The Temperance Tarot Card Meaning, Explained

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Temperance Tarot Card

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 of each tarot card is different, they signify important phases in our lives.

The journey through the Major Arcana includes 22 cards, each with its own significance to every person. A tarot reader can help you figure each out for yourself.

The Temperance tarot card is the 14th card and is all about finding that sweet spot of balance that allows you to live your best life as your most authentic self.

Temperance Tarot Card Meaning

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

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

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In a tarot reading, Temperance always represents a space of balance and peace within your life, which is a welcome sign after walking through the challenges you encounter on your path.

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

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

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

Peace is only a result of living a balanced life. Once you actually practice temperance, you end up living a life inherently more steeped in balance. That is, the card signifies balance in all areas of your life.

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

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

Pisces is a sign symbolized as two fish and is one of only two signs (the other being Sagittarius) connected to both the earthly and spiritual realms, which is represented in the placement of the angel's feet on the card.

Temperance Description

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

This, along with the placement of the angel's feet one in the water and one on dry land, completes the image of finding the right balance the card signifies. With one foot on rocks and the other in the water, she represents the need to be both grounded but still flowing in life.

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On the robe, the angel wears a triangle and square, which represent that humans are bound to earth by natural law. 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 on the path allows us to embrace.

Everything about the Temperance card evokes a sense of balance and harmony, from the placement of her feet to the lack of gender.

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Temperance Upright Meaning

An upright Temperance tarot card means you are being guided to take a balanced approach to a difficult situation, or that you have reached the other side of a challenging time in your life.

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

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

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

Temperance reveals that you have found your inner peace through acceptance, moderation, and pausing in your reactions. Temperance reminds you to walk a path of balance.

Temperance Reversed Meaning

Like with many tarot cards, a reversed Temperance card 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 your life — whether in relationships, spending, eating or drinking — you feel like your pendulum swings far right or far left. In this state, you either overindulge or abstain, with neither path bringing balance.

To create and have balance means you have abandoned living in the extremes and, instead, your pendulum is centered within yourself, creating that balanced outer life you 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.

Temperance Meaning in Love & Relationships

Just like general upright versus reversed meanings of tarot cards, in a love or relationship reading, the position of the card matters greatly to its meaning.

While an upright Temperance card alludes to patience and caution as it relates to love, reversed it signifies impatience and extremity in relationships.

Love and Relationships: Upright Temperance Meaning

The Temperance tarot card signifies that everyone works through difficult conversations or moments with your partner so you can bring about greater peace and harmony.

But it also means that the relationship you 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 an upright Temperance is an indicator of welcoming in and making space for a romantic relationship for your higher self. While this is 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 card means you have also done a lot of personal work to welcome this type of relationship into your life.

Love and Relationships: Reversed Temperance Meaning

If you receive a reversed Temperance card in a love reading, it signifies that the relationship you 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 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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Temperance Meaning in Career

In a career reading, the presence of Temperance indicates whether or not we have the harmonious and balanced approach to our career that will make us successful.

Rather than rush into something, do you have the ability to be patient? This is the glaring question at the heart of this card.

Career: Upright Temperance Meaning

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

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

Career: Reversed Temperance Meaning

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

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

Temperance is calling you to not fill emotional voids with physical things, and to try to reconnect with your inner self so you can give yourself what you truly need.

Temperance Meaning in Finance

In a financial reading, the theme of patience, caution and balance are highly encouraged. But depending on whether the position is upright or reversed, moderation is the name of the game.

Finance: Upright Temperance Meaning

Upright Temperance in a financial reading signifies that you have been doing well in your finances and should continue on that same path.

Even if you are not exactly where you want to be in terms of finances, to receive the Temperance card means that you have been acting with thought and logic. It does, however, serve as a reminder 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's a warning to save money and not take unnecessary risks.

This card apparing does not mean your investments will fail; rather, this card teaches that patience and moderation are the keys to success, especially with money.

Temperance asks you to investigate any financial investments you may have or make, ensuring they can be successful and that you are not chasing a "get rich quick" scheme. Recognize the energy associated with money and conserve it instead of rushing ahead carelessly.

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Kate Rose is a writer, artist, spiritual astrologist, relationship and life coach, and motivational speaker. For more of her work, visit her website.