Temperance is an alchemical card. Medieval alchemy was fundamentally about trying to transform the essence of things, usually from something base to something refined. The most obvious and well known example is the attempt to turn lead into gold, but more broadly, alchemy can be understood as the attempt to purify and refine, not only with physical objects (such as metals) but with the human soul itself. Spiritually then, XIV Temperance is about the transformation of the soul in this manner and specifically about taking parts of the soul and concentrating them into something whole and beautifully unique.
I’ve often heard Four of Cups (4C) referred to as the ‘drinking’ card, associated with excessive partying, over indulgence, boredom and inebriation, but haven’t connected any of that previously with the RWS 4C lazy scene, where nothing much seems to be going on at all. The Four of Cups refusal of present day, and his current reality, that includes gifts laden with potential for growth and experiencing new states of being, implies that this figure is still back in the Three of Cups (3C) ‘party in full swing’ mode, and obstinately refusing to move at all.