14. Temperance


Terrible Tarot

Placement: The Major Arcana

Description: The Temperance angel stands at the edge of a river, with one foot on land and the other in the water. The angel has two jugs, and pours water from one jug to another. In some versions, the angel appears androgynous, in others, there are two pairs of jugs.

In Rider Waite, zir robes are white, though ze wears dark red and blue in many older decks.

There is some debate as to what exactly Temperance is doing in the illustration. Is ze distributing the water equally between the two jugs so that two people may not go thirsty? Is ze testing zir water for purity? Is ze (oh horrors!) diluting wine?

Right side up:

Recovery from a loss. Temperance shows up in the Major Arcana immediately after Death. One foot on land represents acknowledging the material world, and the foot in the water…

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