S, Samekh, ס
Letter Samekh, ס, transcribed as 'S,' numeration 60, means 'prop or support.' The numeration of the whole letter-name סמך is 120, and spelled out in plenitude, סמך מים כף, SMK MIM KPh equals 310. Qabalists assign Samekh to the Temperance Tarot Key, and on the Tree of Life to the twenty-fifth path connecting Tiphareth (the Central One-Ego) to Yesod (the Vital Soul). Yesod is the 'personal' subconscious, designated automatic consciousness by the psychological sciences. The path of Samekh is named שכל נסיוני, Sakel Nisawyuni, the 'Intelligence of Probation.' A.E.Waite comments on the 25th Path: "The twenty-fifth path is called the Intelligence of Temptation or Trial, because it is the first temptation by which God tests the devout." The One-Ego transports the influence that tries, tests, refines or hones the lower self on its Path of Return. The process is one of 'burning with water' in a 'refiner's fire' all the dross in deep automatic consciousness that blocks union with the Higher Self. The result is utter surrender to any notion that we do the least bit of anything ourselves.
The central, indwelling One-Ego is the Doer of all things whatever, outside or inside our limited personal vehicles. The Temperance Tarot Key is the best illustration of this process. The Waite/Smith deck depicts the One-Ego as the Archangel of Fire, Michael, pouring the watery consciousness from one cup into another. The B.O.T.A. version suggests symbolism more accurate in that the angel, identified as IHVH, pours fire on the watery passions, the Eagle. With water He douses the Fiery Will-Force represented by a Lion. Both these designs have built the model for the Angel in the Temperance Key from Revelation 10:1-2: "And I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed in a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun... And he placed his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land." The design is embellished from there. Fire and water, again, represent the fluid fire of the First Matter. In this manner our separative will and desires are reconciled; opposing internal forces are equilibrated.
Crowley’s Book of Thoth renders the Temperance Key even more accurately as Art in which IHVH as the archangel is the Principal Doer. Lion and Eagle again are represented as in the B.O.T.A. pack, but here the Lord of Light and Darkness pours fire and water into a cauldron, the deep subconsciousness of the aspirant after Putrefaction. A Crow on a Skull (Caput Mortuum) marks the side of the cauldron. The whole illustration is one of the Red Work, the 'refiner's fire,' performed solely by super-consciousness from levels impossible for self-consciousness to affect. Super-consciousness is the Prop or Support represented by letter Samekh. We do nothing of ourselves. Some gematria offers further insight. The numbers within the letter-name Samekh sum to 120. It is shared with two Latin phrases, Clavis Artis, 'Key of the Art,' and Medicina Catholica, the 'Universal Medicine.' Since the Christ Consciousness (Tiphareth on the Tree of Life) is the Principal Doer in this Art, that level of consciousness is the key or prime factor in its success. The fiery One-Life permeating our cellular structure is the Universal Medicine, the cure-all panacea for the multi-level malignancies throughout our personality complex. The Fiery Life, whose source is the day-star of our galaxy, is the same Fire-Life Essence in all stars and suns. This 'Essence' is יש, eesh, summing to 310, that of Samekh spelled out in plenitude. The fullest expression of Samekh is our core Essence, involution of which is the history of creation evolving into human self-consciousness, now desirous of return to its Virgin Source. In this connection איש, eish, one Hebrew word for 'man,' is the Essence preceded by Aleph, א, the Life-Breath. All this is performed by and of Itself. Refer to RED WORK and INCINERATION.