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MAAT Study Group-Temperance


Full Moon Cycle of Pisces

Temperance
Planetary Ruler Mercury


In the course of creating yet another tarot deck, as I got to the point of recreating The Devil Full Moon in Pisces, I paused there was a nagging at the back of my mind as if something just was not right with my choice.

To relieve this nagging I gathered up all my astrology books sifted through the texts for symbolism of Pisces, I was searching for some clue to put Pisces in fresh perspective. While looking through one of my astrology books Sun&Moon Signs by Julia and Derek Parker the words leapt off the page,

The Babylonian name for this constellation was kun meaning "two tails". This title referred to goddesses Anunitum and Simmah who once represented the rivers Tigris and Euphrates.

Here was the fresh clue I was looking for. I did a search for the Tigris and Euphrates to see what would come up about them. The information I found was a link about the ancient myths of the Tigris and Euphrates River Valley. The first story was the story of Gilgamesh and the second was a paper by Alejandro Arturo González Terriza called Isis, Lilith, Gello: Three Ladies of Darkness. Here once again was Lilith turning up in my research for this card. As I read Alejandro's comparisons of these three goddesses, I was struck by its symbolism and how well it related not to the Devil card but to the symbolism in the card Temperance. Despite Lilith's reputation as a demon of the night the symbolism for Temperance was overwhelming. The ever familiar symbols of Temperance are a winged being with the sun symbol at his/her brow, one foot on land, one foot in water. The being is pouring something from one vessel to another. Nearby, irises are growing by the shore. The sun is setting behind the figure. The symbol of a triangle within a square is at the figure's heart. In a text dated 1200 BCE known as The secret name of Ra sometimes referred to as The legend of Ra and Isis I see the symbols of Temperance emerge. The legend of Ra and Isis also illuminates Ra as the old man in the Hermit card. I just love it when things line up like this.


"The divine being (Ra the sun) had gone old, he wrinkled his mouth, threw his spittle over the earth, and his spittle fell down on earth. As for Isis, she was a woman versed in words, a powerful magician who preferred the company of gods to that of humans. Isis retrieves the decadent spittle of Ra, which soaks the earth, and, taking dust in her hand, she makes with it a magical serpent, which she puts on the route that Ra makes every day and every night, from dawn to sunset, and from sunset to dawn. When he passed through that way, the serpent bites him, and, receiving the serpent bite, the god is victim of the most terrible anxiety: his limbs shake, the flame of life flees from them, and the inoculated poison makes him sweat copiously. The gods asked Ra, which is it, what has happened, and he says he finds no words to answer about it: A deadly thing has bitten me. My hearts knows it, but my eyes haven't seen it. My hand has made it not. I never felt such a pain. There is no pain greater than this, (nor I know) who has made this to me. ...It isn't fire, it isn't water, but I'm colder than water, hotter than fire. In that time of sorrow for Ra, most opportune (and whistling, we are tempted to say), came Isis with her power, with her breath of life and her magical formulae, which drive away the illness, her words that make live again the throats of those who languish. And she said: «What is it, oh my divine father? What's up? A serpent has inoculated you with the sickness. One of your creatures has raised its head against you. I'll knock it down with my efficient spells. In return, of course, Isis demands to know His Name. Ra tries to resist in vain: the poison doesn't leave its way, and Ra's heart is about to leave him. At the very doors of death, he gives up: »I do consent to be investigated by Isis, and that my name passes from my body to her body». In a extreme of cunning, worthy of the worst femme fatale, Isis takes advantage of the situation and manages to persuade Ra to promise to give his two eyes to her son Horus; and only after taking away from him his two greatest treasures his name and his eyes, she recites her spell and saves the God Father of everything from death. »Certainly, the great god has got his name taken away. Ra lives, the poison dies, and vice-versa. A man son of woman lives and the poison dies». This is what Isis said, the Great, Lady of Gods, who knows Ra by his own name.

In a similar light Lilith the first wife of Adam has similar power to know the secret name of God. According to one of the versions of Creation, in the Sixth Day God made Adam, but Eve did not yet exist. God made Adam, and then set him to name every animal, and when they passed before him in pairs, male and female, he felt jealous of their loves, and tried to get satisfaction himself, coupling with each female creature Such experience, anyway, didn't satisfy him; and so he went to the Creator, claiming: ”Every creature but I has a proper mate!.” God heard Adam's claim, and formed Lilith. Adam and Lilith were not a happy couple. When he wished to lie with her, Lilith alleged that the recumbent position he wanted was denigrating to her. “Why must I lay beneath you?” -she asked-“I also was made from dust, and am therefore your equal.” As Adam tried to force her, Lilith, in a rage, uttered the magical name of God, rose into the air and left him. Opposing to the fatherly and fighting male God, Lilith and Isis have the image of a most beautiful woman, goddess of lust and magic, and possess of power words and magic the very power of God. She is the one who persistently, passes through the darkness her memory remains in our mythical heritage.

Now as I turn back to the symbols present in Temperance I see the figure with one foot on land and one foot on water to be the symbolic meaning of a river. We see this symbol in the image of found in the Star. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers flood just like the Nile. The pouring of liquid from one vessel to another to symbolizes not only the mixing of a magical potion, but the mixing of these two Rivers which start out in opposite directions then join together becoming one river and emptying into the Persian Gulf. This seems to say no matter how opposite things can be at some point these opposites will blend together and become One. The Pisces Moon connection can also be found in the blending of two different cultures and calendars. The Full Moon in Aquarius Star marks the beginning of the Egyptian three-season calendar [the triangle]. The full Moon in Aries marks the beginning of the European four seasons, the square calendar. Both Lilith and Isis are referred to as being winged as is the being in the Temperance card. But the real kicker for me in believing that the temperance" angel" is this goddess of magic is the solar symbol on her forehead symbolizing her knowledge of the secret name of Ra [the sun]. As the sun withers and dies The Great Mother brings him back, pouring the magic life force from one vessel to the next, giving Ra's attributes to her son Horus. Rebirth is her gift of immortality.


Other names: Lilith; Isis, Gello


Symbols: opposites, yin and yang, blending of male and female, blending of life and death. Irises or maybe lilies a poisonous flower placed near the dead, named for Lilith?


Attributes: reincarnation, transformation, twilight, betwixt and between, magic potions


Full Moon in Pisces Key phrase: "I believe"



Attributes: Blending; healing; restoring; the suppression of appetite.


In a Reading: This card represents a magical time of transition. A time when the subconscious mind comes rapping. This card puts us on notice that until karmic lessons are learned history will continue to repeat itself. It also suggests the suppression of appetites is approaching and that there will be a blending and mixing of things that are considered opposites.
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