Temperance, Art (TH)



  • the virtue of temperance (the 4th virtue, prudence/wisdom, is not explicitly present)
  • VS → mixing liquid from 2 ceramic vases, poss. balance of humours
  • sometimes depicted with halo
  • TM → woman with flower in hat, winged, blue & red dress
  • RW → alchemical, androgynous archangel, mixing from 2 golden chalices
  • harmonous uninion of opposites,
  • agreement, understanding, compromise, forgiveness and moderation
  • middle way
  • creativity
  • transmigration of the soul

plant connections

  • Ocimum basilicum. basil, sweet, delicate flavour, culinary uses. used for 'well being' in eastern-european traditions Basil
  • some fern (need to be more specific), polyferns, Romanesco broccoli Romanesco_broccoli
  • mangroves, water/land mix


  • yellowish green
  • blue
  • yellow (of fire)


  • likes change and has an ability to get through unwanted experiences, an embodiment of the union of opposites


Temperance is a dwarf tree living on the edge between land and water. If it finds itself on dry land, the tree produces hard-shelled vases - its hollow fruits filled with green, luminescent liquid. The liquid pours from the fruit onto the ground, creating an instant swamp. The tree can absorb the liquid again through its roots and be fully self-sustaining. When more than one tree is in the neighbourhood, they can fertilise each other by mixing their liquids. Temperance stands on its mesh-like roots as a delicate dancer. On the top of the roots is an alchemical still mixing light and liquid and guiding plant growth. The plant has several, morphologically distinct stages of growth and it transforms gradually from one form to another. In each stage it looks like a different organism. In moments after intense storms, or in mature plants, one plant can be in all stages at the same time. The sprouting begins by unfurling branches as a fern, from the tips of the roots. Once fully extended, the branch turns woody. Then their bark cracks and sprouts of fragrant herbaceous leaves begin growing. In full foliage, the tree is covered in small bunches of herbs. The third stage is the flowering. The branches soften and burst open in fleshy, fractal flowers. Each flower produces one hollow fruit, that hangs below the flower on a fine invisible filament. As the flowers mature, the leaves liquify to feed the growing hollow fruits. When the fruits are ripe, they begin producing their own liquid, which overflows and feeds the tree. And so the cycle continues… The older trees, the true masters of the art of transformation, are able to grow in all stages simultaneously, appearing as a baroque hybrid of a tree-fern-herb-broccoli-fountain.


note: work in progress for PARN. not general reference

major arcana

  • tarot/14.txt
  • Last modified: 2012-08-08 17:44
  • by maja