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The Magical Tarot – The High Priestess

August 3, 2013

Goddess of Silver

by Madeline Montalban

It is a curious thing that many who write to me on occult subjects often ask long and involved questions, and then wind up their letters by asking: “But is it all superstition?” That is the wrong attitude with which to approach the occult, and to use the word “superstition” as a synonym for nonsense is wholly wrong.

“Superstition” is derived from a Latin word which signifies survival, or “the sign surviving the thought”, and any superstition is the garbled survival of some ancient ritual. Almost all superstitions are folk-lore survivals of some maxim, or marvellous secret of occult wisdom.

scan0014The Tarot pack as known today is no more than “magical shorthand symbols” for great truths. Many have asked me: “What is the true Tarot pack like?” The answer is that all Tarot packs are “true” ones, but the symbols on them often differ.

I possess a very strange pack indeed in which No. 2, the Priestess, is represented by the Indian symbol of Adda-Nari, which you see here, and which, symbolically, has some of the trappings of the Wheel of Fortune.

All emblems contain the same secrets and belong to the true philosophy. The Wheel of Pythagoras, for instance, is a pentacle analogous to the Wheels of Ezekiel, and the four living creatures of Ezekiel’s Wheel and those of Adda-Nari, the goddess priestess, are linked. [Miss M. is probably referring to the four symbols held by the goddess Adda-Nari. A.T.]

No. 2 in the Tarot is Moon-ruled. Adda-Nari’s four arms represent the four phases of the Moon, and lunar mysteries form a solid base in occult teaching. The Moon can be compared to a Wheel rolling around the Earth, which in turn is another Wheel rolling around within the great wheel of the Universe. The very phrase “wheels within wheels” refers to magical lore, since all planets (wheels) move within the Great Wheel of the Universe.

Adda-Nari represents a fully taught and qualified Priestess who is a female magician, and whose magical art is based on understanding and practice of the laws of “ebb and flow”, which are also those of supply and demand. She is connected to No. 18 of the Tarot, the Moon, whose number was held to be that “Of all religious dogma, which is at once all poetry and mystery”.

Adda-Nari’s arms, or Moon phases, represent the Cup (Ace of Cups, or Chalice of the Moon); the Lotus Sceptre of Knowledge, the Serpent Ring of Wisdom, and the Sword of Finality.

The Chalice is the New Moon, or Cup of Rising lunar Power. The lunar sceptre is that phase when things which occurred during the previous lunar phase reveal their purpose. The Serpent Ring represents the ability to know when a thing must wane or pass away. The Sword of Finality is the ability, under the right lunar phase, to put an end to things that are not desirable.

The Moon is horned, and the Moon-Calf appears at her feet. She is the Sister-Spouse of the Sun, the reflector of his light, and the solar beast crouches beside her. Adda-Nari stands within a Magic Circle of enclosure, representing the enclosed, or secret, powers of a true priestess, and the Fountain of Waters (the seas and watery places that the Moon rules) springs from her head.

Magical (which is occult) knowledge “went underground” and concealed itself in symbols when certain religions, in their anxiety to extend their own faith, sought to conceal the origin of their dogmas and, to this end, condemned all magical books to the flames.

But the knowledge in the minds of the instructed could not be condemned. They hid the truths in symbols and pictures. The true wisdom is not, and never will be peddled in the market-place, for an excellent reason. Were it to be taught and preached openly, persecution would follow from the bigots, or derision from the ignorant.

Some who are meant to know, and who have the ability to be taught, find that the Door eventually opens, and they pass within the portals of knowledge. Once inside, by a curious parallel, they soon lose the desire to talk about what they know, for what person, given a jewel of fabulous value, would bestow it upon another?

Yet, if you really seek, and want to find a way in, ask of those who know. The Mysteries might be waiting for you. If so, your knock on the door will be heard.
[Prediction, November 1962]


From → tarot

  1. Stuart permalink

    I find myself these days with one tarot deck it’s a rider wait deck. But I find myself not just reading the cards but reading what others write about them just a frequently. They have helped me sit back and calm my emotions enough to think for awhile in everyday subjects and evenplum the depths of myself. The sad ignorant truth of modern society I believe you touched on in this article, is simply thier failure to see the value of our intuition. I am always quiet thrilled to see I am not the only one who sees that.

  2. Jen permalink

    Dear Auntietarot,
    You refer to a “strange deck” You have: “I possess a very strange pack indeed in which No. 2, the Priestess, is represented by the Indian symbol of Adda-Nari”.
    Would You please Tell me the author or the Name of the deck, because I am searching for this!
    Thank you from the Heart,

    • Hi Jen,

      The article you refer to was written by Madeline Montalban, not by Auntie or by me. Sadly Ms Montalban didn’t reveal which deck she was describing.

      Tony Willis

  3. Martin permalink

    Wow. Love what you said. Thank you for clarifying. I’m trying to find myself after being lost-
    This helps immensely. Be well-🙏🏻

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