Temperance: Keeping Your Balance In The Aftermath Of The Boston Marathon Bombing Tragedy

I was going to do a post today on the Tarot of the Boston Marathon bombings but the truth is I don’t have the heart. I feel unwilling to use Tarot cards to tell yet another sad story about a horrendous tragedy that has captured the world’s attention. My instinct is to focus on the good not the evil. To highlight the heroic actions of the many rather than the cowardly hateful actions of the few. And it turns out I’m not alone…

Yesterday Patton Oswalt an American stand-up comedian, writer and actor posted the following message on his Facebook page:

Boston. Fucking horrible. 

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths. 

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness. 

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago. 

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

Patton has summed up exactly how I feel. Let’s mourn the innocents and celebrate the many heroic actions rather than focus on the evil deeds of the few. It’s the only way I know how to keep my balance in the aftermath of a terrible tragedy such as this one.

The Tarot card which represents the desire to stay healthy in the face of challenging events is Temperance. It comes straight after the Death card in Life Lessons Tarot (aka the Major Arcana.)


An angel pours water from one cup to another. Note how the water in the lower cup is flowing to the higher one i.e. towards a higher plane. Our angel’s job is to ‘temper’ the contents of the cups, to find balance. The act of pouring water from one cup to another is very soothing, you should try it if you’ve never had a go. Temperance represents a calming energy and is traditionally considered a card of healing.

We are all scarred by the Boston bombing, by every bombing, every act of mayhem and murder no matter which country or culture it occurs in. But what helps me cope is to concentrate on remembering that the good always outnumber the bad.

How do you cope with tragic news such as this?

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