Temperance (XIV) Upright

(Card Descriptions Based On Original Rider-Waite Colors – Still Under US Games Inc. Copyright)



(To Follow)

After the trauma and upset of the Death card, Temperance brings a wonderful and much-needed respite from suffering. Death has done his job and cleared away all the dead wood out of our lives, weeded the garden,  torn down the old curtains, ransacked the cupboards and drawers, before filling a huge skip with all our unnecessary baggage and things. We are now in a better position to see our lives without blinkers on.  With a de-cluttered mind we can now focus on who we are and what we really want for the future. It is Temperance who brings the calm after the storm and allows us to settle and re-balance. It is Temperance who after the clearing of Death allows us a glimpse of our true Spiritual Purpose.

Temperance appears to us as a Winged Angel. Dressed in a white gown she  pours water from one cup to another. In front of her is a pool of water. The Angel stands with one foot in the water and one foot on land. Behind her a path leads off into the distant mountains where the sun has risen and is now shining brightly.  This card is all about finding balance and harmony within ourselves and our lives. Each Element is represented in this card. Water is prominently featured in the pool and flowing between the two cups. The triangle on her white gown is the symbol for Fire. The square around the triangle symbolises Earth and the Third Eye, or Brow Chakra, symbolises Air.  Temperance demonstrates that by taking the time to carefully blend these Elements in suitable proportions, you will find the right balance to succeed in attaining your goals.

The distant mountains on the left are the same mountains that were seen on right in the Death card as the sun was just rising. The pathway represents the journey you have made since shedding the unnecessary from your life.  The sun has now risen which suggests that for the moment  the troubles of the past are behind you. Through faith in life you have found the light at the end of the tunnel. The pool Temperance stands beside is the pool that was first glimpsed in The High Priestess when you were only vaguely aware of its presence. This suggests that by traveling through The Major Arcana  and experiencing its lessons thus far, you have gained access to much of the knowledge contained within The Torah of The High Priestess. You may congratulate yourself on this as it is no mean achievement.

The actions of Temperance are often linked to pouring oil over troubled water. Temperance brings a calming and soothing energy to the situation. The Angel represented is Archangel Raphael. Raphael is traditionally associated with healing so this card is also about healing taking place, or the need to heal. Temperance encourages moderation and pacing oneself.  She brings clarity of thought and thus allows for being aware of the bigger picture rather than constantly seeking instant gratification. Temperance urges you to consider your next step, your next move, for these decisions will have a huge impact on the rest of your life.  The halo around the Temperance’s head suggests that at this stage of your journey you have matured considerably and have learned many lessons. Some came hard, some easy, and as a result you have grown spiritually. By releasing all that was not worthy of you, and all that was blocking your spiritual vision in the Death card, you now have a clear picture of repetitive patterns of behaviour in your life so far.  By examining your past you will have realised how you got where you are today, whether you took the right path or not, and how many times you have strayed.

Temperance is not a card of action, she is content to be still and savour her surroundings. Nothing is learned by rushing around and acting impulsively. You must carefully consider your next step, so take your time as you adapt and adjust to your new situation. Temperance appears to be measuring out a certain amount of water from one cup to the next. She knows just how much of each Element is needed in the mix to create the desired effect (the right combination for success). She stands for balance, equilibrium, harmony and moderation which in turn brings a sense of inner peace. She knows the exact blend needed for any situation which may arise. Not too much, and not too little.  This is one of the lessons she brings to you. Everything in Moderation. Pace yourself, not too fast and not too slow.

Temperance is one of the cards for the Sun Sign of Sagittarius along with the Knight of Wands.  Sagittarians love to travel and love to teach as well as study so Temperance  is also a card for travel, learning and teaching.

Temperance is the wise counsellor, healer or holistic therapist. She also traditionally represents the presence of your Spirit Guide or Guardian Angel who is helping you survive whatever you are going through at the moment.  Temperance reminds us of our baptism as she pours the water from one cup to the next. This is symbolic of the Re-birthing Process after all that died in the Death Card.  


