MAAT Tarot Study Group-The High Priest


Monday May 21st we entered the

Full Moon Cycle of Sagittarius (May 21-June 20)

The High Priest

Planetary Ruler Mercury

The overall theme or lesson of this lunar cycle is about the effect of LOVE on men. Follow the lunar phases in the minor cards this month to understand the male point of view on committed relationships and how humans connect with the divine.

The full Moon in Sagittarius is the moon that honors the consort of the Great Mother, who is the Holy Father. In this image he is resting in the forest after his union with the Empress. A child-spirit hands him another arrow, which symbolizes fertility.
This moon marks the reign of the Green Man reaching his full potency. He is the old god of nature and sexual prowess who worships the goddess. The traditional Celtic Dagda was known as “good father”. The Romans called him "Dis Pater," ("God Father"). He is the Horned God (Pater) Pan or Father Pan. He is the King of Arcadia, one of the oldest gods of Greece, who is associated with Dionysus and Bacchus, God of wine and the vine. The Greeks claimed that the Egyptian's god Amon Ra was actually Pan. Panopolis was the name given to Amon Ra's holy city. The High Priest belongs to the ancient All-Fathers gods associated with divine bread. These lusty father gods of the ancient world would guarantee abundance. As the sun achieves its peak and daytime hours are the longest, it is the Sun's time to dominate. As Dionysus, this deity witnessed the holy mysteries of the goddess and, as punishment, he was torn into pieces. This action is similar to the fate of Osiris who was torn to pieces by his jealous brother Set. This phenomenon of being torn to pieces shows up in the experiences of many shamanic practitioners. Young men seeking the Egyptian priesthood were put through a grueling, highly secret 10-day initiation that included a descent into hell. The initiates went into the underworld where they experienced the trials of Isis and her experience of putting all the pieces of Osiris back together. Only the high priests were allowed to have sexual relations with the high priestesses, thus the Hierophant represents the father of the child born from the sacred union with the Empress.

Other names: The Hierophant, Pan (panic); Father Pan; Peter Pan; Robin Hood; Amon Ra; the Good Father; the Holy Father; Adonis; Dionysious; Bacchus; the green skinned Osiris; Tammuz; the father of the child of the Empress; the Consort of the Goddess; Chiron the wounded healer.

Symbols: Centaur; the horse as symbol of penis size (Kama Sutra); The Sacred King; bread & wine. Part man part beast, part human part divine.

Attributes: The archer who has spent his arrow (symbol for the erect penis); today's non-sexual Priest; sexually stagnant (Tower form); ancient priest with sexual partner

Full Moon in Sagittarius key phrase: "I see"

In a Reading: This card signifies a loving person who has been called to a spiritual life. This could be of a traditional holy religious order or non-traditional spiritual path.


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Balancing cards for the Month of the High Priest

Balancing Cards

High Priest(May 21-June 20)-Strength(Nov.23-Dec 20)
The moon of fertile/ green Earth- a month the return of green leaves and growing gardens the month of the waxing sun reaches its peak vs.The darkest month of the year the waning sun before its return
Balancing moons of the same sign
8 of Cups(new moon in Gemini)-Queen of Swords(full moon in Gemini)
Lesson learned a relationship ends, short term relationship or a journey or spiritual quest/The Widow the continued bond of a couple even after death.

9 of Cups-( first quarter moon in Virgo)-10 of Swords(last quarter moon in Virgo)
the wish card vs. the betrayal, or overkill card

King of Cups (full moon in Sagittarius)-8 of Swords(new moon in Sagittarius)
The Bridegroom, the young man who has found the love of his life.vs.the young woman who is blinded by her culture and is afraid to see the beauty of the universe due to unsubstanciated danger.
10 of Cups(last quarter moon in Pisces)-9 of Swords (first quarter moon in Pisces)
the happy family who has learned to live unconditionally vs. stressful dreams, worry, haunted dreams.
Balancing moons of the same phase
8 of Cups(new moon in Gemini)-8 of Swords (new moon in Sagittarius)
Lesson learned a relationship ends, short term relationship or a journey or spiritual quest vs.the young woman who is blinded by her culture and is afraid afraid to move due to unsubstanciated danger.

9 of Cups(first quarter moon in Virgo)-9 of Swords (first quarter moon in Pisces)
the wish card vs.stressful dreams, worry, haunted dreams.

