…does not mean ‘do without or prohibit’.
It means balance.
Temperance: Major Arcana card no 14, from the Ancient Tarot Deck of Marseilles by Jean Dodal, 1718.
Remove balance in life and you limit your perspective. The workaholic might not give themselves the time to enjoy a healthy personal life. The addict can’t see outside the control of their habit. The drunkard inebriates themselves from sobriety. In all three cases, the protagonist lives their life in denial.
Should you avoid temperance, not only do you limit your learning, you can do yourself harm – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As such, you harm the environment you live in and those nearest and dearest to you. Lack of temperance, by definition, means an excess of, or gluttony for, one thing over another. Be it work, alcohol, drugs, mindless TV or computer games – the excess means that you deny yourself health, which has consequences.
Have you ever watched downhill tobogganing on TV? The more often a sleigh hits the wall, the more it slows down through friction. And when it bounces off sideways the team are using their energy laterally to get back on track. Whilst it’s traversing it has to travel farther than a direct descent down the middle of the run. The middle way is the fastest and smoothest.
Study the Temperance card, from the 18th Century, Ancient Tarot Deck of Marseilles, by Jean Dodal. You observe a grounded female angel clad evenly in red (fire, hot, male) and blue (water, cool, female). Her arms are dressed in red, to signify strength and power of Mars. Her blue covered torso signifies the love and beauty of Venus. Water from the higher cup flows into and cleanses that of the lower. Not a drop is spilt or wasted; the flow is steady and harmonious. Her wings reveal she is an angel who may advise, guide and protect us. Her work embraces the harmony of opposites.
The Angel of Temperance teaches us that life’s direction leads eventually to the middle path. We do not need to swing extremely and continually between feast and famine, peace and war, love and hate, mercy and severity, prosperity and poverty, abundance and scarcity, riches and debt, victory and defeat, mine and yours, property and theft. When we embrace both aspects of duality as one, we create oneness. Something is only good for one, when it is good for all. There is no us and them, there is no me without not me. There is only us, together we become oneness.
When we bring temperance into our lives, we exemplify oneness.
(extract from my forthcoming book, from Defrag your Soul, due out next week.)
Paul C Burr