Temperance In The Pride Tarot

© US Games Systems, Inc

“Temperance is about moderation, balance, and bringing opposite sides together. The rainbow, icon of Pride, and representative of a blend of identities sets the stage.” – Ryan Edward ( Pride Guidebook, © US Games Systems, Inc)

Suggested Archetype: The Mediator

Temperance is a virtue, the capacity to habitually restrain from excessive or extreme behavior. In my personal psychoteric system, tempering is the term I’ve adopted for intentionally adjusting a mood or mindset to something balanced and harmonious.

Employed as moderators, liaisons, ambassadors, negotiators, mediators work endlessly to bring adversaries to the table and get them communicating and cooperating together. Nelson Mandela is an example of someone well-regarded as an embodiment of this archetype.

Primary Symbolism

The act of pouring: In the tradition RWS tarot, an angel is pouring fluid from one cup to another in a physics-defying manner to represent the alchemical process symbolized by this card. In the Pride tarot, the flow of liquid is very serpentine. In many systems, snakes represent mystical knowledge, fertility and/or creative life force. The particular loops made by the liquid: down, then up, then down again suggests the harmonizing of polar forces and the completion of a journey or cycle.

Coffee/hot chocolate: Rather than water, the fluid being poured by the figure is dark in a very welcoming way that suggests it is coffee or hot chocolate. In our modern culture, sharing a hot, dark beverage is a celebratory or bonding ritual. Melanating the “water of life” in this version of Temperance is also a subtle reminder that racial inclusivity is very much part of the Great Work we’re still struggling to accomplish as a species.

The robe: White robes are conventionally associated with discipleship and purity of being and intent. The grey shadows and tones help articulate that white/black should be a value-free polarity. It helps present the traditional concept of race and color symbolism in tarot as social constructs that have hampered Temperance.

The iris: In flower symbology, a purple iris generally represents faith, hope and wisdom. In Hellenistic mythology, Iris is the goddess of the rainbow and represents a mediating force that bridges earth and heaven as well as humanity and the gods.

Reading Temperance (In General)

Upright this card could mean something like:

  • Compromise is the best solution to this problem.
  • Use your imagination to find a creative, integrative solution.
  • Others trust you to be the voice of reason and charity in this situation.
  • Don’t react out of anger or fear; be moderate and kind to everyone involved.

Reversed this card could mean something like:

  • Cultivate more balance, less chaos, in your daily life.
  • It might be time to dramatically change your habits or ways of coping with stress and frustration.
  • This is a good time to do some serious reflection about your life priorities. Are your actions in harmony with your beliefs?
  • Something is ‘off’ in your life, creating tension and worry that you might not have told anyone about. Let go of that secret to someone you trust.

Temperance In Questions About Relationships

You as Temperance Upright: Your present life has a good foundation; everything you need is obtainable. Focus on improving current relationships rather than starting over with something new. Therapy, self-development work, spending more time with loved ones, taking everything in moderation and being patient are ideal practices for you and this other person.

You as Temperance Reversed: Stress, chaos, recovery from illness or grief might be keeping you from being able to engage in positive ways with other people right now. Let yourself focus on bringing more stability into your life for the time being. Avoid overwhelming or toxic people.

The Other Person as Temperance Upright: This person might be an excellent teacher or role model in how to have success or happiness. Pay attention to the way they establish their priorities and accomplish their tasks at work and home life. They partner well with people who share their same ideals and interests.

The Other Person as Temperance Reversed: A relationship with this person might be extremely passionate or merely chaotic, but it won’t have consistency or be easy to predict how it will go. If you yourself are looking for something short-term, fun, perhaps outside your normal experiences? It could work wonders for that but be prepared for unexpected things to happen in this person’s company.


For Pleasure, Delight, Peace and Felicity live in method and temperance.
-Margaret Cavendish

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