VII. Temperantia - Sophrosune - Temperance (6, 14)

Magistra Poculi - Mistress of the Cup

Ne quid nimis. (Nothing in excess.)
Iris; Hebe, Juventas, Ganymeda.
2+2 = Virtue + 2.Female/I.Source (Water); 4+1 = Virtue + 1.Source (Fire).
1+6+1 = Pers. Tr. + Virtue + I.Source.
Greek Letter = Eta:
Eos = Daybreak, Dawn, Aurora; Hebe = Youth; Henis = yearling.
::I Name: Ken = Keeping Still. Image: Mountain. The Third Daughter, associated with stopping, stillness and keeping still. Southwest in the Earlier Heaven.


A rather androgynous-looking, golden-winged young woman holds in her left hand a silver patera (dish) decorated with a lion, in her right a golden oinokhoe (wine jug) decorated with an eagle. She pours a light-colored liquid from the golden oinokhoe into the reddish fumes that rise from the silver patera and spill over its edge.

She is barefoot and stands on the shore of a river with her left foot on land and her right in a river, beside which irises grow. She wears a peplos (gown) of many iridescent colors, and a multicolored headband binds her short hair. It supports a diadem, a golden hexagram with a purple-red gem in the center. On her breast is a round, silver medallion marked with an upright triangle in a square.

In the background is a twin-peaked mountain, and the glow of a sunrise appears between the peaks, over which shines a rainbow. High clouds obscure the top third of the rainbow, but the two ends appear to descend from the clouds above the peaks to the earth on either side. An upward-pointing golden arrow, with an equilateral-triangular arrowhead, is superimposed over the center of the clouds, precisely where the missing third of the rainbow would be.


The Child Divine is born of Moon and Sun. She tempers wine with water, never done With mixing, and her rainbow joins the poles, For she's the messenger and guide of souls. Accept her cup, and let the two be one.


In 6.Love, the Mother and Father were united; the Father was consumed by conception and the Mother was consumed by the child in her womb. Thus each met their dissolution, thereby implementing the alchemical Solve. In 7.Temperance the Father's Fire and the Mother's Water find new embodiment in the Divine Child, and thereby implement the complementary alchemical Coagule. Mistress Temperance is simultaneously the Divine Child and the alchemist alter-ego of Mercury the Magician, for she brings about the fixation of the volatile and the volatilization of the fixed, which engenders the Child. In this way she decants the soul to purify it. The Child comprises all the oppositions of her parents, conscious with unconscious, thought with feeling, intuition with sensation; she is the integrated Self and is destined to undergo the initiation of the remaining trumps.


In the Ferrara sequence, 7.Temperance concludes the first group of seven trumps; it is the synthesis of the aspects of the psyche symbolized by the Magician, Empress, Emperor, High Priestess, High Priest and Love.

In 6.Love the Magician Mercury, disguised as Eros, brought the father and mother together. They mingled their seed, the father's semen dissolving in the mother's Water, and the father's Fire coagulating the mother's sexual fluids. The father died in the consummation of love, dissolved in the mother's corrosive waters or stung with her venom; the entirety of his life poured out in his semen. The child in the mother's womb consumed her substance by its growth; she gave her life to the child. In the end she was destroyed, perhaps wasted away, perhaps incinerated by a lightning blast, and the child was snatched from her womb and nursed by the Moon, the child has been tempered by Fire to make it immortal. (To "temper" comes from the same root as "temperance," as will be explained later.) The child has assimilated the opposites of its parents; it embodies the Coincidentia Oppositorum, which will lead to redemption (21.World). (Jung, MC 29-37, 294-5, 314-6, 380)

This alchemical process recalls the birth of Asclepius the Savior, rescued by his father Apollo from the womb of Coronis as she was consumed on her funeral pyre (see 6.Love). When the child was grown he was blasted again by Apollo, but was resurrected as the god of healing. Remember also Dionysos, rescued by Zeus from Semele's womb when she was incinerated by his blazing glory, and sewed into his father's thigh as surrogate womb; later he was dismembered by the Titans, but was resurrected as a god (by Demeter, in some stories; Kerenyi 274). Finally this trump recalls Demeter's attempt to give Triptolemos immortality by tempering him in the fire, and a similar myth in which Isis tried to immortalize the child of Queen Astarte, who comforted her when she was searching for Osiris (Plutarch, Isis & Osiris 15-6).

