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Temperance can sound a bit bland. Change 'bland' to 'blend' and suddenly we're on a far more promising track.
The key to Temperance is actually dynamism - the active blending of extremes to create a new harmonious whole. The tempering of steel involves hot and cold, with a mix of proper proportions in order to create the new, improved essence. This is often seen in the contrast of land and water and the blending of liquid between cups. The dynamic aspect often appears as a sun / crown in the background and on the figure's head, as well as in the upright triangle symbol that represents fire.
The well-balanced blending of energies is extremely creative. In the Thoth Tarot it is the synthesis of ingredients in the cauldron, tempered by the dynamic flames, which produces Art or alchemical magic. Its dark and light Lovers have become one integrated being, and the alchemical red lion and white eagle have exchanged their colours, transmuting opposites.
In this creative alchemy, Death's putrefaction (see the cauldron's raven on a skull) is transformed into the beauty of balanced elements (rainbow around figure's shoulders). Temperance helps us to build up our abilities, strengthening us for facing The Devil's trials, and - through the moderation of extremes - teaching us to avoid forging our own chains of excess.
So remember - blend, not bland! See also TAROT BASICS HISTORY
* Appeared as CARD OF THE MONTH in Tracker, newsletter of The Tarot Association of the British Isles