Temperance

An androgynous winged figure dominates the card, dressed in an ankle-length robe with the sleeves partially pushed back. Ke holds two chalices before kir, and is in the process of pouring a fluid from kir left hand into the lower held chalice in kir right hand. A body of water is before the figure, and land behind. The figure stands so kir left foot is balanced upon ground and kir right foot is half submerged. A triangle bounded by a square is fixed on the figure’s chest. A circle with a dot within, symbol of the sun, is fixed on the figure’s forehead. There is the imitation of glory around the figure’s head. Large wings emerge from the figure’s back, obscuring the featureless sky. To the viewer’s right are tall grasses and flowers. To the viewer’s left is a path leading away from the water, up to a mountain ridge. Above where the path disappears into the horizon is the imitation of a flash of light, outlining the shape of a crown.

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” The phrase is often used to justify an excess of indulgence, but it is actually good advice and my personal theme for the Temperance card. It advises against an overly prudent life where caution is used to justify never taking a chance or never allowing oneself to fully enjoy a thing. This is the card that tells the calorie counter that it is okay to have that special indulgent meal once in a while. It is okay to fast in observance to personal holidays. (Medical issues not withstanding.) It is okay to go against a rigidly set mode of living to explore what wonders you can experience, and then return to the “daily grind” with a little more understanding about yourself.

But this card also warns against excess. Going to the sushi bar with your friends now and then is okay. Going everyday is not. It advises that the Querent has to find their personal balance (unlike Justice, which deals with the letter of the law) for themselves and then maintain it. Occasionally having a little less or a little more of a thing will not upset that balance, but continually doing so will. So the card seemingly contradicts itself. It is okay to have an alcoholic drink now and then, but it is not okay to replace one of your daily meals with alcohol. It is okay to take a personal day to yourself, but it is not okay to duck your responsibilities all the time.

This is a neutral card being neither herald of good import nor a harbinger of unavoidable consequences. As a standalone statement, it reminds the Querent to reach and maintain their personal balance. When in collaboration with other cards, it identifies what the Querent needs to change in their life to transform the subject of their query into a desired outcome.