Showing posts with label temperance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label temperance. Show all posts

Temperance - Meaning and Symbolism


An angel in a white robe, touching earth and heaven,
appeared. His wings were flame and a radiance of gold
was about his head. On his breast he wore the sacred sign
of the book of the Tarot—a triangle within a square, a
point within the triangle; on his forehead the symbol of
life and eternity, the circle.

In one hand was a cup of silver, in the other a cup of
gold and there flowed between these cups a constant,
glistening stream of every colour of the rainbow. But I
could not tell from which cup nor into which cup the
stream flowed.

In great awe I understood that I was near the ultimate
mysteries from which there is no return. I looked upon
the angel, upon his symbols, his cups, the rainbow stream
between the cups,—and my human heart trembled with
fear and my human mind shrank with anguish and lack of

"Yes", said the voice, "this is a mystery that is revealed
at Initiation. 'Initiation' is simply the revealing of this
mystery in the soul. The Hermit re-
ceives the lantern, the cloak and the staff so that he can bear
the light of this mystery.

"But you probably came here unprepared. Look then and
listen and try to understand, for now understanding is your
only salvation. He who approaches the mystery without
complete comprehension will be lost.

"The name of the angel is Time. The circle on his forehead
is the symbol of eternity and life. Each life is a circle which
returns to the same point where it began. Death is the return
to birth. And from one point to another on the
circumference of a circle the distance is always the same, and
the further it is from one point the nearer it will be to the

"Eternity is a serpent, pursuing its tail, never catching it.
"One of the cups the angel holds is the past, the other is
the future. The rainbow stream between the cups is the
present. You see that it flows both ways.

"This is Time in its most incomprehensible aspect.
"Men think that all flows constantly in one direction.
They do not see that everything perpetually meets and that
Time is a multitude of turning circles. Understand this
mystery and learn to discern the contrary currents in the
rainbow stream of the present.

"The symbol of the sacred book of the Tarot on the
angel's breast is the symbol of the correlation of God, Man
and the Universe.

"The triangle is God, the world of spirit, the world of
ideas. The point within the triangle is the soul of man.
The square is the visible world.

"The consciousness of man is the spark of divinity a
point within the triangle of spirit. Therefore the whole
square of the visible universe is equal to the point within
the triangle.

"The world of spirit is the triangle of the twenty-one
signs of the Tarot. The square represents fire, air, water
and earth, and thus symbolises the world.

"All this, in the form of the four symbols, is in the bag
of the Fool, who himself is a point in a triangle. Therefore
a point without dimension contains an infinite square.