Tarot Temperance

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Key #14 in tarot's Major Arcana, Temperance is associated with the Zodiac sign Sagittarius. The central figure's red wings and upward pointing triangle on his robe are associated with this Mutable Fire Sign, while the Hebrew letters Yod Heh Vav Heh indicate that he is what is commonly known as the Holy Guardian Angel, sometimes also called Michael. The path leading up the mountain in the background symbolizes spiritual aspiration guided by higher principles which correspond to this sign's ruler, Jupiter. In some versions of this key is a rainbow, the result of sunlight shining through water vapor, which underlines the symbolism here of mixing fire and water in the idea of Temperance. The flowers in the imagery of this key are Irises, since in Greek Mythology, Iris was the goddess of the rainbow.

The Hebrew letter associated with this key is Samech, meaning "tent peg", illustrating the idea of support, and also initiation, because spiritual ideas have to be tested out in physical reality before they can support us. This tarot key also illustrates the idea of strengthening through the trials of initiation rather like a metal sword is strengthened by being placed alternatively in fire and then in water. Some astrologers are beginning to think that the asteroid Chiron might be associated with this key.