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The High Priestess vs The Moon

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Cool The Moon can be magical...and it can be scary, too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenOfSummer View Post
I know some people read the Moon as deception etc, but I personally can't read the Moon that way since I have a strong personal/spiritual relationship with the Moon that just doesn't jibe with that interpretation.
A lot of people feel this way, and it's not your fault. It's the fault of those who thought "Star, Moon, Sun" sounded better than "Star, Night, Sun." The Moon Card (if we're going with Golden Dawn associations) isn't the Moon (per se). That's the HPS, astologically speaking. Being assigned that planet indicates her ability to illuminate the night; to use the "night's" powers (the Moon's powers), rather than being used by them.

The Moon card is "Pisces." It's Pisces because that's the astrological sign of dreams and dreamers, of pure unconscious emotion and imagination. Where you go at nighttime, usually in your sleep. Essentially, all those raw, unrefined, uncontrolled, wild powers of the night. This includes nice things like: dreams, and creativity, and crazy romantic feelings that lead us to write poetry and do lunatic things. By Moonlight, if you will. Also feeling primal (howling at the moon). But then there's the not-so-nice things. Night with a dark moon, or after the moon has set and there's no illumination at all. Things we modern sorts don't often consider because we're spoiled by street lamps and civilization which allow us to enjoy nighttime without fear.

But when this card was created, that wasn't the case. Back then night meant impenetrable dark, nightmares, ghosts, and wild animals. And it can still mean illusions and deceptions: when you were a kid in the dark, didn't you imagine that scary tree in the yard was a monster? Haven't, as a adult alone in bed, you been afraid of strange sounds? If you were lost in a strange city, would you enjoy a walk down a dark alley at night? And have you ever found yourself, in the wee hours of the morning, unable to sleep, your thoughts and fears running wild? Worries become bigger, insurmountable, terrifying. The light of day is often a relief, putting those fears in perspective.

Which is all to say: you can absolutely love the Moon and the Moon card. You can love all those creatures represented by that card: the owls and wolves. You can love the dreams and creativity and romantic feelings and magic it represents. I certainly do. But as much as I jibe with it, as much as I have a strong personal/spiritual connection to the Moon...I also know that the Moon *card* can *sometimes* mean deception, etc. All cards in the Tarot have negative sides, after all, even those we love most. The Moon's negative side...what goes bump in the night, what comes out at night that could do us harm, including our own fears, our own nightmares, and the fact that we don't see too well in the dark. Which means we can more easily be tricked and deceived. We might love dancing under the full Moon...but if we're honest, and all tarot readers should be...few of us would want to be lost, at night, in the wilderness with wild beasts stalking us. Not even by the light of the moon.
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This is one of the reasons I'd rather have a Popess. The Popess adds levels of depth to the card and significantly distances her from the Moon. To have a female Pope is, at least in the context of Renaissance Italy, to question her legitimacy or at least wonder how she got there. This reminds me of the Grimm tale of the Fisherman and his Wife. There's a possibility of heresy, of radicalism, of out of the mainstream ideas that the High Priestess does not convey as well as a female pope does.

Bear also in mind that she appears very low in rank, just above the Magician/Mountebank, and preceding the Empress in the worldly/human sequence. Her status in human society is ambiguous in a way that a High Priestess of the Mysteries isn't. The Pope/Hierophant outranks even the Emperor. But she sits between the lower orders and the nobility. She is separated from the Pope, not part of a pair like the Empress and Emperor. Making her into a "High Priestess" gives her a status she may not in fact have. Again, Renaissance Italy was a political battlefield, and two of the major players were the Pope and the (Holy Roman) Emperor. The authority of either of these parties was subject to local dispute throughout the area where the deck was invented.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihcoyc View Post
This is one of the reasons I'd rather have a Popess.
There's one interesting argument that the card wasn't a Popess or High Priestess. She was supposed to be (or may have once been) the virtue "Prudence" the only one of the Cardinal virtues missing from the deck (the others are Fortitude [Strength], Temperance and Justice). But there's no evidence and only supposition for that.

As for calling her a Popess (or Papess) that never made any sense to me. "Pope" comes from the latin word for "Father" making Popess or Papess...nonsense. A female father? Shouldn't her title be a word related to Mater (like a Mother Superior)? That's if she's supposed to be anything other than a joke or a myth...i.e. the myth of Joan, the woman who pretended to be a man so she could be Pope, but was shamefully revealed and killed.

Hardly a story that works for the meaning of that card whatever deck we use.

For myself, I'd much rather High Priestess. An HPS is equal in power to a High Priest, but they deal in very separate spheres (High Priests at Temples to male gods, High Priestesses at temples to female gods and never the twain shall meet). So, unlike Emperor/Empress, they are by no means seated together, or even in the same building. Their positions in the deck make sense if we think of the spiritual HPS as working with the Earthly Empress as the Hierophant (on the other side) works with the Earthly Emperor. They connect only by proxy: though the paired temporal rulers that they spiritually advise.

