Cups
10 of Swords
The High Priestess
|The Secret of the High Priestess
Ace of Cups
|The Next Step
Knight of Swords
4 of Cups
A young man is seated under a tree and contemplates three cups set on the grass before him; an arm issuing from a cloud offers him another cup. His expression notwithstanding is one of discontent with his environment.
Weariness, disgust, aversion, imaginary vexations, as if the wine of this world had caused satiety only; another wine, as if a fairy gift, is now offered the wastrel, but he sees no consolation therein. This is also a card of blended pleasure.
10 of Swords
A prostrate figure, pierced by all the swords belonging to the card.
Whatsoever is intimated by the design; also, pain, affliction, tears, sadness, desolation. It is not especially a card of violent death.
The Waning Moon is the influence that you are putting behind you, as it moves into the past.
A youthful figure in the robe of a magician, having the countenance of divine Apollo, with smile of confidence and shining eyes. Above his head is the mysterious sign of the Holy Spirit, the sign of life, like an endless cord, forming the figure eight in a horizontal position . About his waist is a serpent-cincture, the serpent appearing to devour its own tail. This is familiar to most as a conventional symbol of eternity, but here it indicates more especially the eternity of attainment in the spirit. In the Magician's right hand is a wand raised towards heaven, while the left hand is pointing to the earth. This dual sign is known in very high grades of the Instituted Mysteries; it shews the descent of grace, virtue and light, drawn from things above and derived to things below. The suggestion throughout is therefore the possession and communication of the Powers and Gifts of the Spirit. On the table in front of the Magician are the symbols of the four Tarot suits, signifying the elements of natural life, which lie like counters before the adept, and he adapts them as he wills. Beneath are roses and lilies, the flos campi and lilium convallium, changed into garden flowers, to shew the culture of aspiration. This card signifies the divine motive in man, reflecting God, the will in the liberation of its union with that which is above. It is also the unity of individual being on all planes, and in a very high sense it is thought, in the fixation thereof. With further reference to what I have called the sign of life and its connexion with the number 8, it may be remembered that Christian Gnosticism speaks of rebirth in Christ as a change unto the Ogdoad. The mystic number is termed Jerusalem above, the Land flowing with Milk and Honey, the Holy Spirit and the Land of the Lord. According to Martinism, eight is the number of Christ.
Physician, Magus, mental disease, disgrace, disquiet.
The Full Moon is the current influence at this time.
7 of Swords
A man in the act of carrying away five swords rapidly; the two others of the card remain stuck in the ground. A camp is close at hand.
Good advice, counsel, instruction, slander, babbling.
The Waxing Moon indicates what is on the horizon; the approaching influence.
4 of Pentacles
A crowned figure, having a pentacle over his crown, clasps another with hands and arms; two pentacles are under his feet. He holds to that which he has.
Suspense, delay, opposition.
The Light is what is clearly recognized.
Ace of Cups
The waters are beneath, and thereon are water-lilies; the hand issues from the cloud, holding in its palm the cup, from which four streams are pouring; a dove, bearing in its bill a cross-marked Host, descends to place the Wafer in the Cup; the dew of water is falling on all sides. It is an intimation of that which may lie behind the Lesser Arcana.
House of the false heart, mutation, instability, revolution.
The Dark shows what is there but not fully perceived, though it has been noticed on a deeper level of consciousness.
The High Priestess
She has the lunar crescent at her feet, a horned diadem on her head, with a globe in the middle place, and a large solar cross on her breast. The scroll in her hands is inscribed with the word Tora, signifying the Greater Law, the Secret Law and the second sense of the Word. It is partly covered by her mantle, to shew that some things are implied and some spoken. She is seated between the white and black pillars – J. and B. – of the mystic Temple, and the veil of the Temple is behind her: it is embroidered with palms and pomegranates. The vestments are flowing and gauzy, and the mantle suggests light – a shimmering radiance. She has been called occult Science on the threshold of the Sanctuary of Isis, but she is really the Secret Church, the House which is of God and man. She represents also the Second Marriage of the Prince who is no longer of this world; she is the spiritual Bride and Mother, the daughter of the stars and the Higher Garden of Eden. She is, in fine, the Queen of the borrowed light, but this is the light of all. She is the Moon nourished by the milk of the Supernal Mother.
In a manner, she is also the Supernal Mother herself – that is to say, she is the bright reflection. It is in this sense of reflection that her truest and highest name in bolism is Shekinah – the co-habiting glory. According to Kabalism, there is a Shekinah both above and below. In the superior world it is called Binah, the Supernal Understanding which reflects to the emanations that are beneath. In the lower world it is MaIkuth – that world being, for this purpose, understood as a blessed Kingdom that with which it is made blessed being the Indwelling Glory. Mystically speaking, the Shekinah is the Spiritual Bride of the just man, and when he reads the Law she gives the Divine meaning. There are some respects in which this card is the highest and holiest of the Greater Arcana.
Secrets, mystery, the future as yet unrevealed; the woman who interests the Querent, if male; the Querent herself, if female; silence, tenacity; mystery, wisdom, science.
The Next Step is the near future, where this journey will take you.
Knight of Swords
He is riding in full course, as if scattering his enemies. In the design he is really a prototypical hero of romantic chivalry. He might almost be Galahad, whose sword is swift and sure because he is clean of heart.
Imprudence, incapacity, extravagance.
The Secret of the High Priestess - if, and only if, this card a Major Arcana, it reveals the Secret of the High Priestess. This is a special spiritual message that you should pay extra special attention to. If it is not a trump, the Priestess has revealed no secret.
The sun shines in the zenith, and beneath is a great winged figure with arms extended, pouring down influences. In the foreground are two human figures, male and female, unveiled before each other, as if Adam and Eve when they first occupied the paradise of the earthly body. Behind the man is the Tree of Life, bearing twelve fruits, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is behind the woman; the serpent is twining round it. The figures suggest youth, virginity, innocence and love before it is contaminated by gross material desire. This is in all simplicity the card of human love, here exhibited as part of the way, the truth and the life. It replaces, by recourse to first principles, the old card of marriage, which I have described previously, and the later follies which depicted man between vice and virtue. In a very high sense, the card is a mystery of the Covenant and Sabbath.
The suggestion in respect of the woman is that she signifies that attraction towards the sensitive life which carries within it the idea of the Fall of Man, but she is rather the working of a Secret Law of Providence than a willing and conscious temptress. It is through her imputed lapse that man shall arise ultimately, and only by her can he complete himself. The card is therefore in its way another intimation concerning the great mystery of womanhood. The old meanings fall to pieces of necessity with the old pictures, but even as interpretations of the latter, some of them were of the order of commonplace and others were false in symbolism.
Failure, foolish designs. Another account speaks of marriage frustrated and contrarieties of all kinds.