I am finding a good deal of comfort in looking to the Tarot in this troubled time, and I thought it may be useful to consider some cards. In looking through the images and characters of the Tarot, the High Priestess in particular seems to speak to me at this time. If, like me, you are finding it difficult to adjust to the new world in which we find ourselves, I hope my commentary helps.
The High Priestess - A Card for Our Times
The general atmosphere concerning our shared situation is shown in the very powerful imagery of the High Priestess. Her presence, in her darkened booth, is one of stillness and 'non-action'. She has withdrawn herself from the world. The feeling I get from this card is that while the structures within which we normally operate still surround us, just as the columns surround the High Priestess, much of day-to-day life is 'on hold'.
In her meditative state, the High Priestess is somewhat passive and receptive, and we are these things too as we await news, instructions and guidance on a daily basis. Confined to our homes, we are learning to see beyond the usual and the ordinary, as our routines and comforts change gear. We are becoming used to new realities.
We are all in this together, but the situation is not without its anxieties for many of us. Water in the Tarot signals our emotions and the subconscious mind; the broad emotional state many are experiencing is signified by both the lake that may be glimpsed behind the High Priestess's curtain and the gradual way her dress seems to resemble a waterfall as it tumbles to the floor. These watery depictions remind me that we are all coping differently. Some of us will be calm and taking it all in our stride, others may be reacting with anger or depression, or experiencing feelings of panic or agitation.
But these are ripples on the surface of an enormous depth, for the High Priestess is a lady of wisdom and intuition, reminding us of the power of the unconscio
us mind and of psychic matters. She is adept at listening to her inner voice and can tune into people and situations. We must all try to tap into these hidden reserves which we all possess. These are truly powerful capabilities and will enable a greater awareness of ourselves and others, helping us become more mindful and caring. This awareness of our daily actions and thoughts, and the distances and spaces we need to enforce, are the most important things we can do. We should all be playing our part, and caring about each other.
The card also represents secrets, wisdom and science. The 'doorway' in which the High Priestess sits is often described as the doorway of secrets, and we may see her as the guardian of hidden or occult knowledge. We are of course entirely in the territory of hidden science and of higher wisdom, as the Government and their scientific advisers scramble to understand the virus and develop appropriate responses; sadly, there is much to still be understood, but at the very least the process is ongoing and active.
The virus in its current form is wholly temporary, and just as the High Priestess' crown represents the phases of the moon, the virus will itself go through phases. The moon also appears at her feet - the moon's cycles are therefore both her foundation and her crown. At her feet, the moon Is waxing and so yet to fully appear, just as our shared predicament is developing. She is transfixed and, perhaps, governed by lunar forces, but she has it under control. Just as everything that she symbolises is under our control. And so in turn will the virus become controlled, in due course.
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