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“Temperance” is one of the four cardinal virtues in ancient Greece, and thus through Rome became one of the four cardinal virtues central to the Catholic Church (and thus the Tarot).
Even Buddhists admire it, claiming it as one of their five precepts. But it is far older than any of that. Here it is in “secret mystery school lingo.”
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“So we were like, at this rockin’ party last night, and get this—Arch-angel Mike was totally pouring these wicked jello shots . . .” Actually the angel is a woman* by most accounts, and in many of the most symbologically correct decks, it is a woman (angel or not).
More importantly, the fact that the image on the left tries to repeat a concept endlessly: two wings spread wide “balancing” just off of the ground, but also visually illustrating the concept of “balance,” pouring from one cup to another, standing both on the earth (lightly) and in the water, and the sacred (angel) visiting the profane (earth).
“Temperance” is one of the four cardinal virtues in ancient Greece, and thus through Rome became one of the four cardinal virtues central to the Catholic Church (and thus the Tarot). Even Buddhists admire it, claiming it as one of their five precepts. But it is far older than any of that. Here it is in “secret mystery school lingo.” Ready?
Nothing too much.
“Nothing too much” is a potent yet delicate, feminine (as in the power of feminine persuasion—which is obviously not all about “sex”) expression of a harsher “moderation in all things” commandment. You see, even the phraseology of it expresses, breathes the essence of the wisdom. It neither offends nor does it withhold. It is as powerful as a rock thrown at one’s head, but as gentle as the caress of a feather. This is the reason we have “mystery schools”: to teach life’s lessons in ways they can be easily assimilated and acted upon by not just the student-seeker but by the general populace as well.
If only a handful of society’s citizens were applying the methods and precepts of civilization, that collective of humans would dissolve into barbarism within a generation.
This is the essence of the Temperance card. It shows the need for the application of divine inspiration and virtuous existence. By stating it so softly the voice may go unheard to many; but it is still far more effective than shouting, where it will only gain resistance among those who do not understand the message. (Try shouting at the next person who doesn’t understand you, just for fun.)
So where did this delicate phrase make its appearance in history and influence empires and the world’s great religions? This message appeared on the right pillar at Delphi (the left read something to the effect of “Know Thyself.”
Please see our secret mystery school text Aphrodite’s Book of Secrets for more on this. The message is timeless, but the expression is best when whispered rather than shouted, phrased gently but firmly rather than weakly, or worse, with pointed words.
The Temperance card shows us the value of the alchemical process of combination and of enjoying right up to the limit of “excess”; thus being able to find everything we want in life without the hassles of punishment or lack.
Teamwork works. None of us is as smart as all of us. Properly blended energies make “magic cookies.” Success is a recipe.
Failure comes from any number of deviations in that recipe (too much salt, not enough baking time . . .). Draw together your resources and use them to reach your success. Do all of the above until exhausted and then rest. Start again when you are refreshed.
If time is short, split your team into separate groups so that activity is ongoing but no one is overtaxed. Note this card blends two major meanings into one overarching message: do correctly.
Imbalance, bad planning, poor execution, lack of wisdom, rushing anything. Too much of this, not enough of that. Too much at once. Selfishness, prima donnas, lack of understanding.
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