What was that about the Temperance Card?

OK, it turns out the sound quality of the video I did the other night, Zen Master Taking Out the Garbage (Part 1) elsewhere on this page was poorer than it should have been, and people have asked me for a transcript, including the long Aleister Crowley, book of Thoth quote, so be it

This and the two (or three) videos that will follow in this sequence comes from new insight I’ve gained into the Fool’s Journey, in this case in the three card sequence, Temperance, The Devil and the Tower.

Satori, enlightenment, Shaktipat, that one moment of awakeness where you feel godhead flowing through you and everything feels right. You neither want nor don’t want. It is neither pleasure nor pain and words are just inadequate to describe it.
One Definition of the Temperance card is as follows:

“Your Holy Guardian Angel appears in a fleeting golden moment, suspended in a beam of light. She draws the fire of heaven down from above as she summons earthly energy up from below. You are being prepared for an alchemical wedding, which will empower and transform you forever.” 1

Temperance Card from Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti

Aleister Crowley has this to say about the Temperance card which he calls Art

“This card is the complement and the fulfillment of Atu VI, Gemini. It pertains to Sagittarius, the opposite to Gemini in the Zodiac, and therefore, “after another manner,” one with it. Sagittarius means the Archer; and the card is (in its simplest and most primitive form) a picture of Diana the Huntress. Diana is primarily one of the lunar goddesses, though the Romans rather degraded her from the Greek “virgin Artemis”, who is also the Great Mother of Fertility, Diana of the Ephesians, Many-Breasted. (A form of Isis-see Atu II and III.)

The connection between the Moon and the Huntress is shewn by the shape of the bow, and the occult significance of Sagittarius is the arrow piercing the rainbow; the last three paths of the Tree of Life make the word Qesheth, a rainbow, and Sagittarius bears the arrow which pierces the rainbow, for his path leads from the Moon of Yesod to the Sun of Tiphareth. (This explanation is highly technical; but this is necessary because the card represents an important scientific formula, which cannot be expressed in language suited to common comprehension.)

This card represents the Consummation of the Royal Marriage which took place in Atu VI. The black and white personages are now united in a single androgyne figure. Even the Bees and the Serpents on their robes have made an alliance. The Red Lion has become white, and increased in size and importance, while the White Eagle, similarly expanded, has become red. He has exchanged his red blood for her white gluten. (It is impossible to explain these terms to any but advanced students of alchemy.)
The equilibrium and counter-change are carried out completely in the figure itself; the white woman has now a black bead; the black king, a white one. She wears the golden crown with a silver band, he, the silver crown with a golden fillet; but the white head on the right is extended in action by a white arm on the left which holds the cup of the white gluten, while the black head on the left has the black arm on the right, holding the lance which has become a torch and pours forth its burning blood. The fire burns up the water; the water extinguishes the fire.

The robe of the figure is green, which symbolizes vegetable growth: this is an alchemical allegory. In the symbolism of the fathers of science, all “actual” objects were regarded as dead; the difficulty of transmuting metals was that the metals, as they occur in nature, were in the nature of excrements, because they did not grow. The first problem of alchemy was to raise mineral to vegetable life; the adepts thought that the proper way to do this was to imitate the processes of nature. Distillation, for instance, was not an operation to be performed by heating something in a retort over a flame; it had to take place naturally, even if months were required to consummate the Work. (Months, at that period of civilization, were at the disposal of enquiring minds.)

A great deal of what people now consider ignorance, being themselves ignorant of what the men of old time thought, comes from this misapprehension. At the bottom of this card, for example, are seen Fire and Water harmoniously mingled. But this is only a crude symbol of the spiritual idea, which is the satisfaction of the desire of the incomplete element of one kind to satisfy its formula by assimilation of its equal and opposite.

This state of the great Work therefore consisted in the mingling of the contradictory elements in a cauldron. This is here represented as golden or solar, because the Sun is the Father of all Life, and (in particular) presides over distillation. The fertility of the Earth is maintained by rain and sun; the rain is formed by a slow and gentle process, and is rendered effective by the co-operation of air, which is itself alchemically the result of the Marriage of Fire and Water. So also the formula of continued life is death, or putrefaction. Here it is symbolized by the caput mortuum on the cauldron, a raven perched upon a skull. In agricultural terms, this is the fallow earth.”
Rising from the cauldron, as the result of the operation per- formed ~ is a stream of light which becomes two rainbows; they form the cape of the androgyne figure. In the centre, an arrow shoots upwards. This is connected with the general symbolism previously explained, the spiritualization of the result of the Great Work.2

The great work being, the marriage of material man with the spiritual self (or godhead)

So You have this point of balance, this symbol of the Philosopher’s Stone, which symbolizes taking the base nature of the material self and purifying it for union with spirit–Satori, or enlightenment, if you will.
So you reach that point of balance. Like the Zen Master replied when asked
“What did you do before enlightenment?”
“I took out the trash”
“What did you do after enlightenment?”
“I took out the trash”
So, what comes next? You have that union with godhead,that union with your higher self, that glimpse if you will of what lies behind the curtain and then you come back down. What do you face next? Well the next card in sequence is The Devil
(To Be Continued…)

1Gateway to the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti Llewellyn Publications 2009 p. 124
2The Book of Thoth (Egyptian Tarot) by The Master Therion (Aleister Crowley) US Games Systems Inc. 1944 pp 101-103

Video of the Day

Something a bit different. This is a promo film for what I consider one of the most beautifully drawn Tarot decks I have seen. The “Legacy of the Divine” tarot by Ciro Marchetti. Not only do I love the artwork of this deck, I love the symbolism.

For more info on Ciro Marchetti (and a chance to look at some pretty pictures 🙂 : http://www.ciromarchetti.com/
For more of the Legacy Taro check out: