What Is The Temperance Tarot Card Meaning? (Major Arcana)

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By Anna Marikar

The magical world of the tarot deck is filled with wonders, mysteries, and life lessons. Among these is the 14th card in the Major Arcana – the Temperance tarot card.

Let’s delve into its rich symbolism and learn what it has to offer in readings related to love, career, health, and personal growth.

The word ‘temperance’ has its roots in tempering, meaning to bring to a desired state by mixing and combining.

Throughout history, it’s been associated with abstaining and moderation, especially in the context of alcohol consumption. In the tarot deck, however, its meaning runs much deeper. It represents not just moderation, but a harmonious blend of different elements and energies.

temperance tarot card

Temperance Tarot Card Description

Depicted in most traditional decks is an angelic figure dressed in a white robe, standing between dry land and a pool of water. One foot is on solid ground while the other dips into the water. The angel usually holds two golden cups, transferring water between them.

Above the angel’s head, you might find a golden triangle, sometimes encompassed within a golden crown. In the background, a beautiful mountain range can often be seen, underlined by blooming iris flowers.

The way each card is depicted in tarot decks can vary a lot, but this is a typical description of how to recognise this card in the traditional deck.

temperance tarot card meaning

The Temperance card is rich in symbolism. The angelic figure is often considered to represent Archangel Michael, a guide in spiritual practices.

The golden triangle signifies a higher purpose, while the white robe represents purity and spiritual growth.

The pool of water and dry land symbolize the balance between material world and spiritual dimension, and the golden cup is a symbol of life force and spiritual nourishment.

Traditional tarot decks depict the Temperance card with a plethora of intricate details.

The sun often casts a golden hue, hinting at enlightenment and clarity.

Sometimes, the angel’s feet have one foot on the green grass, emphasizing the connection with the material world and nature, while the other foot is in a pool, signifying intuition, feelings, and the spiritual realm.

The concept of balance presented by the Temperance card can be related to the dualities we experience daily: day and night, joy and sorrow, love and indifference.

Life is often about finding a balance between these opposing forces. The pool of water and dry land are a perfect illustration of the juxtaposition of our emotional depth with our tangible reality.

Upright Temperance Tarot Card Meaning

When you pull the upright temperance tarot card during a reading, it speaks volumes about balance, inner peace, and the art of moderation. Here are its key messages:

Finding Common Ground

This card urges you to find the middle ground in stressful situations, especially with family members or potential partners. It’s all about seeking compromise and harmony.

Balancing Life

Whether in your daily routine or the broader areas of your life, Temperance suggests a balanced approach, meshing your inner voice and outer worlds.

Good Health and Inner Peace

Just as the angel balances between water and dry land, you too must find a right balance in your life force for good health and inner tranquility.

Spiritual Growth

Walking the middle path, listening to your angel guides, and committing to spiritual practices can lead you on an enriching spiritual journey.

The Temperance card emphasizes balance in different aspects of life. From a balanced approach to work and personal life to managing stressful situations with family members, finding the middle ground is crucial.

The concept of balance is also reflected in the alignment between the inner voice and the outer worlds, allowing for clear vision and sense of balance.

Balancing various aspects of our life isn’t a one-time feat but a continual process. It’s the art of recalibrating whenever we sense a tilt.

From balancing our personal and professional commitments to ensuring we have a mix of rest and activity, the journey towards equilibrium is ongoing and ever-evolving.

Reversed Temperance Tarot Card Meaning

On the flip side, the reversed temperance card can indicate imbalance or a need for some introspection:

Lost Balance

If your life feels off-kilter, this card in the reversed position may highlight that it’s a good time to re-evaluate and make positive change.


It’s possible you’re veering towards the extremes, which can disrupt a balanced life and could even manifest in bad habits.

Stalled Personal Growth

Your spiritual path may need reevaluation. Small changes can be more beneficial than drastic ones.

If found in the reversed position, Temperance may call for a reevaluation of the present position, past position, or even your next move.

In tarot readings, cards can appear upright or reversed. The reversed position often highlights internal energies or challenges and offers a contrasting perspective to the card’s upright meaning.

If found in the reversed position, Temperance suggests that the internal balance may be off-kilter. It could be a warning against extremes or hint at underlying imbalances that need attention.

This call for reevaluation might pertain to one’s present stance, past decisions, or even indicate that it’s time to rethink the next move. It’s a prompt to introspect and seek alignment in both thought and action.

Physical health is as much about balance as any other area of our lives. Overindulgence or deprivation, be it in food, exercise, or rest, can have detrimental effects.

Temperance advises a balanced lifestyle, emphasizing both physical activities and restful recuperation, ensuring that we’re attuned to our body’s needs.

Temperance in Specific Readings

Love Tarot Reading

In a love reading, the Temperance card suggests a harmonious relationship, or a need to find balance in a romantic relationship.

It might also be a hint that it’s the perfect time to enter a committed relationship or to find the perfect balance of love in your current one.

Temperance speaks not only of balance between two people but also within oneself. Before seeking a harmonious relationship with others, one must first establish a balanced, harmonious relationship with oneself.

This card prompts you to reflect on your emotions and maintain equilibrium, ensuring that personal relationships remain healthy and positive.

Career Reading

If Temperance shows up in a career reading, it advises finding common ground with colleagues and taking a balanced approach to work and personal life.

