The Thoth Tarot, Key 14- Art/Temperance
The universal principle of integration; synthesis; synergy.
Everyone of us, as proven by medical science, are both mentally and physically androgynous, therefore in order
for us to balance the polarities, paradoxes, and/or opposites in our
nature, we must balance force of mind and function of form.
Sure, there is only One Energy
but One is always one, and can create nothing. To make multiples, One
became Two and Two joined to make many. I call that Primordial Couple,
The Divine Creative and/ or the I AM. For all of us, the I
joined with The Am
and made the Me.
The metaphysical science of Qabalah, calls this Divine Creative, the Supernal Triangle which is the trinity of the Top three Sephira, on the Tree of Life.
symbol on this Thoth key/card represents union of polarities, a synergy which creates
something new. Synergy is the union of two or more principles that when
united, can create a greater whole.
The Thoth card illustrates:
- Leo the lion; a fire sign drinks from the cauldron with:
- Scorpio, the
phoenix, a water sign. Water and fire combine to make steam which is the
necessary expansion and liberation of water to make rain, oceans and
the living world. Together, Leo, fire and Scorpio, water drink from the
golden cauldron of Air/life force.
- The golden cauldron displays
the bird and skull, motif of life/death, a transformational experience
for all the alive.
- Sun and Moon are portrayed, as the Male solar
electric and the Female Moon magnetic from which all the Stars are
- Sagittarius, the
arrow going up the central part of the androgynous figure, reminds us
that through our alive visions and dreams are how we fully express our
artistry that creates who we are as well as helps us resolve any
apparent conflicts or opposition within our very nature.
The light (Psyche) and dark (Survival mind) of our nature
must be in communion before we can be whole and fully express our
wholeness. The Thoth Art card depicts light and dark arms and faces, combined in union, create
the balanced and tempered Being.
In many other Tarot Decks
, key 14 is called Temperance, which
implies the heating and cooling of forged steel to make a keen, flexible
blade or the slow cooling down process of tempering glass. And in a
way, this process is also represented by the Thoth Tarot- Art Card's
Path of Samekh (meaning -Prop); as it is attributed to the restriction and control over the forces of existence.
Master Theron, in his book 777, made this comment on the letter Samekh: It is "The Womb preserving Life. Self-control and Self-sacrifice govern the Wheel."
Leading from Yesod
( foundation) to Tiphareth (beauty), the Path of Samekh is as from
Moon (Self-reflection) to Sun (Solar Source); from Personality to the
On this very difficult Path, the very enormity of the Great Work ( As above, so below) will be experienced.
the Qabalistic Tarot path of Samekh
, the initiate may experience going
through a long dark tunnel, believing ( not knowing) there is Light at
the end of it. This psychic Path of Samekh, The Art card, has been
called the Path of "the dark night of the Soul",
verifying that this is a Path of trial and temptation.
Samekh, is the Intelligence of Probation,
as Paul Foster Case labels it in his text, THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM.
In various Gnostic texts, it is also called, "Daughter of the Reconcilers,
the Bringer Forth of Life.
All of these descriptions lead us right to the very idea behind this card,
which is the Great Mother Binah. Thus, the central figure of this card,
is Female. Also, the ruling sign of the Path of Samekh, is Sagittarius, the Archer, who is also Diana the Huntress, goddess of the Moon.
All of which repeats
the principle that with the exception of the FOOL (0), all the figures
of the Tarot are Mother Binah (Understanding) and Father Chokma (Wisdom)
in different states of Force and Form.
Another helpful reference book,VOICE OF ISIS- by Hariette and Homer Curtis describes the Universal Mother (The "Womb with a View") as the "power of bringing forth in humanity the Divine Child or the Christ." This bearing of the original Divine Child is us reborn and achieved by conquering the Path of Samekh or The Art.
We are not only to be Moons
, reflections of personality, but also the
Solar Personality, that is the Divine Child, that radiates personality.
Now don't misunderstand, the Art card demonstrates how the experience
of rebirth is brought about, which is to say, through the exchange and
equilibrium of opposites which can only be symbolically described, but
it does not demonstrate the birth itself. Thus, the symbolism here is
not to demonstrate a "deep Mystery", rather this symbolism demonstrates
how limited and inadequate is our language to describe the process. That
is why the Qabalistic Tarot Reader, is not one who thinks that by
memorizing descriptions and numbers of the cards they are a Tarot
Reader. Rather, it is by skrying, and subjectively "walking the Paths",
turning subjective into objective sensation , i.e. the process of actual
experience ....one begins to Understand the Tarot.
