The Wild Unknown Tarot - The High Priestess II


The sky is black with a waning crescent moon.
In the foreground is a white tigeress and between her front paws is a crystal ball coloured in shades of blue and purple.. The colours look as if they are swirling and mixing together. The tiger looks relaxed, her eyes are half closed.

I've added some thoughts from my tarot journal.

High Priestess
Some things that the term 'High Priestess' and this and the usual image of a robed and crowned woman sitting in front of a veil between 2 pillars and holding a book or scroll make me think of:

Dark feminine,
Inner mystery,
She's an oracle, someone that is apart from everyone else, someone who dares to look beyond the veil, the keeper of secrets and inner wisdom. She's brave; most people don't want to look beyond the conscious level or delve into the darkness but she does. She's aloof and powerful and a little scary. Someone that others come to only if they can't find answers elsewhere. There's a sort of remote sexiness to a woman who has dedicated her life to knowing and discovering inner mysteries (I'm thinking of the Priestesses of Avalon or Delphi here). She's alone and doesn't mind that.
She's inward looking, still, reflective.
Her element is Water so she's deep, reflective, powerful and also dangerous.

The number II
2s are about duality. They're about balance, light and dark. They are a choice or a meeting or even a separation. 2 is the pause after the initial burst of energy in the 1; they're the time when you look within to decide what to do with that energy - the doing comes with the 3.
Yin / Yang... Male / Female.... Light / dark

This image - the white tigress
When I first saw this card I had a good think about what a white tiger makes me think and this is what I came up with:
A white tiger (any tiger for that matter), is rare, powerful, mysterious, dangerous. It's hard to find and nocturnal... All of these things gel very well with my feelings about The High Priestess.
Tigers hunt often at night and they don't hunt in packs; they're lone hunters. They are also excellent swimmers which is quite unique in the cat family so that links them to the element of Water.
They hunt slowly and silently and are very reluctant to share their kill, going to great lengths to drag what they have to somewhere where only they know - keepers of secrets ;).

After a bit of research I discovered that in China tigers are symbols of darkness and the New Moon as well as being symbols of brightness and the Full Moon so that ties in well with the duality of the High Priestess who usually sits between one black and one white pillar, symbolising duality, balance and that pause of the number 2.

So this tigress sits calmly at night with the waning moon above her, almost in a trance with her crystal ball between her paws. Dare you approach this dangerous beast to find what lies beyond and if you do what will happen? Will she impart her wisdom or eat you?

I love this High Priestess.


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Now that you've said this, I can relate to it a lot better. This is one of the (very) few cards that I was having trouble with (having departed from the Olde Familiar RWS). Now I can get a grip and "see" the inner meanings...

Thanks !!

(with nothing new to add - this time)


Sulis.. I love the way you have described the spirit and energy of the tiger! And I think this rings true for working with the intuition and the spirit realm.
When working with our intuition we have to 'hunt' it alone, we have to be silent and stalk it out, and then afterwards devour what wisdom we have found and let it change and transform us.

What I also love about this card is where the colour is, it is not in the beautiful tiger, but in the scrying ball. Often I think in decks we get distracted about where the focus is. Whilst the HPS is the figure in the card, it is the wisdom, the actual knowledge that we get which is the important thing, that knowing that takes us beyond just information but understanding, placing knowledge into context.

Say if you compare this card with the Magician we see how the focus of the card is not on the Magician himself (or herself!) but in the sun, in the universal power which the magician draws on to blend with the powers of the world around them.
That is why I love this deck, the delicate use of colour shifts the emphasis from the figures, to the energies themselves - which is a very HPS thing to do, to see what lies beneath the veil of the obvious


Hi Michael,

Thanks for this and I'm glad my thoughts gave you a better understanding of the card. I was having trouble with this card too so I sat and meditated on it a few nights ago, trying to link the traditional symbolism of the High Priestess card to the image here. I think Kim Krantz has done a really good job with her choice of animal symbolism throughout this deck.


Hi Inanna_tarot,

Wow, I love what you've added. Yes, the colours in the ball are where the power comes from, she just keeps it and accesses it (and the Magician does too)..

I just love the way this deck throws up puzzles then when you sit down with a card and really start describing what you see and looking deeper into the symbolism, it all becomes really clear :).


Thank you so much, Sulis and inanna_tarot, for throwing light on this rather difficult card, which I like but have been finding hard to 'get'.
I particularly like inanna_tarot's idea of the colour showing us where the focus really is, or should be. :)

I see the dichotomies of all the 2s as polarities or opposite extremes. Dark & light, like the RWS pillars representing 'Severity' & 'Mercy'. The conscious (rational left-brain) and the unconscious (intuitive right-brain.) The sleeping / dreaming v. waking aspects of our awareness. Here, the polarities exist in the tigress herself, who could either kill or help us, as Sulis suggests.

[Did I mention that I love this deck?! :heart: ]


[Did I mention that I love this deck?! :heart: ]

You did :D and I don't blame you one bit... This and the CBD TdM are the decks that just seem to speak my language.. I'm so glad I have this one.

Thanks for the extra dualities too.. I was trying to think of some more but had a bit of a mental block.


Sulis, inanna_tarot, and Starshower -- thank you for insights! What excellent points about the tiger's swimming abilities and lack of fear of water (unlike other cats) and her secretiveness. I see the crystal ball as both a crystal ball and a full moon -- the opposite of the crescent moon -- lending yet another layer of duality and mystery to the card. The black sky is the curtain/veil she shields. What is behind it?


Reading Sulis' thoughts about the symbolism of the white tiger was illuminating, as this is the aspect of the card I've had the hardest time interpreting. I've been going through this deck card by card and writing out my thoughts before looking at what others have said. But now that I've seen this thread, I have some new ideas about this card! Here are my original thoughts.


The Wild Unknown High Priestess tarot card shows a tiger. She sits under a black sky and a crescent moon – the first of many crescent moons we will see in this deck. Before her chest sits an sphere colored with blue and purple. This provides the only splash of color in the otherwise black and white card.

Her expression seems both serene & alert as she gazes to the left of the card. The Magician looked to the right. In one symbolic interpretation, the ‘right’ direction represents light & objectivity. The ‘left’ direction of the High Priestess, in this interpretation, represents dark & subjectivity. This interpretation seems even more apt when I consider that the Magician was surrounded by glowing, sun-like rays, while the High Priestess is enveloped in a dark sky.

The sphere contains swirling blues & purples, colors that represent spiritual receptivity & intuition. This brings to mind the ethereal energy of dreams, mysteries, and spiritual knowledge. Instead of the energy emanating from without and being channeled, as in the Magician, the energy is channeled inward and concentrated in this sphere.

The High Priestess does not try to ‘pin down’ the sphere. Rather, her paws are spread out around it, suggesting complete confidence in her inner knowing. Notice again the contrast with the Magician, who rested his paws on the pentacle. He also stood upright on his haunches, with his neck turned. She is laying down with a relaxed posture.

This shows that the High Priestess knows how to be immersed in dreams, visions and the world of the psyche without letting them overcome her – but also without her needing to overcome them. While the Magician’s ultimate ideal is “doing,” we see here the ultimate ideal of the High Priestess is “being.”


While the Magician’s ultimate ideal is “doing,” we see here the ultimate ideal of the High Priestess is “being.”

Wonderful insights, happyfish! The line above summed it all up for me in a way I hadn't thought about previously. Many thanks!