The child is born out of death (trump 7), but before it can reach its destined apotheosis (trump 21), it must mature (trumps 8-11), and as an adult undergo another death (trumps 12-15) and rebirth (trumps 16-20). (That is, the child matures through Fortitude, Victory, Fortune and Experience; he or she is tried through Sacrifice, Death, Temptation, and Destruction; and is reborn through Hope, Instinct, Illumination, Judgement, and Balance to attain Unity.)

Temperance mixes the wine and water by pouring from one vessel into the other, and then back again; her actions represent a periodic reversal of flow. In this case, the sublimation of the parents' energies to produce the child (trumps 1-6) is reversed, with a consequent resurgence of the libido in the child. This energy manifests in many forms (trumps 8-11), which she must learn to control and direct towards growth (trumps 12-20). (Nichols 252-3)

The four cardinal virtues of classical Greece and Rome are usually listed Temperance, Fortitude, Justice and Prudence (which is conspicuously absent from the Tarot, so various commentators have tried to find a place for it among the trumps.) However, the contemporary English meaning of "temperance" gives a misleading impression of this trump. It derives from Latin temperantia, meaning moderation and self-control, which comes from the verb temperare, meaning to observe limits, to control oneself, but also to regulate, to mitigate, to mix properly and to temper. In the list of virtues temperantia translates Greek sophrosune, which means moderation, self-control, soundness of mind, and the harmonia (well-balanced integration) of the soul (Peters s.v.); in Jungian terms it represents the integrated Self. Sophrosune is summed up by the inscription on Apollo's temple at Delphi: Meden agan. "Nothing too much." (Two Latin translations are Ne quid nimis and Ne nimium.)

We will see that all of the foregoing meanings enter into the interpretation of this trump. The central idea is the blending of opposites to achieve a harmonious state, the proper mixture, the solution, which frees us to see the right way. In action it is finding the middle way, taking the right action (which may be inaction). In temperament it is the proper blending of the four humors (fiery choleric, airy sanguine, watery melancholic and earthy bilious).

Such a state of well-balanced integration may be achieved by tempering - trial by fire and water; in this trump the female tempers the male sword in the fire of passion and the water of love. Likewise, the philosopher's stone is attained by an alchemical circulation through the celestial fire and the abyssal water of the reflux condenser. Thus the child begins the rotation of the elements symbolized in 21.World; it is a process of spiritual purification, which she initiates by decanting the wine and water. Temperance is regulation and adjustment, for indeed the Emerald Tablet tells us, "all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation."

(Case 154; Gad 238, 242; Nichols 255, 258-9; Pollack 95, 98; Waite 127; Walker 109; Williams 93)

The child mixes water and wine, for the ability to achieve a proper balance between the two was considered in ancient times a sign of temperance (only an intemperate person drank undiluted wine). Since wine is a symbol of fire and spirit, the child becomes the alchemist who knows how to mix fire and water to create the quintessence, the "damp-fiery-cold spirit" (Jung, MC 44-51). Only the child, who is Sophia, Divine Wisdom (Sophrosune), has the experience and patience to balance the ingredients. (Thus, Crowley calls this trump "Art.") Psychologically, the child mixes feeling with reason, the fiery spirit with divine wisdom. (Case 156; Crowley 101; Gad 241; Nichols 249, 255; Williams 93)

So also ancient statues show Pan as Priapus pouring water on his erect phallus, thereby representing the use of the passive principle to invigorate the active principle (Knight & Wright 72-3).

