I toyed with the idea of making my own tarot deck a good ten years ago, but it dropped to the wayside. Then recently I felt the pull again, so I made this collage of the High Priestess, my favorite card in any tarot deck. If you’ve been inspired to make your own tarot or oracle deck then perhaps you will find this post helpful! Below I explain the meaning of each item in the collage card.
The High Priestess traditionally sits between the pillars of alpha and omega, situated in the realm of all knowledge. I replaced the pillars – which are a Biblical reference – with two crystal pillars to maintain the symbolism.
Trusting intuition and what I think of as ‘soft power’ – the power of silence or inaction – are in the High Priestess card. If there is gossip, the High Priestess tells us to turn away from it, signaling a time of trusting one’s inner voice and intuition. Because of this I used an image of a woman who is turn away, to indicate the powerful silence of this card.
In the Rider-Waite deck the High Priestess is strongly associated with the Moon: she wears the triple crown of Isis and has a crescent moon under her foot. I feel much more drawn to goddess of the Sun, so I replaced the moon association (Moons, blue) with Sun associations (gold, glitter).
In the original tarot the High Priestess was called the Popess, the female Pope, and even in the Rider-Waite she holds a Torah in her arms. I got rid of this iconography, but buried in the space between the crystals is a golden cherub face, part of a cathedral, as a small nod to this tradition.
If you really look hard at the Rider-Waite there is a body of water behind the High Priestess. I changed this to a gold background, which stays with my Sun goddess theme, and reminds me of sunlight reflecting off of water.
There are no pomegranates on my card, but there are spots of red on the woman’s dress and the laces on her dress form the same round shapes. The pomegranates are allegedly a reference to the story of Persephone, even though it really does not fit into the heavily religious symbolism of the original Popess card. In a Persephone interpretation the pomegranates would represent the knowledge of the underworld. In a Biblical reading they would represent the ‘forbidden fruit’ of knowledge. Regardless, I left them out, and I don’t think the card suffers for it.
I hope you like my re-interpretation of the High Priestess tarot card and I hope that you found it helpful if you decide to make your own deck.