The High Priestess Tarot Card Meaning

The High Priestess (II) tarot card signifies wisdom and caution, as knowledge shared too freely could potentially lead to danger. The world is constantly manipulating you, so keeping a grounded perspective is crucial.

Credit: Violetta Astanina

Element: Water
Planet: Moon
Astrological sign: Cancer
Key dates: Not applicable; this card is ruled by the Moon

Visual Elements and Symbolism

The images in the Tarot of Marseille show her as “La Papesse,” which translates to Female Pope. In the Rider-Waite deck, she is called the “High Priestess.”

This card features a woman wearing a loose blue robe. She is adorned with a horned crown containing a white sphere in the middle, and she has her left foot on the horn of a large yellow moon. The crown resembles the three lunar stages: waxing crescent moon, full Moon, and waning crescent moon.

The three phases of the Moon—the waxing crescent, full Moon, and waning crescent—are similar to a woman’s life stages: maidenhood, motherhood, and finally, the “fading” of her feminine principle represented in the waning phase.

In her left hand, she’s holding a scroll that says “TORA”; her right hand is obscured, meaning that there is no clear understanding of some things–some secrets are hidden.

The white cross on her robe symbolizes well-being, in contrast to the Christian cross’s representation of mental anguish. This image signifies that she has achieved peace and is free from anxiety and other uncertainties.

The High Priestess sits on her throne between two pillars. On the right is the letter B, and on the left, J. Together, they represent Solomon’s Temple’s entrance pillars of Boaz (“strength”) and Jachin (“stability”)—translating roughly to “I am strong/stable enough to carry what you need.”

The cloth behind her shows images of date palm trees and a pomegranate cut in half to show red seeds within its yellow flesh. With its many red seeds, this fruit is associated with fertility—resembling a man and woman in a sexual union. This association reflects how ancient peoples saw life: through sex and marriage (or intercourse).

Symbols that come in twos are thought to suggest dualities, like male and female, cold and heat, or the living and the dead. The High Empress rules over the threshold of the sanctuary, where God and man meet. She is a spiritual bride who gives divine meaning to everything that happens in her husband’s life—when he reads the law or sits at home with his children, she guides him through it all.

The High Priestess Card as a Person

The High Priestess is a highly-intuitive person who can help you look deeply into yourself. She takes a long-term perspective and believes in taking time to reflect on decisions. The High Priestess is cautious, sometimes stubbornly so, and may be secretive to help people take personal responsibility for their actions.

The High Priestess has a reputation for causing arguments and being manipulative and is often an expert at playing the victim. Mental disorders and personality issues are often associated with the High Priestess in the reversed position.

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The High Priestess Upright

The High Priestess card, when held upright, represents the hidden elements of awareness and the guardian of the subconscious mind. She’s the keeper of secrets. This card is a subtle reminder that life isn’t always what it seems and compels us to be attentive to its intricacies.

Love and Relationships

A secret rendezvous between a man and woman might be happening—they’re secretly coming together to meet somewhere without anyone else knowing. This card might indicate the woman is expecting a baby, or there may be another happy event in her near future.

If you’re in a romantic relationship, at times, you may have trouble expressing your feelings; however, this doesn’t mean that you don’t trust or doubt each other. If you’re interested in dating women, you might find someone cold or unfriendly attractive.


It’s blindsiding you (in a good way). Something is happening, but you can’t decipher why or how. You feel ready for the next step in life, and the world has brought new opportunities to complete your quest. When you’re patient, things will come to those who wait.

Your coworkers and boss will likely share information with you. In a larger organization, there may be an ongoing project whose details are confidential.


You may have been feeling a bit financially insecure lately—you might be unsure about your income and financial future. Remember: it’s not anyone else’s business, so don’t share this information with those who don’t need to know.


Your body needs to maintain a delicate balance for your system to function correctly. Changes in your environment can throw off that balance. Paying close attention to your reproductive health during this time will be especially beneficial.

You might not know it, but there could be some vital knowledge about your health that goes unnoticed. You can ensure optimal health by regularly getting a complete medical checkup.

The High Priestess Reversed

The reversed High Priestess advises you to be wary of the herd mentality: following blindly in others’ footsteps when there may be something waiting for you–if only you look inside first.

Love and Relationships

Grounded in realism and shown through sensitivity toward other people, the High Priestess reversed card indicates that you may be out of touch with your emotions or what is happening in your relationships. If you are in a relationship, it may suggest there is trouble on the horizon. The shielded thoughts of one partner in a relationship suggest infidelity or an imminent breakup.

If you and your partner are carrying around grudges, lying, or cheating to avoid facing the truth, things between you have become too heavy. You’re too passive to deal with life’s problems head-on and unable—or unwilling—to take action.


One of the factors affecting your professional life could be old adversaries seeking revenge by trying to destroy your chances of advancement. They may also use their influence to spread rumors about the company needing to lay off staff or make other budget cuts.

