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Tarot Reflections

November 2006

A Spiritual Journey with Tarot: Temperance
Gary Meister, CTM

Gary Meister has been studying Tarot from several different viewpoints for the past 25 years. Certified for over 20 years, Gary is a member of the ATA and a Certified Tarot Master (CTM) recognized by The Tarot Certification Board of America. Gary also holds a Certificate of Outstanding Achievement in the "Intuitive Tarot" course from

Visit Gary's website at


Tarot is an excellent tool for meditation to enhance spiritual growth. With Tarot, in our readings we each have subtly different meanings for the different cards, meanings which work well for ourselves better than anyone else’s. Spiritual Tarot works the same way. We each have our own path and we each see subtly different things in the Major Arcana cards to help us along that path.

With this series I’m sharing my journey, in hopes that it might help to shine a little light on yours. I’m using the Rider/Waite/Smith Tarot on this spiritual journey.

Temperance, Key XIV, pictures an angel - reportedly the Archangel Michael - standing at the edge of a pond or lake, carefully pouring water (spirit) from one golden chalice into another. This is said to exemplify the Over Soul pouring spirit into the body, giving it life. He wears a white robe, signifying purity. There is a mystical symbol on his breast - a triangle, signifying spirit, within a square, which symbolizes the “four-square” reality of the physical world. Again, Spirit within the body. His left foot rests in the water and his right is on shore, a balance between spirit and the material. To his right (our left) a path leads from the water, across open land and into distant mountains. Above the mountains, is a huge golden crown, with a bright golden aura around it. This is to remind us that the spiritual “path” will takes us ever higher and higher until we reach our destination, realization of the Over Soul, Universal Mind, the God-Force.

The Bible speaks of “moderation in all things.” The spiritual path is one of moderation and temperance. We must live in the physical world and we should do it in a healthy way so we can maintain the strength it takes to follow a spiritual path. This pathway is not easy; it takes a lot of strength and fortitude. So it is necessary for us to keep ourselves in good shape to follow this path - but always in moderation, a balance, body and Spirit.

This pathway is a tempering process for us. As iron is inferior to tempered steel, so we are inferior without a tempering process that makes us stronger. Often, when hardship becomes our physical reality, it is part of this tempering process. If nothing ever went wrong, we would be weak characters indeed. Each time we are able to overcome material hardship while maintaining the spiritual path, we become stronger in spirit. This is tempering, or Temperance.

When I meditate upon Temperance it reminds me to keep my life balanced, to tend to my physical needs as I follow my spiritual pathway. It reminds me that each problem I face and overcome is another step on the road to what I am meant to be a realized individualized part of the One Great Whole. I am whether I know it or not. But, when I realize it (accept it as real in my life) I will actually become much more than I am now, and know it!

That’s what Temperance means to me.


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Tarot Reflections is a publication of the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2006
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