King of Cups(Full moon in Sagittarius)-Queen of Swords( full moon in Gemini)
The Happy lusty bridegroom who has found the love of his life vs. The Widow who understands the continued bond of a couple even after death.

10 of Cups-( last quarter moon in Pisces)-10 of Swords(last quarter moon in Virgo)
the happy family who has learned to live unconditionally vs. the betrayal, or overkill card.

Your comments, thoughts and additional information welcome,


When first looking at this card, I think of trust. What stands out to me is how the animals are all stopping to hear him play his flute. The skittish fox. The protective bear with her cub. The very timid dear, even a hare stops with a fox near by. They are mesmerized it seams. They also feel safe.

This card is full of life. Even the stones have life in them with their faces showing on the stone. I see the circle patterns on the stones which reminds me of the Goddess. They circular patterns on the rocks are also similar to one of the Reiki symbols that means "bring all the power of the Universe here".

Julie, could you tell us more about what the scenes on his dress mean. It is hard to see the one on the bottom because of the card title.

The Angels flock him which to me indicates the divine message of his song. The green growth all around, the arrows that the Angels hold, and the symbols of the Goddess on the stones indicate the beginning of new life and also the sacredness of procreation. I also see a leader that people can trust and that people will flock to. His message is mesmerizing.


The designs on the robe of the High Priest

Hi Amy,
The designs on the robe of The High Priest represents the 3 shamanic worlds. The upper world, the middle world and the underworld or lower world. When on a shamanic journey the shaman will feel him/herself being pulled into one of these 3 levels. The upper world is the world of guides and teachers if you feel yourself lifting you may encounter a guide or teacher for your information. If you feel yourself staying on the same level you are physically sitting in you may be journeying to the middle world the world where time travel can take place. If you feel yourself being pulled down you may be journeying to the underworld the realm of power animals. These journeys can occur spontaneously or can be induced through monotonous drumming which can still and bore the mind so much that it induces trance.

Since not everyone has the ability or desire to visit other dimensions of reality the High Priest as spiritual leader and shaman will journey to these worlds to retrieve whatever knowledge his people may need. The role of the priest is mediator between this world and the next, between the physical and the spiritual, between the world of humans and the world of the animals his people need for survival. His knowledge protects him as he travels to spiritual realms.

When looking at the MAAT cards in terms of the shaman we will see the Fool as the innocent young initiate about to stumble into his first usually unbeckoned journey into the underworld his power animal with him is the dog. In MAAT the Fool is symbolized as the constellation Orion sacred to the ancient Egyptian's Orion represented osiris god of the underworld represented as the sun at midnight.
The Hermit card shows the ascended master who has himself become a teacher in the upper world. In MAAT the Hermit represents the sun-god Ra the highest of ancient Egyptian gods the sun in the afternoon.
The horned Emperor in MAAT Tarot represents the shaman's journey used in hunting magic.

This 3 level structure would make an excellent card spread.


I loved this explanation, thank you.

I've been working with a Shamanic and an Egyptian deck for a while, and at the same time trying to find some kind of link... Now I've found both in one deck and can hardly believe my luck.

... off to order.... :)


I find this high priest way less rigid than the one in other deck. This high priest give me the impression he is adapting to our receptivity, as if he wanted to be understood. I feel he is more a guiding one than giving a fixed set of wisdom.
I usually not found of this card, in general. But this card, in this deck is among the few that I find interested to get a bit more acquited...

crazy raven

Quickly relating to this card, now I see a power site or energy vortex (spirals) where this High Priest is using the flute's tone with possibly the intention of releasing energy that has been stored or trapped in the stones circled around him. It's as if he is merging himself with the stones by creating a vibratory tone to connect with earth spirits as well as the heavenly ones. It's as if they are sharing knowledge with one another.

In regard to the fox, this animal has the ability to be unseen to become camoflaged with his surroundings, yet there he is out in the open. Foxes are intuitive but they are also tricksters as well as shapeshifters. What is your intent of the fox within the circle?


