The Temperance Card Definitions


KEYWORDS: Balance, Moderation, Flexibility, Patience, Equality, Blending, Conservation

CARD DEFINITION: Do not force people to accept your views immediately. Give them time. Till then, better to avoid debates and arguments. Common sense, compromise and a cool mind needed to overcome this situation. A moderate temperament reaps harmony, happiness and confidence.

REVERSE DEFINITION: Be careful of the people around you. Everyone is trying to use you for their own reasons. Do not believe in all that you see. You may take many wrong decisions in a very short span of time. There may be a lot of disagreements. Life may seem unstable at the moment.

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Interpreting The Temperance Card

The fifteenth card in the sequence of the tarot deck is that of Temperance. Following the cycle of destructive change that the Death card brought before it, Temperance represents a force that seeks to rebuild and reconstruct so that a new, more productive existence can begin. This is achieved through the reestablishment of balance, as all things in the universe seek to exist in harmony with one another.

The concept of temperance itself deals with the joining of dualities and separate elements to create a stronger whole that is better equipped to exist in the world around it. In order to temper something, you must introduce a new outside element to the mix to help make it stronger and this can be done with human spirits in a figurative sense just as it can be done in metallurgy or cooking in a literal one. People have a tendency to feel that the goal in self-betterment or success is to become a being that is completely positive and composed entirely of light. However, Temperance teaches us that true success and enlightenment comes from the achievement of balance. Completely discarding imperfections and dark places within the soul is not the answer. One must accept his or her shadow side and integrate it into the self to achieve true enlightenment.

The traditional tarot image of Temperance depicts an androgynous, angelic figure clothed in white and with a pair of red wings. The white of the robe represents the angel's inherent purity - the stuff of which he is made. However, the red of the wings stands for the desire inherent in every being. In fact, the wings themselves are the very source of the angel's ability to fly. Both together are needed in order to form the composite of what the angel is in and of itself. The figure is situated with one foot upon the earth and one upon the waters, further underscoring the union of dualities. It also holds a chalice in either hand and pours the holy waters of life from one to the other.

When the Temperance card makes an appearance in a tarot spread, it signifies the imminent presence of a situation in which two separate distinctions must come together to create a whole. In many cases, it will refer to a relationship between the querent and another person. The other person involved can, of course, be a romantic partner, but it can also be a friend, a family member, or another member of a business partnership. In this case, Temperance signifies a need for both parties involved to come together through compromise and cooperation in search of a middle ground between them. The sooner the matter at hand is taken care of, the sooner the balance in the relationship can be restored.

Temperance can also appear to signify the need to find balance in the querent's relationship with himself as well. The need to find peace within oneself is just as great as the need to find peace in relationships that involve others. An excess of positivity and optimism can be just as counter-productive as an excess of pessimism, so the objective here is also to find the balance between extremes instead of leaning solely toward one or the other. This can be achieved by turning within and becoming quiet so as to listen to the little voice within us all that shows us the way to go in the face of any dilemma.