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Author's Note:
This is just a first draft and a little rough in places but the main story is there. The third part of the Major Arcana is the High Priestess. The High Priestess card replaced the Pappas or Pope card. In modern Tarot the High Priestess is numbered 2. When the Tarot cards are linked to the Hebrew alphabet the High Priestess comes last, at the end of the Major Arcana, giving this card extra significance. The High Priestess is described as the guardian of the unconscious and represents the world of dreams, fantasy and intuition. In Mythic Tarot she is depicted as Persephone, wife of Hades. The divinatory meaning of the High Priestess is a thirst for esoteric knowledge and secrets to be revealed.

The High Priestess

Between glass and steel towers
pale half-moon stains the blue afternoon
businessmen slipstream shoppers
along gray and black avenues
bumper to bumper the traffic snarls
creeping down bitumen arteries
as square-backed buses squirt
inky clouds of camouflage mist

Right there, in the gray city square
where pedestrians thoroughfare
a great black bear, sniffing the air
and lumbering amongst statue and fountain
scattering a flock of startled pigeons
into flight around his hulking form
before climbing a stone staircase lined
with weathered sandstone columns beside

As strange as it did seem
this black bear remained unseen
avine scavengers were his screen
only I had glimpsed the scene
propelled by reckless curiosity
I followed at first hesitantly
up the stone staircase lined
with rough sandstone columns alongside

Through a perfectly proportioned entry
a golden ratioed gateway left partially agape
lay a long corridor paneled with wood
which opened to a circular room
large, dome-roofed, as spacious as a womb
tinted green with computer monitor hues
spread around the central desk
bearing "In libris libertas" on the crest

You are late, she said, as I glimpsed
spectacles set low on a thin pale nose
before dark hair set in a tight bun
began bobbing away towards
a dark doorway bordered
left by black and right by white pillars
and knowing not what else to do
I followed, peeling eyes for great black bear.

Down a long staircase we descended,
stairs draped in a lush red
carpet unrolled like a tongue
corridors crossing at right angles
every seven steps the walkways stretch
where shelves run from floor to ceiling
full of ancient tombs and volumes
dedicated to long extinct empires.

Down we descend past layer after layer
of human history, the hypnotizing sway
of knee-length gray business skirted hips
draws me in the shadow of sharp symmetry
pale spectacled profile cast on the walls
inaudible the footfalls of brown ankle-high boots
just the gentle swish of black stockings
and white cotton blouse with fine embroidered collar

Finally the staircase empties into a small office
where every wall and every space is crammed
with shelves and boxes full of scrolls
musty aroma of old script and parchment
laced with perfume and peppermint
courtesy of this stern faced hostess
bidding me to sit with voice crisp
and sharp as a cracking whip

As I sat myself upon the chair,
her tone became musical and much softer
she excused herself without explanation
disappearing through a small side door
left ajar and swinging open I saw
earthen walls on which were drawn
hieroglyphics and tribal paintings
and looming shadow of great black bear

Bursting through the door
flashing lightning and fire
from stormcloud-gray eyes
she fixed me a withering glare
turned twisted and locked the door
before sitting upright in her chair
and laying out a scroll written
in some cunning cuneiform

She could sense my distress
as I perused without success
and pointing out each word
with a pale pink fingernail
for my benefit she did translate
these words that sealed my fate
and with a tone that did ever after ring
said slowly "You....are....everything!"

All of a sudden I heard a roar
and crashing through the door
splinters embedding in the floor
the great black bear completely tore
the hinges clean off of the wall
but that was all I saw
springing up with a somersault
before dashing up the stepped hall

Left I turned from the main staircase
hoping to daze him in the word maze
but grunts of effort with each thunder
of his paws on wood and scrape of claws
showed black bear was gaining fast
my lead just couldn't last
as my shoulder clipped the past
and I tumbled into a whiteout vast

Waking shaking, punching air and raking
white wall of linen sheet
on the bed of my own making
as I sit up to gather my thoughts
I wonder has it all been just a dream
but stuck under my arm a paper slip
those words written in a flowing script
with a due date and barcode strip


[i] Language Key [i]

"In libris libertas" - (Latin) - in books (there is) freedom

The History of the Tarot Part 3 from
Some time in the first half of the fifteenth century, somewhere in northern Italy, someone created the first set of tarot cards. The tarot deck included queens for the first time and 22 special cards, not belonging to any suit, bore symbolic pictures. The tarot cards were used to play a new type of card game, similar to bridge, but with 21 of the special cards serving as permanent trumps, which could be played regardless of what suit was led, and outranked all the ordinary cards. This Game of Triumphs, as it was called, became extraordinarily popular, particularly among the upper classes, and spread through northern Italy and eastern France. Centuries later, devotees of the occult arts in France and England encountered the tarot and saw mystical and magical meaning in the enigmatic symbolism of the cards. Their fascination with the cards led to the reputation tarot presently has as a divination tool and occult artifact.

Like the grasses showing tender faces to each other, thus should we do, for this was the wish of the Grandfathers of the World.

Black Elk

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The following comments are for "the high priestess"
by smithy

thanks demeter, bob, pen
Thankyou Demeter. Hmm? That is a hard question to answer. I definately go looking through different interpretations to get others opinions, but then I peruse the card and it's symbols and then try to take it in a different direction. Everything happening around me or that has happened in the past that relates to that card then pops up and it's up to me to weave the tapestry (to borrow from rcallaci's epic) and preserve the essence. I am glad you enjoyed because the High Priestess is often associated with the Tarot reader.

Hopefully, I will get time soon to write that story. Work has been rather busy so writing has been second priority of late. And next in the Tarot series is the Empress who in Mythic Tarot is represented by...Demeter. ;)

Thanks bob. Yes, I was definately influenced by your storytelling in the current epic "The Tangled Tapestry", the circles of hell and your earlier piece on Time. So instead of just describing the essence of the card here I thought the story aspect would bring it to life a little more and draw the reader into the fold.

I look forward to reading more of your mystical world. There does appear to be a certain symmetry and synchronisity at work, I agree.

Thanks pen, for your comments and continued support. I am glad that you enjoyed this one.


( Posted by: smithy [Member] On: April 21, 2005 )

WOW!! smithy!!!
This is an absolutely GREAT write. I am so engrossed in it I will read it over....captivating and very interesting to say the least. I agree with all the comments on this, you did a wonderful job here smithy....(pssst.........did you get some Mystical help?) of course I am kidding you. Your writing is great smithy.....can't wait to read more...I am hooked, this is SO Damn good.


( Posted by: dareva [Member] On: April 22, 2005 )

thanks Dareva
Hehe. Lots of mystical help, Dareva. Glad you are enjoying. It is turning out to be an interesting and fun journey. Thanks for dropping by and leaving your kind comments.

( Posted by: smithy [Member] On: April 23, 2005 )

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