Constancy within change – Temperance

When I first started this website I was in need of a solitary hobby, a place to write (but not about what was really hurting) and way to focus my tarot studies.

Nowadays it’s a bit of a different story, with me-time becoming so rare and precious that spending it doing anything as worthy as writing just doesn’t cross my mind. It’s all about downloading The L Word (season 4…eesh, I’m in deep) and taking long baths right now.

Still, the reason I’m indulging in such shocking mindlessnes is because the rest of the time I’m all busy busy busy doing incredibly important stuff (IMHO). There’s a new project burning away oh-so-wandily, there are all the fun jobs with IET I keep sticking my hand up for and there are dear, lovely, wonderful friends who need hair cutting or tarots reading or things making or just hanging out with. And I need that stuff too. It’s fulfilling, it’s exciting, it makes me feel alive, it makes me feel good, needed, important.

What I’m struggling with, of course, is balance. Although life is really frickin’ great, I feel like some major parts of me are being neglected. Enter Temperance.

temperance tarot card

Temperance by Jill Jones, from The Artists’ Inner Vision Tarot

I draw my own interpretations, about that incredible sense of magical-seeming power we feel when we are bringing all elements of ourselves into play in just the right amounts, at just the right moments. It’s a beautiful thing. To be restrained yet free enough to access all parts of ourselves and yet know how and when to use and control them, that’s some power. And externally too, bringing the many different interests, passions, responsibilities we enjoy together and giving everything the right amount of attention. A harmonious and calming thought…not really how I’m feeling at this moment…

Coincidentally, a few days after I’d been wondering about Temperance, the TABI forum piped up. Someone posted a question about a journey they’d taken whilst meditating on this card, and some lovely interpretations emerged in response. I thought it would be okay to take a big liberty and share them here (thank you!!)

Temperance remember, is another word for balance, hence why it’s linked to Libra. The sea changes, the tides come in, the tides go out: Constant, but changing.  Whilst you may never forget (and who would ask you to do that?) I feel it’s asking you to draw a quiet strength of where you’ve been and come from, in going forward.

As well as balance, for me, Temperance can also represent the need for patience while trying to find the right mix of energies for a particular situation. I’ve seen this card turn up in a reading when the querent needs to bring opposing forces together in order to create a better sense of harmony, or to create something new. Some readers feel Temperance can also represent a spiritual guide.

I would want to add emotional balance, especially from how your journey developed. Where the Justice card is a mental balance, Temperance is emotional balance.
Patience, balance, constancy within change. Emotional maturity. There’s a real sense of acceptance here – not in the giving up way, but in a real gentle understanding way. This card understands life’s ebbs and flows and can get them into perspective. In this way it sits very closely with Strength, and with Justice (as Blue pointed out on the forum).
temperance tarot card
Temperance, from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

Another way of looking at this card makes it seem a little bit boring to me. Biddy Tarot writes that “You have been able to take the middle road, avoiding extremes and maintaining a great sense of calm in your life. … You do not let things get to you, and you have found a place of peace where you can put things into perspective when things get hectic.”

Perhaps this is why I’ve never really paid Temperance much heed in the past (shocker!) – she’s a little bit…goody-goody, not wanting to take any risks, linking things nice and quiet. But there’s room in all of us for a bit of this energy and besides, this is a major card, it’s nothing like that simple. There is a real magic in achieving that quiet harmony in our lives, it’s something many people crave but I reckon very few actually achieve. And I do think you can have fun with that. For example, the dude on the Waite-Smith card above is doing some fabulous cocktail party-trick at dawn standing on the shore of a lake and his whole head is glowing! Oh wait, he’s an angel.

Anyway, boring or not, it’s time for me to learn a few of Temperance’s party tricks. It’s fairly simple – I need to do less of some things, and more of others. Bingo. Magic will surely ensue.



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One comment

  1. Chloe says:

    Sorry I missed this before, but then maybe now was just the right time for me to see it 😉 Just got Temperance in the Book of Shadows Tarot – which is about imbuing life with colour and joy, even as we maintain a spiritual balance. For me, another aspect of Temperance is about getting the right mix of ingredients – it’s like baking, it’s not just about the ingredients, but having the right proportions. Spice is great, but you need enough of the basics, egg and flour and baking powder, for the cake to actually rise… ;D

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