Advice from the Angel of Temperance for Dealing with Productivity-Paralyzing Anxiety


The World reversed--Rider-WaiteKing of Cups reversed--Rider-WaiteTemperance--Rider-WaiteWhen your feelings are overwhelming (reversed King of Cups), does that make it difficult to finish whatever projects you need to complete (reversed World)? It’s typical, especially for people who are struggling with anxiety and depression, that strong feelings can bring about a productivity paralysis. The King of Cups is normally so controlled. But when a flood of emotions comes along, it can turn him upside down. He’s lucky he hasn’t fallen out of his chair! How do we expect him to keep up with his to do list? Much less turn the world right side up again — as we expect him to. Let’s give the guy a chance to straighten himself out again and dry off his robes.

Meanwhile, another card flew out of the deck at me to advise us on this situation: the angel of Temperance. When everything is out of balance, we can come back to balance. We just take those overwhelming feelings and keep mixing them back and forth until they come to the right balance. Or, to use a different metaphor, we observe them as they swing back and forth. Our feelings are not a perpetual motion pendulum–they will swing along shorter and shorter arcs until they eventually stop. They come back, on their own, to a state of balance. (This is one of the benefits of meditation — it allows you to stop shaking the pendulum of your feelings around so that you can let it slow down and become calmer.) And then we can proceed with the right amount of water, the right amount of earth, the right amount of air, and turn to walk down the path (see it, behind the angel on the Temperance card?) Besides, when angels turn up in the cards, I view it as a sign that everything will be okay. We just have to ride this out. For some of us, riding it out might take until the end of Mercury retrograde, so don’t let your overwhelming feelings cause you to do anything dramatic in the meantime. Just be with these feelings and let them arc their way back to balance.


  1. this really speaks to me right now, as i have alot of anxiety about this upcoming Thursday…great piece ๐Ÿ™‚


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