XV: Temptation


An initial description:
A pale, dark-haired woman pauses beside a door. She is wearing a blue head covering with a golden band, and matching, long, elaborate earrings as well as a necklace. Her green dress has a torn hem and is knee-high. The bodice is similar to a corset and has elaborate trim. The bottom is like a snake-skin skirt. Underneath she has genie leggings and pink genie shoes. A green shawl hangs on her arms. She looks fearful as she stands in front of a tapestry depicting a cloudy moonlit sky. Two birds fly in the distance, around a dying withered tree that ends in a pool of water. The pool has a plant growing in it. The tapestry hangs on a stone wall between a wooden door and a pair of hanging curved swords. Below them is a blue vase.

Preliminary meanings:
Temptation is something that leads one off the path; sometimes it can be terrifying. The woman reaches out for the door, a way away from this. In her hand is the key for the door, making one think that perhaps the temptation is within the room and she’s afraid of being caught. Sometimes curiosity gets the best of us. For the worst.

The basic fairy tale from once upon a fairy tale (Bluebeard):
Bluebeard was rich and wanted a wife, so he wooed the youngest daughter of a widow. He gives her the keys to his palace, but forbids her from using the golden key. She was too curious and went in, finding bodies. She drops the key in blood and can not get it off. He discovers it and tells her they are his previous wives, then gives her 15 minutes to tell her family goodbye. He gets ready to kill her but her brothers save her and she shares the wealth with her family.

personal significance:
Curiosity killed the cat!

book symbolism, etc:
The room is like Pandora’s box, hailing a passage from one state of being to another. The tapestry represents the underworld. Order and authority are obstacles here. To obtain wholeness, we need to address our shadows- the aspects of the shelf that we have denied.

variations of bluebeard:
– Fitcher’s Bird (German): A wizard would dress as a beggar and touch pretty girls, trapping them, so he could take them home. The eldest was taken, and the wizard left her in his magnificent home with the keys, giving her one command- do not go into a particular room, and to care for an egg. She goes in and finds bodies, then drops the egg. He kills her, and gets her sister, who does the same. The youngest is taken next, and she puts the egg away before finding her sisters. She gathers their limbs together and they come to life. The wizard wants to marry her, and she tells him to bring a basket of gold to her family, hiding the sisters within. She watches him, and her sisters call out when he stops so that he will go all the way there. She hides in a barrel of honey and feathers it, then walks home. All of his friends and the wizard are locked in his house and set on fire.
– How the devil married 3 sisters (Italian): The devil built a house and married the oldest of 3, giving her access to all but one door. He left and she went in, singeing the flowers on her dress- so he knew. He pushed her in, and marries her sister, only for it to happen once again. He marries the youngest, and she puts her flowers in water before going to look. She puts her sisters in a chest, one at a time, and has him carry them, having her call out when he sets her down. On the third day she hides in the chest, setting up a doll to watch him. He thinks she was stolen and goes to her father’s, only to find all 3 of them there. Terrified, he runs.
– Mr. Fox (english): Lady Mary is engaged to Mr. Fox and goes to his castle. There are sayings written on it to warn you away. She finds a room full of women’s bodies and goes to leave, but is forced to hide as he returns. He comes in with a young woman and cuts off her hand for the ring. It falls into Mary’s lap and she takes it with her. At their next meeting she describes what she saw as a dream, then pulls out the hand as proof, and her family kills him.

Traditional meanings of the Devil (From Gray’s book):
This card reminds us that “there is no Devil except of man’s own creation, men are chained by their own choices.” These chains can be removed by our will. This is the wrong use of force, and bondage to the material. Reversed is the beginning of spiritual understanding and overcoming self-interest.

The temptations of the materialistic world around us binds us, such as the woman’s curiousity binds her to the fate of disobeying her husband. However, her quick thinking frees her, much as our will can free us.

The Devil (From Journey of the hero):
This is the darkest place of the hero’s journey, where we encounter and experience our own darkness.

“These [our darkness] are actions, motives, wishes, intentions, qualities that are deeply embarrassing to us, that fills us with dread, that we are ashamed of, that we have only perceived in others up to now.” 156

We have realized we are lacking in an aspect of the four functions of consciousness and we are now facing it. We have to do the dirty work and cultivate this aspect because we believe our consciousness’ lies that whatever we forget is gone. This is how we lose control- only able to control what we are conscious of. Despite the pain of this, we are now in a place of healing. We are recognizing what we suppress, integrating, and responsibly living with them, consciously. Often we throw our own flaws onto our partner, and must remember a single will always just be half of one whole. This card represents dependence, addiction, and bondage; we are doing something against our own will, where we are running from is where treasure may be. This is a challenge to separate from entanglements, dependencies, and bondage. The archetype is adversary, don’t become enslaved.

Related to Bluebeard:
The wife is overcome by her curiosity and she fights it. The more she fights it, the worse it is. We must all face our darkness. Her wit saves her life and sets her up well, symbolizing the buried treasure in the situation we run from-a great parallel.

Meditation/writing jump off:
Frightened, I paused. I had already begun to reach out for the handle, my curiousity unconsciously guiding me on. What could be behind the forbidden door? Everything has driven me to this point; the sweet whispers of temptation have goaded me to this place. Despite this, I know- I know in my gut that I need to see what is behind this door. It’s time to face the shadows.

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