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Amashelle  Amashelle is offline
Join Date: 07 Feb 2009
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 84

I have always found this card's message to be fairly straightforward (for a change) but I never really considered it from this perspective, though you're right: Temperence does represent action, not just concepts: she is not imagining the water that flows between her cups, it is real, and she is activly mixing it with the fire.

However, she also symbolizes the concept of moderation. The middle ground: water AND fire, air (the clouds) AND earth (mercury), because we need a little bit of everything, in just the right combinations, to live well.

The Gilded card for Temperance is particularly interesting. In addition to having all four elements present, the woman is unique. Her hair is like fire, brilliant, flickering in the wind, but shot though with black ash. Her eyes are open, but it looks as though her iris is completely white, and yet she stares, enchanted, by the fire in her goblet. She preaches moderation, and yet she herself is tempted to the one end of the extream (the fiery end). Apparently, even she sometimes has to hold herself back, and maybe this is why the water all flows towards the fire, cooling it, though the fire never goes to warm the water. Her personal balance needs all the cold water it can get.

This, I feel, is emphasized by her appearence, her red hair (long associated with a hot temper, as well as magical inclings) and her sheer dresswhich looks to be only just staying on her body in a failed attempt at modesty. She is an odd symbol for temperence, I think, but appropriate, too: afterall, it is those of us who lean towards the extreams that need the most help in remaining in the middle.
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