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Post Category: Personal Blog

From Visconti Sforza Tarot, the world's first Temperance.

For this round of the Tarot Blog Hop, wrangled by Alison Cross, I’ve chosen to write about one of my favorite cards, Temperance. I am illustrating this post with some of my favorite Temperance images.

My nickname for Temperance is “The Cosmic Bartender.”

The Waite-Smith Temperance

I like to consider the twenty-one numbered cards of the Major Arcana in three groups of seven. Cards one through seven, Magician through Chariot, speak to me of the lessons of the material world. Cards eight through fourteen speak of the lessons of emotional balance, and cards fifteen through twenty-one speak of the lessons of spiritual enlightenment.

Within this construct, then, we see the journey of body, mind and spirit. Temperance is significant in that, as card fourteen, it is the final card in the journey to emotional balance, before we confront the Devil and begin the journey to actual spiritual enlightenment.

Emotional balance is tricky.  It doesn’t mean “happiness”. Many people strive to be happy and fall short. Those who follow the lesson of Temperance strive simply for balance. They tend to have a much easier time finding their bliss.

From Gilded Tarot Royale, by Ciro Marchetti.

Temperance is the card of art, time and alchemy. When we think of these three ancient key words for this card, we get a deeper sense of its meaning. The angel is an alchemist, carefully and patiently mixing the ingredients together to create the perfect blend.

Life is like that. Nothing is perfect, but if you take a little of this, and a little of that, and blend it together, you can find the perfect blend, and the perfect balance. It doesn’t get much better than that.

From World Spirit Tarot, by Lauren O'Leary and Jessica Sczuka Godino

Here is a poem I wrote for Temperance, as part of my ongoing 78 Poems Project.


Water poured from cup to cup, and metal turned to gold.
Sorrow turned to patience, and ego turned to mold.

One foot on the water, another balancing on land
Not a drop is spilt by the angel’s gentle hand.

Caution guards the recipe, stirring grace with balance
Art and time make alchemy with these select ingredients.

Change forged of disappointment, mingling with hope
Built on tragic lessons learned that gave us skill to cope.

Expectation and assumption gone, accepting what will be
Still the angel blends the cups, creating perfectly.

Perfect are the cups’ contents, and perfect is the measure
And perfect are the woes and joys, blended into treasure.

From Spiral Tarot, by Kay Steventon