Earth Wisdom Tarot Sacred Art

Temperance – Gaian Tarot Card of the Week

in Art, Spiritual Practice, Tarot

What do we most need to know for the coming week?


Mmmmm, I love this card.  When this card turns up in a reading, I always ask myself:  what is the sacred third that is made from blending or synthesizing a set of opposites? 

Blue and red make purple, rain and sun make rainbows, water and fire make steam.  No surprise that this card then is the signature card of both healers and artists.

What are the “opposites” I’m working with in my life right now, and how can I synthesize them? 

Craig and I were in a mortgage broker’s office the other day, applying for a loan so that we can finish the purchase of Rainbow Cottage. We initially signed the contract for it in the fall of 2007, when it was worth $100K more than it is today.  “Chaos and opportunity go hand in hand, like yin and yang,” said the broker.  “You’ve experienced the chaos (of the current downtrend in housing). Now it’s time to experience the opportunity.”

Hmmm . . .  I like a broker who knows about yin and yang!  We are still in the midst of this “opportunity” and do not yet know the outcome, yet I am still trusting that all shall be well.  The synthesis of this situation will be as beautiful as the swirling colors in the Temperance card.

As I meditated on the card this morning, I thought about other sets of opposites in my life:  web design work / Tarot & art work;  staying home / traveling;  physical exercise / meditation & contemplation.  I’m sure there are more.  So I’m thinking about how an artist or a healer might find the blend, the synthesis, the sacred third. 

The last few days have brought brilliant sunshine to the grey and rainy Northwest, and everyone has rushed outside to go for walks, dig in the garden and turn our faces to the sky to be warmed.  It’s the deep contrast that makes us value the sun so highly.  It’s the dance of rain and sun that is more beautiful and precious than either one alone.

During the coming week, I’ll be working on websites for several
clients, preparing to vend at the upcoming Readers Studio (I’ve made
cool new Tarot amulets to sell — stay tuned for photos!), and going
down deep as I work through the necessary questions for Elizabeth Genco
Purvis’ Abundant Business Mastermind Group
.  The monthly Tarot Meetup
is this week too and a few other odds and ends that need attention,
including another round at the mortgage broker’s office.  Hmm, what
lovely shade of mauve or purple will arise from the chaos (nay,
opportunity!) of this coming week?

How about you, dear Reader?  What does the Temperance card say to you?

Thoughtful, sparkling comments. . .

  • Beth Owl's Daughter Mon - Apr 06th 2009 8:51 am

    Thank you for this beautiful and enlightening interpretation of Temperance!
    Perhaps instead you will receive a blessing of gorgeous Springtime green, from the combination of joyful yellow and spiritual blue.
    – Beth

  • joanna Mon - Apr 06th 2009 8:52 am

    Beth – LOL! You are so right, green, of course!
    This is why we need our friends, to point out the obvious we are missing!

  • Lisa Hunt Mon - Apr 06th 2009 8:54 am

    I love the Temperance card as well–it has always been a favorite to ponder and paint. I love your discussion of yin/yang. As an artist, I also think of actual visual composition and how powerful juxtaposing light/dark can be when attempting to activate a full range of senses. I see that you’ve done this brilliantly with your rendition of the Temperance card. I relate to much of the dichotomy you have spoken of. But I think the engagement of opposites as part of our repertoire actually serves to enhance our lives in ways we may not be consciously aware of. One example in my own life: the physical effort of martial arts helps to facilitate more contemplative/meditative thought processes. The physical/meditative somehow converge helping to feed a sense of inner peace and balance. And in the case of Temperance, I see it as water meets earth meets sky; different states of consciousness merging together to help maintain the balance between different aspects of our being. Lovely post, Joanna.

  • joanna Mon - Apr 06th 2009 9:08 am

    Yes, Lisa, I love your take on this! Chiarascuro, yes? The way to make your lights lighter in a painting is to deepen the darks that surround it. And yes, more food for thought here for me, about the benefits of physical effort bringing a peaceful mindset. Thank you!

  • judy Tue - Apr 07th 2009 8:10 am

    Yes, Temperance/Blend is where I’m at lately, too. Pema Chodron,(Buddhist nun teacher) speaks of how “our wisdom is all mixed up with our neurosis. our brilliance, our juiciness, is all mixed up with our craziness and our confusion”
    The other night, in a shamanic journeying meditation I was shown that my grief was all mixed up with my joy.. my melencholy was all mixed up with my happiness. I wasn’t to get rid of the grief.. I needed to integrate it(actually… ‘Eat It!’ was what I was told, ‘eat it and integrate it into your system’.
    So… I think I’m beginning to realize just how deep and all inclusive the Blending/Balance process goes.
    Thank you, Joanna, for the perfect card.. once again.
    Happy Easter/Passover blend to you all, Judy

  • joanna Tue - Apr 07th 2009 8:27 am

    Integration, blending, balance – yeah! Love the Pema Chodron quote. Thanks Judy.

