Temperance and Judgement


The symbolism of Temperance is extremely complex. I think I may have uncovered another apspect to it that Waite only hints at vaguely in the PKT.

In his description of Judgement, Waite describes a connection between it and Temperance.


"They will understand that it has been called truly in the past a card of eternal life, and for this reason it may be compared with that which passes under the name of Temperance."


"Hereof is some part of the Secret of Eternal Life, as it is possible to man in his incarnation."

These two cards seem to represent two phases of one process. Temperance is an early stage where a comprehension of the Eternal begins to be revealed to the rational mind: "Under that rule we know in our rational part something of whence we came and whither we are going."

In Azoth, or, The Star in the East, Waite describes the "Seven Stages of the Soul's Ascent Toward God." The fifth stage, "Psychal Union" is similar to that described for Temperance:

"The fifth degree in the successive spiritualization of the Soul is called the state of Union, in which the will of man and the will of God become substantially identified, and the individual, as a consequence, is energized by the first influx of the Divine intelligence which elaborates the eternal purpose. This is the mystical irrigation which fertilizes the Garden of the Soul. During this portion of his development, the now regenerated being, imbued with a sovereign disdain for all things visible, as well as for himself, accomplishes in peace, serenity, and joy of spirit the will of God, as it is made known to him by the Word of God supernaturally speaking within him. On the extreme further limit of this condition, the Mystic enters the sixth state, which is that of Ecstatic Absorption, or the Soul’s transport above and outside itself."​

The next stage "Ecstatic Absorption" seems to correspond to Judgement where Waite's description says: "It should be noted that all the figures are as one in the wonder, adoration and ecstasy expressed by their attitudes." The Psychal Union is described as "peace, serenity, and joy of spirit" while the Ecstatic Absorption is a more intense state:

"It constitutes a more perfect union with Divinity by the law of positive love. It is a state of sanctification, beatitude, and ineffable torrents of delight flowing over the whole being. It is beyond description, it transcends illustration, and its felicity is not to be conceived."​

Therefore, it seems to me, Temperance could illustrate the Psychal Union and Judgement the Ecstatic Absorption. Not that that's all they illustrate but it could be an important part.

In the first part of the PKT, in his description of the Hermit, Waite makes some interesting observations on the cardinal virtue cards and describes their "proper" meanings. For Temperance he says:

"Divine Ecstasy, as a counterpoise to something called Temperance, the sign of which is, I believe, the extinction of lights in the tavern. The corresponding counsel is to drink only of new wine in the Kingdom of the Father, because God is all in all. The axiom is that man being a reasonable being must get intoxicated with God;"​

Rather than moderation or abstinence Waite recommends drinking freely of the spirit to the point of intoxication. He sees the card as "Divine Ecstasy," further associating it with Judgement.


Abrac there is an interesting quotation from THG where Waite says : " Rebirth has three stages - that of the intelligence , that of the heart and will, but that in fine which - seeing that it embracers the entire being - is called corporeal rebirth , because the beast is also saved together with the man, and the Great Quintessence by which the soul is converted transmutes the body as well. It is held to follow herefrom that union with God is possible in this life in the opening of the world within us by a triple gradation through the moral , meta - physical and plenary worlds , wherein is the Kingdom of the Spirit. "

If perhaps Temperance represents rebirth of the heart and will , and Judgement the corporeal rebirth ( " it embraces the entire being " as shown by the presence of the three human figures which if I'm not mistaken represent the spirit , soul and body ) , then which card represents the first rebirth " that of the intelligence "? Are the "moral ,meta-physical and plenary worlds " another way of describing the Kabbalistic worlds of Assiah , Yetsirah , and Briah respectively and the first , second and third sets of seven cards each in the Majors cards ?


In my opinion, the Chariot seems the most likely candidate for the intellectual rebirth. Waite's description says, "he is conquest on all planes—in the mind, in science, in progress, in certain trials of initiation"; and "He is above all things triumph in the mind."

When I read the part about the "moral, meta-physical and plenary worlds" that's what I thought of, the Kabbalistic worlds. But it might be Yetzirah (summarized by Yesod), Briah (summarized by Tiphareth), and Atziluth (summarized by Daath). I'm not sure how Waite would have seen it in 1909 when he wrote the same thing in HCHG. It seems to me you're on the right track though. :)