The Second Card of the Tarot:
The High Priestess



The High Priestess   



THE HIGH PRIESTESS, represents both the normal and subnormal functions of the Pituitary.

The physical function of the Pituitary, which concerns us here, is:

(1) She is the channel of communication between the self-conscious and the subconscious of the body, and

(2) She is the principal seat of memory in the body, every cell of which also remembers.

The organ of communication between the self-conscious and the subconscious (the Moon Center) is now the link between the cell community of the front lobe of your brain, which is the distinctly human part of you, and the other cell groups in your body that perform all the complicated acts in the internal routine of your daily existence. The message of the thinking cells are transferred by the Moon Center to the cells whose function it is to carry them out. You wish to raise a finger, for instance, and the message is instantly sent down by the Moon Center, by means of several relays to the muscles of your finger. When you decide to do a thing, you impress it on the Moon Center as a command: Tora, which is the Hebrew word for "Law." She does not carry it out, but she sends it to that part of the body, which it concerns. She herself carries out only the commands of the Higher Self.

Your body knows how to perform all sorts of intricate complications you know nothing about, both mechanically and chemically. Its various centers superintend all the operations that come within their province without any interference from you; but when you wish to issue commands to them, they must carry them out as far as they can do so. The Moon Center is your channel of communication with them. Remember, however, she merely sends them on, she exercises no selective faculty. She passes on messages without regard to whether they are wise or foolish, constructive or destructive, and the cell workers at the other end of the message eventually get the orders and carry them out--however much they may grumble! If you do not send wise or clear orders, you experience discord as the immediate consequence of the Moon sending along these messages.

Thus, you see the bearing of the name camel, which goes with the letter GIMEL. Among the Eastern tribes where the Hebrew language was invented, the camel is the vehicle of either peaceful commerce or war. The name camel also applies to our second physical function, which is memory. Existing in her are memories not only of this life but also of all the previous ones. They are there not in a concrete form, but they exist as vibrations, which can be stirred into response by upward stimuli. From her, come all the unexplained antipathies and attractions we feel to people and to places we have never (as we think) encountered before. This apparently causeless attraction or repulsion is one of the outstanding facts of our lives. We have all felt it very often, and we are constantly swept with a vague memory of something pleasant or unpleasant in a previous life.

These two, then, are the functions of the Pituitary Gland, and serve as the channel of communication between the self-conscious, the thinking lobe of the brain, and the body it directs.

In Tarot, THE HIGH PRIESTESS represents the subjective mind. THE EMPRESS represents the subconscious. It is impossible to talk of one without talking of the other. THE HIGH PRIESTESS is really the representative of Nature, the laws of Nature. THE EMPRESS is a representative of that part of Nature which functions in you and which you have exalted or debased during your long procession of incarnations. Nature is herself perfectly pure, but you in your long series of reincarnations have sullied Nature because you have bound her to your own appetites and passions.

THE HIGH PRIESTESS also represents what the Christians call the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost and Nature of the scientist are the same. The subconscious mind is represented as a wife who is as her husband makes her. She is associated with Venus, and in all mythologies, there is a good Venus who uplifts man and a bad Venus who drags man down. That is to say, these personal consciousnesses can drag you down or uplift you, and she is what you have made her. The Venus in you, whether good or bad, is subservient to your Will. The HIGH PRIESTESS in you is not subservient to your Will. THE HIGH PRIESTESS is subservient to the laws of Nature--that is, to the Will of the Creator--but you bring Her more and more into your body. As Jesus said, "I am come that you may have life and have it more abundantly."

THE HIGH PRIESTESS of the Tarot is the Holy Ghost (matter reflecting the designs of the Father). She anthropomorphizes the Cosmic Mind-Stuff--the Virgin Mind-Stuff out of which the Universe took form because of the images implanted in it by the Creator. Remember, the object of the Tarot is not merely to show you the Laws of the Universe, but how these laws work out in you. What then, does THE HIGH PRIESTESS, the Virgin Mind-Stuff, do in Tarot, whose object is to depict the relation to our personality of the superconscious, the self-conscious, and the subconscious? The teaching of Tarot and the esoteric teaching of Scripture narrative is that the self-conscious, by assiduous endeavor, may bring into your body (and your body is your self-conscious) more and more of the superconscious in the form of Cosmic Mind-Stuff.

