Temperance Tarot Card Meanings (Upright/Reversed Interpretations)
Last Updated: February 21, 2023
Temperance is card number 14 (XIV) in modern cartomantic tarot decks and the 15th major arcana trump card (The Fool, number 0, is the first card). Divination practices such as cartomancy can help us make decisions, offer guidance, and help us tune into our intuition when we are at a crossroads in our lives. Understanding the meanings of each tarot card can help you sharpen your interpretative skills so you can get the most out of your readings.
For many tarotists, Temperance is the card that symbolises balance and moderation in all things. The image on the card often depicts an angelic being pouring water from one cup to another, standing between land and water with one foot on both, suggesting that we need to find a middle ground between two extremes and bring in a balance or equilibrium.
Oftentimes, the Temperance card can indicate that we are currently out of balance and need to find a way to restore harmony in our lives. This may mean making some changes in our behaviour or routines, letting go of old habits, finding ways to remain calm in instances where we may be quick to react, or learning to be more patient and tolerant.
In this article, we will explore the different meanings of this tarot card in various reading contexts as well as the different advice it can offer. To help you understand the deep symbolism within that card, we begin with the below quote.
“In all aspects of our lives, balance is key. Doing one thing too much can cause upset like the old saying goes, everything in moderation is the secret!” – Catherine Pulsifer
4 Quick takeaways about this card
- Temperance is all about balance – in our lives, in our emotions, and in the world around us.
- It also represents moderation, patience, and the ability to see both sides of every issue.
- The Temperance card can be a reminder to slow down and enjoy life.
- Finally, it can also suggest that we need to bring more harmony into our lives.
Temperance key correspondences
Balance, peace, moderation, patience, harmony.
Imbalance, clashing, recklessness, overindulgence.
|Yes or No|
Light aspect: The Samaritan / Shadow aspect: The Healer
November 22nd to December 21st
Brigid, Neith, Tawaret
The Two Urns (Egyptian Tarot), Art (Thoth Tarot), and Tempérance (Tarot de Marseille).
Upright Temperance tarot card meaning
In Latin, major arcana translates to “big secrets” and each of the 22 cards in this section of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck represents an important life lesson we must all face at some point. Temperance, arcanum 14, is no different.
Temperance is the card of harmony, balance, and moderation. Life may be going a million miles per hour around you, all stressful, hectic, and chaotic, but this card is calling you to slow down, stop, pause, breathe, collect yourself… you have the ability to be the picture of calm in the middle of the storm, perfectly balanced, avoiding any and all extremes especially when facing highly stressful situations.
Whilst this card also suggests that you have a clear vision of what you want and where you’re going, Temperance is advising you to be patient and to make sure you are assessing things with a level head, to create that perfect inner and outer balance you can’t be giving in to the stress and anxiety and becoming a bull in a china shop.
Continue listening to that inner voice of yours that’s been guiding you in this direction, remain patient and keep plodding on, you are going the right way.
Temperance is the 14th (XIV) card in the major arcana, and in numerology, 14 represents freedom, determination, conscientiousness, and curiosity. It can also represent change and following on from the Death card, it shows us that transformation (for the better) to lead us onwards and upwards is indeed inevitable, it’s part of the path we must take.
If pulled in the upright position, Temperance is associated with balance, peace, moderation, patience, and harmony.
What does upright Temperance mean in a love reading?
If you are in a relationship, this is definitely one of the best cards you can pull during a love tarot spread. Balance, peace, harmony, your relationship is certainly in a very good place! However, if you’ve been experiencing relationship issues then this card is indicating that you will be able to move past any issues and problems together and move forward.
If you’re single, drawing Temperance means that you are finding balance in all aspects of your life, and by creating and maintaining this balance you are making room for a romantic interest to come into your life.
What does upright Temperance mean in a career reading?
It’s time to set your career goals! Right now you have the patience to be able to focus on, and achieve, what it is that you want. It is the right time as your hard work will be noticed, and it will pay off.
But whilst this is, of course, a positive thing, Temperance’s advice is that you must be patient. If opportunities start arising then remember you don’t necessarily have to jump at the first one that pops up, assess it, are there better opportunities waiting just down the line?
What does upright Temperance mean in a health reading?
The Temperance card reminds us that the key to good health is moderation, and if this card appears in a health spread then it indicates that now is a good time to get any unhealthy habits you have under control for good health in both the present and the future.
Slow down and assess if you have been out of balance in any aspect of your life, has that been affecting your health? Focus on regaining balance in those areas to improve your health.
Temperance as feelings/emotions
If you are asking the tarot how someone feels about you, pulling The Temperance card suggests that there’s interest on their behalf and that they feel good and positive towards you, but it’s also a reminder to you that you should keep your cool.
