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Fey Tarot

XIV - Temperance

The Sentence

Water, air, earth and fire sparkle together. Not distinct and separate but together. Not united and alone, but singing with different voices.
The Fey who cures, who heals. who mitigates and dilutes, appears after the night. She is the dawn Fey. Hers is the soul that soothes wounds and torments. Memories fade and lights are relit.

The Image

Everything that is within temperance brings silence with it. The veil of water ripples lightly and its confines are confused with the beautiful, silent sky. Without making a sound the Fey turns her head towards the right and moves her hand lightly. Around her forehead is a crown of live fish that swim in synchrony, maintaining their distance like dancers. But their fins plough through air not water. The Fey's hair is lose and wavy in a silent, discreet wind. She wears two golden jewels in the shape of a circle as earrings. On poles of wood and shells, planted in the earth and just below the water, small braziers are barely visible. They emit a white, odorous smoke, as if from the centre of a temple.

Simple Meaning

Soften one's approach towards others, care, rest, refresh, recuperate energy, quiet, silence, sweetness, lose oneself in passion, patience, receptiveness, attention.

Advanced meaning

The original icon of Temperance showed an angel that mixed water and wine in two carafes to dilute one and to improve the other. Here however the four elements, though never evident, noted but vague, are nevertheless distinct and present; earth that provides sustenance and is perceived from below: water that meets the sky: air that lightly moves the smoke and fire in the braziers.
It is easy to imagine the silence and quiet of this place because it is also a place for cure and rest, where wounds heal and the mind finds peace and tranquility. Like a temple or a hospital, things move slowly and are never improvised, while the sweet smell of incense fills the air.

The Chosen Symbols

The air indicates trials and mental conquests.
The water represents the continual flow of the emotions. The fire is man's energy and will.
The earth is the element that supports everything, even though it seems buried. It was important that the four elements did not appear too evidently but were rather vague and just noticeable, without disturbing the quiet of the card with their presence. The quiet indicates restfulness and peace; the total absence of noise and violence.
The fish indicate life and its care and preservation.
The halo indicates the interior force that Temperance symbolises. The braziers indicate the gratitude of those who are healed.


It is difficult to convey sounds in an image, but it was very important for this card to do so. It indicates the life that begins again after death, the awakening from a bad dream or a long period of obscurity. It also indicates purification prior to beginning, in a holy place where fatigue and labours are abandoned.