In case you are wondering why you have never heard of this card: I decided to not go with the usual name of The Temperance. Mainly because I don’t quite like the religious undertones of it. Especially since I picked Mulan as the perfect representation for the card. Mulan might be religious, but not in a Christian sense. And nobody fits the card as well as her.
Usually Temperance is depicted as a person pouring liquid from one cap to another. It is a historical reference to the cardinal virtue, representing the dilution of wine with water. In many decks the person is a winged angle of unspecified gender, standing with one foot on water and with one on land. In the background is a path and a crown, which might show the attainment of a goal, the mastery of one or the ability to stay true to one’s life purpose.
I think at this point it might be pretty clear why Mulan is the perfect choice for this card. Her story is all about about finding a balance in order to fulfil her life’s purpose. In her movie we see her trying to fit into the role of a woman and the role of a man, but it is only when she stops worrying about expectations and focussing on her inert abilities that she succeeds. The moment when she sits on the top of the pole is a triumph in more than one sense. She has connected strength and discipline in order to fulfil the challenge set to her, but she has found balance in herself.
Since the card symbolises in its upright position balance, moderation, patience, purpose and self-confidence, it logically warns of imbalance and excess in reverse, pointing to the need of self-healing and re-alignment. Emphasis on “self”. This card is all about the inner balance, of figuring out what your goal is and patiently go for it. Just like Mulan did.