What Does The Temperance Tarot Card Mean?

Photo: volkovslava / Shutterstock
Temperance Tarot Card Meanings: Upright, Reversed, Love

The Major Arcana cards in Tarot represent life lessons and karmic milestones we move through on our soul’s journey to knowledge. While the meaning for each is different, they represent important phases in our lives.

The Temperance Tarot card is all about finding that sweet spot of balance, allowing us to live our best life as our most authentic self.

Temperance Tarot Card Meaning

Upright keyword meanings: Balance, moderation, inner peace, healthy relationship, soulmate connections

Reverse keyword meanings: Imbalance, chaos, closed-mindedness, lack of perspective and care for self or others

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Temperance Tarot Card Description

In a Tarot reading, Temperance always represents a space of balance and peace within our lives, which is a welcome sign after walking through the challenges we encounter on our path. 

Temperance itself means moderation in thought, feeling or action, signifying that we are able to practice the pause. 

Temperance is the moment we stop to reflect and consider the effects of an action prior to taking it. This results in proactive intentional living versus reactive, where we have to figure out how to deal with things that have already happened.

This is what defines peace; to live a peaceful life means we are not waiting for that proverbial "other shoe to drop," and instead know we are doing the best we can each day.

Peace is only a result of living a balanced life. Once we actually practice temperance, we end up living a life inherently more steeped in balance.

This energy is what the Temperance card stands for in Tarot, and why it is such a breath of fresh air in any reading.

The image on this card is of a large angel that is both masculine and feminine, representing that important aspect of balance.

Photo: volkovslava / Shutterstock

On the robe the angel is wearing is a triangle and square, which represents that humans are bound to earth by natural law. With one foot on rocks and the other in the water, she represents the need to be both grounded but still flowing in life.

Behind the angel is a mountain with a path winding up, signifying the soul’s journey through life.

The golden crown above signifies enlightenment and the higher self that staying to the path allows us to embrace.

Upright Temperance Meaning

If we receive the Temperance Tarot card in a reading, it means we are being guided to take a balanced approach to a difficult situation, or that we have reached the other side of a challenging time in our life.

The card itself is one that holds a positive and uplifting message of peace, compromise, harmony and love. It carries with it encouragement to embrace our higher self as much as we can, because it enables us to walk our path with greater purpose.

To embrace our higher self means we incorporate more awareness and consciousness into our daily life, changing how we react to triggers that may arise. This is the difference between lashing out in anger versus taking a pause, breathing, and deciding if we need to react at all.

While we cannot actually control what happens to us, we can always control how we react. This is a reminder to incorporate this further into our lives and realize that we have gotten over that hump of difficulty.

Temperance reveals that we have found our inner peace through acceptance, moderation, and pausing in our reactions. This enables us to walk a path of balance.

Reverse Temperance Meaning

Like with many Tarot cards, Temperance reversed holds the opposite meaning of the upright card.

Reversed Temperance means unbalance, chaos, and a lack of healthy decisions. It signifies an overindulgence in one or many areas of life.

Think of this as an uncentered pendulum. In many areas of our lives — whether in relationships, spending, eating or drinking — we feel like our pendulum swings far right or far left.

In this state, we either overindulge or abstain, with neither path bringing balance. To create and have balance means we have abandoned living in the extremes and, instead, our pendulum is centered within ourselves, creating that balanced outer life we strive for.

To receive this card can also signify that relationships with those around you may be strained or unhealthy, so it encourages you to take a step back (a pause) and reevaluate.

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Temperance Tarot Card's Ruling Zodiac Sign

There is a bit of discussion over which zodiac sign most aligns closely with Temperance. Some believe Taurus or Sagittarius are the ruling sign; however, historically, it is connected to the water sign of Pisces.

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The ruling planet for this Tarot card is Jupiter, the ancient ruler of Pisces. At the time Tarot was created, this was the only association known, so while it is not a predominate water sign, it lacks the earthiness to be associated with Taurus, or the fire that connects Sagittarius to the Chariot card.

