Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot- Key 14: ART & The Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 14: TEMPERANCE
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Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot- Key 14: ART & The Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 14: TEMPERANCE

The Tarot of EliComparison of the Thoth Tarot-Key 14: Art & The Barbara Walker-Key 14-Temperance.


A.Crowley had good reasons for calling the traditional Temperance Tarot Card, Art, because this card is about the Alchemical art of uniting opposites, to get something more than the sum of its parts. However, it is also a kind of Temperance, such as one would experience when tempering iron in a hot forge and dousing the white hot iron in cool water, to temper it into blade- steel. Steel being more than the sum of fire, iron and water because of the Art of the hammering black- smith.

Therefore,The Thoth Tarot- 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 What is problematic for most people is that they believe alchemy is an outdated or ancient form of Chemistry.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 vegetable, thus making metals alive. The robe of the Androgynous figure, is green as vegetation, symbolizing this alchemical allegory.
 
Studying the Art of Alchemy, albeit often "hidden" by mystical language, is recommended if you are to understand the subtle meaning of the combination of opposites, to get "living things" out of the dead.

The Thoth- Key 14 Art card is also represents the completion of the Lovers Key-6, Gemini, the divine twins. Sagittarius 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. Sagittarius, is known as the Archer, so a primitive form of the goddess Diana "the Huntress"  and also a lunar goddess (Elaine), 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 often takes chapters to explain,
so if you are curious about alchemical gluten you are welcome to research it. However, some have named it “white magnesia.” One philosopher translates this as “magnet of Jah,” (Jah=Persian Goddess of Wisdom) or, the attractive principle of Divine Wisdom.  This magnet is the power of attraction which establishes the orbits of the planets and the astronomical order of the heavens. It is the First flow of the Magnetic-Feminine Principle of "Will to Form". It is even called the Universal action of the "Law of Attraction".

To further illustrate the equilibrium and counter-change of opposites, on the Thoth Tarot key 14, the white woman illustrated on the Lover's card, 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. This also reinforces the opinion that the figure on the Art card is Androgynous. For, in the Thoth Tarot-Key 14, the Image of a two faced Womb-man, one dark and one light. This is because there are two stages to the Goddess, Womb of All,The Dark Womb, that is the "Bringer forth of light" and the Light Womb that is the Birth/prop of all form. Therefore the Thoth card Shows The Great Mother-Binah under different guises. The Dark Face would represent the Vast Dark Ocean of Unconscious and the White face would be representative of Diana the huntress-an representation of the ActiveGluten, that also governs the tides of earth and the fluctuations of the Astral currents. What many of us forget, that to give birth to an idea, is a feminine principle, while to animate that formed idea, is the masculine principle. Therefore, the Goddess is God and visa verse.

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 (Phallus). 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 modify and then begin acting like the other. This is similar to 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. 

The meaning of the Hebrew letter Samekh is PROP, and must be explained in depth by the use of symbols, as words are unable to convey the Art.

Sagittarius is the zodiacal sign that governs this card and it is known as "the mutable fire". Diana, being The Huntress, is known for her Bow and Arrows as is Sagittarius. In the Thoth Deck card, you see the image of the Great Mother, joining the Water of the Silver Cup (Moon-Womb of tides and astral currents) and the Lightning bolt-Arrows of mutable fire as the combination of water-fire pour into a fired cauldron of Gold; the Stellar Womb of visible light. Male force is Electric, making the Lightning bolts appropriate symbols, and female force is magnetic which contains electric force, making the cups and cauldron appropriate symbols.

The Fire is the representation of the Fiery Spirit force of Kether (Crown) who is the One Source of the duality that is Mother/Father God. This is a Forged creation called " Living-Matter" which because of the Art of the Great Mother and Father, the combining of His "Will to Force"/Her " Will to Form" forces with the Heated Spirit Passion of Kether (1st Sephiroth) that is known as Ehyeh ( I Am That I AM or "I Will Be"), becomes more than the sum of its parts because it Lives after the forging as "I AM ME".

Binah, in the formation represented on the Thoth Tarot, is the Womb Preserving Life, as are the Sun and the Moon union, the preservers of Earth Life. Hence, with Her Art, Binah controls  and restricts natural energy making sure that all states of the One Energy are bound (magnetic) and restricted (time-space) and manipulate (electric) within those restrictions and boundaries by the Will that is Spirit which forges the Original Personality of the Divine Child.

The Art /Temperance Card- key 14 is the Hermetic Qabalah's Path of Samekh, that runs between Tiphareth ( #6-Beauty) and Yesod (#9-Foundation) on the Middle Pillar of the Tree of Life (see illustration). Yesod as foundation, is the Prop for earthly manifestation of life forms. The Path between Tiphareth and Yesod is the Great Mother as, "The power of bringing forth in humanity the Divine Child or the Christ."{From the book: Voice of Isis by Hariette and Homer Curtis] .

