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Temperance: Major Arcana Card number 14

By Pythia

When trying to understand the meaning of Tarot, it is very helpful if we can keep in mind that we are dealing with symbols, and when we realize that, we immediately find ourselves in the regions of our subconscious mind. Therefore, a tarot card adorned with certain symbols may have a certain meaning to you, and a completely different meaning to some other person. Things get highly subjective in this area. The Major Arcana Card number 14 is Temperance.

This card corresponds to the astrological sign of Sagittarius. It represents unity of opposites, and depicts a winged angel pouring water from one cup into another. Water here should be understood as a universal solvent.

This tarot card connects Tiferet and Yesod – two Sephiroth on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. The relationship between Tarot and Kabbalah is presented here. Tiferet means beauty, while Yesod is our foundation. Hence, this Major Arcana tells us that in order to reach beauty (inner beauty) from our formerly established foundation we have to have temperance.

Some of the meanings of the Temperance Tarot Card can be summarized as follows:

  • ignoring the imperatives of life
  • acting while having an accurate calculation
  • liberation from conscious and unconscious desires
  • making a balance
  • closing the gap between the outer and inner world
  • success is possible only through control

The Temperance Tarot Card demands sacrificing the ego in order to restore our natural connection to the life forces. In a different light, this card can mean searching for the lost aspects of ourselves, even if having to descend to the underground world (our subconscious).

Temerance from the 'Pamela-A" Tarot Deck

Major Arcana nr. 14 from the 'Pamela-A" Deck.

This tarot card teaches us that within us we should hold dear our Guardian Angel — a beloved presence that brings to us the art and knowledge of the 4 elements of tarot. In the Arcana nr 14, as analysed from the standpoint of the Rider Waite Tarot Deck, the Angel touches the earth element with his/her right foot. He/She never looses from sight the importance of the other element as well. The key message is to weigh every single object or situation well, no matter whether we will use it as a weapon or as a tool. Use it with care, use it without disturbing others.

The other symbols of Temperance

The Angel touches the earth as well as the heaven (see the photo – credits to He/She connects the spiritual levels of existence with the material ones.

On His/Her chest, we see a triangle placed within a square – a symbol of the Tarot book. The square represents the more materials worlds within a human being. There are 4 corners, representing the physical, etheric, astral, and mental body. The triangle represents the Divine side of man. Here we have the 3 aspects of the Higher Self – Manas, Buddhi, and Atma.

On His/Her forehead we see a circle – a symbol of eternity. It reminds us that death is a beginning of a new life. All manifestations come back to the same point where they originated.

In some interpretations the Angel is an Angel of Time. One of the cups, thus represents the past, and the other stands for the future. The water streaming in between them both is consequently the present time. The water goes both ways. Similarly, from the present we can go two ways – to the future or to the past.

Temperance Tarot Card in Reading

In its positive meaning, this car can imply:

  • using all the elements at our disposal to accomplish something worth accomplishing,
  • combining skills,
  • reaching new levels of consciousness,
  • reaching new more harmonious relationships,
  • need to have patience,
  • need to be moderate.

In its reversed meaning, this card can imply:

  • lack of moderation,
  • lack of balance,
  • unmanaged impulses,
  • loss of control,
  • discrepancy between the wishes of the heart and the ambitions of the mind,
  • infidelity,
  • unrestrained impulses and desires

It takes great care and understanding to read the Tarot Cards. We have seen how a seemingly “clear” card, such is the Temperance Tarot Card, can have deep and profound symbolism and spiritual significance. Therefore, one has to realize that working with tarot requires constant self improving, meditation, and metaphysical practice.

About the Author

Article written by Pythia.


The above guest post is published based on the premise that it will be helpful and informative. The opinions made within it are those of the author and not of The links you may find within this post do not necessarily imply our recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed within them.


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