Pisces is a sign symbolized as two fish. We are told this is two fish swimming in opposite directions; however, it is one of only two signs (the other being Sagittarius) connected to both the earthly and spiritual realms. This is symbolized on the Temperance card by the angel having one foot on the ground and the other in the water.

This water sign is known for its peace and calm, which is something the upright Temperance card signifies, as overindulgence in alcohol or substances when reversed, something Pisces always needs to remain aware of.

Together, Pisces and Temperance help us see the importance of balance and pausing in life before reacting so whatever choice we make will be one from our higher, more aware self.

The Temperance Tarot Card's Meaning in Love and Relationships

Temperance is one of the best cards to receive upright in a love reading, but reversed, it means something dramatically different.

Love and Relationships: Upright Temperance Meaning

The Temperance Tarot card signifies we will work through any difficult conversations or moments with our partner so we can bring about greater peace and harmony.

But it also means that the relationship we are in or will be moving to, depending on the other cards and the specific situation, will be loving, balanced, long-lasting and healthy.

To receive Temperance is an indicator of welcoming in and making space for a romantic relationship for our higher self. While this was traditionally known as a soulmate relationship, its more modern-day equivalent is a twin flame dynamic coming into union.

Temperance is all about harmony, beauty and balance. To receive this means we have also done a lot of personal work to welcome this type of relationship into our life.

Love and Relationships: Reversed Temperance Meaning

If we receive this card reversed in a love reading, it signifies that the relationship we are in or thinking of entering into is unbalanced, and likely quite chaotic and unhealthy.

This means that substance abuse or physical abuse is present, as well as personality disorders such as narcissism. There is likely also significant arguing and discord in the relationship, with neither partner fully accepting the other for who they are, and trying to change them.

If you are single and receive this card reversed, it simply means to make sure you let your potential love interest come to you, and that you are not chasing or forcing something that is not meant to be.

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The Temperance Tarot Card's Meaning in Career

When we receive Temperance in a career reading, it signifies one of two different paths we should take, depending upon the position of the card.  

Career: Upright Temperance Meaning

To receive Temperance in the upright position means we are being encouraged to seize the opportunities presenting themselves now. But with Temperance, as much as this card is encouraging us to act now, we are also asked to be observant and patient.

In order to make the career moves we need, we also need to know which ones to take and which to pass on. This card comes in to bring our awareness to the opportunities that surround us, but also encourage us to be mindful of which path we choose. 

Career: Reversed Temperance Meaning

If we receive Temperance reversed in a career reading, it signifies that something is currently out of balance.

Whether we are in the wrong position, working too hard, or trying to achieve something without a sense of integrity, it means we are not currently aligned with our highest truth for our good and the good of all those involved. 

It is calling us to not fill emotional voids with physical things, and to try to reconnect with our inner self so we can give ourselves what we truly are in need of. 

The Temperance Tarot Card's Meaning in Finance

Ultimately, even if there are slight differences between the two, Temperance is warning of patience in matters of money and investments in a financial reading.

Finance: Upright Temperance Meaning

Upright Temperance signifies we have been doing well in our finances, and should continue on that same path.

Even if we are not exactly where we want to be in terms of finances, to receive the Temperance card means that we have been acting with thought and logic. It does, however, remind us to not take any risks with investments and to not overspend. 

Finance: Reversed Temperance Meaning

Reversed Temperance is similar to upright in terms of finances, because it warns us to not overspend or take unnecessary risks.

This does not mean it is because our investments will fail, but because this card teaches us that patience and moderation are the keys to success, especially with money.

Temperance also asks us to investigate any financial investments we may may, ensuring they can be successful and that we are not chasing a "get rich quick" scheme. Recognize the energyassociated with money and conserve it instead of rushing ahead carelessly. 

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Kate Rose is an artist, writer, passionate yogi, spiritual astrologist, relationship and life coach, and motivational speaker. As a spiritual intuitive, she practices the religion of astrology and love. For more of her work, visit her website.