In our image the light colored liquid poured from the upper vessel represents water and the principle of fluidity; the effervescing red liquid in the lower vessel represents wine and the principle of volatility. The watery power of the moon is drawn down, and the fiery power of the sun rises upward, for the quintessence combines solar heat with lunar etheric moisture. Thus the rain couples with the sun to promote the fertility of the earth. (Crowley 103; Nichols 249-50, 252, 255; SB&G 45; Walker 108)

The two fluids meet in the air in a turbulent flux that blends their opposing natures and aerates the mixture. It is an alchemical principal that air (or less frequently earth) is required to reconcile the polarities, fire and water, for fire is hot and dry but water is cold and wet; they are polar opposites. Since air, however, is warm and wet, it has warmth in common with fire and wetness in common with water. Thus it forms a link between the poles and allows them to be joined; it is the harmonizing mean between the extremes. Earth can also be a mediator, since it is cold and dry, but air is the natural mediator since its sphere is between the spheres of water and fire, since its subtlety is intermediate. Thus, on the Emerald Tablet we read, "The sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse." Fire, water, air and earth - all the elements participate in the quintessence, all the opposites are resolved in the Divine Child. (See also 17.Moon for aeration of the waters.) (Crowley 103)

By Temperance the masculine and feminine fluids are blended. They correspond to the primeval waters of the Babylonian Genesis: Apsu, the sweet, fresh waters of the Abyss (governed by Ea, i.e. Hermes), and Tiamat, the bitter salt waters of the ocean (who is female). (Walker 107) (See 17.Moon for more on the waters and for the salt symbol.)

The golden, male jug pours out the white elixir, the camphor drops, which fall into the red elixir, the red sandalwood, in the silver, female dish. In a Tantric text we read (Shaw 158):

In the sacred citadel of the vulva of A superlative, skillful partner, Do the practice of mixing white seed With her ocean of red seed. These esoteric colors do not derive from the colors of the sexual fluids (or from menstrual fluid), but from their endocrinal content, or, in Ayurvedic physiology, from the foetus getting the red elements (blood, flesh, etc.) from the mother and the white elements (bone, brain etc.) from the father (Shaw 157-8, 249n82). When the nectar resulting from this mixing is reabsorbed, it gathers the spiritual winds into the central channel to engender the Wisdom Wind, which frees us from dualistic thinking (Shaw 161-3).

We find a similar blending of the Waters of Life in the Cabirian Mysteries, in which the archetypal male and female, Cabirius and Cabiria, were worshipped in the form of vessels filled with water; Cabirius was identified with Dionysos and Cabiria with Demeter (who are lovers in the Orphic tradition; Kerenyi 274). Thus life is renewed by the Waters of Life. (Gad 240; OCD s.v. Cabiri; Waite 124; Walker 108-9)

Temperance also conjoins the opposites by standing with her right foot in the river and her left foot on land. Though her conscious mind is occupied with the archetypal world (right foot in River Styx), her unconscious mind remains grounded in physical reality (left foot on dry ground). Thus she bridges the potential of the archetypes to the actuality of concrete manifestation. (Case 152, 156; Pollack I.97; Sharman-Burke 70; Waite 125; Walker 107; cf. SB&G 45)

The river is the same one we see in 17.Moon, a trump which is closely related to 7.Temperance (see below). The connection is confirmed by the fact that 7.Temperance and 17.Moon have the same positions (7) in their decads; also note 1+7 = 8, which is the role of Temperance in the first Hendecad (given by its Greek letter, Eta). Case (155) observes that the river in Temperance corresponds to Yesod, the sphere of the Moon, which represents the vital soul (see also Crowley 101).

The Seventh Key of Basil Valentine

The emblem the Child wears on her breast is a symbol for Mercury as embodied in the floorplan of the Sabaean temple of Mercury. The triangle in the square in the circle represents the unity of the spirit in the body; specifically, mind, soul and spirit embodied by the four elements. (Jung, Sp. Merc. 224; Pollack 98) The hexagram on her head represents, of course, the perfect union of the four elements, since it is a superposition of the symbols for the elements. It also shows that the essence of this union is the conjunction of Fire and Water, the Quintessence. She wears the hexagram on her brow at the location of her "third eye" (Ajna-chakra, the sixth chakra), which is a symbol of her awakening consciousness and, in Jungian terms, her progress toward individuation. It is also a solar symbol, which represents balanced, cyclic alternation, and spiritual gold, the final goal of the Magnum Opus of alchemy. The purple-red gem in the center of the hexagram is a symbol of future growth: the kernel hidden in the fruit and the embryo hidden in the womb. Its color represents the culmination of the alchemical transformation, which "has the power to remove man from this vale of sorrow," in the words of the alchemist Basilius Valentinus. (Burckhardt 184, 191-2; Gad 240; Nichols 251)