Qabbalistically, this is expressed as the knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, as illustrated on the Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 14, that assists us in the Rising on The Path of Art/Samekh, a rhythm of "baby steps" which leads to our bearing of the Child, which is ourselves reborn as the Real Person. In other words, we are able to claim our inheritance as the Divine Children of All Mother/Father God,i.e. The Divine Creative. To be more explicit our bodies become the Honey Moon suite of the Divine Couple as they combine within us and actually change our Temper, but like all sexual and/or alchemical unions, it is done in a matter of steps!

Key 14 is the beginning of a divine awareness of the Higher Self of Tiphareth (Christ/Buddha consciousness) brought about through an exchange and balance of opposites that can only be symbolically described. Crowley shows this as Fire becomes Water and Water becomes Fire which is an actual alchemical physical manifestation in the body of the Initiate on the Path of Samekh. This merging of opposites, tempers the energy opposites in the body (as water tempers heated iron) and is shown as a Stream being poured back and forth between the cup an cauldron (a flow of opposites often represented as the figure 8) on the Thoth Card and between cup and cup on the Barbara Walker Temperance Card.

The Living Water/consciousness merged with Fiery Spirit is a sexual communion; a vital dance of restricted and bound forces that make all life possible. In the Initiate, this is experienced as a energy flowing cyclic rhythm of  the Feminine-Anima (Spirit) and the Masculine-Animus (Soul) that never stops and slowly gains in Power. The symbol of an arrow (in the Thoth Deck card the arrow is a surrealistic design on the Robe of the figure) being released upward is representative of Spiritual Orgasm often called the Ecstasy or The Rapture. From personal experience I know that this Divine Ecstasy tempers you! It is indeed Ecstatic to feel Your Divinity flow within your body....but this comes only after the fiery forge of Spirit and hammering of your personality by The Real Person, one blow at a time, and tempered with continual dipping in to the Conscious of Mother as the Intelligence of Probation. This is one of the Three Paths to the "Dark night of the Soul" , that many babble about but few experience. This concept of self-conscious annihilation, is one that terrifies the little ego's of man made humans for it is a perspective change from "I-me-mine" of the self-absorbed blame seeker, into the Powerful SELF-RESPONSIBLE Perspective of the Divine Child of I AM ME!

By observing the Tree of Life, you can see that there is a Left hand Path, a Middle Path and the Right Hand Path. The Path of Samekh is the Proclaimed Middle Path of the Christ/Buddha consciousness. The Left hand path is of the Goddess/Unconscious and the right Hand Path is of the God/consciousness. We are the Gnosis (Knowledge) of the Middle Path, the Honey-Moon-Suite of Their Creative Dance.

As you can see, this card is so packed full of information it requires diligent meditation and research, only a small part of which I can share here.

The Thoth Tarot, Key 14- Art/Temperance
The universal principle of integration; synthesis; synergy.

We all 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 mental force and emotional-form (energy motive form). Sure, there is only One Energy but One, as the first law of Thermodynamics points out. But one is always one, and can create nothing. To make multiples, One became Two, "I" and "AM"("other") and Two joined to make many, "ME". I call that Primordial couple, The Divine Creative and/ or the I AM. For all of us, the "I" joined with The "Am" and the resulting synergy made "Me". 
Every symbol on both the Art/or Temperance key-14 Tarot card represents union of polarities which creates something new. Therefore this is the Art of Synergy, which 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.

 As stated: 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 "selves" are created.

Sagittarius, the arrow going up the central part of the androgynous figure, reminds us that through our living visions and dreams is 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/instinctual mind) of our nature must be in communion before we can be whole and fully express our wholeness. The light and dark arms and faces, combined in union, create the balanced and tempered Being.


In many other Tarot Decks, such as the Barbara Walker Tarot, key 14 Art, 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 (A. Crowley), however, in his book 777, he made this comment on the letter Samekh: It is "The Womb preserving Life.  Self-control and Self-sacrifice govern the Wheel."
Therefore the life motion and or Fate, as depicted in Tarot as the  Wheel of Fortune and or Karma is governed by the synergy of Anima and Animus. 

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 Higher Self and/or Real Person.
On this very difficult Path, the very enormity of the Great Work ( As above, so below) will be experienced.
Also on 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 Qabalistic 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.
 As "enlightened beings", we are not only to be Moons, reflections of The Real Person (Soul), but also the Solar Personality, the Golden Person (Christos or Buddha consciousness), 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 "deeper 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-inward, into objective-outward- sensation ,i.e. in the process of actual psychosomatic experience one begins to Understand the Tarot.

