Pope Joan Alone

“Then I saw why there must be priestesses as well as priests; for there is a dynamism in a woman that fecundates the emotional nature of a man as surely as he fecundates her physical body; this was a thing forgotten by modern civilization which stereotypes and conventionalizes all things, and forgets the Moon, Our Lady of Flux and Reflux.”
Dion Fortune
The Sea Priestess

Dion Fortune was a rare and special person. A REAL priestess…one of the very few I have come across. Her life was quite tragic and short, and her legacy mostly forgotten. Those who truly pierce the veil should expect to suffer for it.  Loneliness is the first lesson any magus has to learn. Maybe this is why I gave her no animal companions. And thinking about the downfall of Pope Joan, who inspired the hat, it was loneliness that drove her to the affair with her young servant, and thus to her exposure (giving birth in public). In Emmanuel Royidis’ romantic novel on the subject, she escapes the wrath of the mob, but I am sure in reality, she was murdered by them. He was just too in love with her to write about it.

From a broader perspective, the vast tragedy of humanities crippled spirituality is largely a result of the historical denial of female priesthood and female godhood (Shekinah), and the persecution of women (and men) who defy it. Genocide is not a happy subject, which is maybe why this card surprised me with it’s sadness. The church can never be anything but a plague on mankind in these circumstances, an increasingly irrelevant blight on the ignorant and gullible. And though its direct influence diminishes by the day, it’s ghost lives on in so called “scientific rationalism”. God is not dead (the old bastard) but alive and well in the Machine. Human beings can never deny their spiritual aspect. It will merely come back to bite them on the ass, like everything else they try to ignore. This problem has to be tackled for us to have any hope of evolution. Is there any hope?

Whosoever Knows his maleness
And guards his femaleness;
he is the gorge of the world
If he is the gorge of the world
eternal life does not leave him
and he becomes again as a child.

Tao Te Ching

Actually this card is full of Innocence. She is unsoiled by the material world. A Virgin unto KIA. Maybe it was a good card to paint in a Venus retrograde.  I am quite pleased by how it has manifested, though it has been a struggle. A whole month of painstaking work. Many dozens of hours. Not an easy card, and probably not one everyone will like. But I feel somehow established now. As if a gateway has opened before me.

“She is the passive link between the physical and spiritual planes, through her it is said, God can be realized in the heart of man, hence her title “The Indwelling Glory”. ”
Alfred Douglas

8 responses

  1. Wonderful. I love the window behind her, the ornate trim in it. Are the S and W on the pillars for your initials? Also, will you be doing a companion book for the deck? There’s so much detail in all the paintings, I don’t always pick up on everything.

    November 5, 2010 at 7:25 am

    • I usually find somewhere to put my initials. In the Death and Fate cards they are in the Solomons’ Seals. In the Chariot they are under the Lotus.
      And yes! I will have to do a book. I certainly couldn’t let anyone else do it. I fancy myself as a writer you see, in spite of the fact that my only writing is journals. I have kept handwritten diaries all my life and they are the power behind the paintings and everything else. This deck without a commentary would be a Halber Mensch.

      November 5, 2010 at 7:45 am

  2. This is a lovely version of the (High) Priestess. I love the “Moon reflecting on water” imagery in the background.
    By the way, I don’t know how long it will take you to finish, but when you do, or are close, if you’re interested, contact me about participating in my blog’s “Deck Creator Forum” interviews. To see ones I have done so far, see: http://jamesricklef.wordpress.com/category/deck-creator-forum/
    Bright Blessings,
    James Ricklef

    November 6, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    • Thank you! 🙂
      I’d love to do an interview, but realistically it could be a year or more before I have anything near a full pack.

      November 7, 2010 at 7:34 am

      • Get in touch then, ok?

        November 7, 2010 at 5:14 pm

  3. This card holds a special place in my heart. Your interpretation is quiet knowing. Some other cards make the High Priestess aloof or ethereal. Beautiful.
    I also admire the work of Dion Fortune.

    February 20, 2011 at 2:41 am

    • True wisdom should make a person compassionate and centered, not aloof. A priestess is a conduit for universal love and healing, not an unreachable ideal.
      Dion Fortune was also a Tiger.

      February 20, 2011 at 8:37 am

  4. Pingback: The Priestess « Tigerbrite's Blog

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