Caveat: Temperance

Some people know I mess with tarot cards.

I don’t believe them at all. I am an empiricist and a rationalist, and committed to that. But I also enjoy apophenia – the misreading of random data as meaningful. It strikes me as a deeply human trait. And my interest in tarot is probably related to that – in this random set of cards, we’ve imbued each card with many layers of semiotic detritus, and then we can plow through the cards and find some interesting meanings, perhaps leading to reflection.

Well I pulled a card to define my year, 2020. And got the card called “Temperance.”

I pulled a series of cards to to define my month, January, and the summary card was again “Temperance.”

I  guess I could consider temperance – what is it, exactly?




  1. Hey Peter.

    In fact I would focus on the wider, older meaning of temperance, which I’m sure is what is meant in the tarot deck. Temperance is “self restraint and moderation in all action.”

    So in Tarot, the meaning of this card if seen as a call to action would to moderate one’s impulses and exercise self-restraint. With respect to the image, the tarot deck is focused on the symbolism of balance, of two sides – that’s the key to moderation. The equalization of the liquid between two chalices, the one foot on land, the other in water, the angel both heavenly and material being, etc.

    The anti-alcohol movement in the US coopted the word Temperance and gave it a narrower secular meaning.

    – Jared /’

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