Temperance signifies balance, blending, equanimity, equalizing and tolerance. The angel pictured in Temperance has one foot on land and one foot in water. In the esoteric Tarot deck of the Golden Dawn, the angel has a cup of water in one hand, and a fiery torch in the other. This card symbolizes the ability to balance and harmonize opposites, remain calm amidst extremes, equalize, mediate and find common ground. It also symbolizes balance within the psyche between the dreamy, intuitive world of the unconscious and the focused clarity of the conscious mind.
Temperance is an image of deep, clear, equanimous meditation, in which state paradoxes, mysteries, opposites and extremes are calmly integrated, balanced, contemplated and evened out. It is also the state of one who is able to be patient, even in high stress or high stakes situations.
When most people look at Temperance, they see an angel, a symbol of purity and benevolence, which takes a recognizably human form yet is not constrained by physical incarnation. In this way Temperance symbolizes spiritual ascension, or sublimation— that is, controlling and harnessing the power of your desires and appetites, and diverting this energy into focus, prayer, meditation or ritual.
There is another kind of psychic blending or balance suggested by the symbols of the elements in this card. In esoteric philosophy, the elements stand for four aspects of human experience: fire represents faith or spirit, water represents emotions, air represents the rational mind and earth represents the material world. Temperance is the image of these energies mingling together, creating different kinds of human experience. Water and air means a reasoned approach (air) to emotions (water), or reasoned judgement which is also emotionally sensitive, compassionate and nurturing. Fire and earth means a blend of enthusiastic self-assertion (fire) and practical hard work (earth). In any given situation, you have to strike a balance between two of these elemental forces of life. Temperance is the image of one successfully walking the tight-rope between fire and water or earth and air, blending the strengths and balancing out the weaknesses. This card suggests measured approaches which are inclusive, gentle and inoffensive.
Temperance is ruled by Sagittarius. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter.
Card meanings upright:
The Temperance card represents a balanced interaction of elements in your life that may lead to something new and fresh. You are likely noticing a strength and balance amongst the various areas and people that comprise your life. Now is a great time to deeply and serenely enjoy all of the things that give your life purpose and meaning.
Card meanings reversed:
When the Temperance card is reversed, it can indicate an imbalance or mismatched pairing of elements in your life. You may have noticed resistance and failure while trying to merge opposite people together or failed to combine two companies into one larger business recently. Forcing a mismatched pair can create a toxic environment for everyone, so do not try things that seem impossible right now. You may also notice that you’ve been experiences flares in your temper or feel impatient of unwilling to unify with others.