Temperance

In Taoism it is said that “There are times when you climb and times when you fall. The climb is long and difficult, but the fall is quick and inexorable.” Temperance, like the I Ching hexagram of Moderation teaches you that as you rise, you can ward any sense of falling with the knowledge that life is more balanced when you eliminate extremes. Life becomes more enjoyable when you take time to enjoy it. Periods of outward growth must be balanced with introspection. Life is not a constant upward climb but appears more circular. Being held back, or appearing to move backward may be no different than the way a computer is turned off to reboot. Temperance ensures you do not close your mind with preconceptions and ideas that can become obstructions to witnessing what lies before you. Beyond good and bad or right and wrong is just an endless field of ‘what is’ and it is always good. In your search for absolutes, you must succumb to the gravity of the unknowable. In the epic of Gilgamesh, the hero goes on a long journey to slay his nemesis Humbaba and to learn the secret of immortality. After all of his trials, he meets Siduri, another Lady of the Lake Archetype like the one in the Arthurian tales. She too, lives beyond a veil near the water’s edge and her message is centuries older, but remains Timeless. She acts as the keeper of the gates between conscious and unconscious. Dreams of approaching a shoreline show movement toward integrating unconscious insight. Like Siduri speaking to Gilgamesh, the Temperance card would ask you whether you feel good about all the effort you are exerting? She would ask ”if you are so happy, why are your cheeks drawn and your brow furrowed?” She would remind you that your fate is to enjoy life, your children, grandchildren, good food and laugher. The greatest victory any hero on a journey can claim is when the journey leads them to clarity in the moment. It is said that the journey of 10,000 miles begins and ends under your feet. If Temperance appears, the message is that you may be demonstrating extremes of emotion or action. The angel has one foot in the water as if to say: ‘test the waters but remain conservative in your approach.” Pouring water between two vessels shows the balance and economy that is required in this situation. While the card may look like a spiritual message, it is grounded in very earthly advice. Spirit seeks manifestation through the organic vehicle orchestrated by ego and its fears. Its higher manifestation cannot reveal itself unless you slow your energy down and remain still enough to see just how powerful it is. Spirit is powerful because it is not only rooted to the moment – it is deeply aware of its connection to it. Just as dream analysts talk about the Higher Self of Spirit guiding the witness in dreams, it may be doing the same type of teaching in the events that unfold before us. Take each day at a time and fill your plate with lots of colors and textures, avoiding extremes. Even vegetarians would do well to realize just how conscious plants are in seeking the sun to sustain their existence. The moment your mind rushes forward declaring right and wrong or good and bad, you become lost. Open to the teaching and allow judgment to evaporate.

Keywords: A need for moderation and balance. A call to be patient and forgiving. A message to low down. Illness related to diet. Changing diet. Learning to be a better listener. 

Reversed: Anxiety in waiting. Gratification and ego games. Excess. Gaining weight. A hard headed approach that alienates others. Wasting resources.