Moderation, Respite, and Inner Awakening

Jan Erickson
5 min readSep 17, 2017

I prefer the Universal Waite deck to the traditional Rider-Waite because the scenes are more clear. I haven’t used it in a while so I thought I’d bring it out for today’s reading. I wanted to look at influences of both Spirit and form, so I chose a six card spread with three cards above representing Spirit and three below representing form. Two cards, The Hanged Man and Temperance, are from the Major Arcana while Cups and Swords representing our emotions and intellect dominate the MInor Arcana cards.

The numerology is interesting. On the level of Spirit, we have The Hanged Man as card 12, the 4 of Cups, and Temperance as 14. Together, the numerology of Spirit is three, or triple aspects, wholeness, and unification. There is also a progressive pattern with these cards as their numerology reduces to 3, 4, and 5.

On the lower level of form, we have the 2 of Cups, the 3 of Swords, and the 4 of Swords. Again, there is a progression found with 2, 3, and 4. The numerology of form is nine or completion.

Overall, the numerology of the reading is the same as on the level of Spirit or three. But it’s interesting that there are progressions on both levels.

Beginning on the upper level with The Hanged Man, we see a golden-haired man hanging from the top of an odd-looking post with green leaves. Other decks depict the man hanging from a tree. He’s wearing a blue tunic and red tights with gold slippers on his feet. A golden halo of inspiration surrounds his head. The Hanged Man suggests surrender and inner transformation as Spirit descends into form. When this card appears it’s telling us to release what no longer serves and to consider a new perspective.

A man sits with his back against a tree with his arms and legs crossed, a pensive look on his face in the 4 of Cups. A hand reaches out from a small cloud offering a golden chalice to the man while three more sit untouched on the ground before him. He seems lost in thought and one interpretation might be that he cannot see what’s in front of him, nor what is offered. On the other hand, he could be simply reflecting on emotions that are no longer useful, rejecting the same emotional response as he transitions to something new.

A white-robed angel with brilliant red wings fully extended stands with one foot on land and the other in the water below pouring water from one chalice to the other. Transmutation is expressed by the blending of Fire with Water in alchemical balance creating healing and purification. A golden crown hovers over the mountains in the distance in all its radiant glory symbolizing enlightenment. A pathway extends from the mountains to the water’s edge below where yellow irises bloom signifying beauty and joy. Harmony, balance, and moderation are the primary interpretations of Temperance.

Moving now to the lower level of the reading, a man and woman stand together, each one holding a golden chalice. Symbolizing the Goddess and the womb, cups in a reading signify intuition, emotions, and femininity. Wreaths adorn the couple’s heads with the colors of woman’s attire symbolizing spirituality and healing while the man’s clothing suggests vitality and joy. A dark orange-winged lion tops a caduceus, also symbolizing healing as well as strength. In the midst of rolling hills in the distance sits a white house with a red roof surrounded by trees. The 2 of Cups suggests partnership and healing along with a unity of polarity. The two individuals come together in joyful partnership, the promise of their future together assured.

Or does it?

Betrayal and heartache are expressed by the 3 of Swords. In the center of the card, a red heart is pierced through by three downward-pointing swords. Rain falls in sheets from three gray clouds above. There’s an opportunity when this card presents to see past the drama surrounding us by remaining aligned and clear. A situation may be beyond our control and it’s best now to observe and allow the situation to run its course.

Lastly, we come to the 4 of Swords where we see a man in a church sleeping atop what appears to be either a coffin or a bench. His head is on a pillow, his sword on the floor below. Three swords appear above him to the right of a stained-glass window. The 4 of Swords represents rest and retreat in an effort to heal one’s mind. We need time to recuperate from the stresses of life and for spiritual awakening and clarity.

The lower level representing form is fairly straightforward to interpret. After coming together in partnership, we’ve experienced some betrayal and now we need time for reflection. The upper level of Spirit reminds us of the spiritual principles which exist to guide us during our time of respite.

Agreements along with trust may have been broken and now respite is needed to both assess and come to terms with the situation. Initially, we align with Spirit drawing our own presence back to an inward focus, allowing the pressures of the situation to take a backseat to our awakening and enlightenment. During our respite, we examine our emotions, transmuting a fiery reaction into one with more compassion for self or others.

It’s interesting that we begin the reading with The Hanged Man and end with the 4 of Swords. Both reinforce the need to seek answers by going within. A new perspective is needed that will either result in the healing of a partnership or the ending of one. Perhaps the trust that was lost can be regained with some time apart. But if that’s not possible, then maybe a new set of boundaries are necessary.

The overall numerology of three suggests wholeness and unification but it doesn’t suggest that it only applies to relationships. Wholeness and unification also apply to the self in balance. Betrayal shatters a person. The respite called for on the final card of the reading allows us to rethink and reestablish what we want not only from our relationships with others but also with the self. How much of ourselves do we give away to others? Do we do so without any thought of our own emotional protection?

Today’s reading is counseling us to take the time necessary to discover what we truly want from our relationships. Moderation over an all or nothing approach might provide a better cushion for our emotions when relationships become hurtful. But as humans do, we trust more than we probably should. The reading is suggesting that our strength and is found within and to take the time we need for respite and healing.


Originally published at on September 17, 2017.



Jan Erickson

Blogger at Empath✵Witch✵Reiki Master✵Kenpo✵Herbalist — Author of Shifting Perception and more…