The Stations of the Cross:
Christian Archetype for Tarot Key XIV Temperance
(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2002

"Hereof is some part of the Secret of Eternal Life, as it is possible to man in his incarnation....Under that rule we know in our rational part something of whence we came and whither we are going. "
from "Pictorial Key to the Tarot" by Arthur Edward Waite
Key XIV Temperance

" This depicts the entry of Spirit into matter and the influence of matter upon Spirit, as well as the flowing of the past through the present and into the future."
from" A Complete Guide to the Tarot" by Eden Gray
Key 14 Temperance

"Known as Temperance, this figure represents the unification of spirit and soul energies, and on another turn of the spiral, it represents the alchemical process by which a human personality becomes infused with divine light and wisdom."
from "Inner Child Cards" by Isha Lerner and Mark Lerner
XVI The Guardian Angel

"But too many people now climb onto the cross merely to be seen from a greater distance, even if they have to trample somewhat on the one who has been there so long. Too many people have decided to do without generosity in order to practice charity."
Jean-Baptiste Clamence, judge-pentinent
"The Fall" by Albert Camus

Lindmara Tarot: Temperance(c) Linda Gravill The cross is one of the oldest and most universal of symbols. It signifies many things to many people. To some it represents the process of creation, to others it symbolizes harmony between God and earth or the union of opposites. The cross was also viewed to be a meeting place between time and space, heaven and earth - the four cardinal points.

The word for Temperance in Latin, temperantia, means moderation and sobriety. The Latin word tempero, the root word for Temperance, means to temper - to qualify by intermixture (as in tempering justice with mercy), to moderate, to calm or to form to a proper degree of hardness (as in tempering iron or steel). It also means the disposition or constitution of the mind regarding passions and affections; the fire of the mind; wild, visionary or heated with passion; irritation; the middle character, the means or medium.

In almost every Catholic church there are erected "Stations of the Cross", also called via dolorosa, via Calvaria, or via crucis. Each of the fourteen stations represent a point in time on the passage of Jesus from his condemnation by the Sanhedrin for blasphemy, to his place of Crucifixion on Calvary. His conviction was based on his admission to being the Messiah and the Son of God and on the Sanhedrin's interpretation of Deuteronomy 13:1-11 and 21:22-23. They felt that Jesus was the false prophet forewarned of in the first passage, sent to lead Israel astray, and the death sentence, the second passage, was the only remedy.

A station is simply a stopping place, a time for prayer and sober reflection or a moment to give praise or thanks. At each station the faithful are expected to kneel, reflect, contemplate and offer a prayer in remembrance of the events represented by artwork, sculpture, fresco or stained glass. The prayers offered are usually one of the following:

An Act of Contrition:

O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart I am sorry for all my sins, because by them I have offended Thee, Who art infinitely good. I will die rather than offend thee again.

The Lord's Prayer or The Our Father:

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.

Glory be to the Father:

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The Christian cross is a version of the tree of life, the axis which links earth and heaven. At one time it was called God's Seal and it now represents the crucified Christ. The Stations of the Cross are usually depicted in the following order, although this can vary:

1. Jesus is condemned to death.

2. Jesus is made to bear His cross.

3. Jesus falls the first time under His cross.

4. Jesus meets His afflicted mother.

5. Simon the Cyrenean helps Jesus to carry His cross.

6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

7. Jesus falls the second time.

8. Jesus speaks to the daughters of Jerusalem.

9. Jesus falls the third time.

10. Jesus is stripped of His garments.

11. Jesus is nailed to the cross.

12. Jesus dies on the cross.

13. Jesus is taken down from the cross.

14. Jesus is placed in the sepulchre.

The Apostle Paul told his followers in Corinth "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18 and that the cross of Christ proved that "..the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men." 1 Corinthians 1:25.

The cross Jesus was martyred on represents the planting of the tree of life, the roots descending to Hell to save the damned and the branches reaching to Heaven where Jesus now reigns. His death sanctified humanity, giving us our still centre, where spiritual restlessness and hunger are abated and tranquility and peace abound, at the centre of the cross.

The Cross

Author Unknown

A young man was at the end of his rope, seeing no way out, dropped to his knees in prayer. "Lord, I can't go on," he said. "I have too heavy of a cross to bear."

The Lord replied, "My son, if you can't bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then, open that other door and pick out any cross you wish."

The man was filled with relief said, "Thank you, Lord," and he did as he was told.

Upon entering the other door, he saw many crosses, some so large the tops were not visible. Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall.

"I'd like that one, Lord," he whispered. And the Lord replied, " My son, that is the cross you just brought in."

When life's problems seem overwhelming, it helps to look around and see what other people are coping with.

You may consider yourself far more fortunate than you imagined. Whatever your cross, whatever your pain, There will always be sunshine after the rain. Perhaps you may stumble, perhaps even fall, But God's always there to help you through it all.

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This page was created April 25, 2002 and updated September 14, 2006.