In Traditional Medieval Tarot, Key 14 is called The Temperance Card. This is so for the Golden Dawn, and Ryder-Waite-Smith decks . Key 14 is called The Art, in the Thoth Tarot and The Guide, in the Tarot of the Old Path. Both authors of the Tarot of the Old Path, and the Thoth Tarot, believing that Temperance as a name, is too limiting of the vast knowledge depicted in this card. Sure, Temperance implies "in all things, moderation" which is the primary message of this card, but it is also about balancing the Male-electric and the Female-Magnetic energy, or as some would say, the physical- rational, emotional and spiritual aspects of energy. Sagittarius and the element of fire rule this card.
The Tarot of the Old Path is rife with symbols of male and female and their ultimate union the Divine Androgyny. He we can see the "Male Force", represented as a dark haired man, lifting and carrying the exhausted female through the the Waters of Life (flowing out of the rocks) . The man seems to be gaining strength by gazing at the Guiding Divine Spirit- Androgyny; implying the perfect spiritual balance of male and female forces produces the flow of divine strength in the physical world. The Guide stands with one foot in the Water (Consciousness) and the other on dry land (Earth physical). The Alchemical Red triangle of fire and the triangular Trinity of Maid, Mother and Crone, is on its chest. Holding two goblets, it is pouring a watery fluid from one to the next, which symbolizes the "Gluten" or the rippling, cosmic vibratory fluid of Life, as it is called in Alchemy. Here also displayed is the life cycle of regeneration and spiritual purification for the "Gluten" is a substance of communion and Resurrection.
In the background, The Two images of the Old Goddess and Old God (horned one), a Qabalist would call Binah and Chokmah, keep constant watch: or as the Tibetan tantric's would say, are in a continual state of Yab Yum (Goddess, God face to face), as their constant union and vigilance is required to manifest the Universe....that constant union also produces the Divine Androgyny that is the Divine Creative, as they are inseparable.
The symbol of friendship, in the language of plants, is the ivy intertwined around the borders of this Tarot card of the Old Path. By the water fall, is seen Lilly-of- the-valley. which promises the return of happiness. The petunia afloat on the water bears the message of "Your presence soothes me."
This card represents the idea that Thrift symbolizes sympathy: that moderation and control are the spiritual path and that over indulgence on any or all levels will result in lack of progress.
THE THOTH TAROT- KEY 14- ART:
Takes us into deeper depths of magic. The Art card is the actual fulfillment of Key 6- The Lovers and/or Gemini even though the Art card pertains to Sagittarius. This is because Sagittarius is the opposite to Gemini in the Zodiac and therefore, one with it, in the combination of opposites, i.e. marriage. The Art card displays a primitive depiction of Diana the Huntress, for Sagittarius is the Archer. The Roman Diana is primarily a Moon Goddess and the shape of the Bow ( bow shape on her forehead) is the connection between Moon and The Huntress. The arcane or occult significance of Sagittarius is in the arrow piercing the rainbow, as an arrow is seen traveling up the flow of fiery substance from the golden cistern towards the rainbow covering both shoulders. The Qabalistic word- Qesheth, is the combination of the last three paths of The Tree of Life-meaning-rainbow; from the path of Moon of Yesod to the Sun of Tiphareth, is the Rainbow path.
The Art Card represents the Consummation of the Royal Marriage that was promised in the Lovers-key-6. Here, the black and white personages are completely united in an equilibrium and counter-change; the white woman has a black head and the black king; a white one. The arms also show this counter-change, as the white head on the right has extended its action as the left white arm, that holds a cup of magic gluten while the black head on the left sports the black arm on the right, holding the lance, which becomes a torch (the Phallus of Fire that is Chokmah), pouring forth its burning blood. The fire burns up the Water; the water extinguishes the fire as the combination of opposites annihilate each other....forming something greater. For at the bottom of the card is seen the intermingling of water and fire which represents the spiritual idea of the satisfaction of desire of the incomplete element of one kind to satisfy its formula by assimilating its equal and opposite.
The Green robe of the Thoth Tarot figure is a representation of fertility.
The state of the Great work is the intermingling of equal and opposites in the Solar (sun) cauldron, as the Sun is considered the Father of life and Water is considered as the Mother of Life; The opposite of both is Death, as depicted by the Cross- Raven/skull etching on the cauldron. The fertility of earth is the balance of solar fire and rain-water, air and earth, as shown by the equal armed cross on the cauldron. The balance of all elements, assists in a slow and gentle process, that produces rain and earth- fertility. The result of the Divine marriage of fire and water, which is considered an alchemical union of opposites. Behind the Thoth figure is a glory, shaped as a cape, edges of twin rainbows, exclaiming one of the Most Arcane and Powerful realizations in Magic: V.I.T.R.I.O.L , the Universal Solvent which is an inscription in Latin: VISITA INTERIORA TERRAE RECTIFICANDO INVENIES OCCULTUM LAFIDEM.[ "Visit the interior parts of the earth; by rectification thous shalt find the hidden stone."] The hidden stone is also called the Universal Medicine. It is sometimes a powder and sometimes a tincture and it divides into two forms, the gold (gold crown on black head) and the silver (crown on the white head) the red ( the red eagle) and the white (white lion), the essence always the same but only understood by experience.
I would again recommend that the serious student get THE BOOK OF THOTH, by A. Crowley to further their investigation of this card The philosophers stone is a talisman of the True Will of the Alchemist ( or Magi) It is to fertilize and bring to manifested Life the Orphic Egg.
WHEN THE GUIDE OR ART CARD IS THROWN DURING A DIVINATION:
- A harmony of mixed elements such as the blending of circumstances to create balance.
- Control as exercised by the Divine Androgyny within.
- Integration and synthesis of spirit and body.
- combination of forces
- Law of creativity....life being your art of combinations,
- Frugality , economy, the balanced use of forces.
- The synchronizing force of love.
Thank you for your interest and comments. May you live long and prosper.