The Wild Unknown: Temperance

The 14th card in The Wild Unknown tarot is Temperance.


Creator’s Keywords: Healing, Renewal

The Temperance card features a beautiful heron, one wing slightly extended and it’s feet on a ball of fire, placed against a black, white, and colorful background. Beads of water appear to drip from the heron’s neck into the ball of fire, where they are transformed into gold, green and yellow. There are white spots within the fire, appearing to be air. Thus, it appears that all elements are represented here: fire, air, water and earth. The heron’s open wings are fanning the flame, keeping the fires of transformation burning.

Herons are water birds, waders actually, sort of straddling the realms of land, water and air. The use of the heron here depicts an alchemist, mixing opposing forces (water and fire) to get something new. Herons are also associated with balance as they have long, skinny legs to balance their large frame upon. There is a calmness about the heron, she is graceful and delicate. She takes balance to walk upon the water and grace not to get burned by the flames.

According to the creator:

“The great blue heron remains calm and peaceful as she blends the opposing elements of fire and water. The Temperance card asks you to be a moderator much like the heron. Focus on cooperation and compromise if you’ve been excessive in one aspect of your life, practice self-restraint and moderation now. You’ll find a new sense of healing and balance from bringing a little harmony back into your life.”

The Temperance card is a card of action – as indicated by the fire – but moderate and temperate action. Moderation is key here. In traditional decks, this card depicts an angel with one foot on water and the other on land, pouring liquid between two vessel, one of which usually contains water while the other contains fire.

If the Temperance card is revealed in a reading, it’s cautioning you to be care. Use balance and moderation with your thoughts and actions. This does not mean for one to hesitate, but rather for one to move forward and change things. This card is also about alchemy – the mixing of different things to get something new – so it encourages the person receiving it to add things into their lives through trial and error, much as an alchemist does. Avoid things in excess, use moderation.

This is one post in a series about The Wild Unknown tarot deck. Click here for a list of all the other cards in the deck detailed like this one.