The Hermaphrodite on the first Tarot Card
On the first Tarot Card below the magician, we see a hermaphrodite standing between a woman and a man. Symbolically seen, the hermaphrodite is half man and half woman, respectively man as well as woman or man and woman united. Like it is presented on the card, the hermaphrodite takes the position of the air element between the male and female poles, the poles of fire and water. The air element is the element of perfect balance and mediation. It is also the element of life. And in its nature, the air element is very close to Akasha.
Now, certainly the meaning is not to become physically a mixture of a man and a woman. In first place it is all about the balanced development in power and quality of the two poles, fire and water in the personality of the magician to reach the state of balance. Fire and water are connected to men and women, to a male and a female character. But indeed, this is quite superficial and on a second view you can see that characteristics are much more complex than thinking in stereotypes. In fact, there are many women who are powerful, with a strong will while there are men who are sensitive and empathic. More could be said but here it is enough to point at it.
Again, it is not about become more female for men and not about become more male for women. It is about the development of fire and water in men and women to reach the state of inner balance corresponding to the air element, symbolized by the hermaphrodite.
When you take a closer look and examine men and women in their behavior and characteristics, then you can make an interesting discovery beyond the stereotype thinking. You will see that the differences between both are not so big but quite the contrary that there are a lot of similarities just with a slightly different flavor. For example, what is the difference between the love of a father for his child and the love of a mother for her child? Indeed none. Both origin from the heart in the quality of being unconditional. The father´s love has a fiery flavor and the mother´s love has a water flavor but that´s it. The fire of the father is nourishing in a warm way. The water of the mother is nourishing in a cool way. The point here simply is that what appears as fire and water is only one energy in two different states and both states are connected by the law of analogy. This offers space for more thinking and meditation.
Today, we have secret societies which put the hermaphrodite in the unhealthy, physical frame. This means that they support and promote sex change by surgery. Now, this has nothing to do with the higher alchemy or character refinement. It is just a perversion of higher teachings.
For the student on the path further questions might occur about this alchemy and its consequences which I want to answer now.
Let´s imagine hypothetically a man who is 100% male in his character and a corresponding woman. So maybe, we could say that the man is a typical “macho”, an alpha male, a hunter, a warrior. And the woman is a passive, caring wife with the focus on raising children and pleasing her alpha male. Here the man has no female characteristics and the woman has no male characteristics. We have 100% polarity. The man cannot understand the woman and the woman cannot understand the man because both are of completely different nature, complementing each other perfectly like fire and water.
Over many incarnations, these two develop and integrate more and more characteristics and abilities of the opposite gender together with the ability to understand each other better and to complement each other on more levels and in more facets. So, the man has more water qualities integrated and the woman has more fire qualities integrated. In result, both feel more balanced in themselves already and are not so dependent on a relationship for balance than in the beginning. (Fire and water nourish and vitalize each other in a relationship of man and woman.)
Now, let´s imagine that both reach a level of development where they do spiritual training, integrating fire and water perfectly in their personalities. Both will still be man and woman but with a balanced polarity of fire and water in themselves. Here it is important to differentiate between the balance of mind and soul and the gender determined biomagnetism of a person. So, we can say that the balance is inside while the female or male nature is expressed to the outside. We simply have a male or female body and with this a male or female energy system.
This all means that you keep your male or female nature, attraction and orientation while your soul is well-balanced. It means also that you enjoy a great freedom and independency as you are perfect in your microcosm already. So there is no force for a relationship with the other pole but just a possibility to enjoy life together for a vital exchange of male and female energies, of fire and water between two persons. And it means that you will be able to understand the other gender much better or perfectly as you have integrated its nature in yourself.
An enlightened person also perceives people as human beings in first place, also those of the opposite gender and not as a potential sexual partner or opposite pole for the exchange of energies. This is the origin for the attitude of gurus or teachers to perceive all as their children, as humans who need unconditional love to nourish them for growing and unfolding.
By balancing yourself, you go beyond the polarity of fire and water.
In conclusion, there is no need to fear anything as it is all about freedom and balancing and you keep your male or female identity while you integrate one day your eternal nature as well.