Temperance: The Morning Card


This morning I give the cards a shuffle and draw Temperance. I consider her for a split second and toss her back into the deck—the middle of the deck where she will be hard to fish back out. Sometimes, when I’m pulling a card for myself, and it doesn’t knock the breath out of me on the spot, I get impatient and lazy. Or perhaps it’s just something about Temperance that isn’t very appealing this morning.

Okay, I’ll flip through the deck to find her again. Ah, there’s the problem. Temperance takes place in the morning, and I’m not a morning person. The Temperance angel dips her foot into the pond. The sun is rising, the sky still gray, the air sweet and moist, bird song all around. I know what that early morning is like. I catch a quick glimpse of it when returning a guest to the airport for an early morning flight. There were also long-ago camping trips and a brief stint where I hauled myself out of bed to write before dawn.

I reject Temperance because she reminds me that I’ve already lost precious hours. I rolled out of bed at 8:15. I suppose 8:15 is hardly what some would call sleeping in, but by 8:15, others have already swum a mile or scratched away at their novel, or taken a hike and gone for a bagel and coffee run.

The sun’s beam has already passed the window where I sip my coffee—the window with the lone plant that withered behind closed early-morning blinds. The sky has already moved from gray to tepid blue.

I dub Temperance the Morning Card.

Perhaps I would be as radiant, centered, and balanced as the Temperance angel if only I would spread my wings a bit earlier.

* * *

Interesting facts about the Temperance card:

  • The Rider-Waite Temperance angel is intended to be the archangel Gabriel.
  • The Temperance card is also commonly known as the Art Card.

Exercise for reflection:

  • Go through the deck face up and find a card that represents your morning self. If you are unhappy with your morning self, find another card that symbolizes who you would like to be in the morning.
  • Find a card that shows your best time of day.

6 Responses to “Temperance: The Morning Card”

  1. Shannon Says:

    For the first one I picked the Hermit and 7 of Pentacles. In the Gill deck the keyword on the 7 of pentacles card is Delay. All I want to do in the morning is delay getting up, I hate mornings. I also see this card as needing to make a choice – do I hit that snooze button one more time or do I get out of bed? The Hermit also fits because I’m grumpy and just want to be left alone when I wake up. I prefer to sit quietly by myself and get ready for the day.

    I’m not unhappy with my morning self, but I picked the Ace of Swords because it would be nice to have more energy in the morning. I’m groggy when I get up and it takes me a little while to “get going” both physically and mentally.

    My best time of day is between noon and midnight so I chose the obvious cards – The Sun and the Moon.

    Nice exercise, I really liked this one.


  2. Susan Gold Says:

    This is great, Shannon. I love your insights, and the connections you make.

    I just looked up the Gill deck at Aeclectic Tarot. It’s beautiful. I hadn’t seen it before. I like the keyword “Delay” for the 7 of Pentacles, too.

    Thanks so much for writing in!


  3. Shannon Says:

    I really enjoy the Gill deck. I think it’s very clean, straightforward and easy to use, at least for me. She collaborated with Anthony Clark (created The Magickal Tarot) on the Servants of the Light deck. All three are the decks I use the most.

  4. Susan Gold Says:

    I hadn’t seen The Magickal Tarot, nor Servants of the Light. I looked them up, too. They’re really neat, and I like how all three decks you use have such a distinct feel and evocative imagery. I imagine these decks would yield a great deal in a comparative reading. Thanks for introducing me to them! I’m always looking for decks to add to my collectioin.

  5. Gabby Says:

    Sometimes I feel like I got to the Tarot too often for answers, for advice, to see into the future a little bit to see the consequences of what I’ve done or are contemplating doing.

    It’s helpful, for the most part, but I also sometimes think that I’m wasting too much of my time Taroting my life instead of living my life.

    Have you ever felt this way?

  6. Susan Gold Says:

    Hi Gabby,

    Thanks for posting a comment!

    It seems like you are concerned by how often you rely on the cards for answers. If you have a sense that you are turning to the tarot rather than living your life–taking healthy risks, having those conversations that need to be had, etc.–then you might consider taking a break from the cards, or shifting your focus in terms of the way you work with them.

    I’m quite certain that you are not alone in how you are feeling, though I haven’t shared the experience. I’m probably not the typical reader because I don’t make predictions with the cards or turn to them for advice. I enjoy using them for self-reflection–or for helping other people to self-reflect–and I also love the way they inspire creativity through the stories the images tell.

    I hope you’ll write again. I’m happy to continue the dialogue.


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