The Temperance Card — Finding your Center


So many of us struggle with finding balance in our lives, whether it’s between head and heart, career and family, or material vs. spiritual progress, etc.

The Temperance card encourages us first and foremost to seek that balance and to find our personal “Center.”

In the Archeon Tarot, we see an angelic figure: youthful, graceful and innocent.

She stands watch over two totem animals, a lamb and a tiger.

She appears to be tending equally to both of her charges.

The lamb represents peace, harmony and gentility.

The tiger represents passion, strength and a wild ferocity.

Her manner of tending them is different for each.

She keeps a cautious hand above the tiger at all times while watching over the docile lamb.

She maintains her sense of balance and equilibrium, all the while staying present in the moment.

Ask yourself in what ways taming the inner beast and activating the inner lamb can most benefit you now?

temperance-mythicIn the Mythic Deck we see Iris, goddess of the rainbow, standing on the shores of the river Styx.

She has one foot on land and one just touching the water.

A beautiful rainbow appears to be encircling her. It is stretched across the sky behind her and reflected in the water at her feet.

She’s pouring water back and forth between a gold and silver chalice, a look of peace and contentment on her face.

Iris comes from a rich heritage: she was born of a marine god Thaumas and cloud nymph Elektra. Thus she became the goddess of sea and sky, replenishing the sky above with water from the sea.

It is this continuous flow of energy that synchronizes heaven and earth and brings harmony to all that surrounds us. Iris also delivers divine messages to the gods and puts those who dare to perjure themselves to sleep — with just one sip from her golden chalice.

This is the essence of this card: there’s a calm and graceful symmetry in taking one’s time, going with the flow, and becoming one with all that surrounds you.

There may be truths that must be faced in order to achieve the equilibrium depicted in this card.

There may be messages to deliver or mysteries to unravel or even dreams to be discarded, if you’re to reach the end of the rainbow and your heart’s desire.

Art - ThothIn the Thoth deck, this card is called Art, representing the art of alchemy, transformation and synthesis.

It’s the union of opposites and the fusion of polarizing forces.

The figure on this card is half-white and half-black.

She pours a mixture of mercury, sulfur and salt into a cauldron at her feet, a reference to the alchemical process of turning lead into gold.

The lion and hawk at her feet represent Fire and Air, or vital life forces.

The Sun in the background contains references to alchemy as well as the Philosopher’s stone.

The two halves of this card are not mirror images of themselves but rather complementary forces.

They balance rather than repeat, and they equalize rather than compensate.

This rendition emphasizes the Hermetic principle of “as above so below” as well as yin yang energy, symmetry and transformation.

Temperance - Gilded

The version in the Gilded Tarot contains all four elements — fire, earth, air and water.

The union of opposites is evident in this rendition as well: from the half-submerged woman to the Sun and night sky, complete with clouds and glowing stars.

She appears to be lighting her chalice from the warmth of the Sun, transmuting the flame into water and pouring it into the empty chalice held beneath the ocean’s surface.

Again we see the continuous flow of replenishing and transforming which is so prevalent across the various renditions of this card.

The woman in this version appears to be transfixed by the flame emanating from her chalice.

As fire represents a form of purification, it’s no wonder her gaze is drawn to the flame which can free her from emotional (water) turmoil.

There’s a “wildness” about her yet she maintains her composure — which is the message in this card.

Moderation, self-containment and “temperance.” When this card appears in a reading, you may want to ask yourself where need to find balance and equilibrium in your life.  

You’ll need to look where you may have gotten out of sync with the question at hand. Are you too driven, too obsessive, too unwilling to see another person’s point of view?

Perhaps you find yourself in a relationship that’s not based on “give and take” but rather give, give, give when you’re getting nothing in return. Or perhaps you’re the one who needs to look at where your own desires, ego or insistence on being right has gotten in the way of progress.

The Temperance card requires you to step back, get some spiritual altitude and “rise above” your situation. You can achieve clarity through weighing the pros and cons of your situation and looking for a common ground.

Although this card encourages you to strive for balance, it doesn’t always mean that you’re lacking it. It’s a reminder to find your “center,” and let the Universal life force flow within you, envelope you and surround you.

Positive keywords include: Cooperation, collaboration, transformation, redemption and renewal. When it’s ill-dignified (reversed), it can refer to an absence of these qualities, or a lack of harmony and symmetry in the areas you’re concerned about.



Leave a reply