The High Priestess Spread comes from the website of Thalia Took, an incredible artist who is undoubtedly touched by the hands of the Godessess she honours with her work. She explains it as a spread for helping to know the intuitive mind; the deep, deep ocean below our most conscious thoughts.
Cards 1, 2, and 3 represent the deepest ocean of the unconscious mind, and can represent dreams you’ve had recently, synchronicity and coincidences, inner wisdom, and/or symbols and themes current in your life. There is no order to these, and no judgments are made here; these things just are. Rely on your intuition for these cards especially.
 10 of Cups
First impressions: DROWNING!
There is so much water, it is overflowing. I feel overpowered by the sheer onslaught of water coming at me, unstoppable. Wow. A very powerful reaction to this card. I need to look away and take a breath… Okay. Fertility. Gifts. An endless source, feeding itself; a cycle, as the rain feeds the sea feeds the rivers feeds the cups and back again. Waste?
LWB says: 10 is the symbol for achievement & completion, it represents a turning point – the end of one journey and beginning of another, offers an opportunity for reflection on our life so far, Cups = what we give to life, does it balance with what we take out?
And?: I don’t know. I can’t get past the feeling of drowning under the weight of this card. I feel like I have been given too much. I feel like I have been given too much! Too many talents to choose from, as well as a sense of… undeserving. Why should I have so much, when others have so little? So I ignore my talents in a futile attempt to “restore the balance” -> I waste! There is massive conflict here. I feel cheated by time, because I can never explore everything I want to, and I feel cheated by myself because, well, I DO cheat myself. I need to drink, and drink deep.
 5 of Cups
First impressions: Huh, cups again, but half as many… much more controlled. Perfectly balanced, but also caged. No, not balanced. There needs to be another cup on top. The cups are inside, rather than outside. It seems to be a progression… The light coming through the doorway is important
LWB says: 5 is particularly associated with humankind, traditionally said to be unstable, Cups contain the element of risk -> there is no knowing whether the 5th Cup is sweet or bitter, what is your attitude to risk?
And?: There is a light to guide! I can stay inside and contemplate all disappointments and what is lacking, or I can head into the light. The door is open. Indecisiveness. Punishment for indecisiveness (locked indoors). The phrase “Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink” comes to mind. This environment isn’t completely closed; the roof is open to the sky. There are cracks in the walls. The ships make me think of commerce, or communication, ferrying messages back and forth.
 2 of Pentacles
First impressions: It’s so empty. A blank canvas? And now I am completely inside, with no open windows or doors. The light is green, as if I’m underground. The coins are out of reach -> could this symbolise potential yet to be realised? It looks like the coins are watching, waiting. There is an altar waiting for sacrifice, an offering of some kind.
LWB says: equilibrium & harmony, everything – financial or otherwise – is in balance, balance does not mean we should always receive as much as we give
And?: A parallel to the 10 of Cups: giving vs. receiving. Tallies. Spiritual balance sheet? I’m feeling a struggle between Spiritual and Financial. A fear of being spiritually empty if money becomes God (it is floating above). Or maybe a belief that financial security is unattainable, unreachable in the presence of spirituality. And this environment is completely shut in. Nature has been reduced to a stained glass window.
There is a progression in these 3 cards, moving from outside to inside, and each time the denomination lessens. The light in the doorway of the 5 of Cups could be the light from inside the 2 of Pentacles chapel. I feel the Cups as representing creativity. As I move away from the outside, natural environment, the cups decrease. What flowed freely – natural resources – becomes contained and stale, bitter, and eventually traded for money/civilization and a feeling of emptiness.
I am very afraid of making my art my work, as much as I want to make my art my work! I’m indeed afraid that it will suck the joy out of the creative process if it becomes a “have to” instead of a “want to”.
Cards 4 and 5 are nearer to the surface, though still under it; you are more conscious of these currents, but their roots are deep.
Card 4: This is the shadow aspect of things, the dark.
Card 5: This is the light aspect of things, to balance the dark. Cards 4 and 5 should be in balance and harmony; if they are not, take it as a sign that some work may be needed towards that.
 Ace of Swords
First impressions: The sword bars the gate, locking me inside the city, away from nature. Intellect blocking instinct? The atmosphere is oppressive. The sword points to the earth. There is only 1 sword; it can easily be removed.
LWB says: number of beginnings, strength & self-reliance, opening & awakening, although we are individuals we are also part of the whole, represents the creative principle of the Universe and denote absolute consciousness, Swords are strongly masculine, symbol of the power to destroy as well as ability to engage in linear & rational thinking that cuts through confusion to the heart of the matter.
