Friday, March 2, 2012
II The High Priestess
We have left the Magician behind, but have acquired his influence in a direction and a recognizing of our talents and our abilities. He is a masculine influence who encourages action, even though he sits and ponders at his stand. We are still just starting out so we need something more - we'll obviously get much more as we head down the path of Tarot. But what is next?
Slowly, night falls. Fortunately the moon is full and bright, with a halo that reflects from the mist in the air. The chill of the air and the breeze cool us, but we are alert and ready to face whatever comes our way. Over a ridge and through a dark copse of trees we see a woman clad in purple holding her arms up.
She appears to be in the middle of a trance, or a dance. She holds a veil in the air that is parted over her face. She has gained the ability to see through the veil. A spirit being is being invoked. Her Spirit self emanates from a boiling cauldron behind her. She has an air of a witch. A female magician that is invoking a spirit from the Fire and Water of the cauldron, and from the Earth and the Air that surrounds her. The spirit dances behind her, wispy and transparent, obscuring the moon. Also behind her is a bowl that contains some new growth of plants, there is an aura of mystery and darkness permeating this place.
This is a ceremony. Ceremony is such an important part of our life, whether we know it or not. Ceremonies can bring a young man or woman into adulthood. Ceremonies can initiate people into sacred circles. Ceremonies can lift us up and connect us with something bigger, more spacious, than ourselves.
She trusts her divine guidance. I see the divining pendulum that is her belt as a certainty that Spirit will give her the correct answers and show her the way. But the divining pendulum also indicates that she doesn't necessarily have all the answers. She sometimes needs a little help to discover what is needed in any situation. She also wears a necklace with spirals, indicating the circular nature of life and the universe. She understands all of this and beckons us to join her.
The High Priestess brings us our first contact with Spirit. She has opened the veil to the Spirit world and can see clearly with both material eyes and spiritual eyes. This can be a scary place at first, but the little gnomes working away in the background remind us that the High Priestess is still connected with the Earth, and with work. She brings a balance of the Spirit and material world, but she also stands as a gateway. None can pass through to the Spirit without her allowing it. You could say that in our spiritual endeavors she is the one that grants us the vision.
But she is also the keeper of the Sacred Temple. She stands, framed by the stone and the cauldron, as if she is protecting the Spirit being behind her. She protects the Spirit and keeps it from the influences of evil, greed and corruption. She allows us into that world when we are ready for it. We are all in various stages of growth, various stages of rebirths. We all have important lessons we are learning in this lifetime. At the age of 49 I can see more clearly several of the important lessons and karmic growth that I am facing.
It's funny how our spirituality grows throughout our lifetime. I remember when I was very young, my grandfather was the head of the local Episcopalian Church in Fullerton. I don't remember too much about going to church but I remember my grandfather being a very funny, and stern, man. I had heard about God and I imagined that God must be holding me up like puppet strings, leading me around and guiding me to where I was going. Well, I guess I had a funny view of God back then.
My father was a rebel and didn't want to follow the Christian spiritual path. As I got older my father became involved briefly in the Transcendental Meditation group. I was probably around ten years old and he actually paid for me to get some meditation lessons. I got my "secret mantra" and was put into a room by myself where I was supposed to close my eyes and repeat the mantra over and over in my mind.
OK, so I'm only ten years old, mind you, and this place was a little strange. It was a large, white house that was in the city of Orange. I sat in the dim room and when I realized that I had been left alone I got up and wandered around the room. I apparently wasn't ready to meditate yet. I just wanted to go home and play.
My father didn't stay with the TM group very long and he eventually hooked up with the Self Realization Fellowship founded by Paramahansa Yogananda. In this Fellowship he found his true path and through the lessons and training he truly learned how to meditate. He went all the way through Kriya Yoga and achieved a state of basically permanent meditation.
So, we experience the Spirit world in our own way and at our own speed. My father, bless his soul, gave me a very early taste of spirituality and even though I didn't embrace it right away it was always there; always in the background. I must have started meditating 50 times over the course of the years that I lived with my parents. But I just wasn't ready yet, my character hadn't yet ripened to the experience of spirituality.
So as we see, the path is there, it's always waiting for us. The teachings of the many great spiritual masters that have been around for centuries are just waiting for us to open up to the realm of the spiritual. It is not a path that is for everyone, but everyone is touched by their Spirit. Everyone lives in this dual realm of materiality and spirituality. We can embrace it or reject it, but it won't go away.
There is growth in this card and there is magic present. Magic is everywhere. Imagine that if we take a seed and put it in the ground, and water it, and care for it, eventually a young plant will spring up. If we continue to care for the plant it will get bigger and bigger.
If you mix flour, baking powder, salt, eggs and milk, beating it until it is smooth, then take small pieces of it and put it on a pan and cook it at 425 degrees, you will get delicious biscuits. If you add cinnamon and brown sugar, you get an incredible sweet texture to it.
Magic is everywhere. Most of the time it is how we perceive it. How do you perceive the world? Is it magical? Is it filled with people that are representations of God, living and breathing manifestations of Spirit? Do you wake up every day excited for what strange and wonderful lessons that will be cooked up for you?
Imagine that your Spirit self is behind you, connected to you, with you every step of the way. Isn't that a fascinating way to proceed through the world? I don't know about you, but it helps connect me with an immensely compassionate state of mind. I have a sense that I really want to see people happy. I really want for people to realize that all the lessons and challenges they face are there for their benefit and growth.
Of course, you are your own person and I am mine. My hope for you is that no matter what you think or believe, that you are true to yourself as you face the days. The little gnomes work away, enjoying their work, enjoying the field that is plowed, enjoying the magic of growth and the change of the seasons, the aging of the universe.
So, what a magical thing! We have been connected with our Spirit and seen the possibilities that exist behind the veil. But we must remember that we are physical beings and that we have a job to do. We have a journey we need to go on. We can use Spirit to keep us connected to the magic in the universe. There is so much magic, even as the Earth spins on its grooves of pain and suffering, we can perceive that it is all there for us.
Let us together thank the High Priestess for allowing us to see past the veil and into the world of Spirit. I wonder what could possibly be next on our Journey through the King's Journey Tarot.