Thursday, February 01, 2007


Years ago when I was still offering Tarot classes, I would study a deck new to me along with my students. Each evening as "homework" we would meditate on a card in our respective new decks. During a class I taught in 1987 I studied the wonderful Xultun (Mayan) Tarot by Peter Balin.* I have previously posted here my meditation on The Emperor in this deck. Today I'm sharing the results of my meditation on The High Priestess (please excuse those light stripes starting on the left of the image, my scanner has trouble with the surface coating on some Tarot cards):


I chose The High Priestess tonight because I sometimes identify with her intense intuition. This one, however, doesn't move me as much as those in other decks. She looks rather more stern than necessary. And too active. She's obviously speaking and gesticulating in an almost irritable way. Most High Priestesses invite, in an unconscious way. Their imperatives are usually in the content of what they say, not in their manner. There's a vaguely asian flavor to this card (as in many of this deck's cards) and the sense of a guru. I find the latter off-putting. Is this because I'm still (even after all the years of consciousness raising) not accustomed to women gurus? I find I'm not taking her quite as seriously as I do The High Priest, her male counterpart. Actually, I think it is only partly my sexism, the rest is in the design. I am irritated by her apparent irritation. I remember my grandmother Hill and her voice, and I feel better; my Grandma's wonderful deep voice. What is this card trying to tell me? Ignore the package or picture, and consider the content? This High Priestess has many eyes and does not care if she's liked or not, share her wisdom she will. She sits behind or beyond all contradictions. Knowing them to be only illusions, categories we cling to for a certain clarity. She does not face us directly. Her knowledge reaches us via other than conscious channels. Her dress is modest by The Emperor's and High Priest's standards (IV on left and V on right):

The material world means little to her, and less if it weren't for all the manifested lives who need her wisdom and guidance. She is intimate with the night sky; it's colors wave on a staff in the foreground. She is almost as much at home in its cold reaches, as she is in the watery depths of the sub- and unconscious. New creations wait to be manifested just beneath her feet, carved from and clinging for now to the base of her throne. Is this her irritation, that they will not let go and fully take on incarnation?

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In typing in this meditation I got quite a nostalgic giggle out of the term "consciousness raising." It's been years since I've thought of those days, and all those meetings and heady feminist ferment. Also, you may note that the images on The Emperor and High Priest in this deck "fit together." The 22 Majors of this unique deck form one large picture.

If you have never done a meditation on a different Tarot card over a series of days, it's an excellent way to become familiar with a new deck. By meditate I mean simply finding a quiet time and space and sitting just looking at the card you have chosen (for any reason or at random). You need not ask any questions of it or plumb it for information, but rather let impressions, thoughts, questions, reactions to the specific images on the card rise in you as they will. Then, after several minutes at least, or when you feel the meditation is over, take notes. The notes you keep of all the work (and play :-D) you do with The Tarot will ultimately become a rich diary.

*The Xultun Tarot, Arcanum Publishing Co., P.O. Box 2, Wilmot, WI 53192 copyright 1976 by Peter Balin.

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Resource: Online Reading with The Greenwood Tarot, I sometimes find an online reading helpful, and the Greenwood Tarot is a lovely deck.

Please see the top of the sidebar for my background with the Tarot and a recommendation to beginners.

‘til next time, keep being sensitive to what's behind the surface, and enjoying The Tarot,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)**** SEE ALSO: Roswila’s Dream & Poetry Realm for some articles about Tarot.****



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