The High Priestess holds sway over intuition. Where the Magician's knowledge pertains to things without, the High Priestess teaches the Fool how to look within for the answers they seek.
She is a peaceful observer, choosing to take time to contemplate her emotional and intellectual stake in a situation before making any important decisions... but her power and independence are not to be underestimated.
The High Priestess is very closely linked to the element of water, since it, too, can be deep and full of mystery or secrets.
Hero's Journey Aspect: The Mentor, but in a more self-discovering sense.
Common Symbols: Water, a scroll or book, pomegranates, a veil, trefoils or triple circles, an equal-armed cross, pillars, a crescent moon, serpents, night
Examples In Plot: A priest, wise woman, psychic... anyone whose role is to help the character examine their own thoughts more closely.
Character Archetypes: Quiet, reserved types who hold unexpected depths of wisdom. The Priestess can be any character who helps another access their internal compass. They do not have to be a woman ... simply someone very in touch with their inner self. (My favorite pop culture examples are Yoda, and The Oracle from The Matrix Trilogy.)
Upside-Down: Someone who is ignoring or unaware of their own thoughts and feelings, out of touch with their intuition. They cannot see the forest for the trees. Alternatively, they could be over-emotional.
Concepts To Consider...
For the character: Do they listen to their intuition? Is it strong or weak? Perhaps there is something they should know, but are choosing to turn a blind eye to.
For the author: If you're not sure where to take a scene, sometimes it's best to just start letting the words come to you. If you don't feel comfortable with that, pull another card and see what it has to say to you ... without consulting the Author's Oracle or another tarot book. Take your ideas from the image itself.
Mysteries or Secrets
For the character: Add something to a scene or character that the reader can see, but the character cannot. Or, give the main character something they need to hide from the rest. How long can they keep their secret hidden?
For the author: Your story doesn't have to be a traditional mystery to hold questions. Think about what questions you want your readers to be asking themselves ... then decide when and how they would best be answered.
For the character: The traditionally "feminine" aspects are tied strongly to emotion and nurturing. Is the central character of the scene an emotional one, or is it someone else? Do they need to be nurtured? Or are they overly emotional, and reacting too strongly to a situation?
For the author: Consider how they affect the scene you're writing. If you can make your reader feel, you've already won half the battle.
For the character: Are they looking closely at the matter at hand, or blindly plowing through? If they overlook a detail that could come back to bite them in a later scene, it makes a great plot device if used to good effect.
For the author: Every author is told "show, don't tell" ... but the trick is to only show the reader as much as the central character in a scene would notice. Try to look at the scene through your character's eyes ... a plumber who comes to do a job would notice the dripping faucet in the sink, not necessarily the color of the curtains.
For the character: It could be argued that this is the crux of just about any story: the main character has to accept, discover, or even change some part of themselves in order to make things turn out. Take a good hard look at them and try to figure out what that is. What other aspects may they have had to face prior to your story? Are there any that they aren't aware of yet?
For the author: Make a list of what you feel your writing strengths are (one of mine is characterization). Then, try to pinpoint your weaknesses. If you're having trouble with a scene, one of your weaknesses may be to blame. I suggest reading something by an author who excels at that weakness, and trying to see how they use their words to make it work. By all means, don't plagiarize them, but see if you can apply a similar technique to your own writing. Laurell K. Hamilton builds tension by keeping many of her sentences short, for example.
For the character: Give them a stake which can be rewarded by waiting... this works particularly well in a scene if they really, really don't want to, but have to.
For the author: Let what you're working on sit for a while. Consider it from as many angles as possible. Eventually, what you need to move forward will come to the surface.
For the character: There are many tasks that can be mastered by studying them beforehand, but some which are only learned through experience. Give them one of these sort of tasks, and see if they fall or fly!
For the author: This is one of the most important lessons I've learned: for every single thing about the writing process which makes you want to tear your hair (or pages out of your notebook), there is someone out there in the writing community who has found a way to own it and make it better. Reach out to your peers and see what they have to say! If you haven't created an author network yet, drop me a line ... I'll introduce you to mine!
Thanks for dropping by for this week's installment of the Author's Oracle! Please come back next week, when we'll be taking a look at The Empress!
I'd be grateful if you'd help support me by clicking below: