Tarot Explained: Temperance

Temperance is associated with moderation, self control and finding inner balance.  Archangel Michael stands with one foot in water and one on land, fusing the emotional with the material plane; he pours from one cup into another, the alchemy of balance.

Symbols & Characteristics

Temperance is associated with the fire element and the mutable zodiac sign Sagittarius.  Like the Hanged Man tarot card, blue and the musical note G# are associated with Temperance.  Archetypes associated with Temperance include the healer, the artist, the creative and the inventor.  Mythologically, centaurs correspond with Sagittarius and Temperance, fusing animal instincts and connection to the natural world with humanity.

Traditionally depicted in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck as Archangel Michael, a figure pours from one cup to another, as they stand with one foot in the water and one on land. The water is representative of the emotional plane, while the land represents the physical plane; having a foot in both indicates Archangel Michael's ability to actualize the intangible, or ethereal, fusing both.  Shining behind Archangel's Michael's crown is the sun, signifying direct connection to the Divine.  

Reading Temperance Upright

Temperance indicates the need to incorporate moderation and find balance.  This card suggests finding a middle ground to meet the needs of both opposing viewpoints, creating harmony and synergy.  Temperance is associated with creating solutions, tempering and resolution.  This card illuminates the need for finding the unique proportions of what works best in present time.  The Temperance card may also correspond with religion, the church or priesthood; this card can also represent the priest which will ordain a marriage.

Reading Temperance Reversed

When reversed, Temperance signifies a lack of harmony, self control or patience.  Irreconcilable differences, conflict, competing interests and the inability to negotiate are all associated with Temperance reversed.  In a reading this card may indicate an "all or nothing" mindset. 

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