There are three forms of the superconscious that you may bring into your body. The first we had in the previous card, BETH, THE MAGICIAN. You may bring in the White Light of the Spirit. The second we have in the card GIMEL, THE HIGH PRIESTESS. You may bring in the untainted Mind-Stuff out of which the Universe was made. The third we have in the card TETH, STRENGTH. You may bring into your body, through the Transformed Heart, the Stellar sex force and manipulate it by means of the White Light, the Cosmic Mind-Stuff that you bring into your body to perfect your body. By means of the Stellar sex force which you bring into your body through the Transformed Heart, you can help to perfect everything outside your body--everything that lies within your sphere of influence.

The Cosmic Mind-Stuff you bring into your body is not subservient to your Will. She does not take the impress of your images. She is subservient only to the will of the Higher Self. She takes only the impress of His images.

THE HIGH PRIESTESS is this Holy Ghost of the Christian theology in that aspect of her, which is not responsive to the Will of the personality, but which can be regained by the personality and can be brought into the body through the Pituitary Gland. There is a part of the Cosmic Mind-Stuff you bring into your body to perfect your body. The Cosmic Mind-Stuff is as yet unspoiled, because when the Creator has worked upon it He has not debased it as you and I have debased our subconscious, which in the beginning, when it first came to use, was not debased. The occultist says that the subjective mind manifests itself in all things and forces as the Laws that govern matter. Madame Blavatsky expressed it perfectly when she said that matter is Spirit at its lowest vibration.

So here you have Spirit as its lowest vibration--Spirit at one side and matter at the other. Now between the two modes of the pole are all the myriad rates of vibration. All forms from the atom to the solar system are vibrating, and they consist of two parts--the body of denser matter and the Soul by a nucleus of matter less dense; and the nucleus matter less dense we may speak of relatively as Mind. All forms consist of Mind and the outer form of matter. Every atom consists of a central nucleus with a space of energy around it, and that central energy and space bind these particles in such a way as to make one kind of material different from another kind of material; that is to say, each little center of energy is different. They are spaced differently.

This center of energy the occultist calls the Mind. It says there is Mind in everything. The mind of the atom has this central energy and it determines or dictates the rest of it, the outer body, just as your mind determines or dictates your outer body. We come up in the scale of Nature from the mineral to plant to animal to man to superman, and as we do, we get bodies capable of manifesting more and more Mind, and hence these bodies are more and more complex; but always they exist in conformity to the central energy, the Mind. As bodies become more and more complex, that is, as they ascend the scale of Nature, the Laws affecting these bodies grow wider and wider in scope. Plants and animals, roughly speaking, follow these Laws of their nature by what we call instinct.

These mineral, plant, and animal natures coexist in man. Man moves by instinct as do plants and animals; i.e., inert man is humanly inert as is the mineral. The acquiring of Wisdom and Understanding evolves man to the state originally intended by the creator. When this is achieved, by the right use of Mind, man then has dominion over all the lower forms of Nature inside and outside his body.

Even plants and animals can be willful; and, on an extended time scale, even minerals can be willful. As in man, some animals and minerals are more subservient to their instinct than others are. This can be observed in the animal kingdom as you watch the process we call domestication in animals. The consciousness the animal exhibits when it is domesticated corresponds with what we call self-consciousness in human beings. The consciousness of domesticated animals usually is very frail. Consequently, these more remote animal notions, when compared to the self-consciousness of a human being, are activated only when man steps upon the stage of Nature or evolution. The self-consciousness becomes marked, and with it the phenomenon of man arrives at what we call the thinking cells of the brain. This is distinct from the recording cells of the brain. We share recording cells of the brain with the animals; however, ours are more complex.

The recording cells of the brain are in the back lobe of the brain and they record what our senses bring to us. The thinking cells of the brain are in the front lobe and they exist only in man. They are distinctly human.

