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 🙂