The Temperance card often comes up in a reading when you need to learn or understand the concept of all things in moderation.
It is a card of joining forces, working together, uniting opposites, and spiritual balance with the end result being a harmonious mix of all things. It begs the question: In what ways are you over extending yourself or being too rigid? Like most cards in the Rider Waite deck, this card is rich in symbolism. Temperance by its very meaning is a bending of ones will to direction of the almighty. The card depicts this through multiple layers of symbolism. Usually noticed first is how the card shows an archangel (often said to be Michael) mixing water between two chalices as a representation of balance between the elements and the dissolution of the liquids between each other. Both he and the mountains in the background are touched with a halo of gold, radiating understanding that comes with age and time. A commonly missed symbolism is the feet of the angel, one in the water and one upon the land which reinforces the concept of balance and of both body and mind.
Many querants will be reactive to this card, because often it is shining light on a flaw within them or within a relationship that they are seeking to develop. Temperance calls to questions your true priorities in life and requires that you be sure that you are not the one blocking your own success by stretching yourself too thin or unwilling to meet in the middle on a significant issue. Try hard to see things from the universe’s perspective and understand that the tarot is not pointing a finger at you directly, but merely trying to guide you to lessen your load. Taking on too much or too little can be detrimental to your purpose at this time.
Temperance in Love
When seeking advice from the tarot about love and relationships, the Temperance card indicates a need for balance in either the relationship your relationship. If you are currently single then the card is more direct and states that there is likely something blocking you from love in your life and usually represents the fact that you are giving too much in another area. For example, you are looking for love but are you really ready for it? Are there other commitments in your life such as work or family that are holding you back and taking too many resources and creating a situation where you are unlikely to be successful?
In a relationship setting, the Temperance card will show a need for balance between both individuals. Usually this card is drawn when compromise and compassion is needed between two individuals. It can represent fighting and strife that is unnecessary if both parties are willing to meet in the middle and try to stand in the other person’s shoes. Remember that you are in the relationship with your partner for a reason and when this card comes up it is apparent that there is a true emotional connection. It is a positive card that tells you that this relationship is worth the extra effort at this time.
Temperance in Health
In regards to health and wellness, the Temperance card is an omen that you need to either take it back or turn it up a notch. Both ends of the spectrum can be bad for one’s health – being slothful or being too lax with your health can be just as bad as overexerting yourself or doing too much. We usually see this card when health issues are on the rise and it is likely that you have already noticed deterioration with your wellness in some way. The positive news is that it is not too late to do something positive and see improvement. Think of this as a warning to take a keen look at your own mind and body and see where additional care needs to be taken. The answer will be quite obvious as rarely ever does someone in peak physical condition pull this card. If you feel however that physical health is not a problem, it is also indicative of mental health and can do not ignore signs or symptoms of anxiety, depression, or over indulgent behavior.
Temperance in Work and Wealth
Right now you need to take your money and put it under your mattress and be careful of taking risks. While the card itself means balance, more often than not when it comes to money and career it is a sign to take a step back and be more conservative with your income. It’s a touchy time for you to be taking huge risks in either avenue of your life. You need to be very careful with actions you take and possibilities that seem to arise at this time are not as good as they seem. Often this card will show that it is a good time to wait on an opportunity that arises, stating that with patience you will see a better one down the road that will pan out more fruitfully for you. A rule of thumb with the Temperance card and financial aspects be it money or work is: If it’s too good to be true… it probably is.
Reversed Temperance in a reading
In the reversed position indicates a personal balance is needed and the card is usually more internal than external. Rather than looking around and pointing fingers at others, now is an excellent time to see where you personally can scale back, create harmony in a rough situation, or literally suck it up. With the reversal of Temperance we see an even wider swing of negativity around as well. Health problems you have require more attentive care, financial problems need to be curbed immediately, and in relationships you need to seek the truth of the matter before making a decision. Often this card is drawn when a person is in a downward spiral situation and is unable to see the rational side of the problem. You need to stop and ask yourself where you could use assistance in your life to get back on track and possibly consider seeking advice from others to turn your perspective to a more productive and healthy outlook.
By Flo Saul
Jul 9, 2012