So you see, self-consciousness did not come into manifestation until very long after subconsciousness, and just as we could expect, we find the subconscious mind working much better than the self-conscious mind. That is the reason why it is so powerful in us, why it conditions every state of the self-conscious mind, while, at the same time, the self-conscious mind conditions it. Your self-conscious mind is a product of your consciousness of the past; however, at the same time it can change your subconscious in the future if you change what you are thinking.

As you can see, this condition, in itself, points to the old controversy between free will and determinant will. There is no such thing as free will; also, there is no such thing as determinant will. We are partly determinant and we have partly free will; free will insofar as we have the capacity to choose. We are the inescapable product of our past; however, we can change our future! You have to act on the subconscious that you have at present, before you can change your subconscious for the future.

In Nature, the subconscious reflects the Laws of the Universe, which are the Will of the Creator, with images imposed upon the Mind-Stuff by the Creator. Hence, our subconscious reflects images imposed upon her by her self-conscious. We cannot impose images over our entire subconscious because there are many things we do not know anything about in our bodies. These unknowns are the life processes. You and I do not know how they are carried on. We cannot impose images upon our subconscious as far as that goes, and we cannot interfere with our life processes by imposing images on our subconscious as to things we know nothing about. Therefore, the subconscious must follow her methods in all those things where we cannot exert our authority.

This invites the fact that hardly any of us can be said to have any mind at all, because we exert full capacity of the mind ever so little. What does that come from? It comes from your attention. It is our business as self-conscious beings to keep alert and to keep awake and never be mechanical. We need to pay attention to what is going on outside ourselves and inside our minds. We have not learned to pay adequate attention! Unfortunately, education, either social education or intellectual education, seems to decrease our ability to pay attention rather than to increase it! PRACTICE AWARENESS CONSTANTLY.

The animal pays attention or it could not survive. People who live close to Nature (the farmer, the hunter, and the sailor) must pay attention or they cannot survive. When we come to the field of business in civilized life, we must compete or drop out. Unless we learn to pay attention, we must confine our efforts to a very narrow field. In school most of our so-called education is mostly memory work. Consequently, in educated society we become conventionalized. What is the consequence of this? Most people see things in a blur and they do not pay attention. They do not make clear outlines of the thing they are concerned with now, whether it is physical, emotional, or mental. One should know just as much about what is going on inside himself as what is going on outside of the eyes. That is to say, we should be able to analyze our thoughts and emotions. Most important of all, we should be able to perceive our motives. Instead of that, what happens? We all make mistakes about our motives. We parade before ourselves motives we do not possess. Compare the mind of the self-conscious with the subconscious. SHE IS NEVER, FOR ONE INSTANT, DEFICIENT IN ATTENTION. She never for one instant either consciously or unconsciously forgets herself; she knows precisely what her intention is. She attends to her business perfectly.

What is her business? All things concerning memory, life processes, analysis and deductive reasoning. Incidentally, the other word for analysis is deductive reasoning. This process is mostly self-evident at the outset. The subconscious builds all the living bodies and maintains their processes. Self-consciousness does not furnish that; the subconsciousness does. In order to do this she must have a perfect memory of all bodies heretofore constructed. She must have memories of all the natural laws of nature. There must be in the subconscious a record of all past manifestations of life, however distasteful. The subconscious includes all phases of physical brain now and in this present incarnation. She comprehends, and then scans, all phases of life and all things you need memory for.

The superconscious flows into the body through three ports of entry--through the PINEAL GLAND, the PITUITARY GLAND and the TRANSFORMED HEART.

As entrance for the superconscious, all these channels a man has to make himself. You can get that in one of the sentences of the Gospel story: "Let us make three Temples"--The Pineal Gland, the Pituitary Gland, and the Transformed Heart. The physical organ in each case is there, but you have to make the superconscious (the spiritual) function yourself. Science is perfectly familiar with the physical function of the heart, and has discovered several of the physical functions of the Pituitary; but science has not yet discovered all the physical functions of the Pineal Gland, and yet knows nothing about the superconscious function of any of these three.

