Card 1 - Temperance
An androgynous angel is the first thing you see on the Rider-Waite Temperance card; the angel’s appearance suggests an equilibrium between the sexes. The angel’s robe is simple but in the centre of the cloth lies a bold orange triangle within a square; this shows the Earth’s connection to the holy trinity whilst the glow of the triangle feels welcoming yet instils a prospect of foreboding. The angel’s face is stoic and concentrated, completely focused on exchanging the waters of the two golden cups in their hands; the direction of the water is impossible to determine which symbolises the concept of infinity and union; it can also signify the flow of spiritual awareness we experience on a daily basis as we tune in and out with our higher self.
The angel stands above either a pond or river with one foot gently dipped in the water as the other stands on a patch of dry glass; this represents the duality between the subconscious and the conscious - between dreams and reality. Furthermore, the mountain range on the left contrasts with the meadow on the right symbolising universal experiences and individual tranquillity regardless of location or circumstance.
The illustration presents stability and balance, it brings a sense of serenity to the viewer; the composition of bright greens, yellows, whites and reds is uplifting and depicts the ideal union between opposites - the beauty and order that comes with duality. The background shows the dawn which resembles fresh beginnings and a pastel sky that further feeds into the atmosphere of concord. Everything is exactly where it’s supposed to be.
Full card's description