Temperance/Art is the card that is the astrological trump of Sagittarius, and this card was completed over the last few days, appropriately enough while the moon has been waning in the sign Sagittarius. And, over the Easter weekend, which amuses me as the card contains the Orphic egg, and it’s esoteric meaning has much to do with a womb.
In most traditional renderings one sees an angelic being transferring water from a red cup to a blue, or mixing fire and water. In the Thoth deck a dual being combines these elements in a cauldron, flanked by the eagle and lion of The Lovers with their colors interchanged. In the Rosetta Tarot, the dual human being is Artemis/Apollo, and the eagle/lion becomes one creature.
In Tarot M, the Dianic being is shown AS the Green Lion/Griffin, which alchemically represents Vitriol. The alchemical motto for vitriol is “Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem,” “Visit the interior of the earth and rectifying (purifying) you will find the hidden stone.” The White Eagle and Red Lion of the Lovers have combined. This being also represents Diana/Artemis, the Huntress goddess of the Moon.
Temperance has much to do with tempering – as in perfecting with fire and water, like one does with a sword. Interesting that the opposite trump of Gemini, the Lovers, is the card of Zain, the Sword.
Temperence is on the path between Yesod the Moon, and Tipareth, the Sun. She launches her flaming arrow from the bow, in the form of the crescent moon dripping water, upwards to the sun. Fire and water combine to form air, and a rainbow, which connects earth and heaven – all four elements present. The rainbow is a symbol of this card as the arrow of Sagittarius pierces the rainbow – the paths on the tree of life that spell QShTh, meaning bow or rainbow. Below is an alchemical vessel representing Yesod in which fire and water combine. Above they show the paths leading to and from Tiphareth. Around their conjunction is a crown of light.
The arrow is the “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower drives my red blood” (Dylan Thomas) and the red and blue serpents are the colors of Chokmah and Binah and the twin channels of Kundalini.
The Hebrew letter is Samekh, meaning “to support”. The colors per the Golden Dawn color scales are Blue, Yellow, Green and Dark Vivid Blue.
It feels like I could write a whole book on this card alone. But right now, I can barely write this post, as it is midnight and I have had too much Italian wine, I probably should not have been painting and definitely should not be posting (no Temperance in that sense here, haha) and am not sure if what I have written is even understandable as I need to elaborate and have much more to add. But I will save it for the book I guess.
The card is a bit bright – but I guess the path leading between Sun and Moon would be the brightest of all.
I will leave you with these sentences from Crowley’s Book of Thoth, about the Art card:
Now, then, behold how the head of the dragon is but the tail of the Aethyr!
(The card is ruled by Jupiter but the Dragon’s Tail is exalted)
The moon waneth. The moon waneth. The moon waneth. For in that arrow is the Light of Truth that overmasterest the light of the sun, whereby she shines.
copyright M.M. Meleen