One Foot in the Water, the Other on the Earth, and a Head in the Clouds: Temperance

When Temperance appears in a reading, it is a call not to just resist temptation, but to find one’s center.  It is about remaining calm and steady, and not indulging in rage, terror, or frustration.  I see it as a reminder to seek solutions, and not to make yourself suffer through inaction or feelings of helplessness. 

Barbara G. Walker’s Temperance shows an angel woman calmly pouring water from one red pitcher to another.  She is the Water Bearer, Aquarius, the sign of innovation, social change, and global concern. Aquarians, in balance pour out blessings on the world with their communication skills and passion for equality. Temperance may indicate an Aquarius in the questioner’s life.

The passionate red of the pitchers, and the deft way the water flows from one to the other, may symbolize our ability to channel our intensity in constructive ways. We can harness the emotions that could destroy us and use it to our advantage. For example, we can channel them into creative pursuits: we can write, paint, and make music, or we harness the energy to strengthen our bodies– we can learn a martial art, or lift weights. 

Note the clarity of the blue sky, and of the water.  The woman’s dress is pure white. The trees are in orderly rows.  Emotional clarity leads to better ability to solve problems, better creative prowess, and serenity.

Notice how she has one foot on land, and the other in the water? This means she is comfortable both in the intuitive and the practical realms.   The woman’s wings align her with the element of Air.  She is balanced, both mentally and emotionally. She is intellectual and reserved.

The shadow side of this is that Air will trample the Earth and Water side of the personality (that is, the sensual, emotional sides, respectively) underfoot.  This, of course, leads to a cold, over-rational personality that’s divorced from feelings, intuition, and even its own body.

 

Robin Wood’s Temperance shows an angel man with golden wings, standing with one foot in water, and one foot on land. The water and sky are also clear and clean, as is his white robe.  Depending on how you read this card, the sun can be either breaking, signifying a new day, and a fresh clean slate; or the setting sun, which implies mastery and gained wisdom. There is also a little path leading from the pool. With poise and composure, everyone can find the path to a goal.

Temperance can be a man or a woman. Like Aquarius, this quality is egalitarian and androgynous.  It’s interesting, the alignment of the elements with the masculine and feminine.  I’d like to take a moment to remind everyone that while elemental energies are associated with male and female energies, they are also androgynous in the sense that anyone can possess each element’s qualities, no matter what their gender.

To show balance, the Angel Man is juggling three balls–one crystal, one gold, and one silver.  The silver is for intuition, gold is for intellect in the real world, and the clear one is for possibility.  Robin Wood writes in her book The Robin Wood Tarot that the silver ball is for spiritual wealth and the present, gold is for material wealth and the past, and the crystal ball is for mystery.  Temperance is equally developed in all these realms, without preference for any one.  Temperance calls us to be able to efficiently and deftly juggle all our roles and talents.  

 

 

Mary Guinan and Julian De Burgh chose a wise looking woman with silver hair for their water bearer. The woman’s white hair shows wisdom and knowledge gained by experience. The softness of her face and of her surroundings tell us self-control and mastery can be used to carry out loving actions.  I also love how she looks like she has no feet.  She looks like she’s floating.  Self-control can be used to master skills that contribute to our own well being, like meditation and yoga, for example.  Temperance can indicate transcendence.

 

Interestingly, Kris Waldherr chose a goddess I associate with Pisces, Yemana, to stand for Temperance.

Yemana is the Afro-Caribbean goddess of the oceans.  She exits the sea bearing treasures to benefit those on land; she is equally comfortable both in water and on earth. Temperance indicates harmony between the unconscious and the conscious, between the internal and the external, and the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Temperance is a picture of Jungian balance.  Temperance is equally introverted and extroverted, intuitive and sensing, feeling and thinking, judging and perceiving.

 

If Temperance shows in a reading, it indicates the person is well-balanced, or about to be successful in an undertaking if they remember to remain dedicated to harmony and clarity.

If reversed, it means that the questioner is either being too emotional, too intellectual, or too rigid in their thinking.  They may be feeling rage or terror.  They may be indulging in feelings of self-pity or paranoia, or they’re indulging in an addiction.

 

Would you care for more information about the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory? Do you want to know whether you are primarily an extrovert or introvert,  an intuitive or a sensor, a feeler or a thinker, a judger or a perceiver? Then click right here!

 

For more info on Yemana, click here! She’s one of my favorites 🙂

 

Advertisements

The World

The World is the 21st and last card of the Major Arcana.  It is a card of accomplishment, completion, success, and joy.

Barbara G. Walker

Most cards for the World traditionally show a woman in the center of a wreath.  The woman is Gaia, the archetypal Earth Mother. She is usually nude or draped in a robe to show a return to the natural state, the purity of the womb (which is associated with the Earth; think of Mother Earth and the Shamanic ritual of burial that ends with  symbolic rebirth).  The wands she holds indicate mastery, strength, and energy–she is a balance of male and female.  The position of her legs form a backward four, a symbol of magical power.

Flanking her are a lion, a bull, an eagle, and a pixie-like creature. Traditionally, these stood for the four Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and also to the beasts referred to in Revelation. The pixie was a man.  Now, they can still stand for those things, indicating community with God and a higher purpose.  However, they can also stand for the four elements.  The lion, the symbol for Leo, is fire; the bull is Taurus, earth; the man is Aquarius, air–which makes the pixie a sylph; and the Eagle is Scorpio, water.  This again illustrates the balance the questioner has achieved; they are at home in all four elements and the qualities associated with each.  Thus, the World card is a card of wisdom, mastery, and balance.

