Temperance (I)

Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on June 27, 2017

Tarot Study June 27, 2017 – Jim, Phillip and Joel

We began with the Divine Alphabet up through the 14th letter, Nun, with references to the first 6 petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, in terms of the Grail Knight’s Practice. 

Rather than the quotes from the beginning of Death, we read an excerpt from the legend of Waldo of Reichenau in W.J. Stein’s The Ninth Century and the Holy Grail:

“But thee too, thou poisonous death, I should not like to pass over, for as a righteous pious man, roused by thy exceptional badness, I should like to break forth and put thee to confusion, thou whose nature is shameful enough; thou who, conceived in guilt, springest from the seed of the serpent, but dost perish through pardoning tolerance when it prevails.  Whilst thou hast defiled everything with shameful sloth, thy defilement has been expunged through the absolute purity of the stream of Christ’s blood.  Thou hast been threatened, thou faithless death, long ago with death by the prophetic mouth of the Divine World:  O Mortality I shall be thy death (mors=death), I shall be the morsel (morsus) for thee below in the depths.  Thou hast taken thy terrible name, mors, from the bite (morsus) into the apple that brings destruction.  Thou, who wast victorious once by the Tree, hast also been vanquished by the Tree.  Whilst thou didst attack the Author of Life, thou seest thyself pierced by the barbed hook of thy dreadful shamelessness, and by thy own so biting sting.  Sighing, thou wilt lament that thou goest into perdition alone when all the dead in Christ arise to life.  For with greedy bite thou hast thrown thyself, as an enemy, against the Divine.  Death is swallowed up in victory; death, where is thy sting?…”

We then contemplated the 10th through 13th Arcana (eventually the 14th as well).

– The above quote seems to so adequately summarize and tie together the 10th to 13th Arcana.  The connection between Death (Mors) and eating the forbidden fruit (Morsel – The Wheel of Fortune).  In one of Estelle’s visions, the connection is made between Armor/Amor (Love).  In fact the story of Waldo is that of one of Charlemagne’s men who is sent to retrieve a Holy Relic on Charlemagne’s behalf – very similar to the stories of younger Kyot coming through Estelle.

– Nutrition/seed force vs a fallen type of nutrition:  that which requires a bite, that which has a bone.

– The connections between death (mors) and love (amor).  Dante was part of the Fideli d’Amore, an occult society.

– The mention of Death’s slothfulness in the quote – this reminds one of Death’s lack of initiative/intention – his blind reaping.  In recent visions, there is a fallen elemental called The Agitator who reaps nature spirits due to their indecision, their slothfulness.  They are not seeing clearly (just as Death seems to lack eyes).

– The organs of will strewn about on the ground in the 13th Arcanum are the morsels – where we end up if we cannot decide.

– The two Trees in the quote are the Tree of Knowledge (which led to Death) and the Crucifix (the Tree of Life/Love, which undoes Death).

– In pop culture we have the question “Where’s Waldo?”:  “Who will do this for me?”  The sloth of Charlemagne leads to the recruitment of Waldo to do it for him. And Waldo won’t do it unless his associate Hunfrid helps him (like Phillip and Joel becoming Grail Knights—”I’ll do it if you will”).  

– Death “goest alone into perdition” – this seems to indicate something similar to what Tomberg says, that Hell is real but at the end of time empty. The fate of a suicide in the afterlife is akin to the fate of Death – a period of absolute loneliness.

– The “barbed hook of dreadful shamelessness” by which Death is pierced – like the scythe removing his foot in the Arcanum.  The most annoying seeds are barbed – the connection of the barbed hook to eventual propagation of life.

– Etymological connections to “more” = moribund, murder.  “More” may only be related phonetically, not etymologically. But these connections can also be telling (more is akin to “taking the bite”).

– Aspects of the image that weren’t noticed before – when observed from the side, the hips of Death look like a frog-like skull with the legs protruding from the mouth.  It reinforces this impression of a composite being on display, not a Real being.  The “eye” of this frog is shaped like a shield.

– The head of Death seems to be separate from the spine – its own entity.  The 4 petalled flower at the neck is an image of the Root Chakra – rather than the solarization of the chakras, they are all lunarized (all 4-petaled) culminating in the crescent moon-shaped head.

– From Estelle’s visions in Alsace, Monsalvat, there are caves of St. Odile that look like skulls.  There is a druid priest (descended from a priest of Roman times) who comes across Trevrizent.  All is overshadowed by St. Odile.  The Druid tells the Hermits that if they dwell in the cave-skulls long enough, they will see as God sees – but to be careful if they choose this.  Learning to see in a different way (without eyes).  A site in Jerusalem shaped like the skull (other than Golgotha).