Teaching or learning and a strong card for travel. Success will be achieved by maintaining a strong sense of purpose and approaching the situation in a balanced manner. You must always keep your eye on the bigger picture and not be lured into actions that are counterproductive to your spiritual growth and personal development. It is a time to be very aware of what you have just gone through and why. After the lessons learned so far you must be aware of the consequences of any actions you take from here on in. It is a time to carefully plan your next step. Take the appropriate action at the right time. Temperance suggests perfect timing and light at the end of the tunnel.  Her presence acknowledges that you have been through a tough time but are now entering a period of peace and tranquility.

You may be going back to school or just taking a course.  You could be seeing a counsellor or giving counselling to someone. Does your career involve teaching or travel? Maybe you are planning a trip away after a difficult period. A time to rest and rejuvenate. A time to recharge the batteries.

Blessings and the beauty in things accompanies Temperance.  Healings of emotions and spirit may be taking place under her influence. Clarity and understanding of the laws of cause and effect (karma). Healing is taking place or is needed in the situation. Maybe you are taking the right action in calming a possibly volatile situation.  You may be pouring oil on troubled water, bringing peace to all.  Temperance suggests a time of inner peace and the ability to forgive others.

Forgiving those who brought you pain in The Death Card may be difficult but Temperance helps you see the big picture and the understanding that any pain inflicted may have been necessary in your liberation.  It often takes considerable time after a painful separation or divorce to realise that what happened was a blessing in disguise.  You may not have felt it at the time, but once you let go and accepted the freedom that was gifted to you by Death, you realised that you were not truly living. Now you are free to breathe fresh air into your entire being. You may indeed see the world with new eyes and a sense of wonder and awe.

Temperance appearing in a reading may just be an acknowledgement from your Spirit Guide or Guardian Angel to let you know they are there and helping you through this time by giving inspirational guidance. Your troubles are behind you now and much has been learned as a result.

In a relationship Temperance may represent a Sagittarian partner. Great harmony and peace within a relationship is indicated as a couple strike the right balance and enjoy mutual respect and love. Temperance suggests a couple who know exactly what it takes to make a relationship or marriage work.  A mature relationship full of understanding with a strong sense of purpose and direction.  There is often a strong spiritual connection or karmic link between partners when Temperance appears in a relationship reading.  You may be old souls re-uniting, or have strong bonds from previous lifetimes.  On the other hand, you may have met someone while travelling or on holiday. Temperance can also represent a relationship that has come through and survived a rough patch.

Now go to Temperance Reversed

Back to Lesson 6

The Fool Upright  The Fool Reversed

The Magician Upright  The Magician Reversed

The High Priestess Upright   The High Priestess Reversed

The Empress Upright   The Empress Reversed

The Emperor Upright    The Emperor Reversed

The Heirophant Upright    The Heirophant Reversed

The Lovers Upright     The Lovers Reversed

The Chariot Upright   The Chariot Reversed

Strength Upright     Strength Reversed

The Hermit Upright   The Hermit Reversed

The Wheel of Fortune Upright   The Wheel of Fortune Reversed

Justice Upright   Justice Reversed

The Hanged Man Upright   The Hanged Man Reversed

Death Upright     Death Reversed

Temperence Upright     Temperence Reversed

The Devil Upright   The Devil Reversed

The Tower Upright     The Tower Reversed

The Star Upright     The Star Reversed

The Moon Upright    The Moon Reversed

The Sun Upright     The Sun Reversed

Judgement Upright      Judgement Reversed

The World Upright     The World Reversed


Lesson 1   Lesson 2    Lesson 3   Lesson 4  Lesson 5


14 replies »

    • Hi Edna,

      Just getting to all my outstanding correspondence after finishing college exams last month. In relation to your question these cards can have several meanings depending on the question that has been asked before drawing them. If it is connected to a relationship as in the Two of Cups, then it may suggest that the relationship is all a bit of a struggle, hard work, or that it is experiencing some troubles. Then Ten of Wands is weighed down under heavy burdens, but he is also close to the end of his struggle. It could suggest a bad patch or trying times in a relationship. With Temperance appearing in the middle it may suggest that balance is needed or that you need to re-evaluate how the relationship is being handled. Something may not be quite the right mix which could be causing one within the partnership to carry all the responsibility of making it a success. Should the Ten of Wands suggest that a period of struggle is nearing an end then Temperance could suggest healing and life settling down once more.As couple, they may need to moderate their lifestyle. It is hard to determine exactly what the cards are when not linked to a question or intention. I could offer several other interpretations here but I have chosen one as an example.



