78 Tarot Cards: Temperance

“Whatever you need to be, to be yourself.”

In modern reckoning, the call for temperance is regarded as a call for moderation, restriction, and/or reduction. It is a clarion call for people of all ages to temper their expectations, their enthusiasm, and their efforts in life because to be a proper adult is to be unoffensive in desires and actions. While this outlook makes for easy-to-write blog posts and easy-to-market coaching services, it makes for poor advice for living.

The Temperance tarot card is not a call to find the middle lane of life and remain there without ever experiencing anything else, even though doing just that can be a necessary action for a time. It is a call for the Querent to find balance within themselves, for however that balance can be achieved and maintained in the current moment. It does not require that the Querent force themselves into a moderate ideal that must remain as is and unwavering. It does require that the Querent examine themselves to determine what is needed at the current moment to achieve stability, and then to reexamine themselves later to determine if this state continues to be useful, or what to change to better fit in the changed environment.

The balance that the Temperance card calls for may be seen as an extreme state by others who see only the exterior of the Querent’s circumstances. They may see the Querent choosing to remain angry about a situation and say that calmness is needed more than wrath, but they don’t see how the Querent’s anger is helping them focus on doing the work necessary to secure their safety after the immediate threat eases. They may also see the Querent’s silence in sorrow as withdrawing too far, but they don’t see how the Querent is using the solitude to work through the process of grieving in a pace that is not self-destructive.

In a one-card reading, the Temperance card does not say, “Yes” or “No”, it asks, “Why?” and “What?”. Why is the Querent asking this question. What does the Querent need to enable them to take action or to face the problem with open awareness. If the answer is not immediately apparent in the question, further cards can be drawn to guide the Querent’s attention. If the question is regarding timing, the Temperance card answers, “Not Now” or “Wait”. But if the Querent asks if keeping their anger in check would help the situation and is answered by the reversed Temperance card, the answer then becomes, “Don’t hold back. Go off.”

When the Temperance card is ill-aspected or reversed in a multi-card reading, care must be given to the context of the question. If the Querent wants to wait for clarity, the ill-aspected card warns that it is better to move immediately and seek balance later. If the ill-aspected card is drawn as the necessary action of the Querent, it informs them to use whatever power is available even if it goes against “common sense”, lest they yield their agency to those willing to use them as tools to be discarded.

However, if drawn as a descriptor of the Querent, it warns that they have already gone too far in their actions and their refusal to regard their actions in the context of their circumstances is leading them to damaging consequences. Regardless of the position or orientation of the card, whether the card speaks to expansion or compression will be found in the context of the question.

The Temperance card describes a state of being and the process by which that state is realized. Depending on the Querent’s world view, that state of being could be unity with the cosmos, unity with the divine, unity with their ideal of themselves, and/or unity with their present state. None of these ideals are contradictory within the Temperance card, as it asks the Querent to consider not only what do they need to be at the present moment, but what actions the Querent can take to achieve that state. Tomorrow, the Querent may want to be someone else, something else, and this too is a state of balance.

Next Card: XIII – Death – “All things come to an end, and from that new beginnings arise.”

Noxporium’s Tarot Card Masterpost: 78 Tarot Cards

Previous Card: XV – The Devil – “You always had a choice. You just chose not to choose.”

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