Temperance Tarot Card
Temperance is the card of acceptance where the entire natural cycle of life and death, passion and division, and all other oppositions that come as a given, find unity for a shared cause and for us to be on our way and find the real purpose in life. It unites the masculine with the feminine, keeping us in balance when situations require strength and endurance, or tenderness and compassion, depending on the feel of the moment, living in the now. This card speaks of personal and spiritual growth, one that leads us towards the point of Self where we understand how inner conflicts and troubles led to certain reflections and problems in the outer world. Its symbolism is one of the alchemy of life, and it is always significant in a layout, for it represents the point where we get answers needed to change the course of fate or influence our life to change it any way we wish to. It will give us what we need, without exception, more love and feeling if we lack it, or more practical initiative if we are stuck in emotional loops and not productive enough. Water pouring from one cup into the other signifies knowledge of the gods, and connects the symbolism of Jupiter with that of Uranus and the sign of Aquarius meant to bring godly messages right down to Earth for us mortals to find.
The card of recovery, Temperance shows unity and balance, as well as mutual respect and a shared response to painful issues from the past. It is a fine symbol of synthesis of two, where one completes the other and one partner has the things the other needs right now. Although it doesn’t speak of distant future and points out one situation, current surroundings or a specific moment in time, it shows the deep purpose a relationship has in our life to bring serenity and peace into our emotional world and teach us how to find it on our own. Although it shows mutual completion, this card is a challenge on self-sufficiency and dependency and gives information about the ties we wish to avoid in our romantic bond.
Things get settled and times become peaceful at one's workplace when Temperance is set in a reading. This card seems to know something we don’t and leads us through learning, expansion, new seminars, business travel, and cooperation with foreigners and those who are at peace with the goal they wish to accomplish. It is an excellent card for a new partnership or cooperation, especially when there is a higher mission to embark on that will protect other people or the planet we live on. With its assistance, there is no team we won’t be able to connect to and make something productive out of our cooperation even with the most difficult colleagues.
With Temperance in a health reading, time is needed for recovery and healing, even though a person might think that they are done with processes that created problems along the way. This card shows that there are points of balance we are to hold on to, see them just as they are, and believe in the ultimate intelligence of our physiology and things it is trying to show. For those who are seriously sick when the reading takes place, it is the calm place of acceptance where only upwards moves can be made, for as long as the person listens to their own emotions without fear and letting go of inner authority for bits and pieces of the outer one. Healing comes through bravery to follow the authentic Self, with all its “unacceptable” quirks and the calling of the heart to cry out might be our first step towards recovery. This card carries the knowledge that our weakness is our strength and that our true bravery lies in our readiness to sink into all our sad, angry or dark emotions.
With Temperance reversed, we may have trouble digging through to the core of the issue or facing actual emotions we need to face. Since it speaks of moderation it may come as a warning sign for us to stop overdoing whatever it is that we are overdoing, or underdoing, but it typically shows what we hide from in our emotional world that requires a lot of attention. Our ability to deal with loss possibly left us standing stuck in trauma, and it speaks of a person unable to connect with other people, locked in their own inner world, feeling the only touch with the world through spiritual efforts that don’t even come as easy as they once did. It requires solitary self-examination, contemplation, and for emotions to be shared honestly and with ease of heart, however unwanted they might be to others.
Temperance Time Line
Past - When the past is colored by this card, it shows a calm and peaceful foundation given to a certain issue and gives a special note to the reading. It signifies a stable and firm movement that is moral, just, and set on all the right imperatives on a collective scale, not only in a personal sense. The one reading the cards needs to keep in mind that the issue in question is to be deeply respected as a true, authentic choice of the individual, even if no one else understands its purpose.
Present - Temperance is the point we always reach for, the place where serenity comes after times of struggles and grief, when we are just happy to be alive while also ready to act on emotion and follow our desires wherever they go. It opens our hearts for incredible experiences, in both the inner world and the outer one, and shows the balance found in our current relationships, even if we doubt their effect on our emotions and our heart.
Future - As Temperance comes our way in days, weeks and months to follow, we may instantly presume that we are on the right track and find peace in our footsteps, just as they are. This is a strong signal that we have done good, followed our true calling and aren’t afraid to face our struggles today. Reassuring and positive, it brings comfort and emotional contacts with the outer world, with other people, and all those who use different tools in the same name of love.
In the oldest Italian card decks, this card was numbered either VI or VII, before reaching its stable XIV position. It is one of the four cardinal virtues and spoke of moderation typically represented by a person pouring liquid from one cup into the other, this explained as a mix of water and wine to show how we don’t have to give up on anything to cleanse, just keep it in balance with its opposite. Some of the versions depicted the Hebrew Tetragrammaton on the angel's chest. Since the Thot Tarot deck showed up, it has been named “Art” instead of Temperance, turning its qualities to a more creative and physically productive nature of virtue and talent.