      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Vivian and thank you for your work, Your webside is working wonders as I try to get to know my cards :). I was wondering whether you could give me a little input on the following spread regarding a relationship. I am having a bit hard time making sense of it, find it very contradicting.

    6 wands, 8 cups (reversed) and the temperance.

    Kind regards


  2. Hi Vivian, may I please check why the angel in Temperance is Raphael? I would think it’s Michael because of the colour red and the fire triangle. Also you say Raphael is associated with healing, I thought that was Gabriel? Sorry, I’m confused.


    • Hi,

      Both Archangel Raphael and Michael are associated with Temperance and sometimes neither. Temperance is a card of healing and integration and with Raphael being the Archangel of healing and reconciliation it is a fitting place. However, Temperance is also a fire card and the triangle on the angel also connects him with Michael. Some align the triangle with the holy trinity and the divinity of the angel. When I am re-writing that card in the coming months, I will be going into greater depth with it and including the different approaches to interpreting the angel, which are several. At present it is very basic. I am currently re-writing the Emperor Reversed. Some tarot decks do not depict the figure as an angel at all. Whichever one you use is fine as long as it feels relevant for you. In the Pictorial Key To The Tarot, Arthur Waite refers to the angel as a winged beast and does not attribute any gender or archangel to it. Biddy Tarot describes the angel as not an angel but “a hermaphrodite (the child of Hermes and Aphrodite), showing a balance between the genders.” It can certainly be confusing, but really depends where you learn your tarot from. Today there is so much information available that you will find several versions and approaches to choose from.

      Yes, Raphael is the angel of healing and Gabriel is the messenger. Michael is the protector. To be honest, I am not an angel person and only have a limited knowledge of their associations. However, after studying and becoming a Reiki Healer and Master along with tarot, I use the Archangel Michael Shield of Protection when doing my work. I called upon Raphael to assist me in my healing work. Gabriel is often called by those who seek intuitive or psychic messages, to be able to hear their inner voice.




  3. Hi Vivien, i opened three cards regarding my partner in relationship. She is aries sign. Should we be together, even marry or separate. Because there has been a lot of troubles between us. Jealousy of the past partners and a lot of pain.
    First card appeared Temperance, second card Ace of Wands, third one Page of Swords.
    Question is this Temperance and spread suggests that i should learn from this relationship let it go and move on with my creative projects and travel ? Or does this mean we should learn and come together again ?

    Thank you Vivien.


    • I think you need to find a new way to communicate with each other to see if it will heal your issues. Your relationship is not as balanced as it once was in Temperance. Troubles have seeped in which has knocked the equilibrium. Do you have creative projects? Do you want to travel? Or are you seeing this in the Ace of Wands? If you do have creative projects and want to travel could this be what is causing the troubles between you? Do you argue about this? Are you doing things off your own bat without consulting your partner. With the Ace of Wands taking center stage we could be looking at a strong ego taking importance. It may be all about the Ace of Wands and no one else. Temperance would remind you of the need to give and take, to compromise, to take the other person into consideration.

      Saying all that, the last thing a troubled relationship needs is thoughts of marriage. Marriage generally exacerbates issues between couples, not eradicate them. It will only get worse if you marry under such circumstances. You speak of jealousy of past partners and a lot of pain. You cannot make the history of past partners disappear and will have to accept them. Jealousy erodes relationships. This relationship has a lesson to teach you and you should be observant. With Jealousy being an issue, the Page of Swords would worry me with regards to paranoia. This Page has an overactive imagination and can read things into situations that do not exist. He can be too vigilant at times, watching and listening. The Ace of Wands is a phallic symbol, so I wonder if the Page of Swords is worried about fidelity. Yes, honest communication is essential here and perhaps if you cannot come to some lasting peace, calling it a day could be the answer. No relationship will survive with jealousy driving it.

      I hope some of this makes sense.


      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m tryin to prepare for a long distance move because i want & need to be near my kids and grandkids. I consulted the cards asking how this transition would go w a 3 card draw and got 2 of pentacles, knight of pentacles, and temperance. I find knights very confusing. Can you help me out with this? Thank you!