In addition to the conscious and the subconscious, there is something called the subjective mind--not only the subconscious mind but the subjective mind--something above the subconscious. Inner Teachings of religions and mythologies have not only insisted on the self-conscious and the subconscious, but they insist on a peculiar influence, which the subconscious and the subjective have on the objective mind, and the self-conscious mind. Therefore, the subjective mind, the mythologies, and the Inner Teachings of religions, tell us the subjective mind and the subconscious are entirely at the mercy of the self-conscious mind, yet at the same time, they control it.

The subjective mind cannot, of itself, begin its superconscious functioning. It depends upon the self-conscious mind to begin it, to start it. As for the subconscious mind, it can be very debased or exalted by the images of the self-conscious mind. At the same time, it is willing to execute the messages of the self-conscious mind. Yet both the subjective mind and the subconscious mind are stronger than the self-conscious mind (the intellect) which molds it.

In symbology, the subconscious is called the Moon because it shines by reflected light of the Sun (the self-conscious). In Nature, the subconscious reflects the Laws of the Universe, which are the images imposed upon by the Will of the Creator. The subconscious reflects the images imposed on us by the self-conscious in all matters and functions when that image can be imposed. It cannot be imposed on what we call the life process of the body. Doctors tell us that if the self-conscious has not the will to live, the body rarely recovers from the disease; and of course, we know of people who have learned to control their pulse and their heartbeat and the circulation of their blood. In general, the self-conscious does not issue any commands about the life processes of the body. It does not attend to them and does not know how to do so. It has no knowledge of how they are carried on, to say nothing of being able to superintend them--but in all functions within the control and direction of the self-conscious; to let the subconscious control is lunacy. This is the root meaning of that strange word lunacy--strange to those who do not understand symbology. Lunacy is madness. It means to allow one's self to be governed by the Moon, or by one's subconscious.

The body can be compared to an orchestra--the self-conscious, to the director of the orchestra. If you let the orchestra run itself, the result would be discord. Some higher authority, with an ear to the whole, must keep all the various parts in their place. Yet the director, who does not know how to manage each separate instrument, directs. As for each person in the orchestra, he/she knows when the piece is not being well conducted. He/she knows when the things are wrong, though he/she cannot set them right and play their part at the same time. Our dreams are protests from the various parts of our bodies that the conductor is not managing the orchestra well. (Many pages follow before the Symbolism in the new revised edition of The Rabbi's Tarot. You can preorder new edition of our web site.)


This card represents THE HIGH PRIESTESS as if in a portico of a temple, and she is looking towards its shrine. The shrine of the sanctuary she looks towards is the Pineal Gland, and the occupant of that shrine is the Higher Self, or the earthly representative of the Spirit. She is the Pituitary Body. In her occult function, she is termed "The Gate of the Sanctuary," and the sanctuary is the Pineal Gland. There is one physical function that the occultist gives it. SHE IS THE ORGAN OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE THINKING CELLS OF THE BRAIN, IN WHICH THE SELF-CONSCIOUS FUNCTIONS AND SHE IS, HERSELF, THE COSMIC SUBCONSCIOUS. It is the connection, or communication, between the front lobe of the brain and the back lobe of the brain. She sends down messages from the front lobe of the brain to the subconscious control, which is situated at the root of the tongue, where the VENUS CENTER is. The Moon Center transfers to the Venus Center the messages of the thinking lobe of the brain, and the Venus Center sends them to the other Centers below her.

THE HIGH PRIESTESS is wearing a SILVER CROWN. Silver is the metal of the Moon. The crown shows the crescents of the Moon, waxing and waning, with the Full Moon orb in between. This is symbolic of the feminine principle, which is at the root of all things.

