The Fool’s Journey: Trust and the Popess

The High Priestess has always befuddled me. A large part has to do with the fact that I came to Tarot as I was still learning to find and listen to my inner voice. If it wasn’t there in black and white, I likely didn’t see it. I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t trust others. Trust was vulnerability and uncertainty. I was in the very throes of the High Priestess’s territory with no map and no prior visits, so it is little wonder that I had no idea what she meant.

Though this self knowledge, this intuition, and the accompanying trust are only two tendrils on the vine of this card, they were so relevant and discombobulating to me that they muted any other possible communications from this card.

Finding your inner voice requires going to the High Priestess. She is between two pylons for a reason; she is the gateway to the Divine. This archetype or station on the fool’s journey is the one which facilitates finding and hearing our inner voice. By connecting with it, we connect with the core of who we are while transcending the self and tapping into some shared, collective, human consciousness. It is who we really are–our truest personal desires and needs, our personal manifestation of the Divine, while also the shared link to the Divine I feel we all share. A great deal of the time, we must simply be still and listen to our hearts (that little voice that guides you at times) in order to do this. But how? Aren’t we just talking to ourselves?

I see my heart as my slice of the Divine in me. It is my compass to Ma’at (which is why it is so important to differentiate from the heart and your personal whims). The High Priestess asks us to delve into our selves and hear our intuition, to listen to our hearts, to take in and reflect on the world instead of controlling it, in order to know the truth. But in order to hear this voice, you have to trust yourself. You have to believe that you are smart enough or good enough or skilled enough to hear it, that you are worthy of hearing it, and that what you hear is valid. This doesn’t mean hearing and running with whatever you hear. Research and contemplation are key. But in order to reach happiness or enlightenment or success, we must act in accordance with what our true self wants–we must know ourselves to direct our efforts correctly. Only by connecting to and journeying via the High Priestess can we find the voice of our heart and understand what we (and our world) truly need. We have to be willing to feel for a moment.

The High Priestess rules those emotions which are rooted in a deeply in the fundamental parts of who we are. She is a figure of quiet acceptance, tranquility, patience, and receptivity. Her powers do not lay in action, as the Magician’s does. She is observant and calm, passively waiting and watching. Sometimes, the best action is inaction. This requires placing trust in things that aren’t always so kind. Trust is vulnerability. There is a dominance or power lost when we trust–we open ourselves to potential misfortune.

This passivity, this trust is not weakness. This card concerns itself with what is stable, sure, and fundamental. It concerns itself with ineffable truths. What is true is true at all times and regardless of extenuating circumstances.It concerns itself, at the same time, with the subtleties of this wisdom. The simplest solutions are often hidden in plain sight. This is the importance of silence and trust.

It is, thus, a card of trust. Once you find your inner voice and your current self, you must trust it enough to follow through with its advice. But this voice comes from our connection to a higher form, and thus you not only trusting yourself; you are trusting life itself, your Divine interpretation (or lack thereof), and the universe as a whole.

Which is is contrary to how we live and survive. Life is a constant struggle, and we are taught to take action, scrutinize claims, and push towards our goals assertively if we are to succeed. We must be objective and concern ourselves with empirically proven means and measures while dismissing “woo woo” with a flippant wave of our hands. We have to move, ever vigilant, and bust our butts to get anywhere. Never be too sure, never be too careful.

This approach works in many situations, but it’s not always about getting ahead. There are moments and circumstances where human or Divine connection is sought. Here, trust and receptivity are key. An inner voice and awareness are key. Also, the world might be a less hostile place if we were worthy of trust and, in turn, trusted others. To trust everyone is foolish, but to trust no one is debilitating and counter productive. We are human. We need love. We need a strong social network. We need to have people to trust.

That is what this card means to me. Finding your inner vice, your connection to the Netjeru and Ma’at, learning to listen, trusting yourself to hear correctly, and trusting that to follow your true self is living Ma’at and knowing peace. This does not mean learning these things is an easy, effortless endeavor. If anything, peace is the fruit of action, not sleep. This intuitive, questing, passive reflection is a disciplined act of self observance, love, education, understanding. If it seems contradictory, I suppose it is. But the High Priestess tends to seem that way.


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