The azalea flower has come to symbolize Temperance through its association with womanhood. Though outdated, the archetype of the fragile and demure woman has carried through history and has only recently been challenged. The azalea plant, however, is anything but delicate. Coming from the Greek word azaleos, which means “dry,” the azalea thrives in dry climates. In Victorian times, giving someone an azalea is an altruistic request to the recipient to take care of his or herself and to exercise caution. This is not for their sake, but for the sake of their loved one who does not want to see him or her in pain or hurt.
Tucked between the Death (#13) and Devil (#15) cards, Temperance offers a brief respite in a difficult journey. The word temperance means to exercise restraint, such as from alcohol. The Temperance Movement began in the time of the American Revolution and led to the formation of thousands of organizations dedicated to encouraging moderation and/or the complete elimination of alcohol. The Temperance character is frequently depicted with a cup or vessel, a general reference to a beverage or other such indulgence. Temperance, shown here holding a tulip cup, is not suggesting complete sobriety and ceasing of all indulgences, rather a balanced and moderate approach.