Temperance

Slightly new format for guest posts— if a post is about a card I haven’t written about yet, I’m going to be sending out the guest post on Friday instead of also writing one of my own. Which is to say, it’s another guest post week, and wow. Meg Jones Wall of 3am.tarot wrote a piece on Temperance that absolutely kicked my ass. You’ll see below that my reading of Temperance has been relatively simple; this piece has deepened my reading tenfold.

This will also mark the second Phoebe Bridgers centric guest post— all I’m saying is that I got really attached to the rule of three in seventh grade and I’m open for pitches. ($50 or a reading, with a limited number of $50 slots bc out of pocket.)


Be and be not afraid. For me, Temperance is one of the clearest cards in the deck. It means balance, breath, mediation. In all of the varied decks I’ve seen, one of the most consistent images is Temperance having a figure pouring water between two cups. If you pour too fast or too slow, the water will spill. But if you pour with a steady hand at a steady speed, you won’t lose anything, or you’ll keep everything, depending on how you think about it. Each glass is always half full and always half empty. The figure with the cups is often near or above some larger body of water. When all you can hold is cups, that much water is overwhelming. But if you stay focused on what’s in your hands, you’ll be able to work with it instead of trying to hide from what wasn’t ever there in the first place.

Temperance is one of the Major Arcana cards that’s most to a minor suit. Our figure is literally holding cups, literally pouring water. They’re surrounded by emotion, trying to understand their own without getting pulled under, a little like the Queen of Cups. Temperance comes between Death and The Devil. It’s a warning and a gift. Death is often good for you, and can even feel good as it’s happening, but it’s, like, vampire-style draining. If you don’t take your time with Temperance, you’ll be going into The Devil un-renewed. The Devil can also be good for you, but it requires wrestling, and you need to be in peak form if you’re going to be able to befriend her.

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Without losing a piece of me/ How do I get to heaven?/ Without changing a part of me/ How do I get to heaven? I pulled Temperance yesterday, which made me crabby. When I pull it, the cards are reminding me that I am a bipolar Gemini with no chill who should perhaps consider that so-called grey areas are not a myth. I appreciate it, except for when I don’t, which is most of the time. Having cards with a very specific meaning to you is strange. Once you’ve been reading long enough, all cards have personal meanings, but they’re usually broad. Cards may remind me of a person, or a feeling, or an experience, but that’s only part of it. Image, position, and theme all play heavily, plus the context of the other cards surrounding it. With Temperance, not so much. I do not like this, but I’m wary of trying to change it. The line between making an effort to deepen as a reader and not following my magical intuition is basically invisible, and I’m afraid of it.

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Learn to let it bend before it breaks. Like all cards, Temperance is emotionally complex. Like fewer cards, Temperance has a straightforward message. It’s just a matter of listening.

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Be And Be Not Afraid, Tracy Chapman 

HEAVEN, Troye Sivan and Betty Who

Before It Breaks, Brandi Carlile

Playlist!


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