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What To Know If You Pull The Temperance Tarot Card In A Reading

Whether you're looking for answers about the past, insight into the present, or guidance for the future, a tarot reading can help you tap into the power of divination (and your intuition) in a new way. And of all 78 cards in a traditional deck, the Temperance card is a serious call for balance. Here's what to know if you pull it in a reading.

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What is the Temperance tarot card all about?

The Temperance tarot represents moderation, balance, self-evolution, and avoiding extremes. As author and tarot expert Claire Goodchild tells mbg, this card appears in our lives when we're feeling out of balance—and sometimes even when we don't feel out of balance but actually are.

It can also indicate that we've been too indulgent and need to take a step back, she says. The word temperance, after all, literally means "moderation in action, thought, or feeling," as well as abstinence from drinking alcohol.

In a traditional deck, the imagery on this card features an angelic figure pouring the liquid from one cup into another. As Goodchild explains, this represents the process of alchemy—transforming what is into something else.

"So, the Temperance card's main theme is about restoring balance, and another big part of it is mind over matter," she notes, adding, "Anything you want to do, you can do. It just takes a little bit of work and finessing what's happening."

Whether you pull it upright or reversed, Goodchild says Temperance can also be about beginning a new spiritual practice. "If you have been feeling like something is missing from your life, this card can be a signal to turn to a higher power," she says, noting that you don't have to be religious to make time for meditating on your connection to the things greater than yourself.

What does this card mean for love & relationships?

When pulled upright:

In a reading about love or a particular relationship, Goodchild tells mbg the Temperance card can be a sign that you're not investing enough energy into your relationship, or you're investing too much. Either way, she says, something is off-kilter.

"If you're bringing work stress home, for example, you need to get back to making your relationship a priority, or at least equal to the other things in your life," she explains. Or, if you've been focusing too much on your relationship and it's taking away from other areas of your life, she notes, this card is encouraging you to adjust your priorities.

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When pulled in reverse:

In reverse, Temperance is about healing, according to Goodchild. "You need to be working on yourself rather than the external factors happening," she explains, adding to focus on self-evaluation, your own priorities, and how you can bring more balance back to your relationship. And if you're single, she adds, this card is asking you to examine what you're truly looking for.

What does this card mean for professional and financial matters?

When pulled upright:

If you asked the cards about your career or money matters and Temperance appeared, Goodchild tells mbg that it could be nudging you toward setting goals. "Not just short-term goals but long-term goals," she notes, adding that you can also think about the actual steps it will take you to make those goals happen.

And again, this card leans heavily on moderation, so Goodchild says this isn't a time to overspend or be lavish. "You want to make sure everything you're buying or using in your life has a purpose," she says.

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When pulled in reverse:

In reverse, Temperance here is almost like a yellow light on a traffic stop. As Goodchild explains, "There should be no risky moves on your part," adding that this is probably not the best time to quit your job.

"At the end of the day, Temperance is a card of hope, so if you do want to take those risks, it will work out—but you have to be really, really sure," she adds.

Temperance here can also indicate you've been making impulse purchases or even gambling and is encouraging you to stop that behavior.

What does it mean for challenges ahead?

When pulled upright:

If you asked your deck about a challenge you're currently facing or may face in the future, Temperance upright is a message to keep the faith, according to Goodchild.

"Whatever you're going through, you can't let it control your life completely. You have to have a little faith—don't be judgmental or harsh on yourself," she tells mbg, adding to remember that Temperance is reassuring you that balance can be recovered.

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When pulled in reverse:

In a reading about challenges, Temperance in reverse speaks to anxiousness, Goodchild notes. You may be feeling anxious about whatever challenge it is you're facing and aren't sure what to do about it. In this case, the good news is you may not have to do anything.

As Goodchild explains, Temperance here is giving you permission to let things run their course. "Not every problem has to have a solution right away," she explains, adding that in this instance, Temperance is more about just observing things as they are.

The takeaway.

Balance is the name of the game for the Temperance tarot card—and if it shows up in a reading, it's likely because there's something in your life that's not quite in alignment. The good news is Temperance is a hopeful card, and it reminds us that with moderation and patience, things always come back to equilibrium.

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