The Thoth Art Card
is not nearly so symbolic as some believe, it symbolizes the Alchemical
Art where Fire becomes Water and Water becomes Fire (...."When the
male is no longer male and the female, female." : Gnostic Gospel of
Thomas). This process is describing an actual event/process that
happens in the initiates material body, i.e. an actual physical
Thus we have illustrated on the Thoth card a Androgynous
figure, combining the Water (consciousness with Lightning or Fiery
Spirit) creating in the Golden Cistern (the Human body) what is known as
the Living Water
and/or consciousness vivified by merging with
Fiery/bright and warm Spirit. By bringing Spirit into the body, Spirits
fiery nature not only tempers the consciousness, one also tempers the
Spirit with consciousness, thus forming "something more than the sum of
its parts" with the addition of sensual discernment. A union of Master
and Masterpiece! A Powerful Union of the Collective Soul and all of it's "Personalities" ("I"s) with the personal body consciousness.
It helps to remember that the Psyche/Soul is a microcosmic recreation of the Macrocosm, i.e. A Golden Child and as a Psyche, creates it's own "I-dentities" and that after billions of years of Self Awareness (Since the big bang), this Psyche's name is Legion!In fact, many of the Personalities that Psychic Channel Mediums, channel, are from there own souls!
The alchemical process of Master and Masterpiece union is
often describe by Qabalists as a personal application of the Yod (fire)
and Heh (water) uniting in the body to produce Vau (Air) within the
individual crucible of form which is Heh-final and Earth.
This fire, water and air symmetrical union is
described as a "Spiritual Orgasm" or "The Ecstasy" which is a process
demanding inner manipulation of sexual forces (He-She) and is shown as
an golden energy (in the shape of a stylized arrow) firing upward and
across the shoulders of the Divine figure in the Thoth Art Card.
often flesh-o-phobic Christian iconography, has accepted this Spiritual
Orgasm. For instance, the ecstasy of the 16th century mystic, Saint
Theresa which was described as an angel thrusting a flaming arrow into
her heart .
The symbolical of the piecing
that brings ecstatic enlightenment is actually an archetypal, and
mufti-cultural accepted description of a real process of physiological
transformation! What happens is a rhythmic, pleasuring motion of inner
spiraling energy (Spirit), an ebb and flow that is confined (shown as the figure
eight laying on it's side, associate with the Magus) in very specific perimeters (oval or
womb shaped) but which is taken in either direction at will.
knows that by changing the vibration of inner energy, one raises or
lowers the level of consciousness, moving from Chakra to Chakra or Path
to Path. Simply stated: the Kundalini (sexual energy) acting upon
consciousness produces astral images, the pictures that form our minds.
At first, many students find the symbolism of the Thoth Major Arcana
complicated; However, the principle of the Path of Samekh or Art, is to produce a consciously controlled vision that is limited by will. Therefore the purpose of Hermetic, Qabalistic, and Gnostic symbols is to furnish
descriptions that most anyone can relate to. They are not remote or
really complicated, if you focus on one at a time.
In fact most of the
symbolic language of the Mysteries, has been superseded by the language
of Carl Jung and other psychologists. To Carl Jung, this ability to
consciously control Visions, would be called "lucid dreaming", which is
known to help the individual correct personality disorders.
goes on to explain, in his test book: THE QABALISTIC TAROT," It should be added that the Metals
described in Alchemical literature are the same as the Seven Chakras of
the Hindus, the Seven Planets and the Serphiroth of the Microprosopus
[lower seven on the Tree of Life.]. These words have been used as codes
over the centuries, meaning seven distinct levels of objective
consciousness. Thus when one speaks of a Planet ruling a sign of the
Zodiac, what is meant in the relationship of a Sign to a given center of
energy both in the Greater Universe and in the Human body." (
the brackets are my own explanation).
The Art of awakening
these Psycho-dynamic energy Paths in the Human Body, is the Qabalistic
initiates goal. "To Know Thyself", is to know the "As above and so
below" nature of our Whole Self, composed of Fire (Spirit), Water (Conscious/Emotion), Air (mind) and Earth.
The Art Card
is the sign of Sagittarius, which is ruled by the planet Jupiter,
meaning the Sephiroth- Chesed (Wisdom). Here, we should remember that
Chesed is the architect of all manifestation, working with the "will to
form"and/or "potential to form" of Binah (Understanding).
