Tarot Talk

Temperance (14)


“One foot in sea and one on shore: to one thing constant never.” ~Shakespeare

Image Description:

The Rider-Waite deck depicts an angel wearing a symbol of the sun upon his forehead and a boxed triangle on his chest. He stands beside a stream with one foot on the earth and the other foot in the water. Irises grow on the banks beside him, and a path leading behind him shows a brilliant source of light hovering between two mountains. Holding two chalices, the angel mixes their contents together.


Cups: Past, present, and future flowing together

Upright Triangle: Spirit

One Foot in Water, One Foot on Land: Polar opposites, Spirit (water) and material (land), Subconscious (water) and conscious (land)

Wings: Freedom from material limitations

Iris: A flower sacred to the sun

Pool of Water: Subconscious of man and the Universe

Key Words:

Moderation, Balance, Combining, Harmony, Well-Being

Fool’s Journey:

Approaching a bubbling brook, the Fool sees a winged-figure balancing on the bank with one foot emerged in the stream. In each hand he holds a chalice: one containing molten lava and the other crystal-clear water. The Fool watches with curiosity as the angel mixes the contents of the chalices together in careful moderation, proving that polar opposites can be harmoniously mixed together when the proportions are right. As a result, the Fool realizes that by combining all aspects of himself into a centered whole, he can achieve greater well-being. Enlightened by this new knowledge, the Fool continues his journey.


To learn how to combine polar opposites to experience well-being.


The Latin word, ‘temperare’, means ‘to combine properly’ and best describes the essence of the Temperance card. By mixing and blending opposites together accordingly we can create balance for the sake of harmony. Negotiation, compromise, and cooperation are frequently required when dealing with difficult situations. By finding a middle ground and avoiding extremes, we can utilize the positive energy of the Temperance card to achieve the desired balance.

In readings, Temperance can represent a need for moderation or balance, and usually suggests that compromise and cooperation are vital to the situation.  By combining and recombining different approaches, we can sometimes create the ideal mixture or solution that will allow us to resolve conflict in a calm and peaceful way.

Temperance can also signify mental, physical, and emotional good health and well-being. Medical science is only now beginning to acknowledge the connection between mind and body. Good physical health is dependant upon many factors, including our thoughts and emotions. When illness or disease is concerned, Temperance can indicate the hope of vitality with the proper balanced care.