If the Magician/Shaman is academia and practical application, then the High Priestess/Seer is Emotion and Intuition.
While the details of the High Priestess/Seer vary from deck to deck, there are quite a few things that remain the same (At least within the decks I myself have) and I’m going to start with those aspects.
Water resides in all varieties of this card – to one degree or another. Droplets shift around the Mystical Manga version along with the petals from the nearby tree. The massive stone bowl before the Seer is filled to the brim, blue dominates the background of the Shadowscapes card, and – while difficult to see in the above image – the entire landscape behind the RWS Priestess is water (with a hint of land in the green strip on the horizon).
Water is emotion and intuition, and most all of the II/2s in tarot are based on this. While there is a sense of Will in the Magician/Seer step, there is a sense of No Patience for Your BS in the High Priestess/Seer cards. They’ve mastered the internal, the truth is not only theirs to know, but it’s their call how much of it you’ve earned access to.
The Mystical Manga High Priestess card is the second half of the Fool. She is the calm introspection and quiet introvert that stands in difference to the action and flash of the Magician. She is the opposite to Academia – The High Priestess knows there are paths of knowledge and ways of knowing that have nothing to do with the rational mind, and she honors these things. Different from most of the other versions of this card in that she is less a person separate from the querent and more as aspect OF the querent. She has dedicated herself to knowing these things, and mastering emotions and intuition – and is likely to sigh audibly if you haven’t endeavored to keep pace.
The Seer is draped in knowledge – symbols of the tools of all the suits nearby. Staff in hand arrow head hanging from it, stone and water before her. She stands at the World Tree and draws wisdom from its roots. She may speak her wisdom to you in riddles, but it’s hardly her fault you don’t understand plain English. Acting as both guide to ones soul and catalyst for the manifestation of creative and artistic work her wisdom is akin to Trance or Dream symbolism. Possibly more patient than the other 2s, she is still very likely to simply state her answer over and over, waiting for you to understand the meaning vs her trying to provide it in a different way.
The Shadowscapes Priestess moves the most away from the others. She collects the whispers of the stars, trees and very earth into herself, weaving the whispers to form something tangible and from it bringing to the world a literal key of knowledge. A gift she provides the owls, that they may be bearers of knowledge. Her form while she brings this inward – arms reaching out as though she herself is the chalice, pomegranate in hand (a symbol of fertility and death), the wax and wane of the moon embroidered into her cloak – feathers of knowledge at her back. She intuits from her gathered information and passes the literal keys to that knowledge onto the owls. She is the least likely to speak to you in riddles, but you’re more likely to be chasing down owls before you get a straight answer out of her.
The RWS High Priestess sits confident in herself and her position. She faces forward, she is the path that leads to the endless waters behind her. In all likelihood she has determined how much access you’re getting to that vast pool of intuition and emotion long before you even stepped foot in front of her. That determination is still within your control however. In all things there is a proper etiquette – reaching out to the Universe and asking your questions has a protocol to it – a way of providing due respect. As long as you study, learn – and adhere – to the correct way of going about things, you’ll get along with her. She demands you look deeper, that you really drill down to the heart of a question. You won’t get any sympathy from her if you’re dodging the hard uncomfortable parts of what’s bothering you. The answers you receive may seem coded and full of riddles, but the question(s) you pose to her better not be.
The Mystical Manga High Priestess may turn her back on you if you bullshit her too much, the Seer might just give you a blank look and send you away, and the Shadowscapes High Priestess may send you off to the wrong owl, but the RWS High Priestess is like to get conk you one upside the head if you sass her.
The paths on this journey take another small step in separation. One is a journey of self, another is a journey of Life, another a journey of the Universe and the final a guided tour down the rabbit hole.