Mythic Tarot - Temperance


Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, sports many-colored wings and wears a white gown enhanced with the colors of the rainbow. She stands with one foot on land and one in the water. Purple irises grow next to the stream. A rainbow stretches behind her as she pours water back and forth between a gold and a silver cup.

  • divine benevolence, the meeting of heaven and earth, symbol of a covenant or promise
  • transfiguration
  • can signify the end of a problem
  • the renewal of relationship
  • spiritual insight
  • a messenger, the power of communication between gods and men
  • the need or ability to rise above one’s current situation
  • “to wing it” is to figure it out as one goes along
Gold/Silver Cups
  • sun and moon, masculine and feminine, conscious and unconscious all joined by the flow of feeling
Water and Earth
  • juxtaposition between the two shows Iris’s ability to unite opposites within the individual
  • female counterpart to Hermes, she was Hera’s messenger and goddess of the rainbow
  • she effected Hera’s vengeance, but more often offered help and care
  • the image of a balanced heart, which one needs in order to form a stable individuality
  • feeling as an active, intelligent faculty of choice - a constantly changing bridge between opposites and a careful sensing of the needs of a particular situation with the goal of harmony and relationship at the end
  • achieving harmony requires a perpetually fluid adjustment of feeling, which must constantly flow and renew itself according to the requirements of each moment; the result can be either positive or negative, but the goal is always co-operation, harmony and better relationship
  • Justice and Temperance are both opposites and complements; while Justice demands that decisions be made based on rational thought, Temperance demands that one’s feelings decide which is the appropriate path for the preservation of relationship; yet both viewpoints must be integrated so that they can be used when appropriate
  • the constant shifting of feeling to preserve relationship can produce stagnation because no differences or conflicts are allowed since harmony is everything

Written in my workbook on 12 Aug 91:
Iris is clarity of vision clothed in compassion. Her wings are happiness and her hair is personal growth. She pours growth back and forth between the cups of fear and happiness. She is surrounded by a rainbow of sadness, anger, despair, indecision and self-assurance. Skies of envy flow into hills of determination which flow into a field of lies which ends in a pool of love. On the other side of the pool is rage.

My key color was violet (empathy, concern for others).