The Art card,key 14, is a card illustrating Alchemy, in its purest form. What is problematic for most people is that they believe alchemy is an outdated or ancient form of Chemistry. To an alchemist, chemistry is about dead things, while the Art of Alchemy is creating'" living things". Because minerals and metals did not grow, they were consider excrement by the Fathers of Science. For the Alchemist, the problem then was to elevate metal to vegitable, thus making metals alive. The robe of the Androgynous figure, is green as vegetation, symbolizing this alchemical allegory.
Studying the Art of Alchemy, is recommended if you are to understand the subtle meaning of the combination of opposites, to get "living things" out of the dead.
The Key 14 Art card is the completion of the Lovers Key, Gemini, the divine twins. Sagitarrius is attributed to The Art card, and is the Zodiacal opposite of Gemini, and therefore in alchemical terms, "after a manner", at one with it. Sagitarrius, is known as the Archer, so a primitive form of the goddess Diana "the Huntress" and also a lunar goddess ,is illustrated on the card. The connection between the Huntress and the Moon is illustrated in the shape of the bow on the figure's shoulders.. You may have noted that this figure is depicted as having two heads which symbolizes the completed Hermetic Marriage of the Twins illustrated on the Lovers key 6, as the black and white figures are blended into one androgynous figure.
The Red Lion illustrated on the Lovers card, has become an enlarged White Lion and the White Eagle had become an enlarged Red Eagle. This illustrates a very advanced knowledge of Alchemy, where the Red Lion has exchanged His red blood for her white gluten (the theme of opposites counter-changing, continues as the Eagle turns red). In alchemy, gluten is not of wheat, it is a very complicated scientific formula that takes Chapters to explain....Too much for this blog to handle, so if you are curious about alchemical gluten you are welcome to research it. To further illustrate the equilibrium and counter-change of opposites, the white woman has a black head and the black King has a white head. She wears a golden crown with a silver band, and he the silver crown with a golden fillet. Silver represents the Moon and Gold represents the Sun.
The white head on the right, is extended in action by a white arm on the left which grasps a cup containing the white gluten. The black head on the left, is linked to the black arm on the right, that holds a lance which becomes a torch pouring forth its fiery blood. Thus, the fire burns up the water and the water puts out the fire. Yet again, illustrating the counter-change of opposites, This counter-changing of opposites can also be illustrated in our common lives by the marriage of opposites in husband and wife, and how after time, they both begin acting like the other. This in not unlike the alchemical distillation process, which is done by the slow process of time , as nature does it,rather than under the agitation of extreme heat, as modern chemists do it.
At the bottom of the Art card, water and fire are harmoniously mingled, illustrating a crude concept of the Spiritual idea, which is the satisfaction of the desire of an incomplete element of one kind to satisfy its formula by assimilation of its equal and opposite.
The Art of this stage of the great work, is the mingling of opposites in a cauldron of the Sun (gold) which represents the Father of Life, and in particular, presides over distillation.
We know that the fertile earth is maintained by rain and sun. The process of rain is formed by a slow process of evaporation, which is carried on the air (which is itself a marriage of fire and water) and engineered by the Sun. This also illustrates the formula for continued life, which is death or putrefaction which is represented on the cauldron as a Raven and Skull ( caput mortuum). In this card, the representation of the Alchemy of Life, the union of opposites, by the heat of the Fiery Passion of Spirit ( Will-To- Be) is stated over and over again, For myself, a continuing explanation will be in tomorrows blog, Art key 14, part 2. For the interested parties, a continued investigation into the Secrets of Alchemy is recommended.
Thank you for your interest and comments. May you live long and prosper.