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Book of Thoth: Page II

The High Priestess

What is seen

The second image shows a woman in a long white-blue dress, that seems to flow, sitting on a stone block. On her head she's wearing a crown like piece of jewellery. The chest adorned with a white cross and in her lap, half covered by her gown lies a scroll with the word TORA written on it. At her feet lies a crescent moon. The high priestess sits between two pillars, a black one on the left with the letter B, and a white one on the right with the letter J on it. Between both pillars a curtain stretches, on it are pomegranates and palm trees depicted. Behind the curtain one can glimpse the sea.

Comparison Magician & High Priestess

The posture of the Magician (Image I) is active, longing, the posture of the high Priestess is passive, reserved. The Magician's attention is focused on the four magical tools in front of him. The High Priestess is looking for a connection to the one viewing the image (page), as if she's expecting 5th. that's coming at her. (expecting a 5th to come to her ?)

Experience what is seen!

Let your sensations and emotions guide your gaze around the image/page. Initially grasp only the outer form of the image, without thinking what it could mean. You may discover how the form of the image is constructed from a contrast of (the) hard and soft. The softness to be found in the flowing garment, the crescent moon, the flower motif of the curtain and the depth of the sea hidden behind. The figure itself and the two pillars both as well as the block of stone all embodying hardness. Dive into these sensational contrasts and pay attention to the emotions emerging from within and becoming awake inside of you. Once you found these emotions, you may continue exploring details and symbols of the image.

Interpreting Structure

Already the whole structure expresses the duality as opposing poles; in contrast to the first images' unity. This polarity can be found throughout the card's imagery. In the dark and light of the pillars, the rigidity of the woman's shape and the soft flowing of her gown. Looking at the two pillars and referencing the Bible it's safe to state those are the pillars in front the Temple of Solomon. These were called Jachin and Boas. Boas means "in strength" and Jachin "to erect". Synthesising both words could lead to the term stability. This is an important statement on about the contrast of polarity. One pole alone can't exist by itself. If something is to be ongoing and last, have stability, then it requires the union of two opposites.

Unity of opposites

The Man Magician is only one side of the human experience. Man or woman only by themselves (male or female energy) can't claim to have / be the full human experience. Male and female (energies) together form the human experience.
This fact is also expressed in the Bible [Moses 1, 1:27 or Genesis 1:27): The word "g-d" in the original Hebrew text is written as ELOHIM. According to the structure of the Hebrew language the word ELOHIM expresses a plurality. ELOHIM is thus not a singular being, but (at least) a dual being. That's why a human must express this duality, if he wants to see himself fashioned after the image of god.
Already here we discover how no image (page) of the Tarot exist by itself. Every image has an inherent message, however the Tarot really starts talking once the individual images are connected!
This union in duality is embodied in the two pillars Boaz & Jachin. A huge amount of legends revolve around these two pillars, a sign that we encounter one of the principles that is influencing the cosmic order and creation. According to one of these legends both have been found apart from one another. One by Hermes Trismegistus the other by Pythagoras. Hermes connected to Alchemy and Magic, Pythagoras to Mathematics and Numerical Mysticism. Legend goes on about how the synthesis of both delivers a key to reveal the (basic) order of the cosmos and make it palpable.
  • Union of opposites is also message inside cross on her crest
  • Primordial symbol" of humanity
    • this meaning also led to be used by early Christianity, however death of Jesus has overlapped original, ancient meaning
    • Archaeological findings in Lebanon suggest execution instruments were not identical with symbol figure of cross
    • executions were done with a simple "and" (staff)
    • Jesus on cross bears theological message -> through Crucifixion connected divine with human world
    • As son of god, the logos, the word made flesh she's in same parts divine as human
  • Different variations:
    • same length, intersect in middle = natural cross (4 elements)
    • longer vertical down Calaviercross) = unity of opposites through sacrifice
    • Handle cross: endemic to Egypt, unity of Yoni and Lingam; infinite life, that was, is and will be