They prefer calmness so if you want to keep them interested, don’t try and come across as a ‘big personality as this isn’t what they’re into! They prefer calm and collected, everything being balanced and steady, so unless this isn’t something you’re into, be aware of how you come across!
If this is what you like too, then just quite literally be yourself if you wish for things to develop!
Temperance as a person
As a personality archetype, The Temperance card represents someone who is always going with the flow, putting their trust in that things will work out just as they are destined to.
They will be a very balanced person, someone who holds a lot of patience and understanding, someone willing to compromise, and someone who usually brings out the best in everybody around them!
Temperance as advice
If you are asking the tarot for advice regarding a specific situation in your life, drawing the Temperance card means that you need the following: Balance. Balance. Balance.
Avoid one extreme or another, now is not the time to be launching yourself at something without keeping to the middle path for a while whilst making assessments and observations.
Don’t jump in feet first without ‘testing the waters’ first, so keep an eye on all of your options before making a steady and thought-through decision! Following the middle path and ‘going with the flow’ may surprise you when you see where it takes you.
Which Zodiac sign is connected with Temperance?
The Temperance card is connected with the zodiac sign Sagittarius. Sagittarius are known for their desire to always learn, to better themselves, to seek knowledge beyond what they already comprehend, they constantly seek that wisdom. They always want to expand on who they are and what they know, and both Sagittarius and the Temperance card are likened to spiritual growth.
Is Temperance a yes or no card?
The Temperance card is usually seen as a ‘yes’ card due to its positive nature, but that yes will always come with caution. So long you remain balanced, steady, and focused on the path ahead then there’s no reason this should be seen as a negative! So take it as a “yes, so long you do x, y, and z” when it comes to your approach.
Below are some of my interpretations, as a tarot practitioner, based on different types of questions:
Question: “Will I get the job?”
Card interpretation: The Temperance card could be taken one way or another when it comes to a job interview as on hand this could be a calling to remind you to remain patient, the job that’s destined to be yours will be coming your way, and perhaps a ‘no’ for this job may lead you to consider what it a job you actually wanted? Or were you going for it for impulsive reasons? Regain your focus and balance and start assessing what you’re truly after, without impulsiveness! However on the other hand it could suggest a job you will come to feel comfortable in, a job with balanced roles and responsibilities.
Question: “Is this new person in my life good for me?”
Card interpretation: This card would suggest that there are no bad intentions coming from this person. If anything they’ll help keep you in check; keep you balanced, and keep you ‘grounded’ whilst also bringing out the best in you, being there as a constant reminder to always keep growing and developing, and not giving in too often to your impulsive thoughts! It’s okay every now and again, but this will be a person that shows you the importance of balance.
Question: “Will I achieve my current goals?”
Card interpretation: Right now everything is looking to be calm and content, the overall positive and peaceful nature of this card would suggest that whatever the outcome is, you’ll be happy with it.
Question: “Should I start my own business?”
Card interpretation: This card is asking for you to wait and be patient, now is not the right time to start your business. Don’t jump at something that comes your way just because it seems good and exciting at the time, remain balanced in your outlook, your patience will be rewarded.
Temperance reversal meanings
A reversed Temperance card in a general tarot spread is indicating that you are out of balance and have potentially been engaging in bad habits such as overindulging and other reckless behaviours (drinking, gambling, overspending, etc), you are out of touch and this is a warning that you need to stop and focus on getting back on track. It serves as a reminder of MODERATION.
It can also indicate that you are out of balance with the people surrounding you, there’s a significant lack of harmony and you are most likely being dragged into other peoples problems. You need to take a step back to assess with a level head how best to deal with these imbalanced aspects of your life.
What does reverse Temperance mean in a love reading?
If you are in a relationship, then this card suggests there is a significant imbalance. You and your partner are definitely not in tune with one another, you have lost the harmony, and are most likely to be clashing and arguing, and not willing to listen to one another. The card’s advice is that you need to focus on working through your problems together instead of working against one another. Point scoring won’t get you anywhere in the grand scheme of things. Take a step back, regain your composure, and focus on resolving the issues.
However, if you’re single, then the appearance of this card is suggesting that you’re coming across as desperate for love by giving too much of yourself to someone you’re interested in without truly getting to know them first! Don’t engage in behaviours to try and force a relationship, you need to be patient and let any potential romance just blossom over time.
What does inverted Temperance mean in a career reading?
The appearance of this card in a career tarot spread would suggest that you are experiencing some conflict at work, or a work based situation and this is most likely causing you to clash with co-workers or even management. Are you working too hard? Not hard enough? Are you reacting negatively to work and things that are being said to you?
What does upside down Temperance mean in a health reading?
