High Priestess

Pronouns: She, her

+ The oracle; knower of secrets and keeper of wisdom 

– Doubling down on a bad faith deal resulting from confirmation bias; denial

The High Priestess stands before the gates of the Universe, with a slight smile playing on her face. Is she hiding something? Maybe she’s waiting to divulge a secret. This card is another one that is very meta within the tarot. A card about introspection and mysticism, it reminds me of a tarot reader. When Sarah McKenzie reached out to sponsor a card, I was not surprised that she chose this one. A tarot reader and intuitive, she comes from a long family tradition of offering guidance. 

The High Priestess is the oracle of the tarot, who stands between this world and the deeper meaning of the cards. After discussing her connection to the High Priestess, I took each of the symbols found in the Pamela Coleman Smith’s illustration (the columns, the crescent moon, and the pomegranate) and reinvented them for CULT.

Traditionally the columns she sits between are black and white, referencing Boaz and Jachin, (two pillars that stood before Soloman’s Temple in Jerusalem).  Their coloring denotes two opposites that uphold a greater purpose. The columns here however are shades of gray and not evenly upholding anything—suggesting  Sarah stands before an unknowable  and nebulous portal. 

A pomegranate sits before the High Priestess, cleaved open but instead of seeds, she is presented with a fruit filled with eyes. Pomegranates are historically associated with fertility (aka a symbolic uterus). Filling the fruit with searching eyeballs returns the gaze back on to the viewer— “look elsewhere”.

The tattoo on Sarah’s back signifies her journey as an adoptive mother. The shadow of the wolf refers to her ancestors. In Mi’kmaq culture, each family line or clan is identified by an animal based on the mother’s line. (This is not a spirit animal.) Sarah’s is the Wolf that appears just over her shoulder in a protective stance.

Thank you to Sarah McKenzie for sponsoring and modeling for this card. Learn more about Mi’kmaq culture at Mi’kmaq Spirit.

August 30, 2022 — Genevieve Barbee-Turner