Temperance has been studied by religious thinkers, philosophers and psychologists. It is considered a virtue, a core value that can be seen consistently across time and cultures. It is considered one of the four cardinal virtues. Temperance is generally defined by control over excess.
Is there a less sexy idea today than temperance? Yet when Benjamin Franklin began his pursuit of the virtuous life, it was this virtue he chose to concentrate on first. The way in which Ben ordered his 13 virtues was deliberate. He selected temperance to kick off his self-improvement program because:
"…it tends to procure that clearness of head, which is so necessary where constant vigilance was to be kept up and guard maintained against the unremitting attraction of ancient habit, and the force of perpetual temptations."
In other words, first attaining self-discipline in the area of food and drink would make adherence to all of the other virtues easier.
Why is this? Hunger and thirst are some of the most primal of urges, and thus are some of the hardest to control. Therefore, when seeking to gain self-discipline, one must start with the most basic appetites and work up from there. A man must first harness his inward urges, before tackling the more external virtues. A clear mind and a healthy body are prerequisites to the pursuit of the virtuous life.
People today often try to numb themselves with food and alcohol to avoid dealing with their real problems. But manning up involves facing one’s issues head on. Gaining the self-discipline to moderate your intake of food and alcohol will give you the confidence to start making other improvements in your life.
Temperance (XIV) is the fourteenth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination. In addition to its literal meaning of temperance or moderation, the Temperance card is often interpreted as symbolizing the blending or synthesis of opposites.
Temperance is almost invariably depicted as a person pouring liquid from one receptacle into another. Historically, this was a standard symbol of the virtue temperance, one of the cardinal virtues, representing the dilution of wine with water. In many decks, the person is a winged person/angel, usually female or androgynous, and stands with one foot on water and one foot on land.
When we practice the virtue of temperance, we call it by different names, depending upon the desire that we are restraining. The Eight Wiccan Virtues are listed in the line, "Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you."
Sometimes misunderstood, the virtue of humility doesn't mean to lack self-respect or dignity, or to engage in self-abasement. Contrarily, humility is recognizing both your strengths and your weaknesses, and then learning to cultivate your strengths and transform your weaknesses. Having true humility also means avoiding excessive pride because, to paraphrase an ancient Hebrew proverb, "Pride comes before the fall."
The Nine Noble Virtues represent the distilled wisdom and Ancient Nordic moral code gleaned from various ancient sources.
Self discipline is the willingness to be hard on oneself first and then if needed help with the development with others, so that greater purposes may be achieved. We must always be hardest on ourselves, to set the example. It is very easy to work at the level of do as I say, not as I do. But in this we dishonor ourselves and we dishonor others. Leading by example is what this is all about.
Self Reliance is the spirit of independence, which is achieved not only for the individual, but also for the family, clan, tribe and nation. It is not a concept of denying ones interconnectedness with others, but of ensuring that one can take care of oneself first, then ones family and loved ones, then the extended family, the tribe and the nation. By being self-reliant we can then share what we have with others and fulfill the duty of hospitality, the entire better.
Wunjo w represents joy. Joy, in the case of Wunjo, is finding a point of balance, a sense of fulfillment and transformation. It is to remain in harmony with the flow of events. Wunjo brings comfort, joy and pleasure in its wake, along with the promise of prosperity, good fellowship and harmony.
Teiwaz t is the rune of the God Tyr. It is a rune of justice, strengths, warriors and order. The Teiwaz rune is one of the oldest runes in the Elder Futhark, having remained virtually unchanged from the earliest Bronze-age rock carvings, and it’s meanings and implications remain true. Teiwaz focuses the attention and forces discipline.
The Ehwaz e rune symbolizes inner strength and fortitude. It is a rune of strength, will and determination to perform one’s duties diligently. Specifically, this is the rune of the Horse, or Horses. The Ehwaz rune represents ‘horse power’ and the ability to work hard and carry heavy loads. Balance must be achieved to harness the power of the stallion and use it wisely. Ehwaz promises harmony and teamwork, trust and loyalty.
"We have to learn to live in the harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream, but a necessity." - Dalai Lama Lhamo Dondrub