Welcome to Tarot Thursday! I’m very excited to begin this journey. Katana and I have drawn a random card for every week of the year, so there isn’t going to be any specific order to the cards presented, though I’m sure the timing of each will be perfect.
Temperance is a Major Arcana card. Major Arcana tell us about big life lessons that are going on, over-arching themes in our lives, as opposed to the Minor Arcana, or suit cards, that tell us more about day-to-day life.
It’s quite interesting to me that the first card we’re looking at is Temperance, a card that I had a challenging time getting comfortable and connecting with.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of temperance is the 19th century movement against alcohol consumption and 1920’s prohibition. Which I guess connects with moderation, sort of. Except that in this context, temperance is really another form of extremism. Hence my trouble connecting the two!
The angel that is typical on most cards reinforces the “moral high ground” image. My grandmother was a chemical dependency counselor, and was very involved with AA and Al-Anon. I’m sure that had nothing to do with my difficulty connecting with this card.
Temperance generally depicts an angel with wings outstretched, one foot on land and one in the water. It is most often interpreted as balance or moderation.
In a reading, I often interpret Temperance as everything in moderation, including moderation. It’s about finding a balance between all the aspects of your life – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – as well as a balance between the conscious and sub-conscious, or the masculine and feminine, or the active and passive. Many times this card is a reminder to take care of yourself, or to be patient with yourself or the situation.
A more enlightened interpretation of the angel on the card is allowing your higher self to guide you, to rise above the material or surface appearances.
Temperance may also indicate a need to hear all sides before making a decision. Don’t jump in with both feet! Take time to receive and process all the information.
The angel is wearing green, a reminder to listen to your heart. Green is the color of the heart chakra. The halo, or crown of fire, indicates the crown chakra open and having a strong connection with the Divine. The rainbows refracting from the halo tells us that discernment is key, the ability to break the information being received into it’s component parts and discover the important pieces.
There are two cups in this image. One is silver for the feminine and receptive principle, and one is gold for the masculine and projective principle. At first glance, it looks as if the silver chalice is pouring water into the gold, however, the flow of water is actually from the gold to the silver (projective to receptive). Information and energy flows from all directions when you are open to receive it.
This is echoed by the one foot on land, and one in the water. One foot is in the conscious world, the known and seen. And one foot is in the subconscious world, the knowing without how you know, the unseen. Valuable information and energy comes from both.
The irises in the foreground symbolize messages – in Greek mythology, Iris was the Goddess of the Rainbow, and the messenger of Hera. If the irises stand out in a reading, it may be time to tap into feminine wisdom, and listen to what Goddess has to share with you. (They also remind me of my grandmother, whose name was Iris. I looked to her for guidance when she was alive, and I respected her greatly.)
Another common image in the Temperance tarot card is the sun rising over the mountains. Mountains symbolize enlightenment, and the sun rising above them means more light shining, more awareness on the journey. However, the path to the mountains is shrouded in fog. You’re not always going to be able to see your way on the path.
We’ve chosen to make the sun a gyroscope. Balance on the journey is not a static place – we’ll see this echoed through other cards in the future. Balance requires regular adjustments, course corrections. A gyroscope is used to help you orient yourself in your space, so the gyroscope sun is a reminder to use the light, and the quest for enlightenment, as your guide, your direction.
It takes strength to maintain your balance and to stand strong in your boundaries and convictions. Sometimes it takes strength to wait for all the information before making a decision. This angel is definitely not a pushover! The angel is facing the situation head on. If that’s what catches your eye, then this is definitely a time to hold strong and not back down!
What else do you see in this card? What messages does Temperance have for you?
Mary and Katana