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The High Priestess with Melissa Cynova

By July 15, 2016 February 13th, 2019


Welcome to the Real Life Lessons from the Major Arcana series. We've gathered together 22 of the best Tarot readers to share their personal stories and interpretations of the Major Arcana cards.

Discover new meanings and spiritual lessons behind the Major Arcana cards, through real-life experiences and stories. And watch as the Tarot cards truly come to life!

In this post, Melissa Cynova of Little Fox Tarot guides us through the inner mysteries of the patron saint of Tarot Readers: the High Priestess.

To download all 22 stories, click here.

highpriestessIn a workshop with Mary K. Greer at the Northwest Tarot Symposium, we attendees were asked to ‘become’ a tarot card. I chose the High Priestess from the Dreaming Way tarot. In this deck, the HP is sitting on a crescent moon, glancing up from her scroll, looking for all the world like she was just interrupted. Again. For the billionth time.

At the time, I was finishing edits on my first book, and I related to her annoyance so strongly. Every time I sat down to write, the phone rang, or I had a reading to give, or my kiddos needed me. I felt like I couldn’t devote myself to the seemingly huge work of my book. I felt like I had to climb away from my life so that I could achieve my dream of being an author. Like I had to remove myself from my life in order to live My Life. It was frustrating and made me feel like I was either failing at life or failing at my dream – that I couldn’t succeed at both. I could either be Melissa Cynova OR Little Fox Tarot. My partner at the event, Brother Thom, put a new perspective on my frustration.

What if, instead of climbing up on the moon to write, I worked to draw the moon down to me? What if I scheduled time for me within the time that I had for my real life? What if – crazy thought – I found the bright side of the moon instead of just a silver lining? Because, as he said, grounding is as divine as elevating to the moon and stars.

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So this got me thinking. We come to the High Priestess as supplicants. We ask for what we need, for answers and directions. She is the card for psychics, remember. You need answers, you beseech the High Priestess to show you. You formulate your question and carry it to her. You follow the rules, you mind your manners, and you approach.

And she? She answers. She looks up from her scroll and regards you and then she answers. Sometimes her answer is just a raised eyebrow, but you’ll get something back. She is looking at the deeper mysteries. She is learning. She is trying to keep space between humanity (that’s you, Seeker) and the vast psychic sea so that you don’t become overwhelmed and drown in it. She isn’t readily available. You can’t reach her from behind – the sea lies there. She’s protected on both sides by the pillars – if you want her answers, you have to come at her from the front and make your petition.

She is not supposed to be an easy card. She is not approachable and easy to love like the Empress. She is not helping you find balance like Temperance. She’s not even blunt and sharp tongued like the Queen of Swords. The Prairie Tarot by Robin Ator shows the high priestess standing in front of a crystal ball, with round reflective glasses. So when we approach her, all we can see is ourselves. When we reach her, we are really reaching for our true selves.

I was giving readings at a picnic a few years ago, and I’ve got really sensitive eyes, so I had my trusty old aviators on. One of my clients asked if I could take them off because, “I can’t see you, I look in your eyes and only see myself.” I told her that that’s the point of a tarot reading. I’m the one who can help you with the answers, but the questions are up to you. It’s unsettling to stare directly into yourself. If you remember the oracles from the The Neverending Story, the sphinxes were so terrifying because they show who we really are. Are you brave enough to look? Can you stand between them and withstand their gaze?

When I was struggling with balancing Tarot Me and Every Day Me, the High Priestess challenged me to see myself differently. Instead of walking away with frustrations, she asked me to fold those two parts together to find balance. She sent Brother Thom and Mary K. MF Greer to me to help me integrate myself into my work. It was hard. It is hard, but I’m becoming stronger because of it. I think that the scary thing about looking for answers is that sometimes you get them. So before you ask the High Priestess your question, be sure you’re ready for the answer.

About Melissa

Melissa Cynova is owner of Little Fox Tarot, and has been reading tarot cards and teaching classes since 1989. She can be found in the St. Louis area, and is available for personal readings, parties and beginner and advanced tarot classes. You can Look for her first book, Kitchen Table Tarot, from Llewellyn Publishing in January 2017. Melissa lives in St. Louis with her kiddos, her partner, Joe, and two cats, two dogs, two leopard geckos and her tortoise, Phil. You can reach Melissa at [email protected]. She is on Twitter and Instagram under Little Fox Tarot. Go ahead and schedule a reading – she already knows you want one.

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