The Fool begins to question all the opposites he’s been learning about. How does he reconcile the spiritual and the material, death and birth?

At this point he comes upon a winged figure standing at the edge of a river. The angel has one foot dipped into the water, and one standing solidly on a rock.

The Fool is mesmerized by this figure, who appears to be mixing fire and water within two chalices!

“How is it that you can mix fire and water?” The Fool asks.

Without a delay, the angel responds, “You can mix anything you desire as long as you have the right proportions and the right vessels.”

“Can this be done with all opposites?

Now calling herself ‘Temperance,’ the angel answers “Of course. Male and female, fire and water, thesis and antithesis, can all be made to harmonize. It’s only a lack of will and belief that makes us see things as separate.”

That is how The Fool came to see that he is the one holding the universe in pieces. Life and Death, spiritual and material, it is all the same. In him all things could be harmonized. He becomes determined to become the right vessel in which to hold all pieces of the universe in perfect balance.



Temperance is really a story about duality and appreciating the balance along the middle path. To appreciate that balance, we sometimes need to experience the extremes, light and dark, good and evil, fire and water. Because of this, Temperance becomes a card of healing, suggesting that trying to be too good can be just as detrimental to your life as trying to be too bad.

The red and white color scheme we first saw in The Magician finally returns here. Red is our desire, while white is our purity. These two are often in competition, but within the card is the perfect representation of balance between the two: purity of heart, while controlled expression of our desires allows us to fly

It should be obvious that Temperance can refer to all sorts of relationships, romantic or otherwise, as a warning to not allow imbalance to destroy something that can be saved. In any kind of relationship, two beings must come together as one. The act of tempering something, in itself, is about adding one thing to something else in order to make things better—but the lesson really is about knowing how much to add so as not to ruin both.

Temperance teaches that conflict can be resolved through knowing when to compromise and cooperate, and when to not. Two individuals who embrace the energy of this card cannot remain in conflict long. The key, of course, is that in order to have balance without, you must have balance within, and herein lies Temperance’s primary meaning: Inner imbalance will often manifest itself into the physical world in unknown and severe ways, regardless if that imbalance is a positive one or a negative one. When this card appears, look to balance as a way to solve health and emotional issues. Remember that having a lifestyle that leans too optimistic leads to problems like god or invincibility complexes, while at the same time the opposite will lead to pessimism and paranoia. Listening to the Inner Voice (and trusting that you are the right vessel for the job) can help you find balance. Start healing things now before things get too far out of balance and are destroyed.