Notes on Temperance
Artist’s Notes :
So much of Fool’s Journey deals with the relationship between our expressed and suppressed selves. The more we can utilize the parts of ourselves that we have kept only in potential, the closer we can come to self-actualization. This, in many ways, is the essence of what is known as Shadow Work. So many people fear the parts of themselves they keep hidden. It is rather like those ancient maps that displayed the lands that had been explored and then in the parts still unknown and yet to be sailed, the words “Here there be Dragons”
Many of us like to stay in our shallows, the areas of ourselves that we know best. That is the area in which we are comfortable. Yet very little growth happens in the comfort zone and if we stay within it too long, it becomes a swamp. Early on, (as far back as the Lovers card) we became aware of the Other, which exists both externally and internally. The external, of course, are those others with whom we relate, even though many of them are in one aspect or another, quite alien to us. Even more surprising was that there was something within us that could relate to those differences. When that happens, one of three things may occur. We can automatically see the difference as something to be feared or revolted by and we fight it and so our shadow grows. We can embrace the differences wholeheartedly and so either deny or lose our original qualities; this way also leads to our shadow self growing stronger. The third way, however, looks at the difference with critical eyes, see the value in it as well as the value in the current self and learns to forge a new self that is the best of two worlds, fully embracing the value of each. This alchemical practice directly ties in with the idea of the Temperance card.
About the Archetype:
In the Lovers, we become aware that there is an existence outside of our own and sensibilities very different from ours. It is this difference that makes us start to question our lives. With Temperance, we learn to synthesize these differences and consciously incorporate them into our own being. Temperance or Art is the card of Balancing Transformation. It is connected by many with the art of Alchemy. When many people think of Alchemy, they think of the Philosopher’s stone which results in the ability to change lead into gold. The Alchemist’s true goal was to change the lead of coarse matter into the gold of spiritual awareness. This was done by blending and combining the contrasting elements within one’s being. Combining in other words who we are with who we are not, our shadow selves to become something greater. The tiger in the card stands in contrast and admixture to the water that surrounds it By being aware of who we are and who we are not, we can consciously acquire new talents and abilities, blend the two and become something greater, the being who we wish to be. Just as the alchemist followed very specific methods with very specific ingredients, this transformation does not happen in a wild and uncontrolled form but through self-examination and meditation and quite usually through ritual (even the ones we create for ourselves).
Sagittarius (♐︎)-The Sagittarius energy is an exploratory one that hungers for the freedom to search out the truth. It is an enthusiastic fiery energy and one that shifts in viewpoint and location to further its understanding. Its symbol is the hunting centaur (denoted by the centaur’s arrow). The centaur is part man and part horse and partakes of the nature of man and beast and masters the blending of them both. Sagittarius’ ruling planet is Jupiter and has an optimistic and expansive aura. It is an energy that takes risks in its desire to do more, know more, and understand more and it becomes what it needs to in order to achieve this end. The Sagittarius influence is one that focuses on self-truth, personal integrity, and self-perfection. Sagittarius brings back what its arrows aim for.
In a reading:
When Temperance turns up in a reading, it can indicate that one’s life has reached a state of balance. The querent may be at a stage where they allot enough time to do the things they want to do and the things they have to do. They work when they need to and have enough time for family and leisure. It may mean tho that it is time for them to examine their lives and figure out how to bring this state of balance about in a conscious way. Temperance may also show in a spiritual sense that the querent is undergoing a transformative experience and that they have made it through the trials and are integrating it with their conscious awareness. The card may be cautioning the querent against going to extremes and learning when to assert themselves in a conscious manner. A keynote for the card is taking responsibility for one’s life in a conscientious way. In a situation where the querent feels torn between two different paths, it suggests finding a synthesis of the two
Temperance reversed or badly aspected, refers to the imbalance in the querent’s life. It could mean that they are going to extremes, first acting in one way and then acting wildly the opposite in order to try to balance the two. This may be because they lack any long-term plan or purpose for their lives and they need to take conscious responsibility for it. It may refer to passive-aggressive behaviour on the querent’s part. The reversed Temperance may also refer to someone being so cautious and afraid of their own actions that they hesitate too much refusing to act at all. The card reversed may also refer to someone who is unable to integrate recent changes in awareness into their lives possibly out of fear of how others will react.
When looking at inner Kundalini workings, it eventually becomes apparent that our ascension is linked to our shadow work. The balancing of our impact is based on our actions and how we cope with said impact emotionally. Just as these two sides hold importance they each have their own unique pull we need to stay vigilant of. All of this is topped off by the fabled Flower of Nirvana to finalize all our transformations so that we may begin anew as who we are now.