Temperance in the Tarot of Marseille: positive or negative?


The major clean-up brought by the 8th Arcanum (the Unnamed or Death) is followed by the charming nature of "Temperance" (9th card). Sorting out your thoughts does not necessarily mean breaking off all links.

The image of Temperance in the Tarot of Marseille

This tarot card pictures what resembles an angel – at least, that is what the two wings in the back suggest. This angel holds a vase in his left hand and a red one in his right hand. Water flowing from one vase to the other evokes some energy going from one to the other. In other words, from sensitivity to action and vice versa. Fulfillment and evolution depend on finding the right balance between body and soul. Too much thinking is as detrimental as too much impulsiveness.

Temperance, the arcanum that lies between the Unnamed and the Devil

When the balance is restored after the sense of emptiness that was left by the 8th Arcanum, we are faced with some kind of ambivalence. Every human being may not be what they believe they are, what they ought to be in others’ eyes. Every single one of them is astonished to realize that they are neither as good nor as bad as they first thought they were.

After having freed your flesh and mind from the jumble of proprieties, you have to make a clean sweep, define your desires, have others to listen to you again and let your intuition do the talking. The meaning of this path is confirmed by the following card: The Devil.

The hidden side of the Temperance arcanum

The darkest aspect of Temperance is tepidness: restraining yourself and being too moderate when you want to achieve an unattainable goal.

You run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, which is not necessarily negative but may be so under certain circumstances.
To know more about the cards of the Tarot of Marseille and their hidden signification, I have written two articles: