Decoding The High Priestess Tarot Card:
The High Priestess card is assigned to the Hebrew letter Gimel, meaning camel. Spiritually speaking, Gimel refers to how a camel rises when called to serve or perform its duty. Essentially, it alludes to ascending and becoming great.
Camels are known to sit and rest for long periods of time, but are quick to respond to the challenge when called upon. They rise up from the ground and stand tall, carrying the weight on their backs, and taking on the responsibility. Camels also transport travelers to their adventures, delivering them into unknown lands.
The High Priestess Card shows her sitting in the Holy of Holies at King Solomon’s Temple. Holy of Holies, also called Devir, is the most sacred area of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem – a square, windowless enclosure accessible only to the Israelite High Priest. Once a year, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, he was permitted to enter the square, burn incense, and anoint the sanctuary with sacrificial animal blood. By this act, the most solemn of the religious year, the high priest atoned for his sins and those of the priesthood. The priest had to be pure in heart before entering the Devir, or he would surely die.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart” – Psalm 24:3-4. Jesus said it is the “pure in heart” who will see God and experience fellowship with Him (Matthew 5:8). Because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), who can approach Him?-Freedom In Christ
In the Old Testament, everything about the Temple was set up to emphasize the near-unapproachable holiness and power of God. The Day of Atonement was a day of great fear, reverence, and awe. The high priest entered behind the thick veil or curtain separating God from the priests, and only after going through a great deal of ceremonial cleansing. This was done, no doubt, with fear and trepidation, not knowing if he would come out alive. The other priests tied a rope around his ankles to pull him out of God’s presence if it appeared he had expired because nobody else wanted to go in after him.
In the New Testament, there is a radical shift in access to God. The moment Jesus died for our sins on the cross:
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom – Mark 15:38. The relationship between God and humankind had been restored. As the writer of Hebrews says, We have confidence to enter the most holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water -Hebrews 10:19-20.
-Freedom In Christ
The High Priestess can be compared to the Cohen High Priest on the Day of Atonement. Similar to the Cohen, the High Priestess is depicted sitting in the temple holding a Torah scroll, thinking of the 613 commandments (or mitzvahs) which are divided into two sets or categories. There are exactly 248 commandments that must be adhered to, and the remaining 365 commandments are prohibited.