What Does The High Priestess Mean In Tarot?

Astrologer and tarot practitioner MaKayla McRae gives a rundown of this ultra spiritual card.

The High Priestess Tarot card means it's time to listen to your gut.

Whether you’re scrolling through Instagram or getting your daily dose of TikTok, it seems like you can find tarot readings everywhere. And the tarot renaissance isn’t for no reason. The ancient practice can be used for guidance when it comes to love, career, friendships, and more, but practitioners also use it to sharpen their intuitive skills. If you’ve shuffled a deck of your own and had the High Priestess card make a cameo, you may be curious to know the message behind it.

Before diving into the crux of the High Priestess card meaning, it helps to know some tarot fundamentals. Tarot decks have 78 different cards which all possess certain energies, and they’re split up between two subsets: the minor and major arcana. While the archetype of each card remains the same, its interpretation can vary depending on whether the card is pulled upright or upside down. If you’re at a crossroads or are having trouble clearing up a situation and you pull the High Priestess card, it’s asking you to look deep within and follow your hunch — it’s probably right.

Did the ultra spiritual High Priestess make it in your tarot reading? If it did, you may want to pay extra close attention to your inner voice. Astrologer and tarot practitioner, MaKayla McRae, aka TheStarryEyedMystic, gives a rundown on everything you need to know about the powerful High Priestess card and what it might mean for you.

What Does The High Priestess Tarot Card Mean?

When it comes to deciphering the energies of each tarot card, you need more than a general understanding of its archetype, it also requires a ton of intuitive reasoning. But those aren’t the only variables — the spread, (the arrangement of each card pulled), and the way it was pulled (whether upright or in reverse) matter just as much. Once you’ve got those down, interpreting the messages will be breezy.

“The High Priestess is a major arcana Tarot card, meaning that it represents a universal, soul lesson that collectively, everyone needs to go through in their life,” MaKayla McRae tells Bustle. It depicts a woman sitting sandwiched in between two black and white pillars. According to McRae, these pillars represent her light and dark shadows. “She represents duality and speaks of secret wisdom, the occult, and higher perception,” adds McRae.

The High Priestess rules over the subconscious mind, symbolizing the deep-seated and spiritual understanding that exists within. When the enchantress shows up in your reading, it’s time to acknowledge the polarities between a situation, stop questioning your instincts, and hone in on your inner wisdom.

What Does The High Priestess Card Mean When It’s Upright?

If the High Priestess card was pulled upright, you’re being reminded of your intuitive capabilities. “When you pull this card upright, it’s affirming that you know the truth of a situation, deep down,” says McRae. “You’re advised to listen to your gut instinct.”

The reason many turn to tarot is because they might feel hindered or as if their feelings are leading them astray. “If you’re struggling to differentiate anxiety versus intuition, take some time to intentionally meditate, think, pray or seek further spiritual guidance on the situation,” McRae explains. Pulling the High Priestess upright basically is like a green light to rely on your inner knowing.

For example, if you’re asking a question about a possible love interest but you’re unsure of whether you’re ready for a new relationship, this card may be asking you to remain patient with yourself and honest with your potential partner about your doubts or hesitance. For questions about your career, the High Priestess could be urging you to consider sharpening your skills, perhaps by learning a new trade or furthering your education in order to achieve your professional goals.

What Does The High Priestess Card Reversed Mean?

Tarot is more nuanced the more you dive deep into the practice, and you’ll know that once you finally pull a card in reverse, or upside down. The general vibe of the High Priestess stays on par with its archetype but represents its adverse meaning. It could also signify its upright meaning, but applied to your internal self rather than the situation or your question itself. When pulled in reverse, this could be a message that there may be some interference with your spiritual insight.

“When this card is reversed, it can signify that there’s a block in listening to your intuition,” says McRae. “You may feel like you have been gaslighting yourself or others have been gaslighting you from trusting what you know is right deep down.” It may be a good time to ask yourself if you’re probing and analyzing a situation that simply requires you to feel.

Say, for example, the High Priestess card reversed shows up during questions about love, it could be telling you that you’re being dishonest with your emotions and you should look at things from a lens of feelings rather than logic. When it comes to questions about finances, like a new stream of income or a contract, this tarot card might ask you to read the fine print — there may be conditions you may have skimmed over.

Pulling the High Priestess reversed doesn’t have to signal panic. You can think of it as a reminder to trust your intuitive foresight or to ignore people that may be blocking your inner knowing, like an overly practical friend or mentor. The High Priestess is a reminder that whatever the outcome of your circumstance is, as long as you’re listening to your inner dialogue, you’re being true to yourself.