As for the status of the HPS, that depends on how you're ranking the cards. If we go cabalistically, than she's higher than the Hierophant, Emperor, or Empress, as that ranking goes up from World to Fool, rather from Fool to World. Personally, it seems to me that, in the cards at least, they're each meant to "rule" their own sphere, and thus, their rank depends on where they are. If they're at Court, Emperor/Empress are higher. If they're in a Temple HPS/Hierophant are higher.
Top   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenOfSummer View Post
Hi elena_jaymz! I also see both of these cards as being very much about listening to your intuition. I see this portion of the major arcana- Stars, Moon, Sun- in the classical sense of ascending through the celestial realms toward your ultimate goal. I would say that for me the High Priestess connotes more of an inner journey of intuition, and the Moon connotes more out of an outer journey or journey into the world using your intuition. For example, traveling into something mysterious trusting your inner truth as your guide. The Moon also sometimes shows up for me as, you're close, keep going, keep trusting yourself.
Hi RavenOfSummer, thanks for your reply. I didn't know The Moon could refer to the outer journey, but it makes sense, if you look at the landscape shown in the card. I agree it could say you're near to the end of the journey, after it's number 19.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenOfSummer View Post
I know some people read the Moon as deception etc, but I personally can't read the Moon that way since I have a strong personal/spiritual relationship with the Moon that just doesn't jibe with that interpretation. So, I do think all interpretations are personal as well. Not sure if you journal your readings, but for me using a journal has been the best way to continue to develop my reading. Hope this is helpful- best of luck on your journey!
I like The Moon me too actually, so it's hard also for me to see it negatively!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decan View Post
I agree, in the Tarot the Moon card isn't really good: we are at night, unable to see clearly our environment (with our eyes, with our reason), it is cold, the two towers are not really appealing, the howls of the dog and the wolf are probably a bit frightening as well...

The High Priestess is sometimes depicted as Diana, the goddess of the Moon.
Probably the Moon card depicts more the sublunary sphere, our world, imperfect, misleading, fearsome.
Well, it depends as well on the Tarot you are using but the High Priestess is in some way more positive, of course she is secret!
Thanks decan, yes, actually The High Priestess looks more reassuring than The Moon although she's secret, but the situation is better, with The Moon you're in the dark indeed.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spookyboo22 View Post
The moon is only reflecting sunlight it isn't the sun which is clarity
The high priestess knows ,the moon thinks it knows but doesnt
Hi spookyboo22, thank you! Yes, The High Priestess knows anything, while with The Moon you lack of clarity.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barefootlife View Post
I read the High Priestess as a card that tells you to be still and listen to your intuition in order to divine secrets, whereas the Moon implies an active journey to be made through mysterious things you don't understand. Basically, the HP is a card that indicates passivity with potential to control the situation through intuition, where the Moon is an active card that implies that comprehension and control are difficult, if not impossible at that point.
Hi barefootlife, thank you. I agree with you, with The High Priestess you "just" need to listen to your inner voice, while with The Moon is not that easy, as there's fear and doubt, things are not clear at all.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheelie View Post
All of these interpretations are helping me. Thank you all very much!

I would note that the High Priestess seems to have truth in hand with the crescent moon at her feet, maybe showing more actual knowledge, even if representing something hidden. And she seems to be more personal, having to do with people, while the moon is more atmospheric or environmental--a setting.

Also the High Priestess seems to have arrived between the pillars that may be more distant on the Moon card.
Hi wheelie, thank you. I see these cards in the same way
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thirteen View Post
Good points! Astrologically, the HPS is the Moon (the planet). So one good way to understand the difference is this:

The Moon Card is a land of intuition and psychic connections, but also a lot of other things on the unconscious/spirit world side as well. Dream & nightmares, illusions & visions, lunacy & artistry, romance false & true, tricks & real magic. When you enter the Moon Card, you get it all! ALL. Like a carnival at night. Scary, fun, games, lights, acrobats and fire breathers...also pick-pockets. You're living in emotions and dreams with this card, and all you can do is fill up your goodie bag and hope that, in the morning, you'll find you brought back some treasures.

The HPS...she is like having the fortune teller at the carnival say, "let me be your guide." She'll say, "Avoid that ride. It's cheap and dangerous. Go on that ride, it'll give you a whole new view of the world. Don't play that game, they'll cheat you. Play that one, you've a chance of winning it and getting a good prize...." When you have the HPS on your side--or you *are* the HPS, you know what visions are true, what magic is real, what dreams you should pay attention to. You know how to navigate the crazy carnival lands of the Moon. Your *intuition* is sharp and you can avoid the tricks, the scary stuff, the illusions and the lunacy. You can bag the good stuff, and be happy with your haul in the morning.
Hi Thirteen, thank you so much. I prefer the HPS now The Moon lesson is trickier, you have to deal also with the "scary stuff" as you say. Annoying
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abrac View Post
The Moon is natural intuition; it operates within the material mind. It can provide comfort and guidance when natural reasoning fails, but it's still basically material in nature.

The High Priestess operates at a much higher level and is associated with visions and revelations. She's above the material and even the solar plane.

If the Moon is drawn, expect something more on the mundane side, though it may have a "supernatural" aspect to it. If the HP is drawn it indicates higher, possibly Divine influences at play.
Hi Abrac, thanks! I didn't know The Moon could be material, but I see what you mean and agree. I agree about The High Priestess as well.
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