In the rootage of the tree which ranges from the bottom to the middle of the card, the symbol of „salt“ is occupying the initial position of the alchemical process. In the trunk of the tree we can find the four elements, fire, water, earth and air, which function as the catalysts to the components above.
The symbols of opposite ideas can be found multiple times in this card. The hermetic planets are placed within the treetop arranged into a semicircle. They symbolize the components which have to be merged somehow.
On the left it starts with the alchemical „sun“, represented by corresponding plants like wheat, and acorns. It is followed by venus and roses, jupiter and olives, mercury and the pot, saturn and fir needles, mars and thistles and finally the moon with poppies and mushrooms. Between the planets the latin formula of „solve et coagula“ is written, which translates into „dissolve and coagulate“. During the process of alchemical work the observative mind represents the jar or pot the idea is evolving in. The symbol of mercury in the middle refers to the analytic and scientific approach which is necessary to avoid failure.
Above we are now meeting the two animals again, which we already know from the card of The Lovers. Lion and eagle are now (floating and not sitting any more) above the shoulders. Between them we can find the formula of V.I.T.R.I.O.L. Which corresponds to the mystery of the „lapis philosophorum“. It summarizes the process of transmutation below.
The two supporting animals are the alchemically representatives for the opposite elements of duality – fire and water, male and female, positive and negative and so on. In the upper part of the card the aura and the face are peacefully and perfectly balanced. The two opposites do not longer combat but complement each other like matching parts.
It is important to mention, that alchemy is not mainly characterized by creating a work or mixing components to fabricate an outcome. It rather describes a process within oneself which of course later manifests itself within the world as well.
The result of the work is not merely the merging of different mediums, components and opposite ideas but rather the path towards balance and the knowledge about oneself.
The goal here is to get to know the different aspects of one’s being first. The more an alchemist knows his components the better the outcome of the process will be. Often the buried and forgotten aspects of one’s inner self turn out to be very valuable and useful so don’t just look into the obvious characteristics. Getting to know and merging aspects is never easy and no one succeeded in such an experiment at the first try, but it is worth the trouble. After such an successful process one can react quicker and more wise when life changes abrupt and is able to balance the scales accordingly.