– It is a strange juxtaposition between Death and Temperance.  Death is like the negative to a film, a region just beyond the threshold.  Temperance, on the other hand, is firmly in a spiritual realm.  There is a landscape, yes, but the wings in particular give a magical, unearthly quality.  

– She has a five petaled flower on her forehead, rather than a four petaled flower at the throat as in Death.

– Christ is the quintessence missing from the Wheel of Fortune.  Death is what is left when all the other elements have been stripped away from one’s consciousness (the reduction of the cosmos lacking Christ, the Wheel of Fortune).  Steiner indicates that when we achieve imaginative cognition, a form akin to the human skeleton appears before us (https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA134/English/RSPC1947/19111230p01.html).

– Temperance is like the inverse of Death.  Bone dry vs flowing.  Scattered limbs become wings.  Flowing Life rather than Death. 

– The color contrast is a bit like the Magician but more balanced.  

– Universal Force – the Serpent vs the Dove.

– The theme of the Letter/Meditation:  Inspiration as the Gift of Tears.  A balance of effort and grace.  Learning to think in harmony with the thinking of one’s guardian angel.  The angel carries the fallen likeness, that which we lost at the Fall. We are protected from the gaps in our functioning vs Death who is waiting to take advantage of these gaps.

– Her expressive eyes vs the empty sockets, empty face of death.

– The crowned human below in Death – what is the significance? There is a similarity to a form repeated in Wheel of Fortune (Sphinx’s crown) and Force (her hat).

– Temperance’s dress is blue on her right, red on her left – this is unique compared to the other Arcana.

– The wings of the Empress have come back to life.  She is not on Earth, she is a spiritual archetype, not a human being. 

– Reiterating:  in 1-9 we have the development of the human being. From 10-13, everything falls apart.  14 takes us into a new realm.

– The two pitchers are the two worlds.  The stream of karma, of one’s forgotten destiny (held by the Angel), of world karma – keeping it flowing, going back and forth across the Threshold.  

– The Arcana as an image of initiation.  1-9 is preparation.  10 is the warning from the Guardian prior to crossing the Threshold (looking in without crossing).  11 and 12 are a gathering of courage and purity.  13 is the actual crossing of the threshold, a Death experience.  14 is what is accessible after the initiation, the aftermath.  After-math comes from after-mowth, after the mowing, after the reaping (Owen Barfield).  (Etymologically, this is a different kind of “math” than mathematics).  After the reaper=Death.

– In terms of biographical development:

Magician = Conception; High Priestess = Gestation; Empress = Birth

Emperor = Physical Body (0-7); Pope = Etheric Body (7-14); Lover = Astral Body (14-21)

Chariot = Sentient Soul (21-28); Justice = Mind Soul (28-35); Hermit = Consciousness Soul (35-42)

Wheel of Fortune = Manas (42-49); Force = Buddhi (49-56); Hanged Man = Atman (56-63)

Death = Death; Temperance = Etheric Review

Pouring out of life’s memory tableau.  It is a place in between the physical and the spiritual.

– The scythe transforms into the red of the robe of Temperance.

– There are great differences between Grimaud and Noblet.  Death is reversed.  The arm gesture is the same.  The 4-petaled flower is on his elbow.  He has a patch of hair.  His posture is still very awkward.  There are only plants below him, and the two heads are reversed.

jean noblet tarot of marseille, the hanged man, original and restoration by  JC Flornoy

– Hanged man looks like a clown, or like he’s been electrified.  Strange hand-shaped lapels on his shoulders.  “Le Pendu” = the pendulum, the time-keeper.  Perpendicular.  

– the wings common to both The Empress and Temperance.  The Empress is birth, while Temperance is the Etheric review, a “birth” into the spiritual. Empress has mineral wings, whereas the wings of Temperance have been brought back to life (through death!).

jean noblet tarot of marseille, the wheel of fortune, original and  restoration by JC Flornoy

– In the Noblet version of Wheel of Fortune, there is no Sphinx, only a King.  The Noblet in general are more geometrical, more disturbing.  The water looks strange in his Temperance.  Force has a crown, not a hat.

jean noblet tarot of marseille, force, original and restoration by JC  Flornoy

– The word Temperance is related to temper (in terms of metal) as well as temper (in terms of temperament). Tempo/time.  Tempering is a strengthening of the metal – it makes it harder yet less brittle. A well tempered clavier is well-tuned, at the right pitch.

– This is the first stand alone female with her head uncovered (one of the women in The Lover also has a bare head). Have all the other women got a flower underneath there head covering?

We ended with the quotations at the beginning of the 14th Letter/Meditation on Temperance.