As explained before,
Art-Key 14- The Path of Samekh, is an actual physical process, and a
arcana for centuries of Gnostic, Mystics, Tantric yogis, Alchemists,
and Qabalists, and is a willed process of directing the communion or
interchange of opposite energies. The beginning of this process is
begun by the Higher Self-; a process which is instituted in the
Sephiroth Chesed, the most refined, point of Microprosopus, to which
the Higher Self is central.
Chesed the 4th
Sephira-Mercy, is the enacting force (phallus) of the Great Mother
Binah's, the third Sephira-Understanding, process of "will to
Until the initiate accomplices
this psycho-physical process of the Path of Samekh, the Higher Self
(Shown as an androgynous figure on the card) cannot be known to the
personality. Thus the Art of "Spiritual Alchemy" describes this Card
and the whole process as a preparation of the Personality, and its
physical vehicle, to deal with the Solar Forces (influx of Light) which
would devastate a "normal" untempered system.
This is an ongoing process of
tempering, measuring and testing, instigated by the Higher Self, to see
how much the physical body can bear. When properly tempered, and the
body can handle the stress of such energy, the arrow is released
Once contacted on the Path of Samekh, the Higher Self will regulate the
flow, so the individual isn't harmed, A great jolt of energy, will tell
the individual to "back off', and relax. Because this is a Passion so
overwhelming, it is often described as Divine Anger, which is apt if we realize that anger is for self-motivation; to get off of one's butt and do something!It could be said that Divine Anger is the motivation for Sagittarius to launch his arrow.
All in all, the Art Card key 14,
is the consummation of the Divine Marriage, depicted on the Lovers
card, Key 6, here the Orgasm of Spirit has been reached. There is a
perfect interchange of forces, as the Red Lion has become white, and the
White lion has become Red.The Art card shows Water being poured on
Fire, and Fire is merged with Water, all within the purified physical
vehicle, shown as the Golden Cauldron, i.e. the Master's body. Get and
read the Text Book, The Qabalistic Tarot by Robert Wang and the Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley for further explanation of this coded process.
The Babylonian Tarot, key 14, Temperance The Tree of Life, being an elegant part of the Babyloniantheology, was probably the root source of the Qabalistic Tree of Life.
Just as the more modern Qabalistic Tree of Life, the Sumero-Babylonian tree depicts perfect balance and symmetry. The Babylonian Tree of Life is located in the center of the garden of paradise, flanked by its protectors; genies, such as the eagle headed spirit or with a winged disc above the apex (shown on the Babylonian Tarot card).
The Sumerian word geshtin, has been interpreted as having a dual meaning of "tree" and "life". However, it was geshtin was also used to describe grape vines, causing some to construe that it was a grape vine depiction. Others have said it is a date palm covered in a grape vine trellis.
Whatever the interpretation, The Tree of Life, is a power symbol of beneficial life giving sap or fruit. Therefore, the Tree of Life was associated with the ritual of "kingship". In the "cone smearing" ceremony, the king was purified, magically protected and anointed, identifying him with the Tree of Life and its fruitfulness and fertility. This ceremony assured the kings ability to distribute the Trees benefits to the people and the land.
There are those scholars
that suggest that the Babylonian Tree of Life, along with it's protective Kerubim was the model for the two trees of the Biblical Genesis story: The Tree of Life and The Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.
The Babylonian Tarot Temperance card, depicts the Tree of Life in full bloom. With roots buried in the earth and its blossoms extended upward, almost touching the Sun God Disc of Samash, whose beneficent rays shine down on the Tree. The sign of Sagittarius is shown at the right side bottom of the card.
When the Art/Temperance card is thrown during a reading, the querent is experiencing or will soon experience:
- A combination of forces effecting realization and action.
- A blending of all circumstances in order to achieve balance.
- Trials and tribulations that lead to the "middle path", arriving at a profound realization.
- That one is blending all circumstances to create balance.
- Balancing the opposite and different conditions of life.
- One is either seeking or has at one's disposal the knowledge to blend different life aspects, thereby creating harmony.
- One has a lot of knowledge to inherit from the Divine and must have active balance to receive it!
- This is the Law of Creativity.
- The Angel that we are must unite with the Animal that we have enlivened in order to be the Divine expression of now!
are brief, for more information or a private reading, email
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