Temperance (Tarot card)

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Temperance (XIV)

Temperance (XIV) is the fourteenth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.


Temperance (Italian: La Temperanza) appears in the oldest Italian decks where it is numbered VI or VII. In the Tarot de Marseille and in most contemporary decks the card is numbered XIV. In the Thoth Tarot and decks influenced by it, this card is called Art rather than Temperance.[1]

A woman mixing water into wine was a standard allegory of Temperance in European iconography. This statue is part of Peter of Verona's tomb.

Temperance is almost invariably depicted as a person pouring liquid from one receptacle into another. Historically, this was a standard symbol of the virtue temperance, one of the cardinal virtues, representing the dilution of wine with water. In many decks, the person is a winged angel, usually female or androgynous, and stands with one foot on water and one foot on land.

In the Rider-Waite image by Pamela Coleman-Smith (shown on this page) the Hebrew Tetragrammaton is on the angel's chest above the square and triangle. In the derivative Tarot decks this is usually not included.

Alternative decks[edit]

In the X/1999 Tarot version made by CLAMP, The Temperance is Arashi Kishuu.

In popular culture[edit]

  • In The House of the Dead 4, part of Sega's The House of the Dead series of light gun games, Temperance is the name of the fourth boss, a giant zombie who is ironically morbidly obese, and almost impervious to attack. All of the bosses in the House of the Dead are named after cards from the Major Arcana, and Temperance in particular was designed to invert the meaning of its namesake card.
  • In the SNES video game Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen, the Temperance Tarot card depicts a woman instead of a winged angel wearing white robes and gathering water from a marsh. On drawing the card after liberation of one of the towns, it increases the Reputation Meter by 2 points, and cures all characters infected by status ailments when used in battle.[2]
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, "Temperance" was among the Major Arcana-based "Arcana Force" cards used by second season villain Sartorius, later released in the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game. It has the ability to negate battle damage to a player if they discard it from their hand or to halve damage received by either you or your opponent.
  • During the Flashpoint (comics) event, Traci Thirteen gets the card and teleports to a bar in Queensland, Australia, which is owned by Guy Gardner.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, one of DIO's henchmen, Rubber Soul, has a Stand named after the Temperance card, called Yellow Temperance, which coats his skin with a yellow substance that allows him to take the form of any person he desires.
  • The Temperance card, along with the other Tarot cards of the Major Arcana, appears in the 2011 video game, The Binding of Isaac, and its 2014 remake, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, where they act as consumable items with varying effects. Temperance creates a blood donation machine, allowing the player to trade their hit points for in-game currency.
  • Along with other Major Arcana, Temperance is a playable character in Data East's puzzle video game series, Magical Drop.


  1. ^ Scribes, Joanne Sacred. "TAROT - The Royal Road: 14 TEMPERANCE XIV". TAROT - The Royal Road. Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  2. ^ Ogre Battle - Tarot Cards
  • A. E. Waite's 1910 Pictorial Key to the Tarot
  • Hajo Banzhaf, Tarot and the Journey of the Hero (2000)
  • Most works by Joseph Campbell
  • G. Ronald Murphy, S.J., The Owl, The Raven, and The Dove: Religious Meaning of the Grimm's Magic Fairy Tales (2000)
  • Juliette Wood, Folklore 109 (1998):15-24, The Celtic Tarot and the Secret Tradition: A Study in Modern Legend Making (1998)

External links[edit]