Up to this point in the study of the Tarot Keys, we have looked at several different Laws of Creation. The theory behind each of these Laws has been demonstrated in previous cards so that you can have a basic understanding of them before trying them out.
Just to recap so far, we’ve covered the Law of Nature on the High Priestess card, and the use of the Law of Nature on the Empress card. The Emperor is about the Law of the Triangle, and the Lovers key covers the Law of Love. Strength explains the Law of Suggestion, and the Wheel of Fortune explains the operation of the Law of Rotation. Justice is the Law of Equilibrium, and the Suspended Man is an expression of the Law of Reversal. The Transition card is about the Law of Transformation.
Now we’re moving on to the Law of Verification on this card, Temperance. For without verification, which means actually being tried out by you, how will you know if they work, or not?
The Cabala teaches you that what you receive from the Tarot has to be practical. Everything that you’ve received up to this point has already begun to make small changes in your life. This is whether you are conscious of them or not. You will eventually come to the realization that you, and everyone around you, is an important part of nature. Also, that we aren’t separate. And, that there is actually a method whereby you will succeed at this realization.
The Tarot is magical. You have already begun to transform your personality. You are becoming more and more aware of the principles and laws under which you operate. But you can’t get from where you are to where you want to be by book learning and memorization. This is where Key 14 Temperance comes in. The Law of Verification is when you begin to experience great trials and testing of yourself by your Inner Self.
When you stepped on the Path through the study of the Tarot, you became an initiate of the Wisdom Teachings. Here you begin the initial steps of the Hero’s Journey, which is the story of your life and how you will manage to get through all of the various conditions that you will encounter. The principles expressed in the Tarot come from the One Identity, your innermost Self. So you actually have a built in Helper. Yay! And, the Tarot is all about learning how to access that Helper every day in order to make use of its Wisdom.
Let’s take a look at the symbology of this Key to see how the Law of Verification is expressed on the card. The Hebrew letter Samekh looks like a serpent biting its tail. This letter is both a verb and a noun. As a verb it means to prop up, establish, and to sustain. As a noun it’s a tent peg (illustrated in the lower right hand corner of the Key). Without a tent peg, your tent would collapse. As a verb we’re looking at establishment and sustainability. So what does this mean?
If something is sustainable it will work over time. So now we’re looking at the principle of verification. In science experiments must be verified by multiple tests in order to be accepted. The Tarot principles, when applied by you, will begin to build a foundation and establish in your everyday life a new way to approach Life. You are cleaning up your personality to prepare it to hold greater Light. Your body will also change, since spirit and matter are one, indivisible. You are creating a “new wine bottle” which will allow you to hold “new wine.”
Every day you will face new tests and trials. Which is why it’s called the Hero’s Journey. As you are able to change your personality, through perseverance, then you’ll receive more “wine”. What works, or what no longer works, in your life will come up again and again. What you learn today may not make itself clear at first. I’ve found that if I go back over texts I’ve read years ago, all of a sudden they have new meaning. It’s as though I’d never read them before. Some lessons are written alchemically. They work on the subconscious mind, which will bring the ideas forward to your conscious mind when you’re ready to “see” them. Christ Jesus spoke in parables just for this reason.
In the Strength card we saw the serpent, our desire nature, coiled and preparing to strike, symbolized by the Hebrew letter Teth. The serpent power is not yet fully under control. In the Justice card we find the letter Lamed where the serpent is uncoiled and active, its head erect, and its tail pointing downward. Our mastery over this force is growing. On Temperance the letter Samekh shows the tail entering the serpent’s mouth. Our mastery is now complete. The serpent biting its own tail is a symbol of eternity and wisdom.
The serpent now appears as a circle, which suggests a connection with the Wheel of Fortune, with all its cycles and rotations. The yellow serpent on that card is vibrating into manifestation and represents the desire force, the energizing principle behind all that we do. Out of control that serpent can be very destructive. Yet it is the very power that we need in order to be free. It’s the force that destroys limitations.
Jupiter is attributed to the Wheel of Fortune, and rules the sign Sagittarius. Sagittarius means “archer” and its symbol is an arrow. See the symbol of the arrow in the lower right hand corner of Temperance. The wings of Archangel Michael are fiery red, the quality of the astrological sign Sagittarius, with blue highlights, Sagittarius’s color attribution. Sagittarius suggests aim, will, purpose, intention. It has to do with distant journeys, visions, and philosophy. Therefore, in line with your quest for knowledge, the use of verification is an absolute necessity. The archer has years of practice under its belt to achieve the perfection of its skill.
