The High Priestess

March 5th, 2024

For fluidity, I will be referring to the high priestess as a “She” because she embodies the sacred feminine but please know she can show up as she, he, or they and is completely comfortable with all these pronouns.


The High Priestess II

Week 3


I am not sure if you have ever read The Mists of Avalon but if you have not, I would encourage you to read it as it is pivotal in understanding the path of this week’s archetype, The High Priestess.  I imagine that are familiar however with the tales of King Arthur but did you know that there is another side to the famous myth and it runs deeper than the romanticized accounts of Camelot?  When Christianity drove paganism out of England, Scotland, and Ireland in the early part of the 6th century, it uprooted the role of wise women as healers, erased the earthy wisdom of the druids, and in so doing banished the spiritual authority of sacred feminine sending it for centuries into hiding. In this fantastic fictional account, Marion Zimmer Bradley narrates Morgain, the half-sister of King Arthur.  Morgain trains for most of her young adult life to be a high priestess in a mythical realm called Avalon.  By forcing the deep magic of women into hiding, women had to practice their gifts in secret and in so doing had to manipulate and mask their power causing it to eventually become dark, twisted, and complex. My favorite passages of the book highlight how the high priestess crosses over the misty lake of Avalon to enter the realm of the Goddess.  As the high priestess’ enters the mists, they raise their hands and thus raise the veil to access a sacred realm, a realm where Christianity could not trespass, a realm where the divine practices of women were still protected by magic. This realm is called Avalon.

I often feel like I live right on the edge of the lake to Avalon.  My home serves as a boat itself that takes people through the mist and into the mysterious realm of intuition and sacredness.   Women pull up to my home with journals and thermoses, shawls and yoga mats, and often even plates of delicious food.  They cross the threshold, putting down more than just their bags, and begin to remember each other again.  “You look familiar” “Reiki level I right?”  “Do you work downtown in Pediatrics?”  “What year did you finish your teacher training?”  We fill our mugs, taste a bite off the counter, and find our seats. Our introductions lead quickly to shares about the arduous hierarchical world of reason, the heaviness of accountability without respect, and the deep exhaustion caused by living in a world that does not recognize alchemy as an everyday necessity.  Gradually as we share, we drop deeper into the energy that runs below the surface.  There is a current that builds when I gather women together.  This truthful and safe current leads us to a sacred place.  It is the riptide that navigates us out and away from the traditional roles we have assumed and glides us back to the shores of our noble robes of mastery, sensuality, instinct, and connection.  As often as possible I gather woman together to remind them that their sacred feminine is safe to reign in their lives. The realm of Camelot is ending, and the dawn on the horizon brings with it the magic we seek. The veil is thin. The mists is clearing and I have had my arms up for a very long time.

When we are born, we innately realize that to learn is to survive.  Our way of showing that we are learning is to mimic.  Quickly we pick up that when someone looks us in the eye and we look back, something happens.  If we smile and they smile back a warm energy fills the room. If they say “mamma…mamma…mamma” eventually we will repeat “mamma” and the room will explode in praise.  Repeating is one of the first spells we learn. The sounding out of a name and finally getting each consonant and syllable to mimmic perfectly is casting a spell. To know a name is to evoke it. From that moment on when we utter “mamma” mamma will appear! This teaches us to experience life beyond touch and acute senses, it teaches us to sense invisible connections.

But there is a fine line between learning and indoctrination.

The high priestess lives on this threshold.   Often someone who is living the life of a high priestess has spent their lives learning how to raise the mists of half-truths and inherited trauma.  They are the truth-tellers, the way showers.  They are the odd ones in the family that don’t seem to have a place.  They are the ones who delay marriage, question if they want children, leave their fiancés at the altar, and fly off to Santa Fe New Mexico to walk a Labyrinth in the desert under a full sky of burning stars.  After they master seeing through the fog and lifting the mists, they dock safely in the stillness of their wisdom. Then something stirs them and they know they need to get back. They turn up with flowers and soup, books and lotions, sage and good gummies. They sit patiently with us as we grapple with the oars of our own dark night of the soul.  With wisdom and the courage that the high priestess has earned, she offers us a way out and helps us make practical plans for building a safe and sacred life on our own terms.