For instance, you raise a finger and you make an image of that. The Pituitary sends that image down to the Venus Center, but as it does not concern her she sends it below to the Solar Plexus that it does concern, and it sees that the message is carried out, all in the flash of a thought. Therefore, the Moon Center, or the Pituitary Body, is the channel of communication between the thinking lobe of the brain and the rest of the body. It is the means of communication between the self-conscious and the subconscious. She passes down these messages, for she has no selective faculty. So you see how good a "camel" it is. The camel is one that carries messages. The camel among desert tribes is the vehicle of commerce or war, either one or the other. The pair of combined opposites that the letter stands for is Peace and Strife.

The WHITE CUBE on which The High Priestess sits is the Physical Plane. She sits between the Black Pillar and the White Pillar, holding the balance between them. The office of the subconscious in the body is to keep you in balance. She is at your mercy, and if you give her a wrong message she does as well as she can to keep you in balance. If we give her wrong directives, she cannot do the job.

The TWO PILLARS represent all the positive and negative forces of the Universe. She is not bound to either, but sits at perfect peace between them, using the one or the other as suits her purpose. "B," the letter on the Black Pillar, is the Intellect. "J," on the White Pillar, is the Spirit (Boaz and Jakin). Spirit and Intellect oppose each other. The High Priestess brings them into union. Intellect wants one thing, Spirit wants another.

That is what we are bid to do. We are supposed to impersonate THE HIGH PRIESTESS. Do not allow moods to control you or utilize you, but utilize them. That is, unless they are moods which uplift you. If they are moods, which cast you down say to yourself, "What is this about?" Then change your mood. There is in us an all-knowing power in the subconscious, which, if we allow her, will keep us in balance-- perfect, poise. She keeps herself in perfect poise except in those minor activities where we interfere with her. Poise is a birthright. It would have been our birthright if we had been born an animal. That is to say, if we were utilizing instinct we would be in perfect poise. Why do we, in the self-conscious, lose the poise that from instinct governs the animal and keeps it in poise? We began to manifest Mind in the way that Mind is always initially manifesting and we often unknowingly backslide. We did that in early childhood when all we were concerned with was the gratification of our appetites. No animal in the wild ever overeats. Instinct forbids it. How different it is with our children. If you give them apples to eat they often eat too much. This tendency is noticeable with domestic animals. When animals are domesticated, they begin to acquire the gluttony of the human being, and will overeat. It is perfectly right and natural for your child to be a little animal, but since instinct no longer rules the human animal appetite, he must switch from the use of instinct to mind and to reason. He makes it up first by being subject to others' reason until he can build up one of his own. Therefore, you see at the very outset of his career as a man, the man-animal must make itself, must improve itself. That is expected. He must be educated out of the stage of human animal, and control that desire to over-gratify his appetites. He must be educated out of that stage by his parents first, and then by society. The child is expected to accommodate himself to external restriction and to other people's rights, and gradually, in time, build up that balanced restraint we call Reason to take the place of the discarded instinct. As he does this unwillingly, he represses or suppresses protesting his natural desire. Freud has shown us that this result is indeed equally unfortunate, and his unrepressed nature often leads to what contemporary psychologists call neuroses and complexes.

Through the family and society, we have grown up with phases of the subconscious, which become poorly balanced before we reach the age of reason. That subconscious has to be reeducated in all of us now that we have developed our reason. Freud set the whole world to fearing the subconscious, whereas she is often our best friend, a master, and we have to follow her. She must be a tyrant. Now what kind of a tyrant shall she be, a bad one or a good one? It is all up to you, which she shall be. It depends upon the messages and images you furnish her by the thoughts you habitually think.

In THE HIGH PRIESTESS card you have the subconscious of the Cosmos, the subconscious as the recipient of the messages furnished her by the Creator. If we direct our subconscious wisely we will not be at the mercy of undesirable moods, because she is not subject to that mode. Our moods do not condition her and they won't condition us. Wisdom is the Cosmic Mind, and understanding is as much of the Cosmic Mind as we can grasp and build through the medium of...


...many pages of symbolism can be seen in new revised edition of The Rabbi's Tarot on the Web Site.



--- ( Back to tarot cards ) ---

Back to The Rabbi's Tarot

Home |  Readings |  Endorsements |  Rabbit's Tarot |  Contact |  Sitemap

(c) 2020 all rights reserved.