Saturday, 15 September 2012

Beautiful Harmony

©Charlene Livingstone
This week I will be drawing from the Art of Life Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012).  In this deck, the author, Charlene Livingstone, has paired works of art from the great masters with quotes from throughout time, to try to represent the energy of each card.  The first card to come a-calling is Temperance.

I love the picture here, though I'm not convinced it perfectly expresses my notions of Temperance.  A woman washing her feet in a river doesn't really speak of mixing different elements, of finding a good compromise between different aspects of ourselves and our life.  Temperance, in the sense of moderation, is also about finding a healthy balance, and I guess that foot hygiene is part of self care...

The quote fits my notions of Temperance much better: "The unlike is joined together, and from differences results the most beautiful harmony." - Heraclitus. 

As for me, I'm still feeling a bit under the weather.  Yesterday, I didn't even exercise, which is very rare for me.  Normally, I think working up a good sweat helps to kick a cold out.  In the first trimester, though, I'm not supposed to get overheated.  So, balancing normal health concerns with those of pregnancy can prove a challenge...  Still, it meant that I found the time to meditate - perhaps the right balance for me now includes less exertion and more inner exploration.

I am grateful for the balance of the physical and spiritual in my life.


  1. 'I guess foot hygiene is part of self-care...' LOL! I can feel you really reaching for good things to say about this image. I have this deck and really like it. This image is good for me. It carries more meaning to me than the esoteric image of the angel with the triangle on its chest and so on. To me, Temperance and humility are closely linked, and foot washing in particular, coming as I do from the Bible Belt, has strong links in my mind to humility. Back to basics, to say the least. And for all the high-flown symbolism we can throw at 'river', what is it really but a stream of water? A stream of water that we can either stand and pontificate about, write poems about, or ponder, or that we can take our shoes off and wade down into and be part of it, mud and all. Dirty and clean. Now that's real world alchemy. Isn't it?

    1. Hi Carla,

      You're right, of course, I was reaching :) This image just doesn't convince me :(

      You make some good points. Still, for me, washing your own feet isn't much about humility. Someone else's feet would be a different matter ;)

      As for mud being alchemy, if it has a lotus blossom growing out of it, then yes. But fundamentally, mud can still be separated back into earth and water. They haven't been changed in the process.

      Dirty and clean, that takes more pondering...

      Overall, though, if it's real world alchemy she wanted, and/or humility, then cooking would be a far better metaphor! In cooking, you have to get the right balance of ingredients. Too much of one, not enough of another, and the food is inedible. And you can't separate the different ingredients out again afterwards - they have been changed by the process! If you add in a scullery maid or cook doing the work, you'd have both alchemy and humility, and there are certainly plenty of images like that around...

  2. What a lovely deck.

    Maybe she is using soap, hehe? Soap and water? Maybe I am stretching it too far, lol.

    Looking forward to seeing where this deck takes you. Interesting concept!

    1. Hi PLN,

      Hmm, soap and water... How much is a clean foot different from a dirty foot? Soap certainly changes the chemical composition of water. And we do need a balance between dirty and clean - too much of either is unhealthy.

      Maybe I can go with the dirty and clean that you and Carla suggest as a metaphor for alchemy. Still, I think there are better ones...

  3. lol foot hygiene self-care. yeah, besides there being a river doesn't look like a temperance image much to me either...

  4. Haha!

    The comments on this post are hilarious.

    I am not sure how I feel about this image. Tepid. Does that count? ;)

    Hope you're having a happy day!


    1. Hi MM,

      My fault, I guess, for starting the foot hygiene thing ;) And yes, tepid definitely counts :D

      Had a pretty good day - exercised and meditated. Though I didn't manage to leave the house...

      Hope you have a good day, too.

  5. If you like quotes of Heraclitus there is always the Innovative Whack Pack...Heraclitus never stepped in the same river twice but he had clean feet nonetheless.

    1. Hilarious, love the look of the Innovative Whack Pack :D