Happy Middle: Temperance

After the difficulty ushered in by the Death card comes a time of repose and rest with Temperance. This is one of my personal favorites from the Major Arcana… anything that gives me permission to pause before stepping ahead to secure some semblance of balance in my life is absolutely welcome!

Deck used: Small Spells Tarot (Rachel Howe)

Deck used: Small Spells Tarot (Rachel Howe)

One of my recent tarot clients drew this card as a final pull to wrap up a reading and told me that she liked it because it's a word no one really uses these days. Despite that, Temperance is something we encounter so often, we often miss how important it is. I think of Temperance and my mind immediately connects to temperature. It's turning on the Hot and Cold taps when you're running a bath so you get the water to exactly the right temperature for a perfect soak (see the jars tipping in the Roman bath as depicted in the Small Spells Tarot above). It's cooling yourself down on a hot day with an icy popsicle. Temperance references the play between one extreme and the other so you can get right to that Goldilocks midpoint.

Temperance, in my life, reminds me to check in myself before moving forward or completely giving up on something. It's that often missed assessment we need to give ourselves so that we know we're okay. I'm typically on the verge of going full throttle with life way too fast (resulting in burnout) or being so stuck in my comfort zone that I refuse to move at all. This card tells me that I don't need to play with extremes and that there is a happy medium to be discovered.

Decks used: Centennial Smith-Waite (Pamela Colman Smith, US Games), Lumina Tarot (Lauren Aletta, Inner Hue), Tarot Mucha (Lo Scarabeo), Metro Tarot Cards (Aya Rosen, Gamecrafter)

Decks used: Centennial Smith-Waite (Pamela Colman Smith, US Games), Lumina Tarot (Lauren Aletta, Inner Hue), Tarot Mucha (Lo Scarabeo), Metro Tarot Cards (Aya Rosen, Gamecrafter)

Pretty Standard Stuff About Temperance: (See the Centennial Smith-Waite, Lumina Tarot and Tarot Mucha depictions pictured above.)

  • Both the Centennial Smith-Waite and Tarot Mucha characters have their feet in the water, which to me represent a sort of simmering down of energy that comes when you get yourself back in touch with reality.
  • The Lumina Tarot's Temperance card has her juggling fire and water. This reminds me of the delicate play between yin and yang energy we need to sustain in order to live life in balance.
  • The angel in the Centennial Smith-Waite card has a halo of light coming through, mimicking the light that emanates from the sun in the horizon. There is so much wisdom to be gained in allowing ourselves to discover balance. The delta symbol in the angel's chest can symbolize a change of heart.

But what about cards that go off the beaten path?

  • We can see the woman in the Metro Tarot's Temperance card luxuriating and just looking quite free to express herself. Balance, however much we strive for it, can be elusive and when we do find it, we shouldn't feel any guilt or shame in absolutely enjoying it.
  • As she seems to lie back and truly revel in this balanced state, we see her eyes closed. We don't need to overthink Temperance. As the physical body knows how to naturally bring itself into balance, so can our emotions if we allow ourselves to feel them without reacting too quickly.

Still not connecting to Temperance? Here are a couple of prompts that can start you on your journey towards discovering your own Goldilocks happy medium.

  • What extreme do you find yourself attracted to? How would you respond if you dialed it down a few notches?
  • What is sorely lacking a pause in your life? What needs reassessment?
  • What do you need more of? What do you need less of?

As we step away from the pause and check-in encouraged by Temperance, we move on to Scary Card #2 of the Major Arcana, the Devil *insert evil laugh*. Get ready for some exciting new insights coming up next week. 'Til then, have a great day, tarot folks.