What’s the classic modern image or depiction of an alchemist?
I think it’s The Mad Scientist – not eating, impatient with interruptions, whiffy personal hygiene, falling into fitful sleep on the lab floor. Concoctions bubbling and steaming and gurgling in test tubes suspended over bunsen burners. Unsettling sounds and social isolation.
The Mad Scientist – working fanatically, undeterred by ill-health and a pallid complexion…then one day, without warning, lit up by the blinding light of an Eureka! explosion. It brings the three story townhouse they forgot they live in down around ringing ears. The house will be bits of plaster and dust in their Einstein hair.
What they sacrificed – food, rest, relationships, sunshine, their property – matters not. They did it. The perfect recipe of chemicals, heat, blending, timing, electrical charge, ratios (whatever) and BOOM – the elixir, the cure, the precious metal.
What does it take to be a serene alchemist? A healthy, well-groomed, balanced, sane blender of magic? What does it take to be The Fferyllt (often called Temperance)?
Look at the card and let’s make a list together:
- A rustic, sturdy, herb scented laboratory/workroom (no basements or bunkers)
- a holy monument/temple on the horizon
- a reassuring rainbow that appears to bridge the gap between Spirit and substance (earth)
- a still, mystical body of water
- a copper cauldron the size of a sit-in bathtub
- sacred stones, symbols, animal pelts, carvings (to me they represent life transforming, evolving; and timeless, watchful spirits)
- a broom to sweep cobwebs and dust balls away
- a flaxen-haired alchemist with a passion for mixing and a flowing adherence to truth, integrity and Divine Timing
- blessed tools of the trade – they hum and glow
- a fire
- a slinky curl of steam
Temperance is doing crucial work. It calls for concentration, precise measuring, a steady hand and a sharp intellect. She is imbued with creativity and ingenuity but also common sense (only entrust volatile, potent catalysts and sacred chemicals to the level-headed).
Where do we find this alluring young woman? Inside us and On Top (and she works her magic best when we combine the two – always the case with alchemical processes).
What is she formulating, blending?
a) My life, your life, his life, her life, our life.
That composer needs this lyricist, because together they will make the world sing; but first they must meet.
That partnership ends when it must so this partnership can begin.
That dog terrorizes this cat because their respective owner’s will find they share an obsession for donuts and Darth Vader and, together, open a Star Wars themed bakery.
Fanciful examples but you get the idea?
Temperance works to blend, swirl and measure all these ingredients – place, time, people, events – to bring about a desired (some would say destined) event, meeting, synchronicity, catalyst, union.
She works her magic but relies on our willingness to be an ingredient.
It requires trust and, often, patience. It’s called Divine Timing. All conditions must be met, all the ingredients gathered. The Fferyllt, with her aerial, encompassing understanding, knowledge and skill, knows when it is time.
b) A tonic. Why? We’re in-between Death (card 13) and The Devil (card 15). Temperance is dispensing calmness with refreshing composure. It’s a respite from all the hard work we’ve been doing transforming and dying to our old self or way of life. Tender Temperance mixes a tailor-made tonic. We can lie back and look to the rainbow’s promise of peace after a personal thunderstorm blew the roof off our world and left us reeling and rundown…or maybe that’s yet to come – The Tower, card 16 – and she’s fortifying you.
Open your mouth nice and wide – aaaaaaaaaaaah – and take your berry booster medicine. Thank Temperance for the reprieve and renewal; for bringing harmony and balance, within and without.
c) A restorative, almost magical episode in our life. We find ourselves in a soft-focus space of peace, love, stillness. A fairy tale without the conniving, cold-hearted step-parents, or granny-impersonating-wolf, or wicked witches and nasty spells.
It’s a quiet, gentle energy. Rest. Gather your strength. Lay down your axe. It’s the Interval of life. Get your refreshments before the next thriller/horror/drama is screened.
d) The perfect blend of masculine and feminine, whether within us or in a relationship.
e) Our connection to our subconscious (where unique potions line the shelves of our stillest no-mind) is strong. We’re selecting the right blend at the right time. We’re inspired and content, expressing our creativity with grace and potency.
Try not to fret or force. Chasing the rainbow does not lead to a pot of gold. It leads to imbalance, botch-ups, missed opportunities and bad timing (two sides of the same coin, I suppose).
When I gaze at this card I feel relief and release. I can relinquish my throttle-hold on wished for outcomes, people or circumstances.
It’s not about giving up or lying in my gravy stained tracksuit watching Netflix all day, believing Temperance will ‘make it happen’. The Fferyllt casts a spell that works like a muscle relaxant; I can quit tensing up and gnashing my teeth.
I can go with the flow.
Temperance is bringing it all together for me and you…without imploding (or exploding) the house.
She’s the elegant, altruistic alchemist; the Fairy Godmother of the tarot, delivering the biggest surprise at the best time.
We needn’t cover our ears or evacuate the premises. Relax.
Isn’t she a promising card to pull as we enter the festive season? I think so.
Wishing you rainbows, fairy dust, love and peace.