You may not know the real reason for being fired or denied a raise, so it’s essential to get some answers. If you feel your boss is hiding something, ask them what’s happening. It may just be something small and insignificant. However, if you feel like they’re feeding you a line of nonsense, trust your gut.


Always read the fine print before entering into any financial commitments. Be smart and prudent—you need to maintain vigilance regarding your wallet. Don’t commit without consulting a second opinion, as The High Priestess reversed is a warning to be equally vigilant about your finances.


You won’t solve all of your health problems with one solution. Listen to medical advice, but ask questions if something is unclear—the problem may be more complex than it looks. Lifestyle changes may also be needed. As always, focus on eating a healthy diet, moving more, and taking any supplements or medication your doctor prescribes.

You may be having mood swings, irritability, and health issues such as ovary/uterus problems or gastrointestinal issues. Fortunately, you can control your negative emotions and improve these symptoms by educating yourself on stress management and improving your eating habits.

Your Past, Present, and Future

In your darkest hours, you have remained resilient and hopeful. In the past position, the High Priestess represents your ability to listen carefully and to trust yourself–crucial traits in difficult situations where others might have given up.

This card reminds you only to accept what others say as truth after first applying critical thinking. You’re very good at avoiding bad situations and can take steps to prevent potential harm if necessary. Do you feel pressured to do something that doesn’t sit well with you by a friend, lover, or even a stranger on the street? If so, trust your gut and remember that ignoring such feelings can prevent bad things from happening later.

The High Priestess appearing in a future position means that you’re headed toward conflict and should either diffuse it or avoid it altogether. You will need more knowledge to make an informed decision, so use your foresight as a guide. The High Priestess is the card of intuition and instinct, so use this trait to make better decisions for yourself.

Important Card Combinations

The High Priestess, or Dame Justice as she is sometimes called, represents the subconscious mind—the wellspring of intuition. When this card appears in a reading asking for action or decision-making, interpret it as such.

High Priestess and Ace of Cups

The Ace of Cups represents goodness and love, but it can also imply something sinister if you see the card alongside another. For example, someone may try to control your decisions with false flattery or other deceptive methods—not because they care about you. Listening to your inner guidance can help you avoid danger and stay true to yourself.

High Priestess and Two of Wands

The Two of Wands, when drawn during a creative stage of life, indicates that you are well on your way to achievement. With this combination, you’ll experience great success while completing your project. Being uncomfortable or feeling like an impostor won’t stop you from succeeding. The results may be better than you imagined.

High Priestess and the Three of Swords

The Three of Swords can mean that there’s a lot of heartbreak and pain in your life right now. The world around you may be threatening and manipulative—but this combination reminds you that inner peace is one of the most potent powers on Earth. The best response to subtle aggression is not to become defensive or aggressive. Instead, anticipate the next move from these people once you’ve found peace within yourself and your surroundings.

The High Priestess: Yes or No?

The High Priestess appears when you’re unsure how to proceed in a specific situation and seek guidance. Her presence indicates that an uncertain outcome or impasse exists, but one which is difficult—or impossible—to resolve at the moment. The card should not be interpreted as a definite answer to the question– it is impossible at this point in time for anyone to know that outcome honestly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the High Priestess mean in a love reading?

If the upright High Priestess appears in your reading, it could mean that a private romantic liaison is brewing–a couple is coming together in secrecy without anyone else noticing. This appearance could be a secret romance, or it could be that one person is trying to hide their feelings from the outside world.

If this card is displayed in the reversed position, it may mean that someone in your life is keeping you at arm’s length–they don’t want to get too close.

What is the reversed High Priestess’ meaning?

When reversed, the High Priestess warns you may be tempted to go with the flow. However, this often indicates that you need to find your own path—one not influenced by those around you but forged through your intuition and decision-making ability. Be wary of others who might try to control or direct these decisions on their behalf; trusting yourself above all other sources will usually yield better results.

In a reversed position, the High Priestess often signifies that you’re going through an indecisive phase in your life. You may feel confused or uncertain about which way to go, but don’t forget to ask for help from those around you—they might be able to point out things that are clear as day from their perspective!

What does the High Priestess mean in a future reading?

The High Priestess in the future position suggests that a conflict looms ahead in your life, but she also implies the need for you to take steps toward de-escalating or avoiding it entirely. She is the keeper of ancient wisdom, and she is also a teacher. She represents your spiritual side and your need to understand the world around you through intuition rather than logic. When she appears in the future position—like she is here—it means that a conflict will require intuitive thinking on your part.

Is the High Priestess a yes or a no?

If the High Priestess appears when you don’t know what’s going to happen, it means that there is a mystery or ambiguity in your life. Perhaps she has come up because you need more information before making an important decision—or maybe she represents the knowledge that only comes with experience.

The High Priestess card can also signify that you should take a step back from a situation rather than rushing in like a bull in a china shop. She may tell you that you need time to think about what’s truly important to you and how best to achieve your goals.