Isis, Maria & Hathor: What the godmother can tell us

  • The headpiece can be found in many images depicting Isis (Egyptian goddess)
  • -> High Priestess is closely related to the principles embodied in Isis
  • Isis evolved out of ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor whose attributes were horns,
  • Egyptian mythology depicts the heaven as a giant cow.
  • Hathor also named "mother of horns" thus connected to the sky, the cosmos above
  • Many religions and indigenous people or tribes see the cow as a symbol of the feminine or motherly principle that offers food and shelter, as well as
  • Acceptance and identification with the feminine principle means being sheltered / safeguarded within the cosmos, symbolised through the "Himmelsgewölbe"; to be placed under motherly safety of its order and receive milk, nourishment necessary for humans to live.
  • Horns with sidical form also portray the phases of the moon thus, the headpiece also resembles the phases of the moon
  • Change of the moon phase in 28 days, same as women's menstruation rhythm
  • The huge yellow moon sicle continues the moon symbolism, resembling imagery of virgin Mary with Jesus on a sidical moon as often seen in middle ages
  • this "unifying" symbology could mean the Christians' Virgin Mary emerged from Hathor and Isis respectively, embodying same principles
  • High Priestess embodies feminine principle, also portrayed by the moon
  • Intertwining of the lunar with the feminine can also be found in colors and design of her clothing / gown
  • soft flow of fabric to her feet, as mentioned before is resembling water (around her feet especially!)
  • resembling water is also the color of her clothing ; the light blue is not homogeneous but mixed) mingled with a shining white, almost silver, as the color of the moon on a clear night
  • Image I - The Magician portrays the human (experience) expressed in its male form
  • Image II - The High Priestess is the human (experience) expressed in the feminine form, the polar counterpart
  • Image I was riddled with references to number 1; Image II has number 2 references written all over it; 1 = unity ; 2 = duality
  • She's sitting on a stone block, Image I taught the table as an adapted version of the cube representing the material plane
  • Here we find cube in original form; this emphasis's notion that women are closer to origin of material plane than men;
  • the feminine principle literally rests on element earth!
  • In her lap rests a scroll with TORA written on it; TORA in Judaism means the "law of god"
  • inscribed is the law of god, the order of creation;
  • the scroll is half hidden in her gown, stressing that said laws can only partially be decoded and understood with the eyes of the intellect;
  • to grasp it fully it's required to dive into the feminine, to abide and recognize the woman, be it in a partnership with the other or in the depths of the own Soul
  • Behind her is a screen / tapestry hung between the pillars
  • adorned with palm trees and images of pomegranates; pomegranate has two symbolic meanings in connection with defloration becomes apparent the screen must be passed through, in order to reach the sea/ocean of understanding, thus it is also a depiction of the hymen

Sexual Symbolism in Tarot

  • in general two basic altitudes are dominant humans:
  • either suppressing sexuality, making it a taboo not often & openly talked about; or
  • Sexuality becomes sex, having a "EIGENWERT" and explicitly is forced into a ghetto existence
  • TAROT views sexuality as something entirely different, as an elemental phenomenon of human experience, thus can't be one or the other above;
  • whole of human life is intertwined with sexuality,
  • how else could it be, if law of polarity is recognised and tried to be seen/felt in nature & environment around?
Thus there's always direct or indirect sexual symbolic expressed in the Tarot, Why should shame or repression be felt for eth that's part of our reality? Especially everything involving polarities can be very well expressed with / in sexual terms, not only because sexuality is among the strongest and most intense experiences of a human can have thus they are best for describing specific cosmic (basic /principle) laws and making them directly accessible. That's the core of eastern TANTRA of Bhagwat Shree Rajnesh, later calling himself Osho, who said. "No one realised the god divine by excluding any part of being, existence, experience."

