The Temperance tarot represents moderation, balance, self-evolution, and avoiding extremes. As author and tarot expert, Claire Goodchild tells mbg, this card appears in our lives when we’re feeling out of balance—and sometimes even when we don’t feel out of balance, but actually are.
It can also indicate that we’ve been too indulgent and need to take a step back, she says. The word “temperance,” after all, literally means “moderation in action, thought, or feeling,” as well as abstinence from drinking alcohol.
In a traditional deck, the imagery on this card features an angelic figure pouring the liquid from one cup into another. As Goodchild explains, this represents the process of alchemy—transforming what is into something else.
“So, the Temperance card’s main theme is about restoring balance, and another big part of it is mind-over-matter,” she notes, adding, “Anything you want to do, you can do. It just takes a little bit of work and finessing what’s happening.”
Whether you pull it upright or reversed, Goodchild says Temperance can also be about beginning a new spiritual practice. “If you have been feeling like something is missing from your life, this card can be a signal to turn to a higher power,” she says, noting that you don’t have to be religious to make time for meditating on your connection to the things greater than yourself.