Home > Tarot > Major Arcana > Temperance


Upright: Balance, moderation, patience, purpose

Reversed: Imbalance, excess, self-healing, re-alignment


The Temperance card shows a large, winged angel who is both masculine and feminine. She pours water between two cups, symbolic of the flow and alchemy of life. She wears a light blue robe with a triangle enclosed in a square on the front, representing that humans (the triangle) are bound by the Earth and natural law (square). The angel balances between one foot on the rocks, representing the need to stay grounded, and one foot in the water, representing the need to be in flow.

In the background, there is a winding path up to a mountain range, reflecting the journey through life. Above the mountains hovers a golden crown encased in a glowing light, a symbol of taking the Higher path and staying true to one’s life purpose and meaning.

NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.


Temperance is the card for bringing balance, patience and moderation into your life. You are being invited to balance and ground your energy, and to allow the life force to flow through you without force or resistance. It's time to find your flow once again and get your life back into order and balance.

The Temperance card calls on you to remain calm, even if life feels stressful or frantic. You have learned to keep calm in situations of great stress or anxiety, and you give the impression of being a swan, paddling madly underneath the water but appearing graceful and elegant on the surface. You do not let things get to you as you have an abundant source of patience from within. You maintain an even temperament and can manage your emotions with ease. Your respect for balance and tranquillity is what will help you to achieve and experience fulfilment in your life.

This is not the time to be highly opinionated or controversial. The Temperance card is asking you to take the middle path and accommodate all perspectives. Be the peacekeeper and take a balanced and moderate approach, avoiding any extremes. Include others and bring together diverse groups of people to create harmony and cooperation. By working together, you collectively create a beautiful synergy that leverages the right mix of talents, experiences, abilities and skills.

There is alchemy within Temperance. This Tarot card is about blending, mixing, and combining diverse elements in a way that it creates something new and even more valuable than its separate parts. ‘Blending’ can take on many forms; for example, a blended family, an artist who blends different materials or techniques, a bartender who mixes new and interesting cocktails, or chef who blends different cuisines and cooking styles.

The Temperance card reflects that you have a clear, long-term vision of what you want to achieve. You are not rushing things along; rather you are taking your time to ensure that you do the best job you can. You know that to reach your goals, you need to take a moderate, guided approach.

This card also reflects a higher learning in what you are doing and demonstrates that you are learning a great deal on your journey. You are at peace with what you are doing, and it is all coming together very well. Your inner voice is guiding you gently to the right outcome, and you are patiently listening and following.


If you have recently experienced a period of excess, the reversed Temperance card is your invitation (or sometimes, your warning signal) to restore balance and moderation in your life as soon as possible. You may have been over-eating, drinking regularly, buying things you can’t afford, arguing with loved ones, or engaging in negative thought patterns. All of these activities are simply taking you further away from who you really are and what you are here to do. So, it is time to stop. As they say, “Everything in moderation!” Or, you may find that you need complete abstinence to break this negative cycle and bring your life back into balance again.

The reversed Temperance card can also be a sign that you feel that something is ‘off’ in your life and this is creating stress and tension from within. Life is not flowing as easily as you had hoped or there’s a niggling voice from within going, “Wait a second! This doesn’t feel right!” You can choose to ignore it and carry on life as usual. However, be warned, because if you stay in this state for long, that niggling voice will just get louder and louder until you finally pay attention. Or, you can choose to listen to it now and make the necessary adjustments to find your flow once again. Focus on your long-term vision and your greater purpose and meaning, and seek to align your daily activities with this vision.

Temperance reversed may reflect a period of self-evaluation so that you can re-examine your life priorities. Internally, you may be feeling a call in one direction, but your externally, your daily life may not be matching up to what you feel is emerging. Now is your opportunity to align your higher vibration with your outer world. You may need to change your living arrangements, relationships, career, daily habits and so on, so that you can bring greater balance, meaning and purpose into your life based on your new priorities. Don’t be surprised if you feel tension and conflict as you align your inner and outer worlds – it’s a natural part of the process of levelling up and creating positive change.

Similarly, the reversed Temperance card can indicate deep self-healing. Through the act of creating more balance and moderation in your life, you are opening up the possibility for healing to occur. Given the reversal of this card, you are doing it in a way that is personal and private to you, without the influence of others. You know you have what you need to heal yourself and create more ‘flow’ in your life.