And?: The sword – reason – is blocking the way to the outside world – nature. I’ve put my masculine side in charge in order not to appear feminine and “weak”. Ne’er the twain shall meet. Perhaps the sword can be a tool to carry out of the city, into the wilderness; my VORPAL sword.
 The Star
First impressions: Night, peaceful, safe, natural. Mixing the elements, she lets her star shine bright. She is pouring pure gold and starlight into the flowing water <- intuition? Her actions mimic the 10 of Cups, but it is more purposeful. She has mastered the flow with gentle grace. She seems child-like and natural; nude, but not naked. The scene is an exotic fantasy.
LWB says: water is symbolic of purification, the lake represents the depths of the unconscious, stars represent the heavenly/higher realms, light up spiritual darkness, nakedness = mysteries are being revealed, bird perched in Tree of Life symbolises spiritual self waiting to drink, what insights flow from the waters of my unconscious?
And?: What a lovely card to balance the Ace of Swords. She is free and wholly feminine, while maintaining balance; she blends the elements with purpose. Is she the High Priestess disrobed? Or a guide -> Tara? This is the beginning of a vision yet to be realised, if I can only TRUST. The Ibis is Thoth? She is young, carefree, at ease.
Card 6: This card is at the surface of the water, where the unconscious and conscious meet; this is how all the previous cards relate to events in your life.
 Prince of Swords
First impressions: He has escaped the city! So why does he look back? Is it longingly, or with a sense of “Good riddance and here’s to new adventures”? It is sunset. His sword is sheathed! The sword that blocked the castle gate? He has exchanged reason for nature; certainty and structure for the unknown and wild. This is a fairytale image; I’m thinking My Little Pony (!) and childhood.
LWB says: archetypal Hero, our most idealistic aspirations, Swords remind us that the Hero has his failings, he is undecided, even best gifts can be destructive if misused and be lost if neglected has single-mindedness made us insensitive to feelings of others?
And?: Not seeing his face is important – for me to decide how he feels? I get sadness; the sadness that comes when you know you have to leave something behind in order to move forward. Mixed emotions. Or perhaps doubt that he is doing the right thing? I get this because he is traveling left, into the past, but looking right, into the future (as is the horse). Wondering: “How can you move forward when you are moving backwards?” A definite choice has been made, though (even if it is confusing); I don’t get any sense of turning back.
Another source says that Princes are easily bored; they need constant mental stimulation. This describes me perfectly. And the warning about neglected gifts makes sense too. I truly feel the indecision of the Prince; the questions and doubt. This is absolutely the issue that is occupying my mind to the exclusion of all others right now. I am at a cross-roads and I know what i want to do, but the safety and tradition of the “city” weighs heavily on my progress.
I’ve read about pulling a shadow card to shed more light on a reading; a card that represents what you might be too afraid/stubborn/unaware to recognise, or an opposing force that isn’t immediately obvious. While this might be seen as complicating things unnecessarily, I think it will be a useful learning addition for me.
SHADOW CARD: King of Pentacles
First impressions: He seems smug and self-satisfied; pomp & grandeur. But he is surrounded by nature and riches. Is this a literal love of money, or a more elemental riches of nature? Connection to 2 of Pentacles… A price on everything? He rides on a horse, no longer connected to the earth like the Prince <- significant. He is a father-figure. My fear that success will make me like my father, overworked and unable to enjoy life in the moment? Money grows on trees!
LWB says: King encapsulates the archetype of the male paternal leader in weaker human form, illustrate conflicting sides of yourself or others who play a paternal role in your life, Pentacles symbolizes the replacement of outmoded ideas with solid facts of Science & Maths, stabilizes but science without humanity can be destructive, Kings remind us to resolve inner conflicts into creative tension to become a “wise ruler”
And?: I really don’t like this card. It upsets me. I want to punch that King in his face. These are all perfectly reasonable reactions to the Shadow, I guess. It’s supposed to be something I don’t want to face, and there it is! Definitely feeling the inner conflict, although I don’t quite understand its roots (Maths & Science??) and my first instinct of “father figure” appears to be on the nose. I can only say that the confusion and muzziness I’m feeling over this card means that I need to spend some time mulling over it. Maybe a future reading will shed more light on the details.
There are 3 cards with indoor setting and 3 with outdoor. 3 cards have “flowing” – light and water. Very interesting that layers of consciousness have been assigned the “correct” suits: water dominant for the sub-, a blend of thoughts and water for the border and pure thought for the consciousness! Now how does earth figure into this…