Wings, Tigers & Bartending

What do wings, tigers and bartending have to do with the Temperance card. Join Arwen as she does a comparative study of this angel of balance using some very different decks including the Gaian, the Mary-El and the Tarot of a Moon Garden.

I have been thinking about doing some articles on comparing cards. This morning, I picked up a deck to draw a card for the first comparison. Using the Cat’s Eye Tarot, I pulled Temperance.

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This Temperance shows the balance as the yin-yang of the two sleeping cats. They are perched on a balcony sound asleep. There is a trust issue here because if one moves the wrong way, the other will fall off the banister. Water is seen in the background. If you look at the arch below them, there is a small figure. At first I thought it was a cross, but the rounded top looks more like a stylized angel which would be in keeping with the original Temperance card.

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The next one I pulled was from Tarot of a Moon Garden (OOP). No mistaking this angelic creature and very definitively female from the curve of her breast. Her foot as well as the unicorn’s foot is in the water while one is on land. This is a pretty classic nod to the Rider Waite Smith Temperance. And she is pouring a rainbow from one chalice to the other.

In the World Spirit Tarot (OOP), we see one of my personal favorite renditions of this card. I love this shamanic angel with his multi-colored wings. A case could be made for androgyny here because the swirling energy does cover the pectoral area. The feet and the water are here as well with the mountains also. There are mountains in the Cat’s Eye if you consider the rocky coast line that stretches out in the background. Of these first three, this is the most traditional so far.

Now let’s move to my beloved Gaian Tarot. This female Temperance rises up from the water with no feet insight. She has wings along with the mountains. Her energy is transformed from the conch above to the censor below. I am drawn to this dark-haired beauty. She seems to radiate peace and sincerity along with a gentle compassion.

One of the most unusual takes on the angel would be the American Obscura rendition of Temperance. A winged angel has taken up bartending. She pours as do all these other Temperances, but she is a darker version. I see her as moderation being a bit of a struggle. Here is where I feel the structures of the Hierophant (5) come into play. Temperance is 14 and 1+4 is 5. For me, Temperance is a higher vibration than Le Papeau who is more about rules for rules’ sake as far as I see. And is that a postcard behind her? That might hint at the mountain vista but it is not clear.

Then you have the Mary-El whose Tiger Temperance does have wings if you count the white wisps of mane streaking out. Definitely a water theme here with just a hint of a mountain in the far right corner. Our big cat is on solid ground with one paw in the water. So when you break down the elements, this feline Temperance is more in line with the RWS Temperance than our first feline Temperance from the Cat’s Eye Tarot.

Now look at the RWS Temperance. Probably more on the male than female side, you see the halo as echoed in the World Spirit (and perhaps the Mary-El if that mane is not the wings, eh?). The sun in the background rising over the mountains. The two flowers and the two feet, one in and one out of water. And the path that leads away from the pool up and through the mountains. These wings are scarlet and he pours from the right into the left. Which of the above cards pour left to right?

Pull Temperance from your own deck. How does it compare. What meanings do you get from your card that are in balance with this one? What are out of balance?

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7 thoughts on “Wings, Tigers & Bartending”

  1. When we were actively creating a TABI Tarot deck (which I really MUST get booted into life again lol!) one of the cards I was allocated to illustrate was Temperance.

    I had an en pointe ballerina balancing on a yin/yang symbol, so, for me, it’s LUFFLY to see that in the Cats’ Eye Tarot.

    I am falling quite in love with the Mary El and the Americna Obscura. I like the darkness of that latter deck – the idea of the Angel bartending – mixing cocktails, making magic with various potions…yep, luff it.

    the Gaian is a firm favourite of mine and I really wish that I could get to the Omega Institute in July to the workshop weekend there……pray for shekels!!

    Ali x

  2. You are always reading my mind, or perhaps I yours. This is something I’ve wanted to do posts on, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

    Love this article. Temperance is one of my favorite cards. Love the bartender, πŸ˜‰ I’ll have to check out that deck.

    Best wishes,

    1. Ali, I can’t wait to hear your insights on the Court cards of the Mary-El and the Americana Obscura!

      Char, great minds think alike. I’d love to see your posts on this as well. It is time consuming for me because of the scanning. but I’m going to keep it up.

  3. Fantastic! Goodness, wish i had found a writing of a kind earlier, Arwen! Temperance is one of the Arcanum that i struggled the most with – and i still can’t say i get it, except for the working knowledge needed for readings… I shared it with fb Tarot community as i know many will appreciate it as well! Thank you so much for this!

  4. Hi Arwen! Glad to have your input once again! and glad everyone enjoys my bartender with the dirty wings πŸ™‚ I thought I would answer your question about the post card. This is loosely based on a very intuitive and nurturing friend of mine that is a good listener who tends bar and serves food at an old bar here in Seattle called the 5 point. Most every inch of the bar is covered is snarky signs, post cards and polariods. It has lots of character! πŸ™‚

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