I was in Michele Manos’ introductory SoulCollage(R) course last fall. She had spread a bunch of images on the floor and has asked us to take one and journal with it. I saw this across the room and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I couldn’t believe others wouldn’t beat me to it first.
Immediately the image told me she was the High Priestess, but it took me a little while to see the correspondences between this image and the traditional Rider-Waite imagery.
Fist she's masked. Her upraised arms stand in for the pillars. (We will see this detail again when we get to the Heirphant.) The red scarf subs for the pomegranate magic curtain (where Carol Merrill is now standing....)
A significant difference is she seems to be out in the open, which is an interesting take on what is supposed to be shrouded in mystery. Hidden right in the open. At the beach yet, in broad daylight.
(And yet, Rachel Pollack points out there's a scene with water and land behind the Rider-Waite curtain, if you look closely enough.)
This National Geographic image is from Iran, I believe. I remember a student film from my college days by a Middle Eastern student (male) called "Women's Secrets." Being not particularly sensitive to cultural difference at that time in my life, I couldn't figure out what the big deal was for him.
And yet, there he is, the guy in the back looking on at the untouchable and ineffable. I couldn't cut him out. One of these days he'll have something to say to me.
The High Priestess is associated with the cult of Isis, the concept of the Shekinah in Kabbalah and the introduction of duality into the world. She represents potential, passivity and intuition so deep as to be unnameable.
Psychologically if the Magician is the energy of Yes, the High Priestess is the energy of No. Think of toddlers learning these two different concepts. Next we will meet the earthly parents of the Fool.