Mary El Tarot - The High Priestess

Bat Chicken

Some opening thoughts...
This High Priestess really seems to mirror the Moon, the silver drops of fertility. There are even 18 in number! She is as faceless as the first two cards, the Fool and the Magician.

Her apparent fertility is a bit confusing in relation to the traditional HP. That said, elements of the traditional cards seem to appear just a little early in each one - The mercurial boots of the Fool, the trees of the Magician looking like the pillars of the High Priestess. The belly of the Priestess seems to foreshadow the Empress.

The markings on her belly are interesting. Each dot, a different colour and I am not sure what to make of this. I am inclined to say it echoes the tree of life again, but I can't say anything with certainty - I just don't know enough about the dimensional drawings of the 'tree'. Perhaps it might even be a wheel? Other ideas? The red marking on her chest looks like an ankh.

She seems to have emerged from the water. Her veil seems to be the primordial soup of a brackish swamp - the birth place of life - and her fingers are like the long roots of a mangrove. The flower at her feet is interesting - a theory might be it is the manifestation of the idea of 'flower' that is implied by the geometry of the last card.

There appears to be a cool Moon near her feet making me wonder what her crown means. The other baffling element is the ring connecting her breasts. At first glance, it looks like a crescent moon, and then, it is not - it is just a play of light.

Bat Chicken

I am starting to feel like a thread killer... :p

I am hoping there are some other thoughts?
I knew this deck would be amazing, but.. wow. Every card is just incredible when examined closely!


The lights from her crown...she emanates her own light?

I think those are chakra colors in the "wheel" on her belly. Her breasts are laden, her connection is within. It seems that all of these things point to that connection.

I don't have the deck yet to be able to see if it's an ankh between her breasts, but that would make sense as a symbol of life. She gives new life from the primordial muck which in turn nourishes her own life.

And could that be a lotus at her feet?

ETA: I agree that each card sends signals of connection to the next card. Also, could these things allude to healing as well as nurturing?

Bat Chicken

I like the the idea that it is chakra colours, but do you know why they are in this pattern on her belly? Is there a wheel for chakras? This is not an area I know very much about... Could it have to do with what she bears? Interesting thought! :)

I guess we'll have to wait for our cards to arrive to be sure - but the lotus is a great candidate!


Here's a wiki entry about chakras.

I only know the most basic of things about the concept but it seems they are viewed as wheels themselves individually. There are also images online of "chakra wheels." I didn't take the time to compare those images to the 'wheel' of the HP.

Chakra wholeness would indicate an overall healthiness. One out of balance could influence the others. I would assume the HP would have a particularly strong "third eye" and "crown" chakra, and I wonder if the 'crown' we see upon her head from which all those lights grow and glow are referring to that by its brightness.


mary el tarot

Ive just taken a look at the mary el tarot and it is amazing
i wonder what it is like to read with them
i must get a deck



Hi Georgina

If you go to the Mary El Tarot in the Deck thread section, you can find Penthasilia's post about reading with the deck after she got it. It really is an amazing deck. Sadly, I don't yet have it in hand.

Laura Borealis

This one is very mysterious to me. All the fertility stuff is so unusual for the High Priestess.

Is it just me, or does she have multiple breasts? I'm seeing four. She puts me in mind of the Lady of Ephesus with her many breasts. (See large photo here.)

Something about her headdress suggests a bird to me, with the beak over her forehead.

I see the crescent moon that you saw, Bat Chicken, but until I read your impressions I had not noticed the ring connecting the crescent with her breasts.

Again, I can't wait to have this actually in my hands so I can study it more closely -- and read the book! :)

Laura Borealis

Wait a tick.... there's a theory/tradition about La Papessa in the early decks, that she represents Pope Joan. And the legends of Pope Joan talk about her pregnancy. The heavily pregnant High Priestess could be an allusion to the earliest representations of this card...


mary el tarot

wonderful i have just taken a look at it

cant believe how lovely it is
i need one