The number 14 is a combination of 4 and 1. Key 4 is the Emperor, the card of Reason. Key 1 is the Magician, the card of Concentration. So the number 14 would suggest reason (4) is verified through the agency of concentration (1). In addition 1 + 4 = 5, the number of the Teacher card. Your use of concentration activates the Inner Voice, your Inner Guide. So we see here that through the instruction of your Inner Guide you will achieve verification.
The number 5 also suggests mediation because it’s in the center between the numbers 1 and 9. This would imply adaption, which is defined as the ability to equalize, to adjust, to coordinate, to equilibrate. The object of tempering is to impart strength. A steel sword is tempered in fire and water to make it stronger. The correct combination of these two opposite forces refers to the Law of Equilibrium from the Justice card.
The angel on this card is Archangel Michael, angel of the sun and archangel of the element fire. We use the pronoun “he” for convenience. He is neither male nor female and his name means “Like unto God”. But he is not a person, he’s an archangel. Michael is considered the fiery Life-breath of the One Identity.
To imagine him better think of All Creation at the center of everything and Michael circulating between that center and the personal center of your heart. He is the real I AM, or Ego of the entire human race. He’s doing the adaption and modifications of your personality based on your activity and your reactions to your life experiences. He’s creating the tests and trials, but you act as though you’re creating them. As you become wiser you’ll realize this. And that’s the important lesson of this card, that “you do nothing of yourself”.
At the center of his brow is a solar symbol, a golden circle with a dot in the middle. Light radiates from his head. His right foot rests in water, symbol of the cosmic mind-stuff, like in the High Priestess card. His left foot rests on the green earth, symbol of concrete manifestation through the Empress card.
Like the Fool, Michael’s robe has the four Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton, IHVH, Jehovah, inscribed across its neckline. The 7-pointed star is an emblem of mastery. Being made of gold it signifies Mastery of Solar Energies. Since there is no mathematical method that can be used in order to draw the star, it must be created by trial and error. Again, the theme of this card. 7 is also a very powerful number as it represents the seven sacred planets, the seven alchemical metals, and the seven chakras of the Yogis. And, the star on his robe rests directly over his heart.
The lion and the eagle represent opposites. They are the fixed elements of fire-Leo, and water-Scorpio, respectively. Michael pours water on the lion and fire on the eagle. His actions illustrate the tempering, or modifying, by water on fire and by fire on water.
The principle of Reversal from the Suspended Man is represented by the vase of water being poured on the lion. The blue water signifies, memory, receptivity and reflection. It is the subconscious plane of mental activity. Red is the color of desire and the red lion signifies the forces of nature. Here those forces are being tempered so that you are now following the laws of nature and the beast is fully under control. Your personality has become an extension of the Divine Will. And when this is carried into your subconscious mind your heart enters the state of reversal of the Suspended Man.
The eagle represents Scorpio, the fixed water sign. It’s being tempered by fire and the 5 yods above its head. The 5 yods represent the Teacher card and using the instructions of the Inner Voice. The flames above the eagle’s head are activating the Scorpio force from the base of the spine. Through correct application of the Scorpio force we recognize our unity with the One Identity.
Rainbows are used as symbols of the covenant of peace and promise made by The All with its creation, mankind. The colors are of the planetary centers, also known as the alchemical “metals,” which are the same as the chakras. We use color, and its vibrations, to modify the conditions in our lives.
There is a small yellow path that leads out of the water and which rises up and goes between the two mountain peaks. These peaks represent Understanding, on the left, and Wisdom, on the right. The path ends beneath the Crown of Primal Will. So let’s look at the Tree of Life diagram. The pool of water is the purple sphere called Foundation on the Tree. That sphere is also called “The Sphere of the Moon.” All of the water in the cards comes from the robe of the High Priestess. The golden background of the card represents solar forces at work here.
The Ageless Wisdom is to motivate you to not only enter the Path of the Hero’s Journey, but to stay the course. It won’t be easy. But like the archer, keep your eye on the mark. Don’t randomly accept principles without trying them out. This is not an intellectual pursuit. Every cell in your body needs to be activated for this to work.
At some point you’ll begin to realize that there is something higher going on. It will put a smile on your face! It is Archangel Michael, guiding you along. He’s always with you. Remember, all manifestation is just vibration. Give him a chance to show you how it works. You won’t be disappointed!