The Qabalistic Thoth Tarot-Key 14-Art:
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, however, in his book 777, made this comment on the Hebrew letter Samekh: It is "The Womb preserving Life. Self-control and Self-sacrifice govern the Wheel."
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.
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symbolic language of the Mysteries, has been superseded by the language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.
Robert Wang goes on to explain, in his text 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.
The Art Card,
is assigned the sign of Sagittarius, which is ruled by the planet Jupiter, which also is the Planet assigned to the Sephira-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- is the Twenty Fifth
Qabalistic Path of Samekh, and is an actual physical process; a
arcane mystery for centuries of Gnostic, Mystics, Tantric yogis, Alchemists,
and Qabalists that is known as 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 Sephira-Chesed, the most refined, point of Microprosopus, to which
the Higher Self is central.
Chesed the 4th
, is the enacting force (phallus) of the Great Mother
Binah's process of "will to
Until the initiate accomplices
the psycho-physical alchemical process of the Path of Samekh, the Higher Self
(Shown as an androgynous figure on the card) cannot be known to the
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" system.
This tempering is an ongoing process of 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 (Kundalini rises).
Once contacted on the Path of Samekh,
the Higher Self will regulate the flow; tempering it so the individual isn't harmed. Often a great jolt of energy, will tell the individual to "back off", and
relax. Because this is a Passionate creative power so overwhelming, it is often described
as Divine Anger, which is apt if we realize that anger is for self-motivation, driving one 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 Spiritual Alchemy 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 (consciousness) being poured on
Fire (Spirit), and Fire is merged with Water, all within the purified physical
vehicle, shown as the Golden Cauldron, i.e. the Master's body. I would recommend that the discerning student of Hermetic Qabalah, 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.
Leading from Yesod
( foundation) to Tiphareth (beauty), the 25th 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 and so below, so above) 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 phrases 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 Child is us reborn and achieved by conquering the Path of Samekh or The Art of Spiritual Alchemy.
Hence, We are not only to be as Moons
, reflections of personality, but also as the
Solar Personality, the Son/Sun, who 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 by spiritual heat, which can only be symbolically described, but
it does not demonstrate the birth itself. Therefore, the symbolism presented on the Hermetic Qabalah's Thoth card, 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 where one begins to Understand the Tarot.
The 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
transformation. Thus we have illustrated on this 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 uninterrupted Spirit into the body, Spirit's
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
This alchemical process 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 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 Art Card. Even the
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, an ebb and flow that is confined (shown as the figure
eight 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 objective minds. Hence the Spiritual Fire that is necessary to inflame our brain, wielding the She/He into the divine Hermaphrodite which produces a alchemical product called the "philosophers stone". A substance that gives "immortality", to the Personality.
The Psyche, is very practical, and it doesn't fix what isn't broken. Therefore, a Personality, that is of the perfect Temper, forged in the Love of Divine Feminine and Masculine in the Solar Logos, will continually reincarnate, with memory of the past and knowledge of the future, for it is now the objective collective of the subjective Soul,i.e. a "Philosopher's stone".
The Jungian Tarot, TEMPERANCE, The Conciliatory daughter,
depicts a young woman rather than the traditional androgynous image. This is to emphasize the need to be innocent (lacking prejudice) in the active, ongoing, spiritual psychical-forging process.
Presented is a ritual on a "natural stone" altar, pouring water onto fire, while also immersing fire into water. Here the meaning is one opposite is mediated by another. The twelve signs of the zodiac are represented as twelve candles which also psychologically symbolize the variety and totality of the human experience; suggesting that in any given situation, we learn to consciously bring opposites into play. Simplistically (to paraphrase Robert Wang) this is inhale/exhale, or "counting to 10", when angry, giving us time to become rational. Also it can mean "counting our blessings", when everything seems to be going wrong.
Subjectively, this tempering of opposites, is simply seeing another point of view, where we debate within ourselves; a type of "Devil's advocate". Therefore, we learn to neutralize the emotional or intellectual significance of any situation. In other words, learning not to take it serious, by being able to observe yourself, while realizing that there are opposites/dualities to everything. Just as a pendulum swings, there is love and hate, happiness and sadness, thoughtful to emotional, all exist in equilibrium in our minds. One may even forge the other, equalizing our feminine (imagination) and our masculine (rationale) on the altar of experience.
Even on a more refined level
refers to a wave interaction of those positive and negative polarities of sexual energy consciously manipulated within the body/cauldron through Tantra Yoga or the little understood mystic practices of Jewish and Christian meditative exercises, which are often described as "spiritual alchemy". Modern science, in it's neurological and physiochemical studies, describes the effects of meditation and/or "mind control" on the physiology of the human form. Often providing remarkable insights into the beneficial effects of meditation through "bio feedback" mechanisms.
When the Art or 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.
- The joining of conscious and unconscious into "one Consciousness", where the "I AM" is consistently observing the "Me", allowing "inner self" and "outer self" communication on a "experience the moment" basis.
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