Marseille Papess
from the Marseille Tarot
illustrated by Jean Dodal
from the Rider-Waite Tarot
illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

‘Papess’ she is called - Pontifica -
Bridging the pillars of the Worlds
She sits guarding the Portal
Holding the Book of the Worlds’ Tales

Which is the anima mundi written
For she who can read it and those
Who hear her tell it; no secrets
For those who see through the Veil.

What is it awaits there
To be discovered? If the curtain falls
From your eyes she will know
And so will guide you along the way.


The name of this card varies across different packs. The High Priestess seems the best title, though its interpretatation as a feminine pope has both historical and etytmological resonances, not least the meaning of pontifex (here with a supposed feminine ending): Pontifex ='Bridge Builder', Pons = 'Way'.

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