Through trees stepping into the Sea

  • the sea out of which all life emerges, is only accessible if pillars are passed through, meaning polarities are unified
  • the same time its a symbol for receiving and containing femininity
  • Sea is different to a lake especially due tor containing salt being carried for millennia by the rivers to the sea, there it stays dissolved while water is constantly evaporating and raining down again
  • this union of polarities already seen in cross on chest, now shows as well on curtain with palm tree
  • the palm tree has many meanings; for one symbolised by the staff and all the inherent meanings of it
  • also a symbol for eternal life, the resurrection of ever renewing life
  • for C.G. Jung the palm tree symbolises the soul or Anima; Anima and her encompassing meaning is the theme of the second image of the TAROT
  • life can only be created / manifest and continually renew itself where polarity is united and overcome the concept of two combating energies is overcome; life can only be created / manifest and continually renew itself where polarity is united and overcome the concept of two combating energies is overcome; this law is once more symbolized in the pattern of the curtain
  • in ancient Egypt palm tree was a symbol for the tree of life; whoever watches closely will recognise the tree of life in the order of the pomegranates are placed
  • Death as head of priestess, the cross is Tipharet, Tora = Jesod, Stone = Malkuth
  • makes nod to old Jewish temple rites: once a year high priest would step through curtain into the inner holy temple room (cube shaped) where he muttered the unspeakable name of the holy one-
  • another nod to the notion of stepping through veils / curtains:
    • in Evangelium Markus, Matteius and Cunas, when they report upon Jesus death the curtain in the temple was torn in two
  • now becomes more apparent why in the first image of the Magician only red roses where found at the top, roses being a symbol of the feminine;
  • if high priest steps through curtain to wed people of Israel to their god, he takes on male part while god is waiting in the holy room in feminine form, as bride;
  • thus roses atop Magician show that way of human experience is the union with god as goal;
  • god waiting for human in feminine form ;
  • if god is approaching human, a male form (Christ) is revealed and human in feminine (as Maria) receives
  • the hand pointing to the TORA from Nezach) holds a special message;
    • the Tora (as basic law of divine creation) can't only be understood from / with solely rational mind, but must be touched and understood with all embodied by Nezach
  • the scroll externally resembles the Magicians staff, in many ways it's the magical wand given to the feminine human experience, to at a later stage unite with the staff- of the Magician
  • additionally and in contrast to I, II gives report on the other side of human experience
  • Magician emphasising staff and fire is expression of make human experience
  • II with emphasis on cup and water points to feminine human experience
  • human as woman and Anima is baselin statement of image II
  • the dynamic statement reters to the law of polarity, shows that opposites, tension and the energy flowing in between to balance, is a basic requirement of life itself
  • top of the PILLARS is adorned by Lotus flowers, which summarises the before mentioned;
    • lotus evolved out of the primordial waters, grows out of water and the opened flower floats atop the surface
  • Lotus flower carries the image of the sun the Lotus in which the sun rests is thus an image for the union of the masculine with the feminine

Exercise!

  • Take I and II and place them somewhere for you to see (and feel) often
    • try to find polarities "outside" yourself, in nature, cosmos, your daily life
    • discover these laws and recognise them, even in the most mundane things you may rediscover laws of polarity
Do this little meditation doesn't have to be long, while walking, before going to bed; looking at the world with this mindset will expand your mind. Want to go a little further? Try to find polarities inside" your Self! Not only make and female, that's only on, try to feel inside where other polarities are hidden : happy - depressed, hate - love, ... Feel into those polar tensions and face them head on. as they're part of You. You are High Priestess and Magician as well. Next try to find ways or techniques to resolve those tensions, in order to balance opposites within. Where do I stand? To I tend to lean more to one or the other pole? What can I do to balance the disequilibrium of forces? While posing these questions, do look at both images and their symbols. The more they are on your mind, the more likely it is that your subconscious will start talking, that you can connect with it through the images. This little meditation exercise on polarity is a small first step. The more you move into this direction, the more you will find out about the images and you Self, most likely much more than was written here.