XIV Temperance (Jupiter/Fire): The Daughter of the Reconcilers, the Bringer-Forth of Life
Wow, two Major Arcana Tarot heavyweights STRAIGHT out of the gate today! XIV (14) Temperance and XIII (13) Death!
XIV Temperance Major Arcana card is one of the most underrated yet complex cards within the Majors in my humble opinion, completing the second second set of seven within the Major Arcana, related to integrating and adapting with external elements, and testing our Psyche’s mettle thus far. Will this cause delays? Possible repeat attempts may be required within our initial seven [required] to strengthen and/or rebuild as required?
Shadowed by XIII Death, another heavy hitter within the Majors. I mean good grief, its Tarot’s famous Death card! Most feared, and revered, although largely misunderstood card within the Tarot. There has been so much written, discussed, and argued with regard to this one card “XIII Death”.
Here today, retention of relative sanity must take precedence, and sensibly I’ll focus mostly on XIV Temperance and the main Spiritual themes she invokes, and any corresponding similarities with XIII Death and of the focus number today being number nine. Without these parameters set in place, I could be here for days…
Numerically XIV Temperance is 14 and XIII Death is 13 = 14 + 13 = 1+4+1+3 = 9
Today’s Focus Number is Nine: symbolising celestial and spiritual power (3×3), The Triple Triad (3×3), pure intelligence (Hebrew), Truth (since it reproduces itself when multiplied i.e. 2×9=18=1+8=9, 3×9=27=2+7=9), earthly perfection, and completion nearing new beginnings, fulfilment, attainment, Earthly Paradise, 9 is the limit of all numbers.
Major Arcana number fourteen (14) Temperance utilizes the Great Work of Alchemy, eventually resulting in transformation of consciousness. In Jungian terms, it is the card of individuation, involving incorporation of unconscious contents into consciousness. It is the Alchemical marriage of the Moon and the Sun. The radiant Angel dressed in white with bright red wings representing the blood of life, seen in the Rider Waite-Smith (RWS) deck Tarot card image (above) holds two large chalices, one in each hand, and between the two she is patiently tempering humanity’s wine with water. This mingling of self-consciousness with sub-consciousness, represented as fluid flowing back and forth between the two Chalices, noting that the sideways pour and flow of the liquid is impossible and therefore implies magical. XIV Temperance Angel’s feet are also symbolic of the eternal pilgrimage or spiritual journey, on her forehead is the Solar disk (Sun), and we see she has one foot in the water (Moon) and the other on the shore, reminding us our greatest wisdom lies in this Art of balancing (XIV Temperance is named “Art” in the Crowley Thoth deck). Through continual alchemical trial and error, she ensures the perfect mix is found that both nourishes, warms and revives our Soul’s individually.
Another consideration is that the Angel represents the Higher Self, which is (seemingly) objectified as the Holy Guardian Angel. Becoming aware of the Higher Self is an initiatory process, which involves many trials and tests. The individual must be strengthened and tested before they are ready to receive such illumination of the Higher Self. Transformation of consciousness requires thorough preparation combined with Divine Timing which is associated with ‘Other-side’ and Angelic guidance. Otherwise it can be disastrous.
Medieval alchemy was fundamentally about trying to transform the essence of things, usually from something base to something refined. The most obvious and well known example is the attempt to turn lead into gold, but more broadly, alchemy can be understood as the attempt to purify and refine, not only with physical objects (such as metals) but with the human soul itself. Spiritually then, XIV Temperance is about continual adaptation and transformation of One’s Soul in this manner. Specifically, alchemy using parts of our Soul and concentrating them into something new, completely whole (when Soul parts retrieval is required etc) and beautifully unique.
Tarot Major Arcana Temperance is not only about balancing opposites, but about fusing them through trial and error, which is the alchemy of this card, to create something entirely new. Temperance is the apotheosis of the human soul, the ability to bring together all the disparate components of the psyche, the disconnected and neglected pieces of our Soul and transcend them all together into a whole higher state-of-being/frequency/vibration.
