Union Jack

     English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy

Previous Arcanum: The Magician

The Magician
The High Priestess
from the Tarot of Marseilles
Wisdom has built her house,
   she has set up her seven pillars.
                         (Proverbs ix. 1)

2. The High Priestess

Dear Unknown Friend, the second Arcanum, the High Priestess, is that of the reflection of the pure act of the first Arcanum up to the point where it becomes "book". It shows us how "Wisdom" builds her house.

We require an inner mirror in order to know from where the breath of the Spirit comes and where it goes. Water is required to reflect it. As the Master said to Nicodemus:

Truly, truly, I say unto you,
 unless one is born of Water and the Spirit
 he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
                                      (John iii. 5)

By these words he states that full consciousness of the truth is the result of "inbreathed" truth and reflected truth.

By the power of the Holy Spirit
the Word became incarnate
from the Virgin Mary.

Prior to the Fall, the Spirit was divine Breath.
This Breath was reflected by virginal nature.
This is Christian Yoga..

Christian Yoga does not aspire directly to unity, but rather to unity of two.

We can decide in favour of monism, as in advaita, non-duality, which must lead to the extinction of consciousness. Or we can decide - in view of considerable historical and personal experience - in favour of dualism and say to ourselves that there are two principles in the world: good and evil, spirit and matter.

We can, moreover decide in favour of a third point of view, namely that of love as the cosmic principle which duality presupposes.

Love is inconceivable without the Lover and the Loved, without ME and YOU, without One and the Other.

The Sea
The Sea

Now I invite you, dear Unknown Friend, to close your eyes and to render an exact account of the image of the thing underlying everything. Do you not find the vague image of a substance without colour or form, very similar to water in the sea? It implies something passive.

In contrast, when you think of love in the Joannine sense, or of the Platonic idea of good, you find yourself facing an essential activity , which is the heart itself.


The masters of the Caballah, according to the Zohar cry much. Christian mysticism speaks also of the "gift of tears" - as a precious gift of divine grace. The Master cried in front of the tomb of Lazarus. The soul that receives Divine Love undergoes such a miraculous experience that it cries. Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.

The High Priestess

The Magician
The High Priestess

She is the sacred guardian of the Book of Revelation.
As she represents the stages of the descent of revelation, from the small uppermost circle on her tiara as far as the open book on her knees, her position is in keeping with this - she is seated. For to be seated signifies a relationship between the vertical and horizontal.

The Magician dares - for this reason he is standing.
The High Priestess knows - this is why she is seated.

The practical teaching of the second Arcanum, the High Priestess, relates to the Gnostic contemplative sense. It reaches to the mystical or essential source of truth. How does it arrive at this? By listening in silence. It is as if one wanted to recall something forgotten.

Seeing that the soul is immmortal and has been born many times and has beheld all things both in this world and in the nether regions, she has acquired knowledge of all and everything. Thus it would seem research and learning are wholly recollection.
(Plato, Menon 81 c. d.)

In order to obtain in waking consciousness, the reflection of that which is above in the mystical domain, it is necessary "to be seated", i.e. to establish an active-passive state of consciousness, which listens attentively in silence. It is necessary to be "woman", i.e. to be in a state of silent expectation, and not in that of activity which "talks".

The Third Arcanum: The Empress

Introduction to the Tarot

The Seven Miracles of St. John's Gospel by Valentin Tomberg


Home Page