Wirth, Oswald – 14 Temperance
Type of Spiritual Experience
Aleister Crowley’s cards do not even admit the existence of Temperance, he has replaced the card by one called ‘Art’. This is called Temperance in other packs, Rider Waite for example keeps the name, but I think Crowley wanted to get away from the mis-associations that had been tacked on to the concept of temperance [abstinence, and particularly abstinence from alcoholic drink] and go back to the basics of what the card actually meant and this was to maintain the balance between for example, spirit input and spirit output that had been obtained by ‘death’ [rebirth]- which is an art form!
In fact, after a genuine rebirth experience, the last thing one wants is alcoholic drink, so the card is almost unnecessary if this is the meaning, but it also means moderation in all things - diet and language and ..................... which holds true. As such Crowley was not right to adapt the card to his own experience.
The symbol description [follow the link] provides added detail.
In simple terms, this card is that of the role of the healer.
The animating fluid which restores spent energy. The repairing and restoring agent of whatever wears out and ages. The curing energy of Nature. Healing thaumaturgy based on the tapping and controlling of vital currents. The transfusion of life-giving strength, healing magnetism, occult or mystic medicine.
A description of the experience
The Tarot of the Magicians – Oswald Wirth English translation 1985 Samuel Weiser.
First published in Paris in 1927 under the original title: Le Tarot, des lmagiers du Moyen Age
Key 14 of the Tarot shows us this vital fluid poured from a silver urn into a gold one by Temperance who becomes the angel of universal Life. The jars of precious metal do not correspond to crude bodily containers; they allude to the double psychic atmosphere whose natural organism is only the earthly ballast. Of these concentric containers the one, the nearer (gold, conscience, reason) is solar active; it directs the individual in an immediate way and supports its energy of the will.
The other stretches beyond the first; it is lunar and sensitive (silver). Its domain is more mysterious; it is that of sentimentality, of vague impressions, of the imagination and of the unconscious on a superior level. This ethereal sphere picks up vibrations of life common to the individuals of the same species, a permanent life which is the reservoir from which we draw the vitality which we individualize. What is concentrated in the silver urn flows into the gold urn where condensation is completed with the view to maintaining psychic life.
The mystery of the two urns dominated the whole of therapeutic thaumaturgy, whose miracles are performed with the aid of the universal fluid. Beginners in the art of healing have for most of the time an urn over-spilling with gold for their use. So they transfer to others their own fluid and practise healing magnetism by commanding the currents of life. If the silver urn is not revealed to them then they remain as apprentice healers incapable of sustained action which is more broadly efficacious.
The true miracle which is within the reach of every pure soul, fundamentally generous, depends on the extent of our realm of feeling. With our whole being let us sympathize with the sufferings of others, then exteriorize our affection so as to make for ourselves an environment of love, as vast as possible. We will thus benefit from a refracting and life-giving milieu, favourable to the picking up of the lighest waves of vibration by means of which the true medicine of the Saints and Wise man is practised.
The Spirit of Temperance is bisexual; The Devil (15) too is bisexual, whereas Death is without sex. If this is the case then the complete fIfth ternary (13, 14 and 15) relates to collective life which is not individualized, to the universal fluid without sex, although susceptible to sexual polarizations.
Like the Empress (3) Justice (8) and the Angel of Judgement, Temperance is blond; she is related, moreover, to these three characters by the colour of her clothes; a red underdress, a blue mantle with green lining. Red denotes inner spirituality, blue, lively serenity and green, tendencies towards vitalization.
The Spirit of Temperance is winged like the Empress (3), for it is analagous with the Queen of the Sky; but it is not confined like her to the heights of an inaccessible ideal and prefers to stoop to the level of the living who owe it to her to live both physically and spiritually.
Strength displays devouring activity which would consume the vital Humidity of the Hermetists if it were not for the refreshing intervention of Temperance.
Now whiteness marks the success of the first part of the Great Work. The Initiate only succeeds by purifying his soul of all that normally disturbs it. If, after an effective renouncing of himself, he frees himself from all equivocal desire, then he can approach an ideal of purity of intentions which makes the miraculous action possible.
The art of healing with the help of mysterious forces is based essentially on the purity of the healer's soul. So let him make himself holy by self-denial and devotion to others, and then he will quite naturally perform real miracles: but to this end he must become detached from himself even to the point of indifference, and undergo trial by water which wipes out all evil passion in the heart of man.
The Initiate who has bathed in the fluid which the solitary Angel pours out is no longer troubled by the fever which shakes ordinary men. Being dead to evil ambitions, to selfish passions, indifferent to the hardships which threaten him, he lives calmly in the sweet serenity of a gentle wisdom, indulgent towards the weaknesses of others.