Both emblems, the hexagram with its central gem and the triangle in the square, represent seven, the number of Temperance; Temperance blends the natures of the seven metals and the characters of the seven planets (Case 156). Finally, both emblems emphasize the symmetry and balance of Temperance.

The gold and silver vessels represent many polarities: sun and moon, conscious and unconscious, male and female, spirit and soul, mind and body. The lower, silver vessel is a patera, a broad, flat ritual dish; it is a womb symbol, the alchemical uterus, and represents the Cauldron of Regeneration (which we see for example in the legend of Medea the Witch). The upper, golden vessel is an oinokhoe, a narrow, tall wine jug; it is a phallic symbol and fertilizes the womb. (Gad 238, 241; Nichols 249; SB&G 45; Sharman-Burke 70; Walker 108-9)

Tarot decks differ in whether they place the gold or silver vessel higher, and which on the right and which on the left (e.g. Wirth vs. Waite). Our placement reflects the harmonization of oppositions symbolized by Temperance. Notice that the upper, golden (masculine, solar) vessel, in the right (conscious) hand, pours (feminine, lunar) water, whereas the lower, silver (feminine, lunar) vessel, in the left (unconscious) hand, holds the (masculine, solar) wine (cf. Crowley 102). Thus the silver womb of the unconscious overflows with feeling and fiery spiritual content, which rises up from it, while the golden ewer of the conscious mind pours out on the lower vessel the clear stream of reason and wisdom.

It is significant that the actual mixing takes place in the lower vessel, the unconscious, for such alchemy is ultimately beyond conscious comprehension. This is why Temperance as alchemist is, though generally androgynous, specifically female; she is at home with the chemistry of the Cauldron of Regeneration. (Nichols 252)

There is an additional meaning to the wine being in the silver vessel and the water in the golden vessel: the male spirit is in the female vessel and the female spirit is in the male vessel. This symbolizes the ritual transvestitism and other forms of androgyny that symbolize the unification of opposites in spiritual initiations in many cultures (Eliade, M&A 111-114). So we may interpret Temperance as the divine child undertaking her first initiation.

The trumps 7.Temperance and 17.Moon are allied, for they differ by the Decad, and in the Moon trump the silver patera of Temperance expands to cosmic scale as the Abyssal Sea (infused with the salty spirit) in which the soul is reborn. So also the alchemist of Temperance (daughter of the Sun and Moon) corresponds to Circe, the potion-mixing daughter of Helios and Hecate (see 17.Moon). (Walker 108)

Temperance refers to the artful mixture that balances the opposites, which is an alchemical operation, and so the opposites are symbolized by the lion and eagle. The white eagle is a water symbol, but it decorates the golden jug held in the right hand (all associated with fire); the white eagle has become red, though its prior state is reflected in the water in the jug; we see the red eagle in 3.Emperor. Conversely, the red lion is a fire symbol, yet here we find it decorating the silver dish held in the left hand (all associated with water); the red lion has become white (or green), though its prior state is reflected in the red wine in the dish; we see the green lion in 2.Empress. In alchemical terms, the red blood of the lion has been exchanged for the white gluten of the eagle, which effects the reconciliation of opposites and sets the stage for completing the work. (We have already seen the Tantric interpretation of the mixing of the red and white elixirs.) In more mundane terms, the descending water quenches the fiery spirits below, while the ascending fire spiritualizes the flux above. (Case 157; Crowley 102, 228; Nichols 258)

To recap, the mixing accomplished by Temperance creates the green lion who accompanies 2.Empress and the red eagle who accompanies 3.Emperor. Further, the gluten of the eagle is the white sulphur, associated with 4.High Priestess, and the blood of the lion is the red sulphur, associated 5. High Priest (cf. Pollack I.97). Temperance mixes the two sulphurs in the grey Philosophic Egg, which blends the black and white, and is in turn the child born from the silver Orphic Egg, the pneumatos, the "harmony of an intermediate spirit," the quintessence (see 6.Love).

