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Virtuous restraint and world peace!

If you are new to tarot, you might wonder what Temperance means. You may think it's about abstinence from alcohol, moderating your behaviour or showing some restraint over your impulses and that is true but only part of the story. There is a lot more to this card.

Typically we are given the keywords of balance and moderation. That means not too much or too little of any one thing. We should avoid over eating, over indulging, any excess and find the right balance of different elements in our lives. I'll be honest, this is the first card that comes to mind when I think of dieting and making healthy choices.

Balance is personal for each and every person. Work/life balance, getting the right amount and type of exercise, sufficient sleep, good mix of nutrients, quiet time vs socialising etc. Finding the right balance is not easy, sometimes it feels unattainable as if your life is out of control. We may spend a lifetime working towards the goal of finding what is right for you. The small daily actions and choices we make every single day move us towards that aspirational goal.

The tarot deck is a reflection of the whole of the human experience, things that people will naturally experience or feel. Therefore, those experiences that are out of balance are not to be demonised, we are human, we just try again the next day.

But, Temperance is not just about virtuous diet and healthy living, it encompasses the hugely valuable and underrated skill of being able to see both sides of a situation. Being able to mediate between different ideas or different people, to be the calm and considered centre and bring peace to an emotive situation. We need more people like this! Treading the diplomatic path, considering two different viewpoints and finding a compromise that works for both. Being able to see both sides of the argument is such a powerful energy, so powerful when receiving new ideas, to sit with them, consider them and see how they might radically differ from your existing ideas but how you can take some of both to produce a brand new understanding.

Alchemy is referenced in this card. The design usually depicted on Rider Waite decks is of an angel, Archangel Michael, pouring liquid from one cup to another. Another reminder to abstain from drink?! Blending two different substances to make something new, something better. Plus the link to the suit of cups and the liquid flowing quality of emotions. It may be that you have to feel your way to the perfect blend.

In conclusion, while the Temperance card might seem dull, preaching at us to live more restrained (boring) lives, it holds so much more depth. In addition to finding balance through moderation, there is also the ability to see both sides of an argument, to mediate and bring peace in an emotive situation. It's about experiencing extremes and coming out stronger (tempered). So, let's embrace the Temperance card and work towards finding the right balance and harmony in our own lives.

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