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Granny Jones - Temperance

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Granny Jones - Temperance


Most people discussing a Tarot deck start with the Fool. Some might start with the Minor Arcana cards and move into the Fool. Me, I started with Temperance. Why? Well, just look at her. She welcomes you into her world. She beams at you. She offers you the Cuppa of Welcome. There is nothing that cannot be sorted out over a nice, hot cup of tea, she thinks. The right blend of tea-leaves, water, ceramic and heat produces the alchemy of a wholly new product: mutual understanding. Friendships are forged over tea. Wounds are healed over tea. People with opposite perspectives are united over tea. There is no act of healing and union that cannot take place in the mid-afternoon over a nice cup of tea.

Or coffee, or any other version of hot water that you can think of. Thinking briefly to my collection of other decks and their Temperance images, many pour fire from one hand and water from the other. Many have a stream and a rivulet of volcanic lava meeting - heat and water making the brew of friendship again. Many have water being poured from one container to another, often against the pull of gravity. Again, the Cup is being filled, to offer in friendship.

For those of who have been mothered imperfectly or not mothered at all, this image is a compelling one, as it offers the unconditional acceptance of motherly love. It is in this card, even more than on the backs, that the real spirit of Granny Jones, the creator of this deck, shines through, and this card to which I turn time and again for warmth, maternal acceptance, and even just the company of an old, wise friend.

Now look behind Granny - what do you see? She is obviously in an indoor space, but a featureless space - no furniture, not even boundaries between ceiling and walls and floor. She is in myth-space, inner space. She is floating in our internal, secret worlds, the worlds of our heart that we can share with no one. She entirely fills the left side of the image: yin, feminine, past. She is the sum of all our ancestors, she is the expression of divine feminine love in our lives.

To her right is a little black-and-white yin-yang symbol, just in case we missed it when we looked at Granny herself: she brings together opposites into a balanced whole. Above that, one of her beloved cats sitting on a shelf, his back to us, contemplates himself in the mirror. Cats are animal and represent the animal sides to ourselves, but they are more than that. They are satisfied with themselves. That cat near the mirror can view himself for hours (I know - I've had the card out for hours and he never moved once!) and never become agitated or uncomfortable with himself. How many of us are as peaceful as that? Temperance, if we follow its path, offers us all that inner peace of the satisfied cat.

And the mirror that the cat looks in is framed in green wood - green, the colour of growth, forest and field fertility, and the heart. Above the potent symbol of the mirror is a round clock, forever fixed on four o'clock in the afternoon - afternoon tea time. In the world of Granny Jones, the heart of the Tarot, and the soul of all of us, it's always tea time.
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