XIV Temperance is associated with zodiac sign of Sagittarius ruled by the planet of Jupiter. As far as mythology is concerned, Jupiter was believed to be the ruler of the Gods, who attained this position by overthrowing Saturn. He also acted as their guardian and protector and his symbol was the thunderbolt. Jupiter is also the biggest ruling planet of the zodiac and looks very much like their king only. Astronomers believe that the planet uses its massive gravity to protect all the other planets from menacing comets and asteroids. Jupiter is the “happy” and “lucky” planet, full of energy and confidence, Jupiter protects and is safe. Also the planet of faith, positivism and optimism, it represents the principle of expansion, versus contraction (as represented by Saturn) and the aspirations of the higher self. Tolerant and expansive, Jupiter is the first of the social planets, it seeks insight through knowledge. Some of this planet’s keywords include morality, gratitude, hope, honor, and the law. Jupiter is a planet of broader purpose, reach, and possibility.
Jupiter has generally been associated with good luck and bounty. Optimism and growth (including mental and spiritual growth) come under its rule. On the up side, Jupiter is associated with a sense of humor, good will, and mercy. The more negative manifestations of Jupiter include blind optimism, excess, and overindulgence. Irresponsibility that results from blind optimism but not ill will, nor stupidity, is one of the negatives associated with this planet.
XIV Temperance is ruled elementally by the Sun, Fire, and Jupiter (Planetary Ruler) which is all masculine energy. Jupiter’s mirth, together with the cleansing of double Fire elementally (Sun + Fire) make this an extremely healing card. Fourteen equals one plus four, making it a number five, and the expansion involved in this card is multi-layered and many, most notably complete Soul transformation, Soul retrieval, and Healing through Fire (Yang energies). Five shows the idea of motion coming to the aid of that of matter (required Healing of our Soul in XIV Temperance). This is quite a revolutionary conception; the result is a complete upset of the statically stabilized system and expansion into the new.
XIII Death (Mars/Pluto): The Child of the Great Transformers. The Lord of the Gate of Death
In XIII Death we experience a complete irrevocable ending and overthrow of old, a regime change and shift of power. The illustration in the RWS (above) depicts, and is about ‘The King is dead; long live the King” (the killed King in white and blue lying dead on the ground, his trampled crown nearby his corpse, underneath Death’s white horse) it is about succession, and the appointment of a new King (regime).
This Major Arcana always means a definite ending within some area of your life, this is non-negotiable, a dead-end, and a complete full stop (period for USA readers). One of the many reasons I personally Love Tarot, is how these 78 cards never bullshit. I appreciate Tarot’s no nonsense, blunt and direct communication. Contrary to some of the watered down, ridiculously optimistic interpretations I’ve seen offered for many Tarot cards, XIII Death does always mean Death. How we choose to respond to this ending are where the positive and negative energies of this card do lie, completely within our own power. With the promise of patiently loving XIV Temperance following right behind XIII Death, and these two cards being together here today, we shouldn’t be overly worried, as The Universe/Divine/Source has got us covered, completely and dependably ready to catch us, should we stumble or fall around this Death.
With XIV Temperance and XIII Death combined (Majors 14, and 13 turning up together), my thinking naturally strayed about the Major Arcana series surrounding these two cards generally, and their workings and purpose if experienced consecutively. For example XIV Temperance card and “tempering” when applied to metal-working processes, toughens or strengthens the metal by transmuting (heating and quenching) the brittleness into a more durable, fracture-resistant state. XIII Death could show the primordial state of the base metal beforehand, stripped of its impurities and ready for the tempering. This concept expands further when we consider XV Devil comes after XIV Temperance, thus making us more “durable” in order to strengthen the obdurate toughness of Capricorn sign associated with the XV Devil card.
Death and Temperance cards combined both create our celestial focus number of nine; nine being the limit of all numbers, completion with meaning we are nearing new beginnings. The Nine here in this reading, promises spiritual power, and Earthly Paradise only once we have transcended wholly and completely into something new. When we’ve accepted Death, and the healing alchemy of XIV Temperance diligently completes her collaboration Soul masterpiece, our Higher Frequency and new Spiritual Fortitude are the Earthly Perfections of the number nine’s promises completely fulfilled.
An intense Healing period of deep introspection, and quiet restful solitude has closed, or is closing. Time spent patiently addressing pain, weakness, and inner processes, was time wisely invested. A regime change has occurred, and joyous crowning of a new King is happening. This King has durability and tough strength, is merciful, and so very much wisdom, all while keeping heart openly loving and kind. Long live this King!