The Fox in the High Priest card

Hi CR,
Here again its one of those intuitive moves I didn't have a reason
when I painted it there. Its not that I didn't know fox's symbolic meaning... I just knew it should be there without precognitive motive. Now I can see
that it should be there because the Moon cycle represented here is at the
point of the year when the sun light is still waxing and about to reach its
peak. The most light to me would also mean the most consciousness were nothing can hide. The high Priest is the bridge to all the realms even those that are unseen.


I like Julie's reference (in the book) to "the god in the beast". That gives this card a much less formidable aspect than it has in other decks. Instead of a directed order, it esposes acceptance in a natural order.




As to mythology, as it was told above, there is the Pan, forest God.
It is the God of silence, loneliness, solitude, the shepherd, loving languor.
Two white rabbits, symbol of fertility and, at the same time, it is the hint that Pan was taken to Olympus, wrapped in rabbit skin.
We can see bear and cub, in ancient rituals bear symbolized a groom.
We see the dear behind his shoulder, it is the symbol of purity, masculinity and maturity, and at the same time the symbol of loneliness and solitude.
Pan has become a victim of strict Artemis, goddess of hunting and Moon, who is strictly guarded innocence and purity, and not only hears, but also served her nymphs. No wonder in ancient times, young people sacrificed a goat, or deer for Artemis before they marry, to prevent them from loneliness for the long life together.
Not a good hour golden-haired Eros plunged his arrow to Pan's heart.
Pan fall in love to Artemis' nymph Syrinx. Syrinx fearing the wrath of her Lady, if she loses innocence, began to run from Pan.
Due to one myth, Syrinx were turned to reed from which the Pan made reed pipe, due to other myth Syrinx turned to lilac (Syringa), from a branch of which Pan made a pipe. So that in many countries lilac (Syringa) is the symbol of separation. In England say, that if any person wears syringa, he or she will never wear wedding ring.

Finally Pan realized that Syrinx fled from him not willingly. He has understood that she was under the influence of circumstances and pressure from the side of Artemis. He stayed lonely being faithful to Syrinx.
We can see that left side Eros takes 2 arrows in his hand. Moon, dual, ambivalent symbol of Love. One arrow is this marriage for love and second arrow is a marriage according to calculation.
It is also love the will of the heart and the hearts of captive, when when the social environment, or circumstances interfere, like sad story about Romeo and Juliet. No wonder we can see the fox on the card, in Christin mythology the fox was associated with the machinations of the Devil.
In this way our Priest reminds me St.Valentine who restores love justice, combining couples who can not get married officially in love.

Very interesting thing on this card is place where Priest is standing.
First I want to come back to DEAR and the image of BEAR MOTHER WITH HER CUB. It is look like Ursa Major and Ursa Minor Constellation. Orion Constellation was called Osiris Constellation, GREAT HUNTER. The stars of Orion was called "Three Dears". Osiris (High Priest) is ridding in the sky and hunting dears. We can see that the Arrow of left side Eros aimed to Dear.

The are stones around priest. it is look like ritual place. There is one stone with image of Menhir on it. Menhirs were regarded as holy places for all tribes, because only here the Priests and Shamans could "talk" with the spirits of the great ancestors, asking them various advice.

We can see image of transition from Lower to Upper world on the cloth of the Priest. Two of Eros whisper to Priest's ears God's advice he sends people and then back to God all prayers of his parishioners. Their wings look like rays of sunlight are punched through the foliage of the dark forest. Lights of God's Word and knowledge penetrates and illuminates all dark and ignorant.
We can see that the pipe is aimed to the stone with three spirals.
Spirals symbolize spiritual growth. Celtic usually triple helix. This demonstrates the triple nature of the spirit, concentrated in the central point, the focus. Trinity spiritual nature is expressed by Christians in their divine Trinity. These curls - a symbolic image of the Cross, which Priest serves to.
Pipe symbolize the sound of God.

One novelist told:

"PRIEST is the PIPE through which the voice of God flowing free, does not touching its walls."

When the priests begin to distort the Word of God, or rebuild it to fit their interests, they distort the religion, the doctrine becomes dogma, and not helping people, but make them afraid. There are doubts about the sincerity and purity of faith.

Pan is the God-Shepherd.
And people due to Christian religion associated to God's flocks.

Purity of faith is clearly described in St. Peter's message to God's pupils, who was ordained to Priest position:

"Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by compulsion but willingly according to God, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as being lords over God's heritage but being examples to the flock. "(1 Pet. 5:2-4)