Winter comes and, after the illumination of summer and autumn’s harvest of self-reflection, we are plunged back into darkness. We feel the days shorten and naturally retreat inward, withdrawing again into hidden thoughts, dreams, and emotions. But sometimes, it just feels real scary down there in the dark unknown of our inner self. Tarot is a flame to light the way as we delve deeper into the caverns of our own awareness.
Occasionally, fear of the unknown surfaces when I begin a tarot reading. I settle into my habitual practice (always lighting three candles, always cradling my labradorite, always cutting my deck to the left, always pulling right from the top), eager to unearth a new layer of myself, only to realize upon turning the cards over that I can’t see a thing. Like a candle suddenly blown out in the pitch-black night, should-be familiar surroundings are now shrouded in darkness. I panic. My mind races to escape the discomfort of such limited visibility. The doubts creep in and I just know… I’m not really that magical after all. I’m not really a witch. I was wrong all along.
Often, the self-knowledge and insight we seek isn’t readily evident. Intuiting the way to our inner self takes trust: the guided by only muscle memory through absolute darkness with your arms outstretched and your ears pricked up type of trust. When searching through the most obscure parts of our being, we struggle to breathe, to listen, to sense our way through this unlit space. Invoking the cool intuition of the High Priestess can help us navigate.
The High Priestess dwells comfortably in the darkness. Their vision is fully attuned, their body has memorized the path through the ethereal dark, and they move surefootedly through the murkiest of doubts and uncertainties towards self-knowledge. The High Priestess is content to listen and feel in place of seeing. They know that while the eyes and mind sometimes play tricks on us, intuition always speaks the truth. The High Priestess prefers to go it alone because they trust they can find their way and at the end of their shadowy path, their truth will be waiting.
Instead of spooking when we can’t immediately see, the High Priestess encourages us to trust in our magic, embrace the dark, and fumble through shadows on our own to arrive at the truths we seek about ourselves. No matter how indistinct the path, we stumble along because at the bottom of the dark is the “sanctuary of self-knowledge,” where we “find revelation into the hidden, esoteric, secret, inner-self.” (Greer). Only with trust can we intuit our way.