Monday Tarot: the High Priestess

Every Monday I will do a quick one-card draw from one of my Tarot (or oracle) decks and interpret the card. This isn’t going to be ‘introduction to the Tarot’ or ‘intro to divination’ or anything like that, and my interpretations should not at all be seen as the only or correct way to read the cards. In fact, my interpretations will more focus on how the card is at play in my own life, how it is connected to the Otherfaith and our symbolism, or my impressions from the card.

The way I read Tarot is very, very intuitive. I’m not writing these posts to teach, but rather to share my thoughts and hear other ideas about the cards and their influences. If you’re expected someone who has read endless books on Tarot or can tell you their history, I’m not your girl! I read the cards the way they speak to me, and that’s pretty much it.

Today’s card is II the High Priestess from the Shadowscapes Tarot.

Personal Relevance: This card rarely shows up in readings for myself, nor is it frequent in readings I have done for others. I’ve had it described, in readings done for me, as the ‘feminine mysteries’ card – and also as the ‘spiritual explorer’ card. (One guess which interpretation fits myself better.) The owl and the pomegranate also point toward rebirth and renewal, which are challenges I know a little bit about. This card comes to me today to hammer in (being part of the Major Arcana) that I have to remake myself (part of the reason I’m in school) and reclaim power that I lost along the way of trying to grow up.

II the High Priestess (Stephanie Pui-Mun Law)

Otherfaith Relevance: The High Priestess is about mystery (or Mystery) and spiritual, and as I wrote above, she’s often associated with ‘feminine mysteries’. (Often code for ‘menstruation, birth, and menopause’.)

But in the faith, we don’t have feminine mysteries, at least not how wider Pagandom conceives them. Femininity is an experience, one anyone can have, and being a woman (which is not the same as femininity!) is not tied to bodily functions or gender presentation. All our gods – Laetha, Ophelia, Clarene, Dierne, Laethelia, Ophelene – are connected to womanliness or femininity. the Dierne is a Starry Queen/Princess, the Laetha is a ‘maiden in a tower’. the Clarene and Ophelia both use ‘she/her/herself’ pronouns, as do the Laethelia and Ophelene. The only exclusive ‘mysteries’ are those associated with love between women (which we call Romances), but if we limit our idea of who a woman is to genitalia or genetics or presentation, we fail to understand women in the Otherfaith. (the Dierne and Laetha are not part of the Romances because of their use of ‘he/his/himself’ pronouns.)

There are so many genders, and the Otherfaith spirits are many gendered. Some have no gender, others flip flop between the binary, some don’t fit the binary at all! the Clarene is very much a goddess, but she is more than a vagina and breasts. (She sometimes has ambiguous genitalia or a penis.) the Ophelia watches over those without gender too, since many of her  children are without gender or without gender preference. the Laetha, in his many, many forms, has thousands of bodies, thousands of genders, thousands of ways of presenting and performing. the Dierne swaps and shifts into whatever he wants to be, whatever is most pleasing to him at the time. And this is fitting, because of their faery nature – that shifting, nonsensical (to us) way of being.

This card speaks of dark, shadowy powers, of spiritual strength and knowledge gained from delving within and opening one’s eyes to the unseen – something each of the gods teaches us. the Clarene can create our eyes or split them open. the Ophelia drowns us so we may pass through the underworld, and the Dierne shows us how to return again. And the Laetha can light our eyes alight so we see the unseen and possess such great powers. They each possess a key to our spiritual power, a power not tied to our gender or our genitalia.

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About Aine

Aine Llewellyn is a 20 year old girl creature currently mucking about in southern Arizona. She enjoys the winters and rain but can’t stand the heat. She is a difficult polytheist that natters on and on about her faith.


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