Friday, September 16, 2011
Wandering: The Priestess's Path
I went wandering with the wee ones recently & on this particular jaunt, I found myself thinking of a friend of mine. When you enter the park from our direction, you have to navigate a steep hill that drops into a dense stand of birch trees -- it was undoubtedly the trees that made me think of her. There was a special quality in the air that day & I found myself looking up at the trees, not at the ground where my beloved fungi generally dwell. I was preoccupied with the trees & not at all invested in seeking mushrooms. As we walked, I paused to photograph the towering birch & I remember thinking how odd it was, those trees, that day, how odd that I was so charmed by them.
Then I came upon it. The path. The path I passed nearly every day with little care to notice, had taken on a new quality, a depth of meaning I could not quite articulate.
So I took a photo & said to the Little Lad, "This is perfect for her. This is her path."
It was only after I opened the image files & began to make enhancements that I saw it. There was a deeper message & a symbolic richness to the image I captured, something to be unraveled, made sense of -- this was not just a path amid the birch trees.
If you are not familiar with the Tarot, card number II, The Priestess, is frequently depicted as a woman/priestess/popess, etc. seated between two pillars. The pillars have many symbolic interpretations; they might be white & black, with 'J' & 'B' upon them representing Jachin & Boaz of the Temple of Solomon, they can be dark & light, representing night & day, or they might represent two disparate choices. Some view them as the Pillars of Wisdom from The Tree of Life while others believe they represent the seen & unseen, or the aspects of female & male. The interpretations abound, but the universal agreement is that the Priestess serves as the link; the bridge, the moderator, the central pillar, the balancing force between two opposing sets of conditions.
The Priestess is serene, almost impassive. She sits in the balance; objective, perceptive. Her card represents many things, among them, esoteric study & learning. She is a symbol of gnosis gained through feminine intuition & a symbol of initiation into wisdom. Her mysteries are those of woman & of goddess. The complexity & abundance of what can be learned from her path cannot be overestimated. She offers fearsome trials, the rewards of which are measureless.
With Photoshop, I confess to some limited talents. However, I made only very minor adjustments to this photograph. I cropped it to center the path more squarely in the middle, used a dry brush artist filter (for the paint-like texture) & then intensified the tones/hues. The trees did all the work. How & why they grow like this -- a pointed duality along the path -- I can only wonder.
Perhaps you too recognize this path, perhaps you are walking it, or have walked it at some time in this life. Consider yourself among the most fortunate. As for my friend, she will know this piece is for her, she will recognize the path. I take no credit for this message. I am just a person with a camera, a wanderer. A wanderer deeply honored to be the the courier & interpreter for this communiqué from the gods. Blessed Be, my friend.