Temperance...all or nothing.
‘’The ingredients of both darkness and light are equally present in all of us. The madness of this planet is largely a result of the human being's difficulty in coming to virtuous balance with himself. ”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
When Temperance comes up in a spread there is a tendency to think of healing, calmness and tranquility as well as harmony.
One of the reasons I enjoy discussing the dark side, to coin a phrase, is that the dialogue brings out the raw power of a card. The dark side may not be the best term for the unilluminated aspects of an archetype but I much prefer it to ‘reversed’ or even ‘shadow.’
The dark side of Temperance.
Dark side is a knee jerk reaction to the bubble gum narratives of the pink and fluffy, of the ‘it’s all gonna be fine’ which it probably is but I do like to dig deep into a card. I seek the paradox, the conundrum, the disenfranchised and the downright edgy because life is like that. Don’t get me wrong, I see my role as a therapist, a healer, a communicator and a conduit of the light that must fall like rain upon the countenance of the enquirer. Yes, even I will go into raptures about the necessity for optimism but as this blog infers, there is a balance to everything.
Temperance is one of the four virtues and is symbolised by purity of motive and feminine grace.
Temperance could be symbolised by the inscription at Delphi, ‘Nothing too much.’ However, this card does not truly represent the Victorian ideal of abstinence or abstemious behaviour. We don’t see hair shirts or crowns of thorns but we do get a sense of deep inspection of morals, social norms, external ideals which, ostensibly, formulate a creative life within a community that seeks to harm no-one.
At its core, as a virtue, Temperance is about a kind of receptivity which moderates passionate pursuits according to reciprocal needs.
Temperance perches herself between the inner landscape and the externalised result. A much used adage of the holistic world is ‘as above, so below,’ Temperance acts as a mediator between these upper and lower realms so that we can experience them fully. The result, optimistically speaking, is that we see the world from a balanced and integrated stand point whereby personal passions and desires do not rock the proverbial boat.
Surely, in this rarefied atmosphere there could be no chance of a slip up, a misintent or loss of inspiration? Well guess what? Human nature will rewrite even the most holy of scriptures. As spirits in matter, keepers of the fire, we are obligated to screw up. Very often it is the only way we can get the gist that immorality is not only fun but darkness is a great teacher.
The dark side of Temperance demands that we are a law unto ourselves.
Any search for meaning is upstaged by a personal sense of inequality and lack of purpose.
Political disorder, unhealthy hierarchies and a need to impose a will upon the unsuspecting that serves only personal satisfaction are all the domain of the dark side of Temperance.
Temperance, once the liberator becomes the oppressor.
Brutality and enslavement, the persecution of witches and the destruction of indigenous communities all lie at the blackened heart of the once angelic Temperance. Self-indulgence becomes a form of freedom, violence rides roughshod over creative potential and there is certainly no reconciliation of opposites. Diversity, alternative values and mindsets are not in the scheme of things for this shadow.
We cannot walk away from the needs of the individual whether they are our own or belong to others.
Those needs are not necessarily an aspect of the greater good for all. Manipulation and a tyranny experienced by and because of the masses may result in conflict and confrontation. What Temperance can teach us is that by looking after ourselves and shining a light in our own backyard and making sure we are in tune and open to the love that is available for all, we can heal everything that has knocked us out of kilter.
A modicum of decorum in all things.
Knowing that everything passes, that all can be healed and that life is precious, we are in a constant state of evolution. So surely this will open the portal to a higher love and the shadow of self-destruction and indulgences will blend into the bright light of the sun.
TOUCH BASE WITH TEMPERANCE
What is influencing me at the moment?
What could knock me out of kilter?
What do I need to do to be in balance?