21, the Sun began its month-long trek through Sagittarius, the sign
of the celestial archer, which is assigned to the temperance card of
Sagittarius’ ruler, the planet Jupiter, is linked to the tarot’s wheel
of fortune card. The sign Sagittarius belongs to the element fire, one
of the four elements of Greek philosophy. The tarot’s fiery suit of
wands depicts typical scenes from human life having to do with inspiration,
enterprise, action, energy, enthusiasm, competition and achievement.
Cardinal Virtue of Temperance
philosophers, beginning with Socrates, spoke of four natural virtues:
prudence (i.e., wisdom, or virtuous use of the intellect), temperance
(i.e., moderation and self-control, or virtuous regulation of the emotions),
fortitude (i.e., courage, or virtuous effort of the human will) and
justice (the result of the combined virtuous activity of the intellect,
emotions and will). These four virtues were also called the cardinal
virtues (from the Latin cardo, meaning “hinge”) because all other
virtuous attitudes hinge on them, just as the four seasons of the year
hinge on the cardinal signs of the zodiac.
of the origin of the tarot argues that the tarot cards are a picture
book designed to teach moral and spiritual lessons. In support of this
theory, the tarot does have major arcana cards for three of the four
cardinal virtues: temperance, fortitude (strength) and justice. Missing
from the tarot is a card for prudence (wisdom), but the originators
of the tarot may have felt that proper use of the tarot would result
in wisdom, that is, virtuous use of the intellect.
and the Tarot
the tarot, temperance refers to the blending, moderation and tempering
of disparate elements to achieve a balanced whole that is greater and
more harmonious than the sum of its parts. The Rider-Waite-Smith
temperance card shows a winged angel with one foot in water and the
other on the Earth. The Sun rises in the background, and the angel is
pouring a liquid from one chalice to another. All four elements (fire,
earth, air and water) are harmoniously blended on the card, and the
angel is mixing the contents of his two chalices in a balanced fashion.
word “temperance” derives from the Latin temperantia (moderation
and self-control). The Greek word for temperance is sophrosune,
which also means moderation and self-control, but with the added sense
of harmonia (well-balanced integration) of the soul. The virtue
of temperance is found in the inscription on Apollo’s temple at Delphi,
which has been translated as “nothing in excess” or “everything in moderation.”
sometimes portray the Roman goddess Temperantia as standing under a
rainbow, an ancient symbol of the harmonious blending of elements. The
rainbow consists of seven colors, one for each visible planet of our
solar system. The giant multicolored arch that appears after a rainstorm
looks like a divine bow similar to the one used by the celestial archer
Sagittarius. The principles of tolerance and broad-mindedness suggested
by the rainbow are positive attributes of natives of the Sun sign Sagittarius.
and the Wheel of Fortune
the ruler of Sagittarius, is traditionally called the greater benefic,
that is, the god of luck and good fortune. The wheel of fortune card
of the tarot teaches us that luck can change and that fortune is really
part of a universal cycle of ups and downs. By linking temperance (Sagittarius)
to the wheel of fortune (Jupiter), the tarot may be advising us to “temper”
ourselves through developing the virtue of temperance so that we are
better able to cope with the inevitable downturns in our fortune.
Posed by the Temperance and Wheel of Fortune Cards
temperance or wheel of fortune cards appear in a reading, we should
ask ourselves a series of questions. Are we acting with a balance of
intellect, will and emotion? Are we being fair and just in our dealings
with others? Where in our lives are we going to extremes or behaving
in excess? Are we taking advantage of opportunities and lucky breaks?
Are we prepared for good as well as bad times? Are we confronting situations
that allow us to temper our character, like steel, to make ourselves
stronger and more durable? Are we blending the disparate elements of
our lives into a more beautiful and harmonious whole?
Meditations While the Sun is in Sagittarius
period when the Sun transits through Sagittarius and makes ready to
enter the underworld at the Winter Solstice is an excellent time to
meditate on the tarot’s temperance and wheel of fortune cards, as well
as on the fiery suit of wands of the minor arcana.
prepare for mediation, sit or lie in a comfortable place and allow your
body to be free of tension and distractions. Pay attention to your breathing.
Feel your breath go in and out as you inhale and exhale. If distracting
thoughts enter your mind, simply observe them and allow them to float
by as you gently return your attention to your breathing. When you have
established a steady, comfortable rhythm of breathing rhythmically in
and out, turn your focus to the tarot card you have selected for meditation.
the card and contemplate its images. Imagine yourself as a character
or element in the card. In your mind’s eye, enter the card and become
part of its scene. What are you thinking and feeling? What questions
are you asking of the other characters in the card? What do they expect
of you? What is the story that underlines the scene on the card? How
does that story relate to your own life? Take your time playing out
the story as if you were in a dream. When you have completed your meditation,
you may wish to record your observations in a tarot notebook for review