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The Tarot of Eli-Major Arcana: Thoth- ATU 14-Art & Gothic Tarot- Key 14-Temperance

Western Qabalistic, Tantric, and Alchemical Tarot Card Comparisons.

· Gothic Tarot

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Thoth- ATU 14-Art

The Daughter of the Reconcilers, the bringer forth of Life. 

Reconcilers are one of the Factions in Demon: The Fallen. Fallen who are Reconcilers believe they chose the wrong path in rebelling against God and wish to make amends in some way. They hope they will be forgiven for their transgressions and be welcomed back into His arms. Houses that tend to have Reconcilers as members include the Asharu and the Halaku.

In many other Tarot Decks, including the Gothic Tarot, ATU/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 the Art Card's Path of Samekh (meaning -Prop), as it is attributed to the restriction and control over the forces of existence. Master Theron (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." 

You may wonder why there is so much Alchemical Imagery in the Crowley-Harris Art Card, as how does this pertain to Tarot? Not only does this set the Thoth Tarot apart from other decks, but it also the Alchemical aspects are implicit in the fundamental structure of Tarot. Just like chemistry is implicit in the fundamental structures of biology. As Crowley points out in his Book of Thoth, Pg. 103; " This card represents the Consummation of the Royal Marriage that took place in ATU 6'." Art is the "coagula" to the Lovers "solve." Here the white tincture of the Empress is united with the Red tincture of the Emperor. A true communion of opposites. The Androgynous figure stands before the Orphic Egg, seen here as a huge golden egg, that is surrounded with the advertisement of what is happening in the secret inner workings of this egg: VISTA INTERIORATERRAE RECTIFICANDO INVENTIES OCCULTUM LAPIDEM-"Visit the interior parts of earth: by rectification thou shalt find the hidden stone."

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.

On this very difficult Path, the very enormity of the Great Work (As above, so below) will be experienced. On this path, the initiate may experience going through a long dark tunnel, believing (not knowing) there is Light at the end of it.

This Path of Samekh, the Art card, has been called one of the Paths of "the dark night of the Soul", verifying that this is a Path of trial and temptation. Samekh, is the Intelligence of Probation, as Dr. 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, of 0=2. Thus, the central figure of this card, is Female and Male; an Androgyne. Also, the ruling sign of the Path of Samekh, is Sagittarius, the Archer, ( hence the bow symbology) who is also Diana the Huntress, goddess of the Moon. Hence the multiple breasts that imitate the famous Ephesian statue of Diana. 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. We are not only to be the Moon’s reflections of personality, but also the Solar Personality, that is the Divine Child/The Golden One.

It is to be understood, 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. Here is the "Reconciliation" of the Soul, which is now once again Whole as both Animus an Anima are joined by the Original Consummated Marriage of the 2 becoming One again. 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 of 0ne Energy =2 states of Self. 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. Through Tantric Arts, Alchemical imagery , Gnosticism, Tarot, and seeking an understanding in ancient metaphysical stories, one begins to get a glimpse of just how "magic" we are and just how powerful our inheritance from the Divine Creative really is.

The Art Card is not nearly as 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 -Nag Hammadi Library). This process is describing an actual event/process that happens in the initiate’s material body, i.e. an actual physical transformation. Therefore, we have illustrated on this card an Androgynous figure, combining the Water (consciousness with Lightning (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 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." 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 would be like using a Bunsen Burner to heat Water in a flask, until it turned into a vapor. This process of Kundalini Fire, rising or "burning" up to the Heart Chakra and onto the Crown Chakra, creating the "golden Halo", is the process of purification that brings about a chromosomal awakening in the body that is described as the "Philosopher's Stone" and/or is described as a "Spiritual Orgasm" or "The Ecstasy" or the "Rapture", 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 .

Therefore, 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 energy, and ebb and flow that is confined (shown as the figure eight/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 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 an expansion and liberation of consciousness from the body, to the Spiritual.

At first, many students find the symbolism of the 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, Tarot and Gnostic symbols is to furnish descriptions that most anyone can relate to. If you focus on one symbol at a time they are not remote or really complicated, 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 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 Sephiroth 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 Paths in the Human Body, is the Qabalistic initiates goal. "To Know Thyself" which is to know the "As above and so below" nature of our Whole Self.

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-ATU/Key 14- The Path of Samekh, is an actual physical process, known for centuries by the Gnostic, Mystics, Tantrics, Alchemists, and Qabalists. And is a willed process of directing the communion or interchange of opposite forces. The beginning of this process is begun by the Higher Self-; a process which is instituted in the 4th Sephiroth Chesed, the most refined, point of Microprosopus, to which the Higher Self is central. Chesed is the enacting force (phallus) of the Great Mother Binah's process of “will to form" (Womb). Until the initiate accomplices this 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" system. This 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, 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/ATU 6, here the Orgasm of Spirit and Matter 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 Aliester Crowley for further explanation of this biological- alchemical process.

Gothic Tarot- Key 14-Temperance

The balance between heaven and earth.

The Gothic Tarot- Key 14-Temperance, kind of follows the Traditional Tarot art and meaning, like the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot- Key 14 Temperance; However, the Angel pouring the Water from one goblet to another, is now a buxom Mermaid, sunning on a rock in the Sea. This must be a ship grave yard of dangerous shoals, as the misty ship wreck in the back ground foretells. However, here she contemplates the union of heaven and earth, land and sea, sky and water. Her composure is that of temperance. But there is a glint of passion in her eye.

When the Art 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.
  • A balance of peace, achieved by care and healing.
  • Search for the innermost core of being.
  • The proper measure.
  • Fulfillment.
  • Harmony.
  • Peace.
  • Solve et coagula [ dissolve and bind]

If ill defined by the surrounding cards:

  • Excess conflict, dissipation.
  • Tendency towards extremes.

Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. Your generosity blesses you. May you live long and prosper.

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