Therefore 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/chemical transformation. Thus we have illustrated on this card a Androgynous figure, combining the Water (unconsciousness with Lightning or Fiery Father-consciousness) creating in the Golden Cistern (the Human body) or on the Temperance Card, The Soul/Holy Guardian Angel, with one foot in what is known as the Living Water  and/or the "Universal Collective Unconsciousness" (coined by Dr. Carl Jung) and the other on Earth, while pouring the gluten of the First matter, vivified by merging with Fiery/bright and warm Soul as seen by her golden wings.  By bringing the Original Psyche into the body, the Golden Child's fiery nature not only tempers the consciousness, one also tempers the dreams of the Unconscious with consciousness, thus forming "something more than the sum of its parts" and with the addition of sensual discernment, an intimate experience as "Self"; A union of Master and Masterpiece!

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-life forces (He-" Will to Force" and She, "Will to Form") and is shown as an golden energy in the Thoth Card, (in the shape of a stylized arrow) firing  upward and across the shoulders of the Divine figure. This Golden energy if also depicted on the Temperance Tarot of Barbara Walker's , as golden wings on the Holy Guardian Angel. 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 arrow 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 and/or lemniscate, associate with the Magus) in very specific perimeters (oval or womb shaped) but which is taken in either direction at will.

The Magus, knows that by meditative 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 "self images".


The Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 14: Temperance:

Illustrates the traditional Holy Guardian Angel of Tarot. The true key to this angelic being, exists in the Lover's card, key 6, as Gnostic mystics place Love, in a central position between  Death and the Devil, as does the Tarot: 
"What is stronger than Hell and Death? Yet Love is the triumphant conqueror of both...Love is of a transmuting and transforming nature. The great effect of Love is to turn all things into its own nature, which is goodness, sweetness, and perfection." [Silberer, 352]

Therefore this Angelic Symbol, is the "Inner Secret Lover" of ritual magick lodge fame and/or The Anima. Representing the Holy Guardian Angel, as a female image pouring water from one cup to another, goes far back in the antiquity of Asia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt, where the mingling of male and female waters, was a symbol for Universal Sexual Union, i.e. The Universal Collective Unconscious and the Conscious Father (believed to be the Sun).

In the myths of Sumer or Babylon,  referred to the cosmic fertilization of creation itself (The Divine Creative) and  the birth of the World, to the pouring of seminal waters from Father Heaven (Apsu) into the uterine waters of Mother Sea (Tiamat), from whose depths all things were born.
Therefore, it became standard issue to view father gods as rain-makers and mother gods as a personification of the Ocean or Sea. This philosophy was not far off, as we know this action of evaporation to be an intercourse of the Sun radiant energy with the Earth- Oceans; producing both rain and air. Even the Hindus accorded this union among cosmic forces, for Shiva (god) and Kali (goddess)merged into perfect bliss," like the pouring of water into water", whereas the sexual union of male and females on earth was but an imperfect copy.

What is also interesting here, is that the number 14, was the number of Osiris's days in the underworld, after his death at the hands of his brother Seth (The Reconciler). In this Egyptian myth, Osiris's entire round-trip, leaving the deepest pit to the crest of Heaven, occupied one lunar cycle depicted by his body being disassembled into 14 pieces, one for each night of the waning Moon.
He was reassembled by Isis, who unable to find his phallus, made him one out of earthen clay.
 In many similar myths, it was the sustaining power of feminine love that brought back, savior, or hero from the underworld. Even Dante needed his Beatrice ( meaning: "She knows") to bring about his passage from the nether regions to the heavenly mount.

Another arcane reason, according to the mysticism of sects like the Cabiri and others, for naming the #14, Temperance, was attributed to the "tempering" of the male sword/phallus, in the sacred fire of passion.

In the occult, the "secret inner Lover", is the Real Person, The First Persona of the Spirit, which is called "the soul". Here, the body has  an inner honeymoon suite, where the Lustful Passion of Spirits "I AM", reaches synergy with the outer self-conscious of "Me", as impassioned lovers. The flowing of power released from such a communion, raises the consciousness of the Individual.

When the Art or Temperance  card is thrown during a tarot divination, it means:
  • 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 Mind that we, consciousness, have enlivened in order to be the Divine expression of now!
  • It means a composition of opposites are coming, or will come together by Divine Intervention to preserve the spiritual-living progress of the Querent.
  • This can be severe, as all forging is, but it is to expand and liberate your personality from the hell of man made definition.
  • The Querent is combing the reason of consciousness to the dreams of the unconscious, creating in Art, science or business.

Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!


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