Temperance Tarot card: a jungian interpretation
The Temperance Tarot Card, an image rich in symbolic content, offers an ideal setting for an example of jungian interpretation of Tarot.
The Temperance Tarot Card in traditional cartomancy is linked to the idea of healing. It is, so to speak, a “therapeutic” Arcanum, associated with the caregiver archetype.
Jungian interpretation of Tarot: the Temperance
The Temperance of the Tarot Temperance is one of the four Cardinal Virtues of the Catholic religion. Temperance teaching is about moderation, the search for the right balance between material drives and spiritual life.
Often this teaching is reduced to an idea of rejection of the enjoyment of earthly goods, by cultivating an “ascetic” life. Quite the contrary! Temperance is an invitation to enjoy the material aspects but in a balanced way, in the right measure.
Carl Gustav Jung taught that it is not necessary to be perfect, but complete, and completeness is achieved by integrating carnal instincts. A life based on the sole care of the spiritual world would lead to a rebellion of the material body. Instincts would then seek their satisfactions unconsciously, in real life or through dreams. It is for this reason that lives of the Saints are full of demonic visions and strenuous battles against the Devil’s temptations.
Tempering is also what the ancients did with wine. To dampen the intoxicating effect of alcohol it was diluted with water. This is precisely the action carried out by the Angel of Temperance. Again we find a harmony between two contrasting symbolic elements. Wine as a divine drink is linked to spirit and blood. Remember that “spirit” is still today a term associated with alcohol.
Water is instead connected to the earth, to generative nature, to the human sphere. As you know, man is composed mainly of water!. We recall that the symbolism of water and wine is still present in the rite of Mass. Tradition has it that from the heart of Christ flowed water mixed with blood during the crucifixion.