Queering the Tarot: 2. The High Priestess

Queering the Tarot is a guest post series written by Cassandra Snow. Cassandra takes the most common interpretations and manifestations of the cards and discuss ways you might read them for a LGBTQQIA* client—or for yourself.

Read all posts in the series here!


Queering the Tarot: 2. The High Priestess

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The High Priestess promises mystery, intuition, and allure, as well as certain knowledge and wisdom.

This card can be frustrating at times for querents and readers alike as so often we are taking to the tarot to solve mysteries or rely on wisdom that is not our own. In a standard reading then, it is common to either assure the querant that they possess the intuition and wisdom to see themselves through this, that now is a time to really hone and get in control of these things, or that the cards can only see so far because of discoveries and decisions yet to be made.

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Both of these interpretations are useful, but this card can require some deeper digging—particularly into the querant’s subconscious. The surrounding cards can make things more clear, as always, but there is still a deep need to rely on one’s own dreams, intuition, and signs from the universe. The most telling thing about this card actually comes from my own experience as both a querant and a reader. The High Priestess frequently shows up when people are at transitions in their lives that leave them questioning who they are or what they want.

Because these are such big questions to answer, The High Priestess shows up to tell us basically that there are big questions to answer—but it’s more than that, because that’s not very reassuring to a querent desperate for answers.

This card then serves the purpose of telling us that changing our minds about who we are and what we want is okay. If the goals of The High Priestess are wisdom and knowledge, than knowing and accepting ourselves is a key part of that. Self-knowledge and trust in that become the lessons of The High Priestess.

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It is easy then to take these goals and lessons and apply them to a queer person’s life or issues specific to queer identity.

For many people, gender and sexual identity are not set in stone, and this card has shown up time and time again when a client is being urged to accept that fluidity. Additionally, I’ve even seen many cisgender, heterosexual people came to my table, receive this card (and others indicating changes and mystery), only to find out they are questioning their sexual and gender identity—or at least aspects of it.

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Does this mean every person who gets a High Priestess is meant to start dating outside of their sexual preference or embracing a new, fluid gender identity? Of course not, but if we’re doing inclusive, progressive readings we have to at least consider that possibility.

The surrounding cards and any information the client offers will provide the information you need to suss out if it’s these traditional calls to inner wisdom or embracing the mystery of life that we’re reading, or if gender and sexual fluidity are something we should address with the querent.

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Fluidity can be really hard for people, especially where gender is concerned, and it’s also best to drive home a more overarching theme of mystery, fluidity, and adaptability and let your querent take it from there. If they want to ask or clue you in, they will—but since this is a card of mystery, there’s a good chance your job was just to relay that information and let it sit in their brain for awhile.

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