Temperance signifies a time of healing, of taking stock of where one is in their life, of navigating a winding road to the next chapter in life. It stresses the importance of moderation, the balancing of one's needs with another party and of approaching dilemmas with a balanced mind.
This card often appears to indicate a pivotal point in one's life where choices will need to be made, whether to maintain the status quo, or to slowly carve a new future.
Temperance does not foretell sudden or unpredictable occurrences. In fact quite the opposite is true and it is frequently the case that it appears very little is happening.
It is not uncommon for Temperance to appear in the aftermath of a disagreement, symbolising the period of recuperation between two parties. The astrological sign Sagittarius is associated with this card and although Sagittarius is connected with expansion and intellect, it is also connected to Jupiter, its ruler, which encompasses wisdom and astute observational abilities. In the Temperance card we see the more refined qualities of Jupiterian energy, which include foresight and the need to see situations clearly in the scheme of a divine plan. Sagittarius rules the ninth house of the astrological wheel which governs matters such as teaching, foreign travel, higher education, philosophy and publishing. Be aware that you may be encouraged to reassess your ideas of these issues when the Temperance card appears.
Temperance is numbered 14 in the Major Arcana and in numerology the number 1 signifies self-determination as well as the tenacity to assert one's will in the world, and the number 4 is associated with stability and establishing foundations. The sum of these two numbers is 5 which signifies a challenging situation and the need to navigate discordant energies in order to create a newfound stability in one's life.
In the Rider Waite deck a hermaphroditic angel is depicted pouring water from one cup into the other. The androgynous quality displayed by the angel symbolises the need to harmonise opposing elements and the water flowing between the cups represents the need to balance and temper emotions and conflicting needs. The pool of water which the angel gingerly dips their toes into can be interpreted as the status quo. The water itself is shown as somewhat stagnant which indicates that the circumstances at hand are not liable to great change at present. However, the long path shown leading towards the sun behind the angel offers an alternative course of action and, potentially, a better outcome provided that the querent is prepared to stay the course.
On the collar of the angel's tunic the divine tetragrammaton yod-hey-vav-hey, which means " to be " or " to become/pass" in Hebrew, can be seen. It is a statement asserting one's divine will and presence in the world and combined with the qualities of the Temperance card, which shows mediating the conflict of opposites, the querent is invited to reformulate their stance on an issue or reconsider their identity in the world. In sum, Temperance presents the choice between a stable situation which may be peaceful but does not provide impetus for change or advancement, or the chance to follow a new trajectory and improve one's circumstances.
In a love reading Temperance can represent that after a period of tumult two partners will begin to slowly rebuild their connection and heal. If all is currently peaceful, Temperance indicates that two partners work well with one another and know how to create and maintain balance in the relationship. If the querent is currently single, Temperance does not conclusively show whether or not a suitable match will be found but rather that the querent will reach a point in their life where they are suitably stable and content. In terms of feelings, Temperance shows that a person of interest does not like ostentatious displays of affection and prefers their life to be free of unstable situations and turbulent emotions. Such an individual will take a slow and considered approach to romance and will gradually discern whether or not a prospective partner is right for them.
With respect to reconciliation, Temperance is a somewhat ambivalent card. It suggest that the path to reconciliation is there but it is weak, and that the querent would do better to focus on their own healing and consider taking a new direction in life, rather than trying to rekindle a lost flame. In any event, in terms of reconciliation Temperance foretells that the querent will overcome and heal from the situation, whether this means moving on from a partner or establishing peace with them.
In a work or career reading, Temperance suggests that the querent has reached a point of harmony and equilibrium in their career. Everything is running smoothly without too many mishaps and the foreseeable future is one where they will remain at the same level of success. This is welcome news if one is already doing very well but less so if advancement is desired. If the querent is hoping for a change of career or circumstances, Temperance warns that the timing is not quite right. Temperance can also appear if the querent is being much too cautious and not exploring more adventurous avenues to promote their business. If this is the case, the advice is to stop doing things in old predictable ways. If work matters have been emotionally challenging or you have been experiencing conflicts with colleagues, Temperance offers reassurance that things will soon become much calmer.
Timing: Timing is dependent on card placement within a spread but Sagittarius season may be applicable.
Major Arcana: Card 14
Astrological Correspondence: Sagittarius, 9th house of the astrological wheel.
Positive Aspects: healing, moderation, balancing of competing interests, union, harmony, stable and peaceful times, steady trajectory, alternative path
Negative Aspects: hesitancy, stagnation, not being adventurous enough, unwillingness to break out of a rut.