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Depictions of Temperance from various Tarot decks

Temperance is the 14th card in the Major Arcana in most traditional Tarot decks.

Rider-Waite Depiction

A winged angel, neither male nor female, with the sign of the sun upon its forehead and on its breast the square and triangle of the septenary. It pours the essences of life from one chalice to another chalice. It has one foot upon the earth and one upon waters, illustrating the nature of the essences. A direct path goes up to certain heights on the verge of the horizon, and above there is a great light, through which a crown can be seen.

Depictions in other decks

Temperance is almost invariably depicted as a person pouring liquid from one receptacle into another. Historically, this was a standard symbol of the virtue temperance, one of the cardinal virtues, representing the dilution of wine with water. In many decks, the person is a winged angel, usually female or androgynous, and stands with one foot on water and one foot on land.

In the Thoth Tarot, this card is called "Art."


It is called Temperance fantastically, because, when the rule of it arrives in our consciousness, it tempers, combines and harmonizes the psychic and material natures. Under that rule we know in our rational part something of whence we came and whither we are going. The name Temperance appears to have been chosen because of the transposition from one plane to another, or one centre to another, which has much to do with time also.

The upper vase and the lower one illustrate this distribution from higher to lower regions. So this card signifies all sorts of distribution, from the nervous system and its workings of coordination to correspondence by the post office, letters and communications, and the latter not only limited to this physical world but extended to other planes of existence.

Divinatory meaning

In divination, this card usually indicates economy, moderation, frugality, management, and accommodation.

In reversed position, it means: Disunion, unfortunate combinations, or competing interests.

Tarot Topics
Major Arcana The FoolThe MagicianThe High PriestessThe EmpressThe EmperorThe HierophantThe LoversThe ChariotStrengthThe HermitWheel of FortuneJusticeThe Hanged ManDeathTemperanceThe DevilThe TowerThe StarThe MoonThe SunJudgementThe World
Minor Arcana Pentacles AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Wands AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Cups AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Swords AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Decks Visconti-Sforza TarotTarot of MarseillesRider-Waite TarotThoth TarotOccult TarotAngel TarotVlad Dracula TarotHieronymus Bosch Tarot