Robin Wood’s World.

Robin Wood’s tarot deck shows the woman draped in a white sheet. It is white for purity, and she is draped in it to show she has achieved great honor.  Her wreath is made of fresh flowers and fruit, for she is fruitful and accomplished and surrounded by beauty.  Ribbons form the infinity symbol at the top and bottom.  The four elements are represented in the four corners, again indicating balance and mastery of the qualities of those energies, and she’s holding two wands in a blessing. Stars sparkle behind her in a blue sky–her thoughts are clear, she has foresight and knowledge, and she is a “star.”

Kris Waldherr’s Gaia

Kris Waldherr’s goddess for the World is, of course, Gaia, the ancient Greek personification of the Earth. The sun and the moon are in position above the Earth, showing, again, a balance of masculine and feminine energy.  At the top of the card is a winter scene, and at the bottom a spring scene.  This shows a knowledge of and respect for the Earth’s cycles, which is apropos to The World being an end of the cycle of the Major Arcana, a cycle began by The Fool.

The two women supporting the Earth are symbolic, I believe, of both Western and Eastern philosophies, and the harmonious marriage of these ideas.

Julian De Burgh and Mary Guinan’s Celtic deck is reminiscent of the stunning Book of Kells. It, like the others, shows the mastery of the four elements and their qualities. The Cup is Water, the Pentacle is Earth,  the Sword is Air, and the Wand is Fire.  The two figures in the center, if you look closely, are a man and a woman bound together in an intricate knot. Their legs are crossed, and the bottoms of their feet are touching, forming the shape of a heart.  They are whole and fulfilled.

If The World shows up in a reading, it is very auspicious and joyous. It may indicate that the questioner’s entire life is going well, or that at least one aspect of the person’s life is booming–pay attention to the question and any other cards.  Reversed, The World may portend postponement of this fulfillment, mastery, and joy.  There may be more steps needed in the cycle before it reaches the completion of The World.

Aquarius

Aquarius. The name itself is a mix of liquid and airy vowels and consonants.  It sounds like a charm, and the power of Aquarians is charm.

Aquarians have a grasp of the abstract, the big picture. Like Gemini, the sign of the Twins, and Virgo, the sign of the Virgin (both ruled by airy, quicksilver Mercury), Aquarius is also symbolized by a human being, the Water Bearer.  They are humanist and secular.  Full of intelligence and idealism, Aquarians want to change the world, and they can, with the power of Uranus, the planet of change, revolution, and innovation.

Aquarius is a surprising energy. As an air sign, it is logical and mental, but citizens of the earth born in this sign are very caring for their fellow man, and are willing to follow the most illogical flights to improve the world.  From airplanes to iPods, Aquarian energy, with its willingness to entertain unconventional approaches to solving problems, determination, and mental agility, embraces technology and moves it along (and remember, this is a form of energy, like all the other signs–a person does not need to necessarily have a planet in Aquarius to enjoy this energy).  This is the energy of Athena, goddess of war and craftmanship. Aquarian creativity is mostly practical, but it can also be wonderfully off-the-wall–think of pop art and post-modernism.

Aquarians want to make the world a perfect place. Equality and justice for all are very important to Aquarians. However, Aquarian energy, when it is unbalanced, wants to save the world, but forget about the loved ones who populate an individual’s world. An unbalanced Aquarian will leave her children home alone for weeks while she floats down the Amazon trying to save the rainforest. This is because unbalanced Aquarian energy becomes too airy and mental. Emotions can frighten the unbalanced Aquarian. Saving a world full of strangers is easier for him than talking to his wife. An Aquarian can also be irritated by other peoples’ messy emotions. Look at Athena–this was no comforting goddess. She wasn’t carried under a woman’s heart; she was born fully clad in armor from her father’s forehead. Emotion isn’t practical, and keeps one from taking action.

Another thing that can unbalance Aquarius is holding onto ideas so tightly they become fodder for arrogance. When this happens, the energy of their ruling planet, Uranus, cannot reach them. Uranus prefers the flexible, the unconventional, and the open. This does not mean that Aquarius should be wishy-washy, not at all, but they must strike a balance between their love of their Utopian ideals and their wonderful curiosity. Arrogance cannot be open to new ideas. I mean, how could it?

While Gemini energy is aligned with the Masculine, and Virgo energy is aligned with the Feminine, Aquarius is androgynous. It is too inclusive and unconventional to change one gender over the other. And it is that welcoming inclusivity, along with their lightning minds and idealism, that is so beautiful about Aquarius.

Aquarius archetypes:
Athena
Prometheus, the titan who gave fire to human beings to advance our progress, and died for it.
Tiresias, the blind man who could see into the future, and who lived both as a man and a woman
(please see Raven Kaldera’s book!)

Questions for consideration:
1) are your Feminine and Masculine sides balanced?  Are you more comfortable with one over the other? Remember, Feminine/Masculine alignment is not about genitals. It’s about certain qualities.
2) How can you become more inclusive? How can you share your generosity and caring with more people? On the other side of the coin, how can you share more with your loved ones?
3) What are your ideals? What is important to you–easing the plight of the homeless, caring for animals, preventing the abuse of the elderly, teaching children? What tiny actions can you take to help your cause?
4) What prejudices do you hold? What will it take for you to release them?