As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit.
~ Dr. Emanuel Tanay (physician, forensic psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor)
In this monumental week of the Full Moon’s lunar eclipse, with the planet Neptune turning retrograde, and the rarest of solar system events, the Venus transit (there were none in the 20th Century), Temperance makes an appearance.
Temperance comes from the Latin verb, tempare which means “to mix or combine.” While the Temperance Leagues during the days of alcohol Prohibition gave this word an association of denial and abstinence, Temperance in fact warns us to avoid extremism. It is the virtue of finding the middle path.
In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, there is an angel standing between land and water, balancing between the physical world and the flowing unconscious. (Waite does not assign either male or female attributes to the angel, but for clarity, I’ll refer to “him.”)
His right foot (which is traditionally a symbol of our conscious awareness) is dipped into the waters of the subconscious where he is able to quiet and deepen. His left foot (which is the unconscious) stands upon the land, indicating he is also grounded.
In the background, the yellow irises speak of Zeus’s messenger, Iris, who traveled to the Underworld to fill Her golden cup with water from the River Styx, the river crossed by the souls of the dead. Such water, retrieved from the land of the dead, would bring the gift of life reborn.
Look closely at this beautiful card, and note how it is all about blending, moving, and the flowing waters of Mystery that are within and all around us. If you were to trace the motion of the pouring, it would be revealed as none other than the lemniscate, symbol of Infinity.
The month of June ushers in some of the most turbulent and potentially healing astrological energy of our lives. My friend, noted astrologer Dan Furst, points to his colleagues’ excellent article about this week’s first movement in what will be a symphony of profound unfolding:
“The partially eclipsed Full Moon forms a mutable T-square involving the Sun, Venus and Mars, giving great opportunity to heal gender issues and relationships of every type.
“Days immediately following the Lunar Eclipse, June 5-6, we will experience a rare and spectacular event known as the Venus Transit. This is essentially an eclipse, however, instead of the moon coming between the Earth and the Sun it is the planet Venus. As the basis of the Mayan ‘Long Count Calendar,’ the Venus Transit is regarded by many as the celestial signal that the ‘Great Transformation of the Closing of the Cycle’ has begun.”
When you lay out the Major Arcana cards in order, Temperance follows the Death card. Thus, it is the reconciliation and re-integration, after great loss or change. It can be how we bring things back together and re-establish harmony after some extreme circumstance. The flow of life continues.
The closing of the cycle is the death of the old. Hail and welcome to the birth of what is about to be.
In our busy, often stressful lives, the push and pull of unprecedented forces continues to build. With any lens you use, you can see that our world is undergoing revolutionary change never seen before. Within just a few years (perhaps much less), our politics, technology, economics, environment – and our very way of life — are likely to be radically different from everything we have known before.
The experience of transformation is never calm or tranquil. Rarely do we call the shots. But Temperance points the way for finding personal peace and acceptance. It directs us to learn how to flow in harmony with the changes surrounding us.
On a personal level, is there some loss, or change that has left you feeling broken, vulnerable, or unstable in some way? How might you be in need of balance, or a reconciliation between the dark and light in your own world? Temperance is the middle path of tolerance, forgiveness, and integration.
Temperance teaches that healing is possible, indeed, it is imminent. It reveals that our sense of separation, conflict, and duality is an illusion. When we relinquish the need to control and dominate, instead opening to flowing and blending, we discover that we are oneness.
There are cleansing rivers that run through us, that can offer healing to us, even as they continue to move and change us. We are always standing in the flow of the Divine.