Hello loves! Many of you have asked for MORE! of the Shuffling the Deck tarot posts. Today’s card is Temperance.
Planetary Ruler: Jupiter
Zodiac sign: Sagittarius
Season: Early Winter, Winter Solstice, Yule and Christmas
After the loss, deprivation, and underworld adventures we experience with Death, the Angel in the Temperance card encourages us to find a new balancing point, to recognize that light is present even in the darkest nights, and to (re)embrace the possibility of birth and rebirth.
- Finding a point of peace+equilibrium
- Prudence, wisdom, and self-restraint
- Reciprocity, especially in nourishment and love
- Discovering how opposites can work together
- Pregnancy–metaphorical or literal
Temperance is one of the core classical virtues. The word temperance in English is a translation of the Greek word sophrosune which is also translated as moderation or prudence. Interestingly, in Greek Tragedy sophrosune is often invoked and this is important because of the Temperance card’s placement in the deck between Death and the Devil. We might say that it is by treading the path of Temperance that one can successfully navigate between such harsh extremes.
Sagittarius, the sign that rules subjects like religion and philosophy is an appropriate representative of this card with its focus on classical ideals like wisdom and moderation as well as the spiritual theme of being “tempered” or tested. Appropriately enough when the card comes up it can indicate a new or renewed interest in learning-especially learning about philosophical and/or religious subjects.
There is little agreement on which Angel is depicted on the Temperance card or what it represents, but I was taught that the figure is the Angel Gabriel, the messenger–one of the four archangels who was responsible for letting both Sarah and Mary know that they had conceived special children. Some sources believe that the Angel Gabriel is actually a more recent incarnation of an ancient fertility Goddess. As a result the Temperance card-amid all its moderation and, in some cases, recommendations of sexual abstinence-can also indicate pregnancy and children.
Temperance is one of the Major Arcana cards that I find many people have a more difficult time understanding. I see the card as a moment of pause, a breath of renewal that comes on the heels of Death, the first step on one’s own underworld adventure when we stand at a sort of crossroads and decide to take the path that leads to greater spiritual awakening…or not.
This card indicates that a major choice will be made and that as transformation is occurring within, the outer world relationships one has should be supportive and balanced. It’s also interesting to note that the Temperance card coincides with one of the biggest festivals of the year-the Winter Solstice or return of the light. Why such a constrained card for a major time of festivity? Temperance does not mean no fun…temperance means gauging your behavior so that you have maximum fun!
Ask yourself what kind of relationship you have to virtues like moderation, temperance, and prudence :: I recommend you do this during the New Moon, preferably when it is in the sign of Sagittarius. A lot of people today feel like these old virtues are stuffy and limiting but vibrant Pagan societies developed around them–so take a deeper look at them.
Work with Archangels, especially Archangel Gabriel :: What messages does this celestial being have to give you? Create an altar for Archangel Gabriel or write a petition invoking his aid.
Create a Symbol :: to honor your own spiritual journey and the alchemical changes that are taking place within you. Alchemists of old used symbols to designate the elements they worked with as well as the philosophical ideals they sought out and were guided by. Create your own symbol that speaks to where you are and perhaps where you are headed.
Want more? One of the best ways to get a feel for a specific card is to look at different visual interpretations of it. Head over to my Temperance Board on Pinterest and feast your eyes!