TEMPERANCE - THE CARD OF BALANCE
The card of Temperance is probably my top favourite card in the tarot deck and, given that there are 78 cards, I suppose that's saying something! I thought it would be useful/interesting to talk a bit about it here.
Why do I think it's such a great card? Well, it's a pretty card for starters, depicting Iris, the Goddess of the rainbow, who is also Hera's (Queen of the Gods of Mount Olympus) messenger. If you look closely, you can see that she's standing with one foot in a stream and the other on dry land. There are of course irises in the picture too and then there are the cups that Iris is holding, one gold and the other silver - and significantly, she is pouring water from one to the other.
The whole point of this card on a divinatory level is one of the most important (in my view) of all the moral lessons - that is, a stable personality; a balanced heart and mind. It's something that all of us struggle with: either throughout our entire lives or if we're lucky enough, just for some of it.
Iris as a Goddess is kind and merciful and is connected to feeling - as opposed to emotion. The imagery, therefore, is showing Iris pouring the water of feeling back and forth to attain balance.
We all get overpowering emotions - and how many times have we just reacted to them and then regretted it? This is the significance of the difference between emotions and feeling, because feeling is an "active, intelligent faculty of choice which must constantly flow and renew itself according to the requirements of each moment". Emotion is just reactive, so we must learn to allow ourselves to witness our emotions without jumping in feet first - yes, we must feel them and not push them into a little metaphorical box somewhere, but then we must learn how to let them wash over us and think about how they actually make us feel - and most things come down to fear or love.
As such, this card is so important to me because due to just reacting when I was young (which ultimately means that I inadvertently self-sabotaged myself a lot!), I gradually learned about this "dance" of balancing the heart and mind, of realising that I could (if I chose to), learn new, better habits to train my heart and mind through quite a lot of discipline and determination to a much more peaceful place. It's a powerful lesson with life-changing results!