The sulphur-infused water is called hudor theion in Greek, which means both sulphur-water and holy-water. When incubated in the Philosophic Egg this mixture will engender the Philosopher's Stone, the perfect unification of the mercury, sulphur and salt of the alchemists (i.e., spirit, soul and body). The mercury is the fluid principle (associated with the water), the sulphur is the fiery principle (associated with the wine), and the salt is the material principle, the earthly vehicle for their embodiment. The result, according to Basilius, is alchemical vitriol (or the oil thereof), "that true fluid Gold of Philosophers, which nature drove together from the three principles, wherein is found a spirit, soul and body "

Indeed, Crowley's equivalent of 7.Temperance bears the seven-letter alchemical formula VITRIOL (seen, e.g., in Stolcius' Viridarium Chymicum, 1624), which is said to contain the whole secret of alchemy. It stands for:

Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem
That is, "Visit the interior of the earth and by rectification you will find the hidden stone." The text explains, in words echoing the Emerald Tablet, "The Sun is father to the Stone, wandering Cynthia [the Moon] its mother, Wind bore the child in its womb, Earth gave it food" - fire, water, air and earth contribute to its birth. This formula admits many interpretations, but here it tells us that the divine child will be found in the center of the earth-egg, but that it must be further refined (in the later trumps) before the Great Work is complete. Crowley (104) says, "It is to fertilize and bring to manifested Life the Orphic Egg." (Crowley 103-4; Jung, MC 149, 516; Nichols 258; Read 105, 155, 195)

(Note bene, if you are interested in VITRIOL: In a figure titled "The Whole Work of Philosophy," Stolcius gives the formula this way around a circle: 1V2I3T4R5I6O7L; corresponding to the numbers are the planets Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. Finally the three principles are aligned as follows: 1 = Saturn = salt = corpus (body), 3 = Mars = sulphur = anima (soul), 6 = Mercury = quicksilver = spiritus (spirit). Corresponding emblems depict the steps of the Great Word: putrefaction, distillation, sublimation, white work, peacock, red work, birth. There is much to be learned from this arrangement. See Read 269, 272)

The child in 7.Temperance holds the patera, which reminds us that she is the Mistress of the Cups, corresponding to the Master of the Cups in 6.Love (who is Eros/Hermes). Thus it is not surprising that Temperance is connected with divine cup-bearers, in particular Hebe and Iris.

Hebe is the daughter of Hera and Zeus (2.Empress and 3.Emperor), that is, the divine child of the cosmic parents; her name means youth and youthful vigor. She is a cup-bearer for the gods, serving them their youth-preserving nectar. (Gantz 81-2; Larousse 137)

Zeus and Ganumedes (c. 515-510 BCE)

She is sometimes called Ganymeda (Ganumeda), since she is the female counterpart of Ganymede (Ganumedes), another cup-bearer, who is identified with Aquarius. Indeed, Ganymede replaced her as cup-bearer after she married Heracles, which symbolizes the conjunction of opposites. Ganymede also brings the rejuvenating waters, and indeed Hellenistic Egyptians identified him with Osiris, who governs the revivifying waters of the Nile. Conversely, an Egyptian statue that has been identified with the Nile has both a beard and female breasts. (Larousse 137-8; OCD s.v. Hebe; Williams 92, 96; Zolla 58-9)

As in our image, Hebe is often depicted winged, barefoot, wearing a long peplos (robe), carrying a patera (dish) of ambrosia in her left hand and an oinokhoe (wine jug) of nectar in her right, or she may be shown pouring the jug into the patera. (Murray 217; Oswalt 123)

Hera and Hebe (Chicago Painter, 440 BCE)