You are out of balance in one or more areas of your life and this, in turn, is having a negative impact on your health. You need to look inward and connect with how you’re feeling to resolve this issue and to pull back from any potentially unhealthy behaviours you have turned to.
These will not serve you, you need to restore balance where you can to get your health back on track, so it’s time to slow down and focus on how you’re feeling, focus on taking back control and dealing with those imbalanced areas and resorting to healthy coping mechanisms.
If pulled in the reversed position, Temperance is associated with imbalance, clashing, recklessness, and overindulgence.
Some of my favorite Temperance artwork from various tarot decks
How to incorporate Temperance in your Spellwork
The Temperance card is a great card to incorporate into your spell work during times where you need to pull back from the chaos and find balance and peace.
You can either physically use the card, or just visualise the card in your mind if you don’t have it to hand, but if you do have it to hand then hold the card in front of you (if not then feel free to close your eyes if it helps you visualise better) and state your intention out loud.
Keep holding/visualising the card whilst you allow yourself to relax and have a peacefulness wash over you.
Once you feel as though the balance has been restored, and you are calm and ready to face the rest of the day, then you can either keep the card on your person (somewhere safe in a bag for example) or leave it somewhere else safe if you aren’t able to keep it with you/would prefer to not carry it around.
How to use Temperance in your dreamwork
Working with tarot cards in dreamwork can be highly effective due to our defences and mental blocks being lowered whilst we sleep, our subconscious opening many doors that may reveal an answer or two. You can use the Temperance card in dreamwork by doing the common method of placing the card under your pillow whilst you sleep.
Before tucking in for the night, you should take a moment to calmly sit with the card and just look at it, taking it all in and remembering what the card represents and how it can help you. And may even want to talk directly to the card and tell it your question and/or intentions for how you want it to help.
Place the card under your pillow, once you feel ready, and then get a notebook/piece of paper and a pen and place them next to your bed ready to write down the messages from your dreams as soon as you wake up – or of course, you can use a note-taking app on your phone if you prefer. You can then start interpreting the signs and messages in relation to your question/intention at hand.
If you have the Temperance card appear in your dreams then this is usually appearing as a reminder to do all things in moderation. Are all aspects of your life balanced? Are you giving too much or too little to something and is this having a knock-on effect elsewhere in your life? It’s time to reassess your situation and find ways to healthily restore balance and harmony.
A Poem to remember the upright meanings
Poems can be a good way to remember information because they often use rhyme and rhythm, which can make them easier to memorize.
Additionally, poems often use vivid imagery and figurative language, which can help to make the information more interesting and engaging.
- The Temperance card brings balance to our lives,
- A reminder of harmony and strife.
- It offers us a chance to reconcile,
- And to overcome all inner strife.
- We learn to stay in tune with our souls,
- And to seek the peace within us all.
- A reminder to take our time with our goals,
- And to never let our passions fall.
- The Temperance card shows us beauty in the blend,
- Of both our head and heart combined.
- We learn to temper our emotions with our minds,
- And to never be too far behind.
- The Temperance card reminds us to be wise,
- And to always take our time.
- It offers us the chance to compromise,
- And to never let our tempers climb.
- The Temperance card is here to guide us all,
- On our journey towards peace and grace.
- It shows us how to stay on track,
- And to never stray too far from our place.
A Poem to remember the reversal meanings
- A reversed Temperance card, for sure
- It shows a course that’s dark and obscure.
- It warns of a lack of moderation,
- And of the consequences,
- a dire situation.
- It shows a need to bring balance to the soul
- Rather than going out of control.
- It’s time to find a middle ground
- To keep life’s chaos from being profound.
- It’s a reminder to take things slow,
- And not to let our passions overflow,
- It’s time to learn to self-restrain,
- Before our lives are left in ruin and pain.
In conclusion, the Temperance tarot card is a powerful symbol of peace, moderation, and patience. When this card appears in your reading, it is often a sign that it is time for you to find harmony and take your time.
Despite its association with mysticism and occultism, the tarot has grown to become much more than a simple “fortune-telling” tool. For many tarot readers, it is a complex system made of symbolic imagery and psychological considerations (Jungian archetypes for example) that can be used for self-exploration, meditation, and personal transformation.
The 22 major arcana cards each correspond to different aspects of the human experience that are universal. They represent the different stages of the “hero’s journey”: our biggest challenges and life lessons, as well as our highest aspirations and greatest potential.
Have you ever had a reading where the Temperance card appeared? What was the outcome? What does Temperance mean to you personally? How do you interpret this card in your own tarot practice? Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below.
If you want to know more about the different tarot cards, feel free to check out our complete list of all 78 tarot cards and their meanings.
Written by Amy
Outside the weird and wonderful world of my craft, I like to cosplay and fully dive into the fantasy genre across all forms, from books to video games and everything in between.