XIV: Temperance

  An initial description:

A woman scoops water from a stream into a container. She has long, curly, brown hair and a band around her head. Her eyes are closed, and she leans forward. Her garment is rainbow, and a yellow glow surrounds her. She is seated on the rocks and behind her are twisted, gnarled trees and overgrown grass and greenery. A sparrow sits in the tree directly behind her. Before her is a small stream full of lily pads, white lilies and tall grass. There seems to be fog around her.

Preliminary meanings:

The woman braces herself, leaning forward to scoop more of the precious liquid. Without water we would cease to exist, the balance between survival and our bodies’ needs, and the desires we have must be maintained. We can not forget our origins.

The basic fairy tale from once upon a fairy tale: (The Water of Life)

Through years of hard work, three brothers and one sister build a palace. An old man tells them they need a pitcher of the water of life, a branch from the tree of eternal beauty, and a talking bird. He gives the sister a knife that will tell her how the oldest brother does on the quest. The oldest brother meets a giant who warns him not to stop, but he does, and turns to stone. The second brother goes and also turns to stone, as does the third brother. The sister arrives at the mountain summit and fills the pitcher with water, cages the talking bird, and breaks a branch off of the tree. Water spills on the mountain as she climbs back, and all the stone men turn back into normal men. They return home and she plants the branch, which grows into a tree. Later a prince comes and marries her.

personal significance:

Through hard work we can achieve anything. It is important however, to balance our courage with the advice of the wise and knowledgeable. By doing so, we can persevere and succeed.

book symbolism, etc:

Remember that in order to attain wholeness, we need to break free of restraints that prevent us from exploring the deeper layers of consciousness. The tree’s twisted limbs symbolize its resilience and adaptive qualities. Being between worlds, we need a connection with the cosmos. Inner calm and balance will follow a period of tumult.

variations of The Water of Life:

-The water of life (Grimm): The king was dying and his three sons ran away to cry. They met an old man who tells them of the water of life. The first son goes and is frozen in place. The second also snubs the dwarf and is frozen. The youngest is polite and is told how to find the water, and is given an iron wand and two pieces of bread. He follows the directions and grabs a sword and some jewels as well as a princess but loses his heel for sleeping in a bee late. He then frees his brother and gives a king in need the magic bread and sword. The brothers swap the water for sea water and threaten the youngest, which leads to the king ordering him shot. The brother survives by exchanging clothes with the huntsman. Then gold and stones come for him to the king and he regains favor while the brothers fail to woo the princess. He marries her and becomes king.

Traditional meanings of (From Gray’s book):

The two cups contain the essence of life, which is poured from the subconscious, or unseen, into the unconscious, or seen, and back again. This is the flowing of the past through the present and into the future. The pool’s water is the subconscious mind of the universe. This is the foundation of the mind, mastering your own thoughts and gaining mental balance. What we have imagined will come to pass. Reversed is disaster.

Parallels: The water

Temperance (From Journey of the hero):

Temperance means moderation, but can also symbolize the “right mix.” The path shown is that of the narrow path of individualization, becoming oneself. “It is unimportant how long we live, but how we live; and not how much we experience but how deeply” (page 145). This is the soul guide, and the proper path lies between abstinence and excess. There is a search for wholeness, a return to the light. The transcendental function (Jung)- The unconscious psyche’s ability to lead from a hopeless situation to one that is new. This is the last transition card for the last phase of the journey, and the final use for a spirit guide. Archetype is the soul guide, and represents inner certainty; reversed is mediocrity.

Related to temperance:

There is always a journey involved at this state.

Meditation/writing jump off:

Carefully I leaned out over the bank, bracing myself so I wouldn’t tip in as I scooped my pitcher carefully into the waters of life and poured out the extra weight. Moderation is important; it was a long journey to get here, and will be to get back. The two lilies in the water float peacefully, the path of moderation and wisdom. This is the way to wholeness, the reward.

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