Another cup-bearer is Iris, who is a female counterpart of Hermes, even to carrying the kerukeon (caduceus) and wearing winged sandals or a winged hat. Though both may carry messages for any of the gods, Iris is especially assigned to Hera the Mother, as Hermes is to Zeus the Father (2.Empress and 3.Emperor). Like Hermes, Iris is a guide to the underworld; indeed she goes there to fill her golden cup with the waters of the river Styx (depicted in our image), by which the gods swear their inviolable oaths. She also serves the gods their immortality-conferring nectar and ambrosia. (Gantz 18; OCD s.v. Iris; SB&G 45-6)

Iris is generally depicted barefoot and wearing either a short or long chiton (tunic) or a peplos (long robe); she may have wings (in the Iliad she is call khrusopteros - golden-winged - twice) and is sometimes seen with a pitcher - so on the west pediment of the Parthenon. (Iliad 8.398, 11.185; OCD s.v. Iris; Smith & Anton s.v. Iris) Most of the earliest tarot decks, including the Visconti-Sforza deck, show an unwinged Temperance (the Piedmontese deck is the exception), though she is winged in most other decks (Kaplan, Vol. I, s.v. Temperance). Indeed, she is the only winged (i.e. divine) figure to appear on earth, which shows her to be the liaison between heaven and earth. (Dummett 128; Nichols 250, 258; SB&G 45; Williams 92)

Iris and Hebe are closely connected; for example, in book 5 of the Iliad Hebe helps Hera hitch her chariot, as Iris helps Aphrodite unhitch hers. (Gantz 82)

Temperance, as the messenger (angelos) of the gods, the mediator between heaven and earth, brings conscious awareness to subconscious content (as symbolized by the vessels and their contents). Her decanting back and forth is the inner dialogue, the meditation that harmonizes the psyche. (Nichols 250-1; note, however, that mediate and meditate are not related)

The flowers in the background are irises, as they are in the Waite-Smith and some other decks. (Case 155; SB&G 45)

The rainbow is the visible manifestation of Iris carrying a message to earth from heaven or vice versa. It is a nearly universal symbol of the Celestial Bridge, the shamanic path to the sky, the path between heaven and earth, and its seven colors correspond to the Seven Heavens (and to the levels of the Ziggurat; see 15.Tower). The rainbow is the seven-runged ladder of alchemical initiation. (Eliade, Sham. 132-5, 490; SB&G 45)

Iris, from an anon. late 15th cent. ms.

The rainbow is also a symbol of promise and renewal, the reborn child. It represents the peace after the storm that destroys old structures and patterns; it heralds the new manifestation following dissolution of the old, the alchemical Coagule following the Solve. Indeed, the colors of the rainbow correspond to the alchemical Peacock's Tail, which heralds the completion of the Magnum Opus. (Case 155; Crowley 103; Nichols 251; Pollack 97; SB&G 45)

The rainbow also symbolizes the androgynous blending of opposites represented by Temperance. As Zolla (57) remarks, "The androgyne character of the rainbow is so strong that there are many legends in the French, Serbian and Westfalian countryside about people changing sex when passing under a rainbow. But its peculiar symbolic character consists in a blend of androgyny with a conjunction of the human and the divine." Thus it is especially significant that Temperance stands under a rainbow.

The rainbow doubles as an archery bow, which shoots an arrow straight upward; indeed the arrow pierces the rainbow. The upward-flying arrow contrasts with the dart that Eros aims downward in 6.Love. The descending silver dart of 6.Love is the alchemical Solve, which brings about the dissolution of the parents (the downward flow of Water, symbolized by the dart head), reducing them to prima materia. The ascending golden arrow of 7.Temperance is the alchemical Coagula, which brings about a new fixation of spirit (by means of the upward leaping Fire, symbolized by the arrowhead), which synthesizes the opposites. Indeed, Crowley says this trump is "the complement and the fulfillment" of 6.Love. We may say that the descending dart, associated with Eros, represents the desire to unify the polarities, whereas the ascending arrow (which Crowley calls the purest sign of Hermes), represents the directed will and burning zeal that achieves the desired integration. (Crowley 101, 104; Gad 241)

Eliade (Zal. 53) observes that shooting arrows into the clouds is a ritual found around the world. When we recall that the divine child's parents, the Dark Moon and Dark Sun (4.High Priestess & 5.High Priest), come together in eclipse, it is significant that the Chinese shoot arrow into the sky during an eclipse "to reconstitute the ritual space and reestablish the order of the world, threatened by the darkness" (Eliade, Zal. 53). So also 7.Temperance represents the divine child's reconstitution of the world order.

