I still remember reading a magazine when I was about 15 and figuring out my numerology from my date of birth. My number was eleven, which can also be added to give two. It was only much later that I discovered that the number eleven (or two) is the High Priestess card in tarot.
I’ve always felt like I have a calling here on earth to serve and empower other women. I’ve always been highly sensitive and intuitive and have recently enjoyed embarking on a path to rediscover my feminine gifts. But it wasn’t until I started researching what it truly means to be a priestess that I discovered I was already embodying her in so many ways.
The history of the priestess
Thousands of years ago, before the rise of the Church and Patriarchy, the Goddess religion—an earth based religion—reigned, and the Great Mother was honored. We lived in harmony with nature’s natural cycles and the wheel of the year. Women mirror nature’s life cycle and seasons in our menstrual cycles, which is why they were always deeply honored by their communities. It was the priestesses who observed the lunar cycles and other patterns of nature and used these as a guide to live their lives. For example, when to conceive, give birth, plant crops, harvest those crops, and so on.
Women embraced roles as teachers, healers, mothers, temple keepers, and guides—and they were respected for what they uniquely brought to their communities. They were the weavers and creatrixes of life. Their innately feminine gifts of nurturing, receptivity, intuition, and being in tune with their emotions were powerful, desirable qualities.
Later on, in Egyptian, Greek, and Roman times, priestesses still resided in holy temples, worshiped the Mother, and were highly regarded. But over time, their power was feared by men. The patriarchy twisted their spiritual practices and gifts into an evil, dark force that must be stopped. During the witch hunts, all practicing priestesses were eventually prosecuted and sentenced to death for their beliefs and powers. Their temples were either destroyed or built over with churches, which can still be seen today in the old, abandoned wells and springs at holy sites. The ones who managed to escape left their temples and went into hiding out of fear for their lives. And we carry this internal fear with us as women today in our ancestral lines.
What is the role of a priestess?
What is a high priestess? When wondering what the most concise priestess definition is to share with you, I came across a very brief description on the web, which states that a priestess is “a woman who officiates in sacred rites.” Another definition says that a priestess is “a female priest of a non-Christian religion.”
Bullshit. Priestesses came long before priests. And they are not a female version of the priests you’ll find plucked and plopped into churches today.
A priestess is a woman who walks the bridge between the seen and unseen worlds. She represents mystery, fertility, and the divine feminine. She is highly intuitive and in sync with the natural cycles of the moon. And she holds space for other women in sacred circles and temple rituals. She is a lover, a mother, a witch, and a crone. She is a seeker, a keeper, and a mystic. And she is both a peacemaker and warrior of the world. Her heart is full of kindness and compassion for all beings. She grounds herself in nature and lives in flow with the moon’s cycles. She walks the path of her soul, daring to journey into the wild.
The priestess has long been banished and dishonored, but we are now in a time of remembering. We seek a balance between the masculine and feminine, and we seek out her forgotten gifts.
Women remember their ancient roles as leaders, healers, and sacred wisdom keepers. They remember what it feels like to live their lives guided by their own intuition. And they are reclaiming their power, grace, and sexuality.
This is the path of the priestess.
What is a modern day priestess and what does she do?
Here’s an explanation of the priestess archetype, the qualities she embodies, and how to embrace these in your life today as a modern priestess.
If you’re interested in reading more about the other archetypes, check out this post: The Divine Feminine Archetypes & How To Embody Their Powerful Energy
1. She is dedicated to being of service to other women
Whether it’s a small local moon gathering or on stage in front of thousands, she is dedicated to being of service; particularly when it comes to other women.
The priestess has a deep desire to do meaningful work in the world which serves those around her. She naturally takes on the role of a leader or teacher. Still, She doesn’t see herself as different or superior to anybody else.
The priestess works as a vessel for the divine and bridges people with their highest truth. She offers loving guidance and support to the women she steps into circle with and serves.
