Temperance – Tarot card meaning

Rider Waite Major Arcana - Temperance

Temperance is the fourteenth card in the Major Arcana. Temperance as a concept means to be abstinent from something, usually alcohol.

The angel in the card pours from one cup to another, balancing out the contents of each. There may be something throwing out life out of balance, possibly some sort of vice. Regaining control of your life and your temptations is the first step.

Temperance as a tarot card represents this moderation, self control and balance we need in life. It can be tough to live without excess, but Temperance shows that it is possible to withstand temptation.

Temperance shows that we can live without, we can resist temptation and not be ruled by our basic, more animal instincts.

80s style retro anime temperance tarot card

At a glance

The Temperance tarot card is associated with balance, harmony, and moderation. It typically depicts an angel standing on the shore of a river, with one foot on the land and the other in the water. The angel is holding two cups, representing the need to balance and combine different elements in order to create harmony.

The Temperance card suggests that you are able to find balance and harmony in your life, and that you are able to bring different elements together in order to create a sense of unity and wholeness. It indicates that you are able to moderate your actions and decisions, and that you are able to maintain a sense of calm and peace in the face of challenges and obstacles. The Temperance card can also represent a need for flexibility and adaptability, indicating that you are able to adjust and change in order to find balance and harmony.

In some readings, the Temperance card can indicate that you are being supported and guided by a higher power or spiritual guide who is helping you to find balance and harmony in your life. This guide may be a teacher, mentor, or trusted friend who can offer wisdom and guidance as you navigate the challenges and obstacles of life. The Temperance card can also suggest that you are being called to use your ability to find balance and harmony to help others, and to make a positive impact in the world.

Overall, the Temperance card is a reminder of the importance of balance and harmony in your life. It suggests that you are able to bring different elements together in order to create unity and wholeness, and that you are able to maintain a sense of calm and peace in the face of challenges and obstacles. It indicates that you are being supported and guided on your journey, and that you have the potential to make a positive impact in the world.

Card meanings


Temperance in the past position can represent a youth of abstinence, perhaps you were the last of your friends to do something, or perhaps you weren’t as ‘wild’ as you really wanted to be.

This may have, however, worked to your advantage. You might not have fallen into the same pitfalls that others have. Rules are there for a reason; to remind us of what is expected of us, but no rule should be a black and white affair.

You can bend rules to suit your whim, so long as nobody else gets hurt. Temperance may represent a conservative youth, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go wild now, if you want to.

You may regret ‘not’ doing something from your past, but think about all the good you have experienced because you chose not to. Putting something off, delaying your gratification, is a sign of maturity, which may have been more present in you than in your peers.


You should look to practice moderation in your life when you draw Temperance in the present position. There’s no need to overwork yourself, but also make sure you’re still pulling the line. Something else may be causing an imbalance in your life, and it’d do you well to cut this out.

You might already be aware of what is; a vice or activity you feel sometimes dominates. You may need to gain some willpower, you need to take charge of your life, and not let your impulses control your life.

Temperance in the present position can also show that you should look to be an example to others, in all walks of life. Temperance is a self aware, sensible and mature quality to attain and live with.


Temperance is a great card to draw relating to the future, and in regards to timing, it is best placed in the future position. It suggests a balanced and happy life. You will have overcome the issues which are causing conflict in your life right now.

You may need to define some guidelines for your life in order to get here, however, so it may be a rough path for a short while.

Temperance can also suggest a mature future. Perhaps you will learn those life lessons and put them to use. Temperance suggests a peaceful future of balance; so think about a happy, healthy family, a mature and satisfying career, a nice home or relationship. Think about how a balanced future relates to the rest of the cards in your spread.

Work, careers and education

Are you working too hard or too little? Is your job or schooling working well in your life right now? You’re likely working much harder than you need to.

Look for better ways things can be done in the long term, but take a break in the short term. Work shouldn’t be everything in your life; rarely will we regret spending less time working.

Make spending time on what you enjoy your priority in life. Temperance does suggest a balance, but you’re very likely more eager to work on your own passions and projects than anyone else’s.

Love and Relationships

Is your relationship a toxic one? Are you feeling comfortable being single? Temperance when discussing love, romance and relationships can represent your need for balance in these areas.

It might be time to finally cut out that toxic friend who doesn’t deserve your friendship. You may be having a rough time with your partner, but this is all due to something overarching; little arguments all spawn form a bigger cause.

Temperance can reflect a happy relationship, one that is progressing nicely. Again it will depend on the general theme of your spread. Temperance can resonate balance, maturity and purity in a relationship.

Think conservatively when it comes to looking for a potential partner. What do you want from life, a quick fling or a satisfying relationship?


Temperance when talking about money is a good sign. If you’re struggling with money just now, look to cut out luxuries for a short while. Things should pick up in future, you may just be going through a rough spell that will clear up soon enough.

Don’t expect any large gains in your bank account soon, but also don’t expect to be paying out for any surprises in the short term either. Temperance asks you to look at your life as a whole. If there is an issue with wealth, it is likely connected elsewhere in your life.

Temperance in regards to wealth asks you to questions the things you own. Do you need or want things? Why do you buy things? What good do they give you? Are you just falling for advertising campaigns or peer pressure?

Health and well-being

As discussed in other meanings, balance will be the key when Temperance shows up in regards to health. Everything you eat and drink makes up your body.

Take in good and you will feel good. The same happens with your mental world. Thinking good thoughts, being around good positive people and helping others will greatly benefit your life.

You may have to look to drop harmful habits. Self examine. Why are you doing these things? You can help yourself, and others can help you.

temperance pouring water anime tarot card

Other associations

Element: Fire

Astrology: Sagittarius

As a Yes or No question: Yes

Crystal: Turquoise


Harmony, balance, abstinence, purity, moral