Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Divination is an ancient art that people have used for thousands of years. People have always sought answers from beyond the physical. The Egyptians used scrying, the Greeks used oracles, the Romans augury and haruspicy. The Chinese used the I Ching and feng shui, a form of geomancy . In Africa they used bones and runes have been used by the Germanic peoples. Only during the last 900 years has the use of divinatory arts declined, mainly due to the spread of organised religion and the widespread suppression of anything that might challenge the authority of those in charge and their positions as intermediaries between the common man and God.

But in recent years the use of such methods has once again become popular. Divination with a pendulum or with tarot cards seem to be the most common. These days there are many websites offering to tell people their future with astrology or tarot readings but I'm very skeptical of these as they are usually very expensive and you have no way of knowing how honest or how experienced these people are. I decided I would prefer to learn to do my own readings. I had already tried dowsing with a pendulum with some success and my father had found underground water pipes with the dowsing rods I bought as a toy for my son. But I had never used the tarot myself before because I associated it with the ouija board and creepy stories of light bulbs exploding and furniture moving. So, why did I change my mind? To be honest, it was the need for some answers that made me turn to the packet of miniature tarot cards I had bought as a novelty a few years ago. Without going into personal details, I was confused after a meeting in the autumn of 2011. I didn't really think anyone else could tell me why I was feeling this way, so I decided to use my own resources. With the internet for help with interpretation and the layout of the cards, I began to use the tarot to help me understand what might be happening in my life and how I could best deal with it. The results have been very enlightening and, as time has gone on, I have developed more and more trust in the cards which have given me better results each time.

One card that seems to keep appearing when I do a reading for myself is the Temperance card. This card, as with all the cards in the tarot, has many occult meanings. Each card represents an archetype which means that it represents many different ideas which, as they are learnt and experience is gained, a holistic image of the card develops so that interpretation gradually becomes an intuitive process. One of the  main themes of this card is moderation, the balancing of extremes and finding the middle way, or steering a course through rough seas. In the picture, the angel has one foot on land representing the physical world while the other is in the water representing the spiritual realm, showing the need for balance of these two in our lives. Ruled by the astrological sign Sagittarius, the sign of the teacher and philosopher, the card depicts an angel holding two cups with water flowing from one to the other. This represents the blending of two seemingly irreconcilable opposites such as fire and water. In one's life this could represent the challenge of finding a way to integrate opposing belief systems or to unify the people in our lives who may come from different families or backgrounds. It is the card of synthesis and alchemy, of turning base metal into gold. It encourages us to have patience in this process and to realise that the blending of incompatible elements is possible when we exercise moderation, adding a little of each at a time, so that gradually they are combined into a whole that is greater and more evolved than the two parts. Temperance is a card of harmony, health and wellbeing. Like it's ruler, Sagittarius, it is optimistic and a sign that you are on the right path.

This card has great depth of meaning for me personally and provides some clarification and answers for my own personal dilemma, but it is more than that. To me it seems to be a card for our time. In a world in which the opposing views, political, religious and ideological, seem to be becoming more and more polarised, a need for cooperation and the finding of common ground is essential for the continuation of our species, or we may witness those forces tearing our world apart.  Joining with others and working together to find solutions to the problems that we all face regardless of our different views of the world is imperative. The uniqueness of our worldviews and the way we approach those problems is not an obstacle to our cooperation but a positive advantage. Preserving the original character of each person so that it is incorporated into the whole without losing anything, we can celebrate those qualities and what they offer to our human civilisation. Instead of standing defiant in our separateness, we could reach out to the human spirit within each other and realise we are all in this together and that the new currency of our planet is love not money. In this way, Temperance teaches us that the blending of those unique sparks of creativity that lie within each of us could create a world that is greater and more evolved than the one in which we are living today.