2. A priestess is devoted to love & compassion
Love is your default setting with family, friends, and total strangers alike. You view all life on earth as equal, and your strong ability to empathize is what fuels your compassionate nature.
3. She is a natural space holder
A priestess has an innate ability to hold space for others to show up as her authentic self. You might notice this through other people turning to you for guidance or support or seeing you as a leader of some kind.
Holding space isn’t something that you do; it’s a way of being. It’s about being fully present in the moment, being an active listener, and tuning into the vibration of the person or group. You won’t know what you’re going to say or do until the moment comes. You trust that you’ll receive the inner guidance, and then you follow it with faith.
Being a space holder is a powerful gift when it comes to everyday conversations and facilitating circles or leading classes. It allows the people in your presence to feel supported, seen and heard.
4. A priestess is highly intuitive
Intuition is an innately feminine quality. It is present in both men and women, but it is a superpower for women.
As a priestess, you listen to your intuition and trust it to guide you forward. You know that these whispers—in whatever form they come to you—are messages from the divine and your soul.
You use practices like meditation, yoga, writing, embodied movement, oracle readings, channeling, and power pauses to harness and strengthen your intuitive muscle. Because you know that the more you tune into it, the more powerful it becomes.
5. She lives in flow with her natural cycles
You’ve found yourself drawn back to the way women used to ground themselves through the seasons of the year and live by the cycles of the moon. Because the moon represents the feminine—she rules the oceans, the night skies, and the other realm.
You take time to honor the lunar cycle with a new moon ritual and a full moon ritual, whether you’re alone or with sisters. Each new moon is a fresh start and a chance to begin again, while the full moon is a time to expand and celebrate.
You recognize your own cycle mirrors the moon and feel a deep connection to her because of this (read more about this here).
A priestess also works with the wheel of the year, slowing down and speeding up when the moment is right, ignoring the hustle culture we live in today of more, more, more.
6. She honors her inner goddess
A priestess knows who she is on a soul level and chooses to honor that regardless of whether society or the people around her support this.
She creates space to unleash her creativity, be a mother, or make a home with the one she loves. She takes care of her own needs, as well as others’. Boldly, she follows her dreams and walks her soul path, and she’s more than willing to walk in the dark. It’s more important to her to be authentic and stay true to herself than to gain outward approval.
A priestess understands that when she feeds her soul, this channels through all areas of her life: her relationships, her work, and her connection to the divine.
7. A priestess is highly sensitive
Have you ever walked into a room and immediately felt the collective energy of the space flood you?
Are you someone who always feels very deeply?
When someone you love is in pain, does that pain become your own, too?
These are all traits of a highly sensitive person. Sensitivity has often been taught by our masculine-led society to be a weakness, but it’s actually a great strength, and a priestess knows this in her heart.
She can understand without hearing a word. She can listen deeply and offer compassion. And she can navigate difficult conversations with grace and ease.
A priestess will often use her sensitivity by transmuting her emotions into art—writing, painting, singing, gardening, baking, stitching, collaging, taking photographs, making documentaries and movies.
8. She makes ritual a part of daily life
A ritual turns something ordinary into something magical infused with intention and soul.
Maybe you take a healing bath to wash away the day. Light a candle before you begin writing or some incense before your yoga practice. Meditate to ground yourself and welcome in peace and stillness. Or give thanks before you eat a meal in sweet silence.
Solo rituals like these and group rituals (like moon circles) are a beautiful way to honor a specific occasion or intention. They have the power to transform and heal you in the most unexpected of ways.
If you want to learn more about creating a sacred altar for ritual work, check out this article: How To Create A Sacred Altar For Meditation, Magic & Ritual.
Stand in your power, priestess
This is how you awaken to your sacred feminine gifts.
This is how you will find meaning and joy as you walk the path of your soul.
Priestess, this is how you stand in your power and reclaim all that has been forgotten.
How are you embodying the modern priestess archetype in your life today? Let me know in the comments below!