For Crowley (101) this trump depicts Diana the Huntress, which connects it with 17.Moon (as we've already seen) and with the Archer, that is, Sagittarius. In the Zodiac Gemini, representing 6.Love (Master of Cups, descending dart) is opposite Sagittarius, which we see corresponds to 7.Temperance (Mistress of Cups, ascending arrow). (Case 155-6)

The twin mountains, which appear on 7.Temperance and 17.Moon, also establish a link between these trumps. This is the Eastern Gate of the Sun, Mt. Parnassus, the abode of Apollo and the Muses, the Babylonian Mt. Mashu (Twins), the cosmic axis, the destination that will finally be reached in 18.Sun. The twofold mountain represents the conjunction of opposites; cabalistically, the peaks are Wisdom and Understanding (Chokma and Binah). (Case 155; Sharman-Burke 70; Zolla 73)

Mt. Parnassus appears in emblem 38 of Michael Maier's Atalanta Fugiens (1617). In the foreground Hermes and Aphrodite engage in foreplay, while Eros, holding a phallic quiver, looks on. In the background, bridging the valley between the two peaks, is the divine child born of their union, Hermaphroditus, the Rebis (Two-thing), the two-headed, two-gendered alchemical androgyne. Maier explains (p. 162), ita Rebis duorum montium inquilinus censetur, videlicet Mercurii & Veneris, unde & nomen Hermaphroditi ipsi inditum ab utroque parente. That is, "the Rebis occupies the two mountains, obviously those of Mercury and Venus, and the name of Hermaphroditus himself derives from each parent." He adds (163), "the mountain of the Mercury of the Philosophers is the twofold peak of Parnassus, on one of them dwells Hermes, on the other Venus." Of course, Hermes and Venus are 1.Magician and 2.Empress.

In Maier's image, the right-hand side of the Rebis is male, the left female; likewise Hermes sits on Venus's right. On the other hand the sephirotic associations suggest that the peak on the Rebis' right corresponds to Understanding and therefore Venus, and that on the left to Wisdom and therefore Hermes (see also 17.Moon). The explanation may be the balance and exchange of opposites represented by this trump.

The unification of the opposites is represented by the images that connect the peaks: the rising sun (representing new hope), the rainbow, the cloud and the arrow (Sharman-Burke 70). Case (155) identifies them with the Crown (Kether), which, like the Rebis, unites Wisdom and Understanding on the Tree of Life, and represents the end of the path of attainment.

Greek Hermaphroditic Statue

Androgyny is a pervasive theme in 7.Temperance: the union of opposites, the ambiguous gender of Ganymede/Ganymeda (Hebe), the sex-changing power of the rainbow, the blending of the male and female essences in the vessels, Hermaphroditus born of Hermes and Aphrodite, and so forth. It represents a kind of psychological wholeness: a man's union with his anima (inner woman), or a woman's union with her animus (inner man). It also represents the reality-twisting cross-dressing and androgyny of the shaman, the psychopomp (soul guide) and messenger between the mundane and spiritual worlds. (Waite 124; Williams 94-5)

The goddess Isis can also be seen in the Temperance trump. According to Walker (108), her name and several of her titles (Queen of Heaven, Great Mother) have appeared as names of this trump, and O'Neill (220) mentions a Renaissance image of Isis in which she carries a water vessel and has one foot on earth and the other in the water.

Since ancient times Isis has been associated with the Nile, and her resurrection of Osiris and reunion with him has been taken to symbolize the periodic flooding of the Nile (Plutarch, Isis & Osiris 39-40). This story contains the common mythological theme of feminine love bringing rebirth; recall Ishtar and Tammuz, Aphrodite and Adonis (Walker 109); in some myths Dionysos was resurrected by Demeter, his lover, or by Athena (Kerenyi, Gods of Greeks 274).