  • Karen Tue - Apr 07th 2009 4:36 pm

    I just love this card – whenever I see it for some reason it gives me a sense of peace and hope….

  • Nora Tue - Apr 07th 2009 10:25 pm

    Opposites…I used to teach this song to children at nature spirituality festivals.
    In the words of Laura Northwood…Balance balance, keep it even everything pairs of two…balance, balance, keep it steady nature knows just what to do boom boom boom boom! God and Goddess male and female, spiral up and spiral down, lord and lady, fighter, lover, strong and gentle, horns and crown….boom boom..boom boom…Samhain, Beltane, dark and light, winters death and summers birth…sunny day and mmonlight night, father sky and mother earth…boom boom, boom boom….

  • DragonSong Wed - Apr 08th 2009 6:03 pm

    My first reaction: Temperance, Yuck! This is my Temperance year and sp far it has been about making due with less. Not a place I wanted to be! But if I get out of my resistance and embrace the opportunties that are available in the card I can see it as transition to a better place. I love the artists perspective that Joanna brings to this card! The merging of red and blue create purple; a color that is associated with spirituality, higher consciousness, and peace. It it the color I see when I meditate and am healing or being healed. So I can see this as a cosmic urge to seek the middle ground, to choose action instead of reaction. Specifically around finances, I am called to move to the space of plenty and room for more; not from excess to lack. For my actions/beliefs to be spiritually driven; not fear driven. My friend Jaine has been on a journey towards sabbatical for almost a year now; and her journey has been on two wings; one of ease and the other of grace. I see that for myself as well. Temperance comes on the wings of grace and ease; gently moving me deeper into the balance of the Priestess Path. Midpoint between Goddess and Woman; fully Woman with all the mundane and physical challenges that life offers, and fully Goddess with the ability to learn from and integrate all those experiences for the betterment of myself and others.
    It’s taken me 3+ months to get the message of the Temperance card and it’s purpose in showing up in my life now…”Seek the sweet spot; cherish life. It is all a lesson and the lesson is to enjoy the journey”. To be perfectly balanced you need to be fully present to now; with both inner and outer focus is required; and being centered and grounded certainly helps!
    I see a new day dawning in the background and the daffodils of spring and renewal in the foreground. The fog (occurs with the cool moist earth meeting the dry and warm sun)is almost gone and my vision is clear again. Blessed Be.

  • Cari Ferraro Wed - Apr 08th 2009 7:53 pm

    Joanna, I have always thought of the temperance card in terms of tempering. Tempering something means heating it up to just under its critical temperature for the purpose of making it stronger. They do this to steel; I just learned to do this to goose quills to make them stronger and better for writing. Somewhere I also had the idea that tempering was the addition of something to make it stronger, but now I can’t find the source of that. I have always identified most strongly with this card in the major arcana and so your description as artist and healer makes me happy and gratified. I have been meditating on the combination of opposites and love your description of the “sacred third.”

  • Sage Thu - Apr 09th 2009 1:53 pm

    Thanks, Cari, for writing about tempering. I see the blending for Temperance Card (through Joanna’s eyes/art). I’m a total Libra, with a dash of Virgo, for which I usually apologize. Temperance feels like my astrological equal. I see it all, I feel it all, and how to make it work, blend, and be in harmony is the trick.
    Regarding “tempering” – Chocolate is also tempered. The fats crystallize with age, making it hard, brittle and dismissing the wonderful flavors – tempering by heating, then cooling (blending of opposites) changes the crystal structures and makes it melt in your mouth (and hands) the way really superlative chocolate should.
    My life has been heated, and it’s beginning to cool, and I’m being made stronger, because I’ve not broken as a result of the process. I’m blending a new assignment to my desk assignment (I work for attorneys) following massive layoffs last week. I have been looking for the opportunity in the change. The new person is great to work with, couldn’t ask for a better personality. I believe I will improve his work life. The part I’m working on is not being overwhelmed, and not letting my high maintenance person get the best of me.
    Life is art, blending is art, magick is art, art is FUN!!! Maybe that should be my new mantra.

  • joanna Mon - Apr 13th 2009 10:05 am

    Can’t tell you how much I love all your interpretations. Cari, yours about being tempered in the fire came in handy this week when I read for a client. It was just what she needed to hear. I learn so much from all of you!