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A description and interpretation of the role of Temperance in the Tarot

In a nutshell...


  • harmony

  • excess
    lack of vision


General overview

It’s not by hazard that Temperance, the 14th major arcana of the Tarot, follows directly after Death, a character from which she draws most of her strength. This card, which is often difficult to interpret, represents a winged woman who can be mistaken for an angel. Of relatively advanced years, she is pouring the contents of a blue urn into a red urn, calmly and smoothly. This action refers, obviously to the circulation of flux and energy. Interior and exterior, instinct and reason, conscious and unconscious: it’s a matter of learning to recognize and master the different facets of your personality to make a unified whole of them.

Also notice that Temperance’s robe is a almost geometric in the way it alternates between blue and red, two colors that are related to the ideas of perception and action. This character seems to be indicating that happiness is the result of an equilibrium between these two positions. The same idea is also present in the angel’s stance, one foot in front, suggesting the start of movement, and the other hidden under her robe.

Temperance’s symbolism is fairly clear. It is only by forming an alliance between opposites that you can lift up your mind and your soul. Her wings are there to remind you of that!

Temperance and labor are the two best physicians of mankind.


  • from an emotional viewpoint

    When Temperance is drawn during a reading that is concentrating on your love life her message is particularly gentle and positive. If you are part of a couple, the card evokes the quality of communication between you and the tenderness uniting you. This character can also be associated with the resolution of a period of conflict which will bring harmony and joy back into your relationship.

  • from a career viewpoint

    Temperance indicates that the seeker has a certain preference for working in a team. Here, there is no question of climbing the ladder by treading on other people, for you professional fulfillment comes from the quality of the relationships that exist between the different members of staff. But even in the middle of a team the undeniable strengths of the seeker will be noticed, especially their perseverance, their morality and their constant good humor.

  • from a life path viewpoint

    When looked at globally, Temperance has a message of harmony and confidence. She encourages the seeker to work towards their personal equilibrium but also for that of the people who surround them. In this regard they can count on an unfailing willingness to act in ways that have a long-lasting effect, without giving in to their employer’s negativity. A communication that is always fair and the constant love you offer all the people who surround you are two major strengths in your search for well-being.

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    Its influence

    • short-term

      In the short term, Temperance encourages you to stay on course. At the moment you are feeling well-balanced and it’s natural to want to protect whatever created that feeling! Your skilful communication, gentleness and honesty make you truly someone of quiet strength. These personality traits will contribute to your well-being but also to that of the people who surround you.

    • long-term

      In the long-term Temperance invites you to keep on looking for a middle way. From now on you should avoid any sort of excess and concentrate exclusively on the objectives you have consciously fixed for yourself. You will feel happiest if you work patiently towards your deepest desires, without going off at a tangent.

    Full interpretation

    Interpretation of Temperance upright

    If Death is the card of transformation, Temperance materializes the results of this period. After all the difficulties felt due to having to question and abandon parts of your past life, the winged woman encourages you to make the most of your new situation, calmly, harmoniously and sustainably. As suggested by the liquid moving between the two urns, from now on the seeker’s life will flow calmly. Unlike The Chariot for example, Temperance’s teaching is not especially about the benefits of action. She is not about approaching the world with unfailing dynamism but more about enjoying the benefits of action that is sustainable. The middle way may not be the most exciting at first sight but it’s the one that will allow you to arrive at your destination the most quickly and with the least effort!

    Temperance is profoundly linked to the idea of balance, a benefit that can be felt just as strongly in the seeker’s personal and professional life as in their spirit. Thanks to their past experience they now know how to be moderate and self-controlled. Buzzing around like a moth at a candle is pointless if you can enjoy the sun while lying calmly on the beach!

    Interpretation of Temperance reversed

    On the other hand, when drawn reversed, Temperance evokes the difficulty the seeker is having in being serene. Obstacles have become particularly difficult to surmount and every new event, no matter how small, becomes a trial. This situation is a major cause of anxiety, agitation and dispersion. It is often explained by inappropriate communication which, depending on the other cards in the draw, can be too aggressive or constrained. In any case, being unable to express their feelings and needs tends to cut the seeker off from the people around them. Therefore, it’s a matter of becoming aware of the importance of words and trying to improve communication, little by little. Sometimes, Temperance reversed is witness to a type of emotional changeability which may result from excessive sensitivity, from a badly mastered need for control or a deep seated intolerance for frustration. The solution is to work on yourself so you can work out what is really important to you and project yourself into your long-term objectives.