Temperance Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretations
Temperance is the 14th card of the Major Arcana which gives it a numerological value of 5 (1+4). This links it to the 5th card of the Major Arcana The Hierophant as well as the 5 Of Wands, the 5 Of Pentacles, the 5 Of Swords, and the 5 Of Cups of the minor arcana, all problematic cards, representing strife, hardship, conflict and grief respectively. Where The Hierophant offers an authoritarian solution to these problematic minors, using structures of rules, doctrine and dogma for control and containment, Temperance takes a more holistic approach by finding the right solution, mixture and balance for each individual case. The Hierophant represents external help, discipline and control, Temperance represents self help and self control.
Temperance is the card of moderation, patience, self control, frugality and economy. The appearance of this card could offer a path to peace and harmony. Depending on cards surrounding Temperance, difficult situations or testing times can be managed through better self control. The imagery is commonly that of an angel pouring water from one vessel to another. The water flowing between the 2 cups represents getting the mixture right through the balance and diplomacy off the 2. With water being the ingredient being mixed and balanced, this is specifically about finding emotional balance and harmony. The angel in the Rider Waite Smith deck card has one foot on land (earth) and the other in a lake or sea (water). This detail indicates that this card doesn't refer entirely to emotional temperance but also to material temperance. Or the intersection of these elements where emotional decisions, or reactions, to material issues come into play.
Numerology: Temperance is the 14th card in the Major Arcana. Numerology reduces 14 to 5 (1+4). The number 5 has the positive characteristics of freedom, versatility, flexibility, adaptability. The negative and destructive influences of this number are instability, chaos, irresponsibility, carelessness and over indulgence in food, drink, drugs and sensuality (sex). Even though Temperance has the same basic numerology as The Hierophant the number 14 also symbolises self control (number 1) creating stability (number 4).
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THE PICTORIAL KEY TO THE TAROT
By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)
A winged angel, with the sign of the sun upon his forehead and on his breast the square and triangle of the septenary. I speak of him in the masculine sense, but the figure is neither male nor female. It is held to be pouring the essences of life from chalice to chalice. It has one foot upon the earth and one upon waters, thus illustrating the nature of the essences. A direct path goes up to certain heights on the verge of the horizon, and above there is a great light, through which a crown is seen vaguely. Hereof is some part of the Secret of Eternal Life, as it is possible to man in his incarnation. All the conventional emblems are renounced herein.
So also are the conventional meanings, which refer to changes in the seasons, perpetual movement of life and even the combination of ideas. It is, moreover, untrue to say that the figure symbolizes the genius of the sun, though it is the analogy of solar light, realized in the third part of our human triplicity. It is called Temperance fantastically, because, when the rule of it obtains in our consciousness, it tempers, combines and harmonises the psychic and material natures. Under that rule we know in our rational part something of whence we came and whither we are going.
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