In Egyptian Tarot, The High Priestess is called Veiled Isis. With the appearance of Veiled Isis, we have suddenly departed from the whole or the One as symbolized by The Magus and have come face to face with the Other. In this second Major Arcana, our relationship with duality and the Law of Polarity begins. The standing position of The Magus represents the masculine/positive energy whereas the seated position of Veiled Isis represents the opposite feminine/receptive energy. Like The Magus, Veiled Isis symbolizes a unique combination of logic, reason, and psychic/intuitive qualities. She is ruled by Virgo in the Egyptian deck, and her key words are Science, Analysis, and Labor.
She sits between the pillars of the Mystery School. The pillar on her right symbolizes the spiritual nature of mankind. The pillar on her left, symbolizes the physical or earth-bound nature of mankind. On her lap there is an occult book that is partially covered and she is veiled, or virgin. This image clearly depicts something that is unknown, only partially known, mysterious, unrealized, hidden, or something that can be known, realized, or found by utilizing both physical and psychic senses. The psychic senses that are equivalent to our physical senses are: Touch = Psychometry; Taste = Sensing Ethereal Energies; Smell = Sensing Spiritual Aromas; Sight = Clairvoyance; Hearing = Clairaudience; Intuition = Inspiration; and Thought Transference (a common sense to the ancients) = Spirit Communion.
Whereas The Magus is likely to communicate his intentions because “saying and doing” developes the will, Veiled Isis suggests that we keep our convictions to ourselves so as not to be influenced by the contradictions or misgivings of others. This is how some have interpreted the meaning of the phrase from the Sermon on the Mount, “Do not cast pearls before swine.”
Veiled Isis is the archetypal Virgin Mother as symbolized by the moon atop her head and her veil. Throughout history, God’s messengers or Sons of Gods were recognized and defined by virgin births. By such virgin births, they were known as Avatars. Jesus Christ, of course, comes to mind, but stories of virgin births also surround Chrishna the Savior, Buddha, Horus, Ra, Zoroaster, and Plato, to name only a few. Three more familiar names who were said to be virgin-born are Pythagorus, Quetzalcoatl of ancient Mexico, and our own Luke Skywalker. Harkening back to The Magus, the concept of Divinity lies in a common belief among the mystics that the power of thought or the power of a mental or audible word is capable of impregnating matter and causing life. Veiled Isis, as a symbol of virgin mother and receptivity to thought simultaneously and equally symbolizes the existance of a higher power and the occult principals that work within and without Mother Nature.
Veiled Isis is ruled by Virgo as shown in the upper right-hand corner of the card. Virgo is, in turn, ruled by Mercury and she bears this symbol upon her breast. Virgo rules the navel and the digestive or assimilative functions of the bowels. Key words for this card in a reading are: Science, analysis, labor, secret, mystery, occult, hidden, receptive, passive, quiet, using physical and psychic senses to discern the truth, half-truths, and hidden principals of divine energy.
The admonition associated with this card is:
Remember then, son of earth, that the mind is enlightened in seeking God with the eyes of the will. God has said, ‘Let there be Light,’ and light inundated space. Man should say, ‘Let truth show itself and good come to me.’ And if man possesses a healthy will, he will see the truth shine, and guided by it will attain all to which he aspires. If Veiled Isis should appear in the prophetic signs of thy horoscope, strike resolutely at the door of the future and it will open to you; but study for a long time the door you should enter. Turn your face toward the sun of justice, and the knowledge of the truth will be given you. Keep silent in regard to your intentions, so as not to be influenced by the contradictions of men. (The Sacred Tarot, by C.C. Zain)
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