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How to Read the Temperance Tarot Card

Learn how to read the Temperance tarot card from expert Ellen Goldberg, M.A. in this Howcast video.


Hello! I'm Ellen Goldberg and welcome to this taro moment from the School of Oracles. In this segment, we're going to take a look at the temperance card, one of the most wonderful cards of the deck. This card is the card of the holy guardian angel. The angel pictured in this card is Michael or as it is said mythically, Michael. How do we know it's Michael? Because of the solar disk at the place of the third eye on his forehead. Notice the circle with the dot in it, representing the sun.

He's mixing things and in fact the word "temperance" means or comes from temperāre, to mix and to combine properly. There is a path in this card and that path is the golden path to attainment. Notice the crown at the end of the path. That crown refers to the tops of the theira on the tree of life. Catter, the crown. He has one foot, Michael, on the ground and one in a pool. The pool represents the collective unconscious. On the tree of life, it is the spear of Assad, which is water and the moon and out of which rises the middle of the tree and that golden path is the middle pillar, right to the top, right to the God head, the crown. This angel has one foot in the collective unconscious where you can contact him. We meet these marvelous beings deep within ourselves. In fact, the conversation of the holy guardian angel is at the heart of alchemy. The iris growing by the side of the pool represents the goddess Iris who is the goddess of the rainbow. And that is the symbol of peace and promise.

This card encourages us to try and to test. It's Hebrew letter, Samekh means a tent peg - that great pole that rises in the center of a tent that is the basic structure for keeping the whole thing aloft. Our holy guardian angel props us up, keeps us aloft. In fact, it is said and it is going to be one of the meanings I use often on the higher polarity that there is nothing that happens to us that is not set by our own holy guardian angel. Every test, every challenge has been made for us in a very particular way. When you get this card on the higher polarity, be willing to take the heat. Be willing to experiment, for the intelligence given to samekh is the intelligence of probational trial, meaning you really only know once you've tested things out.

Do you know that in the 14th century, this card used to be called the optimist? It's also your own personal physician and it's a wonderful card to meditate on and to simply gaze upon when you need a healing and of course, when you want to invoke the presence for each person has a guardian angel. I love those words from the torah that says, "Every blade of grass has an angel that bends over it and whispers 'grow, grow.'" Our angel does that too so on the higher polarity it's taking the heat, testing, trying things out, experimenting, walking on the middle path and also the presence of your own angel being near. On the lower polarity is more like the urge to escape. You don't want to take the heat and the refusal to turn to aid from a higher source on behalf of the School of Oracles, I thank you for being with me. Bye for now.

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