Who holds the secrets of the elemental powers? The Angel of Temperance, the Alchemist. The alchemist is a magician, one who manifests his or her will. The alchemist is an occultist, one who seeks the truth. The alchemist is the high priestess, one who brings opposing worlds together. The Alchemist is an earthbound angel – embodying the harmonizing of all that is surrounding.
Always with a mind that can embrace opposing thoughts or concepts at the same time. The ability to hold diametrically opposed thoughts or concepts is represented frequently by the angels grounding – one foot stands on earth and the other foot that stands in water.
No wonder so many struggle to grasp at the true meaning of our Angel of Temperance. The one who makes opposites of equals and equals of opposites. The one who can mix fire and water.
The Angel of Temperance appears in some tarot decks to be androgynous, and does embody many character traits more traditionally perceived as masculine. However Temperance is female. Our Alchemist must be a woman. She stands grounded in the feminine elements of earth and water – pentacles and cups. Standing focused on the work of creation and harmonization. One of the most obvious examples of which is procreation which blends together the male and the female inside the female body to bring about new life.
Temperance is patient and persistent and unending in the pursuit of her goals. She encourages you to keep trying – to keep seeking the balance that delivers the desired outcome. Even when the circumstances seem impossible – keep seeking the outcome, the answer, do not give up.
It is not Temperance that mixes the proportions incorrectly or makes mistakes. That is humankind, Temperance is to be aspired to. Mankind too often distracted by the pleasures of the process of blending itself, or damaged by the unwanted outcomes and destruction of untempered experiments.
Temperance teaches us not just to ‘’temper’’ ourselves, not just to be moderate and careful and tolerant – that is too basic a meaning for this card. Temperance tells us to temper ourselves, and allow the impossible to become possible. To put aside preconceptions and to free ourselves of the blinkers of our human belief system. To keep trying until we get it right, because anything and everything is possible, it’s just the formula that must be perfected.
And Temperance expects us to try many times to get the formula correct the process of tempering is a time honoured one… the tempering of metals allows for the desired consistency of the metal to be created.
The musician tempers or tunes his or her instruments to create the desired harmony. Everything can be tempered, it takes temperance to teach us that. This rule applies to relationships, families, schools of thought, inventions, experiments, spirituality, and every other matter and discipline.
It seems right then that Sagittarius rules over this card, the tempering of man and beast, the Centaur, is the perfect illustration of temperance achieved. Great harmony, great power, great intelligence and beauty through the blending of two opposite beings who it would seem impossible could come together in a unified way.
In a reading Temperance suggests that a win-win outcome can be achieved, that we may not need to compromise and sacrifice, that with patience, and open mindedness all parties can walk away with a desired outcome – though – very likely not the one they had in mind initially. All preconceptions must be left behind in order for temperance to produce her best work.
If Temperance shows up next to the Devil it is likely the more simplistic meaning of the card, that now is a time to moderate oneself, if it shows next to the chariot, advise your querent not to drive.
If Temperance shows next to Death, advise your querent to seek medical treatment, their health is in question and needs attention.
Temperance suggests we question our actions, that we do not go blindly on autopilot throughout lives. That we do not accept mediocrity, and that we see the perfection and beauty in that which is different and alien to us.
I also like the idea that temperance suggests to my mind, that we can be human angels. We can bring missing elements to the lives of others and harmony to their world. That within us all, this angel’s wings beat, and if we take a moment to tune in, we can see things through different eyes, and discover another outlook, another understanding of the world around us.
Temperance encourages love and acceptance and enthusiasm…. Through a quiet, and persistent belief in self, universe, and the fulfilment the creative process delivers.