5 min read

from death to temperance

from death to temperance
death & temperance from the muse tarot

hello friends, and welcome to sagittarius season.

before we jump in, i want to extend extra love, care, and support to my fellow queer and GNC readers. the last few days have been incredibly difficult, and i hope you are finding ways to spend time with chosen family, show yourself grace, and grieve in whatever way you need to. if you like, autostraddle put together a big list of trans-focused mutual aid and community programs that could use financial support now and always.

i'm glad you're here. deep breaths.

this shift from scorpio to sagittarius season can feel like a big one, especially in light of recent events: reckoning with what we have lost, adjusting to our new reality, finding magic and wonder even in strange times. it feels appropriate to move into this season on the heels of midterm elections in the united states, to pursue truth even as our world continues to clarify in new ways. we are still in the midst of eclipse season, which creates ripples that we will be feeling for the next few months. things change, things stay the same, and we continue to open our eyes wide, to take in all that we can, to balance rest and work and focus and play.

from death to temperance

for many, temperance can be one of the trickiest, most elusive cards in the major arcana. often associated with moderation, self-control, and the middle path, it can be easy to boil temperance down to ideals like sobriety, asceticism, and restraint. for many, temperance becomes a synonym for frugality or celibacy, a call to control our desires, to stay in our lane, to keep calm and quiet.

and when we think about those rather stringent ideas as tied to sagittarius, that mutable fire sign of freedom, philosophy, exploration, and adventure, no wonder temperance becomes so confusing. how do these two energies overlap? what do they have in common? why the hell are they together?

sagittarius from the celestial bodies oracle and temperance from the muse tarot

(a reminder that these astro-tarot correspondences were created by the hermetic order of the golden dawn, and are only about 100 years old. you don't have to use these correspondences if you don't find them helpful! some of them are weird!)

in trying to understand this association, numerology has been extremely helpful for me. as card fourteen, temperance falls into the constellation of the hierophant (14 / 1+4 = 5). these two archetypes are about friction, both internal and external, as we reckon with the frameworks we work within and consider how they are supporting (or restricting) our growth.

fives are pivot points, moments of tension and change, times when we are seeking freedom beyond what we have always known. sitting in the middle of the pythagorean sequence, fives serve as hinges, keeping us connected to the past but creating flexibility and movement for our future. where are we ready for a change? what has been holding us back? how can we reach for more?

remember that with the number four (the emperor and death), we are establishing systems, thinking forward, protecting ourselves, creating traditions. but with five, we start to be more critical of those systems, begin to question their meaning, dig more deeply into why we felt we needed them in the first place. this isn't about breaking everything we've already built or abandoning the frameworks that made us feel safe: it's instead about thinking through where we might feel restricted, and considering what it would look like to offer ourselves opportunities to expand beyond what's comfortable.

hierophant & temperance from the muse tarot

while the hierophant's five energy finds us navigating humanity's structures, often established physical and spiritual institutions like religion, education, and government, temperance's five energy is more personal, more internal. in the wake of death, after sitting in various stages of grief, temperance urges us to consider the lessons we are integrating, the experiences we have moved through, the magic we are learning to embrace. who are we, really? how do we see ourselves more clearly after loss? where are we breaking free of old beliefs, fears, dreams? what have we discovered about ourselves, and how can we let those discoveries blossom into tangible action?

temperance encourages to travel to new worlds, both literally and figuratively - just like philosophical, freedom-loving, truth-seeking sagittarius. what new layers are we finding within ourselves? which truths are taking up more and more space? how are we transforming? and will we allow that transformation to continue?

sometimes it feels easier, simpler, to stick with what we know, to not ask hard questions, to stay in our lane. and again, that is one interpretation of temperance that comes up often: the middle path, not rocking the boat, settling down instead of pressing on. but a major ending, a period of grief and mourning, changes us permanently - whether we like it or not. and rather than denying this shift, rather than smothering what we feel in our bones as truth, temperance asks us to celebrate these revelations, and to see where they might lead us.

it's okay to not have all of the answers. sometimes, the magic is in the seeking, the questioning, the questing. sometimes, just acknowledging the mystery of something is enough to get us started down a new, necessary path.

and in allowing ourselves to leave the old fully behind, a whole world of possibilities can open up within us.

death & temperance from the muse tarot

this shift from scorpio to sagittarius, from death to temperance, is all about reckoning with what has been lost, and with what we are open to finding. let the rot from scorpio season and death become fertilizer, plant some new seeds, and step joyfully, gratefully into another chapter. you deserve a chance to stretch, to grow, to adjust. you deserve an opportunity to leave old beliefs about yourself behind, and build new ones. you deserve to play, to experiment, to get messy.

and you deserve the choice to step into a bigger version of yourself, to take up space, to discover more about who you are and what you want.

how do you understand expansion, and how does it feel to consider this action as something you could embrace, embody? where are you expanding, and where have you been pushing against limits? where have you been afraid or reluctant to acknowledge expansion? how can you facilitate expansion with joy and pleasure, rather than forcing yourself to stay small?

what would help you feel like the most you?

for more on temperance, sagittarius, and navigating this new season, check out my latest round of tarotscopes for autostraddle. as twitter becomes more uncertain, i've also set up an account on hive, and i'd love to connect with you there. and if you're fascinated by jupiter and the possibilities that working with this planet can offer, make sure you check out diana rose harper's gorgeous new offering, by jove!

wishing you a joyful, expansive, safe and loving sagittarius season.