In the card of Temperance, we see a winged figure or angel pouring water from one cup to another. On its head, is a circle and a triangle within a square is depicted on its chest. Clothed in a white gown, the wings of the figure are red. The angel has one foot in the lake, the other on land. In the background, the sun can be seen rising above mountains, from which a path leads down to the lake. Grass and flowers surround the lake.
This is a beautiful card to receive for it speaks of natural order, divine enlightenment, patience and illumination. The angel is not of this world, but of another. With one leg submerged in the water and the other on land, it is a symbol of how the angel can transcend both worlds. Translated into real life, this can suggest we can see both sides of an argument, that we have an inclination towards fairness and equality, that we can understand that problems have more than one solution.
The card of Temperance is the fourteenth card of the Major Arcana and lies between Death (13th) and The Devil (15th). It is really the middle ground, a sort of peaceful space. The preceding card spoke of new beginnings, the following card can be understood as illumination, perhaps Temperance is the period that we undergo when we have accepted and found peace with our past but have yet to truly comprehend the future. In this period, we are measured in our actions, understanding that it is us that control the flow of emotions that affect us, that we are the designers of our own path (the angel controls the flow of water from one vessel to another, from past to future, from above to below (“as above, so below”)). In a sense, we cannot tell what way the angel is pouring the water ~ it could be from bottom to top and this depiction is quite deliberate.
Water is a strong image in this card. Water is symbolic of emotions, of birth, of whence we came. It flows and follows the path of least resistance, always finding its own level. In this way we should understand that we all will find our our level and that it is up to us to decide what that level is. This card calls for us to examine where we are in our lives and possibly begin charting a path for ourselves.
On the angel’s head is a circle, positioned over the 3rd eye. The circle is famous in nearly all faiths as a symbol of birth – life – rebirth. Positioning it over our third eye is a suggestion that our subconscious may be able to understand that we are on an evolutionary path and that death as depicted in the last card does not necessarily mean a finality to things as we understand them.
The triangle on the angel’s chest is a symbol of spirit, ensconced with the earthiness of the square. It speaks of our spirit, that we approach it as locked deep within our physical form. Perhaps it is our spirit that caused our physical form to take shape. Our spirit is never ending – we should understand that our physical form as depicted by the square can ever lock away our spirit. I like to thin that this symbol menas that our physical form and understanding limits our spirit, that our conditioning in life by our social environment limits our goals and aims and keeps us afraid to reach for new heights.
Being a card of balance, it is apt that a path leads from the water right up to the highest mountains, closest to the fire of the sun. Should we so chose, we can navigate it so as to obtain clarity from the height of the mountain.
All the elements, fire, earth, air and water are depicted in this card of balance and temperance. The square on the chest has the four sides for the elements. Fire (the sun), earth (the lush vegetation), air (the sky), the water (water in lake and between cups), all combine to give us the fifth element, spirit (circle on head, the angel itself). When we are presented with the card of Temperance, it is a sign that we should be patient, seek time to understand, to look at all the options before us. Temperance tells us that enlightenment is coming our way and solutions will offer themselves to us. Now is not the time to be rushing headlong into something. Take a time-out and trust that our requests to the universe will be fully answered.
Reversed: Temperance reversed suggests that we are not taking time to understand ourselves, our journey or our situation. We may be rushing from one thing to the next, tackling one project after another without taking time to comprehend our own spirit. If you believe we are all here for a reason, Temperance reversed could be telling you it is time to find your life goal.
In its reversed position, The card of Temperance tells us to slow down, to stop the treadmill that we find ourselves on. It is a gentle reminder that we are more than the daily grind we face – deeper within us is an ability to forge our own path. When we translate our true life meaning into everyday actions, it can be difficult to accept that mundane actions still have to be undertaken – kids collected from school, parents minded, football training, relationships and the weekly shopping done. This card calls for balance. Don’t let yourself be lost within the day-today of life but instead take time to understand where you are going and what you want from your life. That could apply to a project you are considering, an opportunity that has crossed your path, somebody you met, relationships, businesses etc – whatever it is that is one your mind, this card is calling on you to take time to consider how it fits into your grand scheme of things and if you don’t know that – perhaps it is time to consider what your grand scheme of things is?