I am surrounded by High Priestess.  Women who have had to leave everything behind and define for themselves who they are and what they require to learn to survive.  One friend sold her home, gave away her cats, handed me her bougainvillea plant to look after, packed up her car and moved to Alaska to offer physical therapy to indigenous families.  Another survived what her lawyer calls, “the ugliest divorce she has ever seen in all her years practicing”. As soon as it was legally safe, she packed up her car and kids on Christmas eve, drove all through the night and moved to a state where he ex-husband was legally forbidden to find her, touch her or lay a hand on her children ever again.  Merry Christmas!  (Which by the way is a pagan holiday.)  Now this amazing woman is studying to be a nurse. This will be her third degree.

Another beautiful woman ended her lease, packed up her tent and sleeping bag, and took a slow scenic drive out to Colorado where she now is an apprentice for building sustainable houses that use all recycled goods.  She posts selfies with these “Earthship” builds in the background.  Her hiking boots are solid to the ground, her hair breaks free from her incredible natural red hair braids and her sunglasses frame her gorgeous tan and free at last smile.  She is now the builder she dreamed of being.  Another friend sold her Italian Pizzeria and moved back to Italy.  Her posts show her gorgeous figure returned, a flair to her hair and makeup, good shoes standing in quaint piazzas that hold handsome men drinking espressos.  She can be found kayaking one day, eating fresh fish in a café by the sea another and even zipping around mountain curves on a moped. She writes me little love notes through Facebook in Italian, urging me to visit her soon, encouraging me to bring women with me so she can share how beautiful life can be. She will have the kayaks ready and the pasta boiling.

Another high priestess just drove out of my driveway in her rental car.  Two years ago she left her 35+ year nursing practice, sold her house, and had her “Wasband” finally get his stuff out of the basement even though they had been divorced for over ten years. Now in South Carolina, she designed and built the house of her dreams and made sure that one of the rooms, the one with the best light, is set up so she can paint any time day or night.  Another friend, after the loss of her son and her marriage, took off to Egypt for a sound healing training in the pyramids.  One day she found herself deep inside a pyramid where she began to sing bravely in a language she did not know.  She came back eyes ablaze, cut two sound healing albums and followed her heart as it fell in love and married a gorgeous Egyptian man 20 years her junior. 20 years later she gave him the boot but has elegantly honored their deep cosmic friendship just the same.  When she sings the heavens open. The cells in the body dance in joy.  She no longer mourns her son.  Her connection to him is far too powerful to ignore. She meets him just beyond the mists where this world can not define him nor her, where her heart is intact and full of magic.

The high priestess is the one who teaches you that before you master the world you need to first learn to take good care of yourself first.  When you are young, she may appear as your favorite teacher, the one who saw your potential and encouraged you to walk your path away from unkind friends.  She may have helped you behind the scenes to secure a scholarship to a summer camp to give you a break from the chaos of a home filled with abuse and addiction.  As an adolescent, she may have appeared as a rebellious friend, the one you stayed up all night with to howl under the moon and hide under the covers with your first set of tarot cards. The one you trusted to finally read your heartfelt poems or songs to, the words that you kept hidden under the mattress because they held in hiding your deepest secrets and even deeper desires.  In college, the High Priestess showed up at a party and dragged you out onto the roof right before you went off and slept with the wrong guy.  Hours flew by as you talked till the sun came up. The very next day with new eyes and courage you changed your major.  She mirrored to you that you were going in the wrong direction, that in fact you were not prelaw or premed like your parents but instead meant to paint or sing or throw clay.  She dressed you for your first gig and pushed you on stage. She took you to your first art gallery opening where you tasted cheap and delicious champagne. She planted the seed for you to see for yourself Michelangelo’s David, then packed up your backpacks, called her aunt who lived in Florence and made sure you stood so close to David that you could breathe deep the grounding smell of white marble carved by genius till it left your cells tingling forever with possibility.

Anytime you dare to turn away from the traditional path and raise your hands in joy and curiosity to a realm that is new, mysterious, and seductive, you can be assured the high priestess is near.  Often people feel her presence when they are inspired to take an action that may even seem selfish or whimsical.  But these nurturing acts are requirements for stepping onto her vessel, closer to your hidden truths. Once aboard her magic activates your potential and most importantly her influence steers you free and clear of walking anyone else path but your own.




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