When Temperance surfaces in a career reading, it’s a call to amalgamate creativity with logic, passion with patience. It might signal a time to collaborate with others, finding a common ground for shared objectives.

For those at a crossroads in their career path, it advocates for a balanced view of the risks and rewards.

Related: Tarot and Career: Using Tarot Cards For Career Guidance And Decision-Making

Health Reading

Good health is closely tied to balance, whether that means balancing your diet, daily routine, or even spiritual dimension and physical health.

The Temperance card in a health reading is a strong advocate for holistic well-being. Health is not just the absence of disease but a harmonious balance of the mind, body, and spirit.

Temperance nudges individuals to examine their daily routines, dietary habits, and even mental health practices.

It’s a call to interweave spiritual practices into one’s daily routine, ensuring that the soul is nurtured as much as the body.

Overindulgence, be it in food or even in exercise, can be detrimental, and the card advises moderation. It also encourages individuals to listen to their inner voice, to recognize when they are pushing themselves too hard, and to understand when it’s time to rest.

Mental and emotional balance is equally paramount, and Temperance is a sign to perhaps indulge in meditative practices, seek therapy, or simply take a break to rejuvenate and regain one’s sense of balance.

For Singles

For those looking for love, the Temperance card may indicate that it’s the perfect time to seek out potential partners.

Finding the right balance in a romantic relationship is key. When the Temperance card makes its appearance in a love reading for singles, it’s a beacon of profound wisdom. Singles are often on a journey of self-discovery, and Temperance encourages them to cultivate inner balance before seeking it externally.

This card suggests that the path to a fulfilling romantic relationship is often through understanding oneself, embracing inner peace, and recognizing the value of the little things.

It may also hint at the possibility that the universe is aligning events for an upcoming romantic engagement.

However, it reminds singles to approach this with a balanced heart and mind, ensuring they are ready not just to give love but also to receive it in its purest form.

For Committed Relationships

If you’re in a committed relationship, Temperance advises working hard to maintain a healthy relationship and seeking common ground during disputes.

Reversed in Love Readings

The reversed temperance tarot card in a relationship reading could indicate an imbalance in affection or understanding between partners.

Remember the Context

As with every tarot card in the deck, the Temperance card’s meaning can be influenced by the cards surrounding it.

The message could be about balancing interpersonal relationships when seen next to the Hanged Man, or transformation when next to the Death card.

The Fool’s journey through the Major Arcana is filled with many twists and turns. Thus, while Temperance offers insight, always consider its context and the specific situation at hand.

The Connection with Other Cards

The meaning of Temperance can be influenced by the surrounding cards:

With the Fire Sign Cards

A fire sign in proximity to Temperance may signify a passionate pursuit of balance and personal growth.

Fire signs in tarot typically represent passion, energy, and initiative. These cards encompass the suits of Wands in most traditional tarot decks and are aligned with the zodiac signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.

When a fire sign card is in proximity to Temperance, it creates an intriguing juxtaposition. While fire signs are often associated with impulsive actions and intense emotions, the presence of Temperance may signify a passionate pursuit of balance and personal growth.

It’s a powerful reminder that even within the fiercest flames, equilibrium and moderation are key.

With the Fool’s Journey

As part of the Fool’s journey through the Major Arcana, Temperance appears after Death and before the Devil, symbolizing a transition from transformation to temptation, and the need for balance in between.  

The Fool’s journey is a metaphor for the journey of life, where the Fool travels through the Major Arcana, experiencing various lessons and challenges.

As part of this journey through the Major Arcana, Temperance appears after Death, which symbolizes the end of one phase and the beginning of another, and before the Devil, which signifies temptation and materialistic bondage.

When Temperance is placed between these cards, it acts as a beacon of balance, suggesting that after profound transformation, it’s essential to find equilibrium before confronting temptations.

It underscores the importance of moderation and harmony during times of significant transition.

The Temperance card has a universal appeal, speaking to everyone’s need for balance, whether in love, career, health, or spiritual path.

Its beautiful imagery of the angel’s feet on both solid ground and water, adorned with a golden crown, conveys a message of hope and healing.

It’s a reminder that finding the middle ground, embracing spiritual growth, and taking a balanced approach to life’s ups and downs leads to wonderful things.

The guidance it offers is not only profound but also applicable to long term planning, daily routines, and even the little things that bring joy and fulfillment.

And always remember, the meaning of the card also depends on the context, the surrounding cards, and the tarot spread.

It’s not just one simple meaning, but a rich tapestry of insights that can guide you on your journey.

Embracing the message of the Temperance card means acknowledging the need for balance in our day-to-day activities. It’s in the meals we eat, the way we allocate our time between work and leisure, and even in how we interact with family and friends.

It serves as a gentle reminder that while extremes might seem enticing, the real treasures in life come from a balanced and harmonious approach.

So, whether you’re a seasoned tarot reader or have your own tarot card set for personal insights, the Temperance card is a beautiful reminder of the little things, the big pictures, and the wonderful things in between.

Embrace its message of balance and moderation, and you’ll be on your way to leading a more centered, peaceful, and fulfilling life.

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Anna is a Wales-based writer and graduate from SOAS University of London.
As the voice behind On Your Journey, she empowers women to embrace holistic well-being and spiritual growth through her expert insights into wellness and symbolism.
When she isn't writing thought-provoking articles, you'll find her busy crafting and raising her 4 children.

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