    • Hi,

      Sorry. Had hoped to get to this days ago, but am swamped with correspondence and have fallen behind. I think the Two of Pentacles shows how much you have been struggling with keeping in direct contact with your children and grandchildren. Also, the pentacles aspect of this card suggests the financial implications involved every time you want to travel to see them or vice versa. You say it is long distance so you have been trying to fit this additional expense into your normal ones which has not been easy. This card is also suggest the decision you have had to make and this had financial implications. With the Knight of Pentacles in the middle and the Two being a Pentacle, I would imagine the decision to make this move is not something that happened overnight and took much consideration. There may be a job you will need to give up, a lifestyle or environment you had gotten used to. I sense you will be leaving behind the a world you are very familiar with to head off to where you children are now located. It is a big move with great change. In the Two Of Pentacles, I also see you tidying up your finances and working out how the move will be funded. I wonder if you are selling your home as the two could show the transfer of ownership but it could also see you handing it over to another for a period of time, as in renting it out. The Knight of Pentacles is cautious so he may decide to hold onto his home but make it pay for itself in his absence. The Two of Pentacles brings stress to the surface and having much to sort out.

      With the Knight of Pentacles I see you as patiently waiting for it all to come about. The Knight of Pentacles is very attached to his family, his home, his land and all that is familiar. In this card we see him in his territory but it may not hold the same meaning for him when those he holds dear cannot be there with him. The Knight likes to take care of his family; to be there for them, to support them On the other side of the Knight is Temperance, another card aspiring to balance. However, the balance in this case is far more important than the balancing act of the Two of Pentacles. Temperance is a Major Arcana card whereas the Two of Pentacles is a Minor. This means the balance desired in Temperance is your ultimate goal. By making the decision to move long-distance you will leave behind the struggle of the Two which are likely based in the Material Plane to seek a balance that will bring your life into harmony and remove the ill at ease feeling you have been experiencing. You see peace and serenity in Temperance and after much deliberation understand what it is you must do to achieve equilibrium within. Your life has been out of sorts and Temperance promises to deliver the healing it will bring. Temperance is also a card of travel, but it is travel with a spiritual purpose, not for work, not for adventure or romance, but one that will help restore you soul. The Knight of Pentacles sits in the middle with his back to the struggling and stressed out Two of Pentacles. He has already made his decision and move away from it. As a Knight of Pentacles, this would hold much significance as he rarely leaves anything. He is a stayer, not a goer. However, he has made his choice and is prepared to leave behind a life he has probably worked hard to build. He knows where his priorities lie as he looks towards Temperance. Your life has been fragmented for some time now with many contradicting elements throwing it out of balance. Temperance will put all that is wrong in your life to rights and you will find a better way to live which will make you feel much happier and content in yourself. I wonder if you are a teacher as Temperance could suggest this and you might be moving to a new post closer to your children. Temperance is a card of reconciliation and this is what you are seeking. You wish to reconcile your life with that of your children and grandchildren.

      I do hope this helps. Good luck with your move and to happier times ahead in the bosom of your family.



  5. This is such a great line and is nearly identical to the thoughts i’ve been having on a difficult situation when I pulled this card up: “You must always keep your eye on the bigger picture and not be lured into actions that are counterproductive to your spiritual growth and personal development.”

    One thing I realized on my journey is that no matter what happens, if I keep my eye on the bigger picture, the macrocosm, not only will I be better for it but it will truly serve the greater good. In the end, that’s all that matters. Getting stuck in my own small, personal issues can impede the wonderful blessings the Universe has to offer. Great insight, Vivien.


    • Hi Jayne,

      Yes, it is so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of our lives; assigning too great importance to fleeting issues and bumps along the way. This saps our energy and can exhaust our outlook on life leaving us apathetic, lethargic and unmotivated. These are mere distractions on the road to personal fulfillment. Let us be aware of our distractions, acknowledge them, weigh their relevance in the grand scheme of things, identify those distractions that may seem inconvenient but in the long run assist in achieving our goals, and the distractions that seek to derail our journey or unnecessarily delay us. In this manner we maintain control and focus.



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