Walker (108) observes that the Egyptian menat amulet represents two vessels (one apparently emptying into the other, as in our image), one narrow, the other broad, which correspond to the male and female organs of generation. It is associated with Temperance the regenerated child for, as Budge (61) explains, it confers "the power of life and reproduction."

Nevertheless, though Isis may be associated historically with the Temperance trump, it corresponds better to Horus, the divine child of Isis and Osiris (High Priest and High Priestess), conceived when they coupled while still in the womb; indeed, the two eyes of Horus are the sun and moon (e.g., Plutarch, I. & O. 12, 52).

We may compare Temperance with a later trump that also balances opposites, 20.Justice, who makes her judgements from afar, and seeks a fixed balance by means of measurement and her scales. In contrast, Temperance is present as a mediator, and accomplishes a fluid alternation between the opposites by means of her skill and sensitivity. This dynamic alternation between water and wine is critical, for life is renewed by a continual flow between the conscious and unconscious minds. The Greek letter associated with Temperance is Eta, which is the numeral eight, associated with Rhea (also represented in 10.Fortune), who represents the natural rhythmic flow of Nature; so the Pythagoreans call her Embracer of All Harmonies. (Case 154; Cooper 118; Nichols 254, 256; TA 73)

We can contrast Temperance and Justice in another way. The two vessels held by Temperance are connected by the flow of feeling, and this trump emphasizes the feeling function of consciousness, for feeling is a bridge between opposites, just like the fluids in this trump. Temperance is fluid whereas Justice is inflexible (represented by the crossbeam of the scales); Iris serves Mother Hera, whereas Athena (Justice) serves Father Zeus; Iris is kind and merciful, whereas Athena is fair and objective; Temperance values relationship, whereas Justice values independence. (SB&G 45-7)

Indeed, as cup-bearer, Temperance is connected with the Water-Bearer Aquarius (who was also identified with Ganymede). Aquarius is the sign of ideal relationships, and also shows us that this trump is the initiation of Aquarian Age of the psyche, which brings about its wholeness. In one act she both pours and receives, thus effecting the integration of conscious and unconscious minds. (Nichols 249, 253)

The gold and silver vessels, the pool, and her stance relative to the pool correspond to 16.Star, for the Star Woman also governs the conscious-unconscious alternation, but at a more advanced level. The connection between 7.Temperance and 16.Star is confirmed by 7 = 1+6 (since the Pythagoreans say that 10 is the Monad of a higher-order Decad, 1+0 = 1).

Temperance follows the first Triaktys pattern (*, **, ***) in the tarot. The monad is 1.Magician, the undifferentiated unity preceding distinctions (the 1-1 dice-cast in the Fire Hexactys). The dyad comprises 2.Empress and 3.Emperor, the primary duality of female and male (the 2-1 and 2-2 casts). The triad comprises 4.High Priestess, 5.High Priest and 6.Love - the wife, the husband and their union (3-1, 3-2, 3-3), which engenders 7.Temperance, the child. 7.Temperance is the Hidden Monad (see 7s in Minor Arcana), which begins the tetrad (4-1, 4-2, 4-3, 4-4) that completes the Holy Tetractys of the Pythagoreans. With 0.Fool the Tetractys (trumps 1-10) constitutes the first of the two Hendecads (groups of 11) of the tarot. So also the Moon and the Sun were wed on the 28th (7 X 4) day, the new moon, which was considered especially favorable for weddings in Athens (Jung, MC 129).

The position of Temperance is confirmed by the numerical value of HBH H QEA (Hebe He Thea, the Goddess Hebe) = 41, which reduces to 11+1-4 = 8 in the Hendecad. Further, the Pythagoreans inform us that the octad is female and call it the Threefold Vessel of Rebirth (so Temperance is the reborn divine daughter); she rebalances the destabilizing effect of the heptad (Love). (Cooper 118; Neumann, GM 329-30; see also the 8s in the Minor Arcana.)

The female contains all qualities and tempers them, She is in her place and moves with perfect balance, She is all things duly veil'd, she is both passive and active - Walt Whitman, "I Sing the Body Electric"
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