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Temperance


I'm interested in what people think about the fluid flowing sideways between the vessels in Trump 14. Unless it is tossed, a fluid generally flows downward, as determined by gravity. In this case, it doesn't seem likely to be due to ignorance of physics by the artists, since what they depict is based generally on observation, not imagination. What say you?
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That's an interesting question. My first thought was that the cups might be like magnets, or polar opposites, and the flowing water is like an electrical current between them, moving in wavy motion. That's my two cents, at least.
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I have always thought of that image not as a depiction of reality, i.e. an accurate picture of what would happen using real liquids, but rather a depiction of a process. Sort of like what using images to supposedly show what atoms 'look like' does not correspond to the reality of atomic processes, as even a simple atom is more of a process than a static structure.
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The angle of the fluid flowing sideways is actually impossible. I read somewhere that it’s because of the meaning of Temperance Card: realization of something which seems impossible.
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Interesting answers, Samweiss, Alta, and decan. It does seem fairly sophisticated, but the art in the other cards seems more down to earth and straightforward (except for the Biblical themes, such as Judgment or the Devil). The Temperance card seems special, especially since it depicts a moral virtue which seems boring and a bit oppressive.
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The card always looks like a cosmic Bartender......
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissChiff View Post
The card always looks like a cosmic Bartender......
That's a good one! In the Thoth tarot, it's a two-headed rebis mixing fire and water. Firewater indeed. Neat trick, I'd say.
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No more suggestions? Don't be afraid to post.

In the Grimaud TdM (Paul Marteau's version of the Conver), one of the vessels is blue, the other red. In the usual color symbolism, blue is water, and red is fire. Apparently, Marteau is depicting an alchemical interpretation: the union of opposites (water and fire), as a process for creating the Philosopher's Stone, as in the Thoth Art (Temperance) card.

It is natural to view this in the context of spiritual alchemy, in which the elements of fire and water represent the spirit and soul of a person. The blending/synthesis of these aspects is the process of attaining completeness, the healing of conflicts within the individual. This is similar to what Carl Jung called individuation, which involved the bringing of unconscious contents of the mind into consciousness.

Of course, this smacks of woo-woo, which is totally unfashionable in the conventional interpretation of the TdM images. However, I think the Temperance card throws woo-woo right into our faces by depicting an impossibility: the flow of a fluid from one container to another having a non-vertical trajectory.
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Hey, I have no sense of self preservation.

I never felt it really meant anything. The card isn't photo realistic to begin with (and where's the rest of her wing?). If she really held one pitcher directly above the other, with enough space in between to see the water flow, then one pitcher would have to be nearer her face and the other stretched down as far as she could reach. It wouldn't be as nice to look at, with her arms, a water stream and 2 pitchers obstructing her.

Some versions have blue and red pitchers, but some versions have the fool's butt blue too and I still can't understand really why. Then again, I'm one who feels alot of the associations placed on cards are after the fact, so maybe it matters more what you see now anyways.
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Your question provoked me to take another look at the card and ponder the (real or imagined) significance of the relative heights of the cups in the figure's hands.

The way I see it, the figure of Temperance holds one goblet higher relative to the other, which is by the same token low relative to its twin, but s/he holds neither terribly high or low relative to the center of his/her body. His/her arms are not outstretched elevating or lowering the respective goblets but instead are forcing them into proximity with each other. This is what allows for a more or less horizontal exchange of fluids.

Thus, the figure shows us that the dualities and opposites necessarily exist, but we can and must control them through effort and moderation to be able to advance toward a higher self (or consciousness, if you like).

Those are just my thoughts on it, though. Thanks for asking the question, Richard. It really forced me to closely examine the card and helped me define the card for myself.

Edited to add:

I'm not terribly concerned with the realism of the illustrations. And I'm fairly convinced the artist(s) were not terribly concerned with physical (as in physics...) or even physiological accuracy, so I can't account for why anyone would try to represent water defying gravity except to illustrate a non physical (i.e., metaphysical or allegorical) point.
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