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 🙂

 

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She Smells of Gingerbread and Pine Trees: The Queen of Pentacles

The Queen of Pentacles, like any court card, is usually associated with a person in the questioner’s life. She can also represent an aspect of the questioner herself.  Since she is the Queen of Pentacles, she has certain qualities. While the Queen of Swords is the Queen of the modern, jet-set woman, the Queen of Wands the successful social butterfly, and the Queen of Cups the artistic romantic, the Queen of Pentacles (or Coins) is the archetypal nurturing mother or grandmother.

What do you think of when you think of the perfect mother, or grandmother? Probably a warm bed, and yummy food cooked with love, and big hugs. This is someone who is patient, solid, and reliable, someone who knows exactly what to do in a crisis. She pampers, but it’s practical. She will dish out solid advice along with tea, sympathy, and amazing baked goods.

This is a person with wisdom. In fact, this archetype is one of the oldest there is.

This is Erda, an ancient Earth goddess, chosen by Barbara G. Walker to represent the Queen of Pentacles. You’ll notice that she has large, maternal bosoms and wide hips. This speaks to her fertility and nurturing ability. Her cave entrance leads to the warm, dark womb, where all life begins and ends.  Her pentacle promises abundance and protection.  The word “Earth” comes from Erda’s name, and the word material (which used to imply rocks and plants and all things from the earth) has the same root as Mother.

Kris Waldherr chose a different goddess for her deck. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and beauty in Hinduism.  Her beautiful costumes and jewelry underscore this association. Queen of Pentacles people, with their practicality and good sense, can accumulate quite a bit of wealth. Out of balance, they can be miserly, but in balance they are generous, including with themselves, and love fabulous things.  Lakshmi is known for giving riches to those she loves, just like Queen of Pentacles people.

Please do not think that this Queen can only be seen in women.  Men, too, can be nurturing, giving, and sage with advice.

Robin Wood’s Queen of Pentacles cradles a Pentacle gently, looking at it with loving eyes.  She proves, along with Lakshmi, that the Queen of Pentacles is not necessarily an older woman.  In fact, Pentacles women can be very sensual, because of the alignment with Earth, and its material blessings. The Queen here is also fertile and abundant–she is surrounded by flowers, fruits, vegetables, and our favorite little fornicators, bunnies. Her green gown and orange apron make her one with the Earth’s grass and leaves, and her purple embellishments symbolize richness, royalty, and abundance.

Mary Guinan’s Queen of Pentacles, for Julian De Burgh’s Celtic Deck, is also decked in orange and green. Her red hair is different from the brunette associated with Pentacles court cards, but I like it.  It makes me think of the marriage of Earth and Fire, with volcanos and magma flowing underground. There’s a kinetic energy along with practicality and reliability associated with Earth.  Her arms and gaze are open, waiting to hear about your issues. She will be a fabulous listener, and then she’ll clap her hands and say, “okay, here’s what you gotta do! Let’s go!”

Archetypes/People associated with the Queen of Pentacles:
–Nurturing Mothers and Grandmothers who are practical and loving (and men who have these traits)
–Gardeners
–Sensual people who love textures, colors, and fine things
–Great chefs
–Pregnant women, expectant fathers preparing a nest
–People with a gift for money management and are extremely generous.

Out of balance, Shadow Queen of Pentacles:
–cold, hard parents who care more about wealth than family
–a nosy, bossy person
–a lazy person
–a stingy miser
–someone who can’t even nurture herself, preferring to work herself to sickness

Prosperity and Security: The Ten of Pentacles

As a rule of thumb, when you see a ten in a reading, it usually means the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.  Each suit carries a different set of themes, but, of course, we must remember to be flexible in the reading of any card.  If a card is saying something to you that’s different from the “normal” reading, by all means, go with it!

Pentacles, also called Coins, represent the element of Earth. As such, they symbolize wealth, prosperity, security, comfort, sensuality, and health.

 

Robin Wood’s Ten of Pentacles is a joyous card.

The Ten of Pentacles (or Coins), as drawn by Robin Wood, shows not only material wealth, but emotional and spiritual wealth, as well.  The family is clearly a happy one.  The grandfather is serene, the children are generous with their love, and the golden dog (gold being the color of abundance) is loyal and adoring.  Even the couple in the background, underneath the archway (more on that later) are happily conversing! The old man can be seen as the personification of wisdom and hard work, which lead to prosperity.

Like all of Robin Wood’s cards, there is amazing detail in the Ten of Pentacles.  Pay attention to the particular details that stand out to you. It may be the flowers that the young boy is handing to his Grandfather, or the sun etched into the wood in the corner.

 

Robin Wood has decorated her Pentacles with pentagrams. Pentagrams in and of themselves are very protective–Christians believe that pentagrams symbolize the five wounds of Christ, as well as the five senses, and Pagans see it as a symbol of the five elements bound together with spirit, which is the top point.  This symbol of protection, wholeness, and unity can also be seen in the Pentacle suits of the Celtic and Barbara G. Walker decks.

 

 

The Celtic Deck, like Robin Wood’s deck, shows a happy, prosperous family. The arch over the family’s heads represents security and union, and the braids also symbolize a joining together in a strong  family bond.  The pentagrams are there, too, giving care and protection.

 

Like all of the Pentacles in Kris Waldherr’s Goddess Deck, the Ten of Pentacles is represented by the Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of Prosperity, Abundance, Beauty, and Pleasure.  The tree on the card is ripe with Coins, which may represent material wealth or opportunities. Depending on the reading, these opportunities may be financial, educational, social, or romantic. Since Pentacles/Coins also represent physical reality, they may also indicate robust health or healing.  The grass on the card, and even the flowers along the border, are fresh and bright, underscoring fertility.

 

The archway, as I am seeing it right now, symbolizes a doorway to a new way of life, or a new, joyful sensual experience. This is fitting, as the 10s are the end of an old cycle and the beginning of a new one. I also see it as a symbol of security, just as it was a symbol of security on the 10 of Pentacles for the Robin Wood and Celtic Decks.  What do you see when you look at an archway?

 

Kris Waldherr does not use the pentagram on her Pentacles.  Instead, she uses a lotus flower. Lotuses are the symbols of the goddess Lakshmi.  Lotuses are prized for their abilities to rise out of the murkiest, muddiest waters, inspiring people to rise above their circumstances.

 

 

Barbara G. Walker’s Ten of Pentacles is subtitled “Protection.” It is in agreement with the preceding decks that the Ten of Pentacles/Coins represents security.  Here, however, it has a more mysterious, esoteric meaning. The young woman on the card is connected to the circle of pentagrams by a red cord, suggesting the umbilical cord.  She is tapping into the fertile, protecting energies of the Earth. The circle of Pentacles reminds us of the cyclical nature of the cards, and that the ten represents both an end and a beginning.

 

We can also see the young woman is as a weaver.  She is weaving a strong, healing charm in her circle of pentacles, and her thread is thick with bright red life.

 

The Ten of Pentacles, like the Ten of Cups, generally represents good, healing, joyous energies.  If you choose to read cards reversed, it can mean a thwarting of the dreams they represent, or simply a postponement of their attainment.