Goddess Temperantia Symbolic Meanings
Temperantia was the ancient Roman goddess of moderation and, most fittingly, temperance. When the famous philosopher, Plato, established his four cardinal virtues, he used the stories and image of Temperantia to demonstrate this quality. He asserted that she was the pure and female manifestation of such a desirable quality.
In the eyes of the Romans, the quality of temperance was valuable not just for females, though. Such a feature was more of a platform for greater symbolism. Other ideas and traits that came with the quality of temperance include balance, discernment and proper judgement, and a sense of healthy moderation and balance.
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In a more general and communal sense, the Temperantia symbol spoke to the Romans (and continues to speak to us) of the importance of integrating and living harmoniously together as one. Although some may view her as a goddess of rules and oppression, we must be capable of seeing the value in balance and self-control.
You need to view this goddess in a more favorable light – as opposed to the wicked headmaster of elementary school who takes all of the fun out of things. Try to see Temperantia as a symbol of the goodness and virtue that exists, somewhere, in each of us. The best way to understand this is by study the symbols most commonly paired with her.
In many ancient art forms, this Roman goddess is depicted holding two pitchers, one in each hand. Fluid is always being poured out of the pitchers, probably to indicate the constant flow of energy that occurs throughout life. Many Roman thinkers, especially the great philosophers, went a step further to claim that the flowing liquid represented the stream of our consciousness.
No matter which way one chose to view the flow, it was generally accepted that the pitcher was true to its form: a container. This vessel could have contained many things, whether it is the sustenance for life, the constant flow of energy, or the essence of our awareness.
In this regard, the Romans believed that the goddess Temperantia was setting an example for humans, who were the vessels containing the elixir of all life. Our own consciousness and energy flows from within us, and each of us possesses our own ability to moderate what comes out and what stays inside.
Like many of the other female goddesses of great virtue, Temperantia was also frequently featured with or symbolized by a triangle. This geometric symbol meaning held great value across many of the ancient cultures and even continues to make its mark today. Just as it does now, the ancient triangle was first and foremost a sign of the equilibrium necessary for living a happy life.
With a strong foundation balanced by two equal sides (representative of the duality present across life), three energies come together to create a whole. The peak of this wholeness symbolized an ascension to the Romans, speaking to them of climbing the highest mountains and overcoming the most challenging obstacles in an effort to achieve one’s goals.
Each of the ascending sides of the triangle were believed to be affirmations of encouragement from the goddess Temperantia, who lamented of determination and the power of will. Once the upward-pointing summit was reached, it was thought to be an assurance that the individual invoking the symbol would reach their goal(s).
Goddesses were also traditionally represented with beautiful flowers specific to their virtues. In the floral realm, Temperantia was symbolized in nature with the iris. True to this goddess’s list of attributes and messages, the iris was concluded to be indicative of the delicate balance and harmony that exists in the world.
As one of the most honored flowers of the ancient world, it was revered as the connection between mankind and the realm of divinity. Additionally, the Romans believed that Temperantia used this flower to remind them of the often unpleasant realities of this life, such as lessons learned on the battlefield.
The Temperantia symbolism sought to teach humans that we must sometimes accept a willingness to endure discomfort and self-restraint in order to allow our souls to more fully blossom – temperance and moderation at their best. However, she was not a punisher, and this was not meant to be viewed as such. Rather, it was a blessing that one could see when they truly opened their hearts and minds.
Set Of Wings
Although Goddess Temperantia has also been associated with various animals, natural wonders, and even the sword, the final traditionally accepted symbol that has been connected with her is the set of wings. In ancient artworks, she is either portrayed with her own wings or with a dove companion. Wings are known to symbolize freedom and ascension, which explains why this goddess in particular would be depicted with them. They bring forth messages of a higher type of thinking and behaving, just as Temperantia does.
Thus, our journey toward self-knowledge, control, and graceful temperance comes not only from within ourselves: we also receive, to some degree, assistance from the celestial realm. Temperantia symbolism teaches us that before embarking on our own spiritual journeys, we must open our hearts and minds to receiving from the divine forces.