Interior spring cleaning—Temperance

Like most tarotists, I am fascinated by what cards come off the deck when drawn blindly. There are times, though, that I feel lessons can be learned from specific cards. Those lessons do not have to come from a random pull, but are rather better absorbed from a conscious draw—especially when trends or situations are leading toward the lessons in that card anyway.

One such trend seems to be showing up quite a bit in my circles… perhaps because it is spring, which in traditional forms of medicine is kidney season. This means that it is the time when the kidneys kick it up a notch and work extra hard to clear out the dross from winter as your interior systems “melt”. But that also means that if there’s a lot of junk to clear away, the kidneys can become overburdened, leading to a variety of health problems—some of which can be quite serious, and it is best to seek professional medical attention when these come up. There are, however, things you can do to to aid your kidneys at this time that may help overall.

The kidneys are remarkable little organs. Not only do they filter and clean your blood, but they also control fluid balance in your body, mostly through managing salt and mineral levels, and this in turn has an effect on blood pressure since overall pressure in any fluid system is dependent on how much fluid is present in the system.

In the past 2 weeks, I have consulted on 4 instances of not just kidney related issues, but specifically fluid balance promlems, showing up as edema, or swelling and fluid retention in the legs. Whenever health issues come up, I take off my tarotist hat, and put on my Yoga Therapist hat (I’ve been practicing and teaching yoga therapeutics for about 10 years—it’s my “day job”).

Of those 4 instances of edema, 3 have been specifically due to low salt!

You see, for fluids to be absorbed, stored, and UTILIZED by your body, they need to have a certain salinity. Different cell membranes and biological structures are finely tuned so that water of varying degrees of salinity is either absorbed and stored or passed through those membranes. When there is either too much or too little dissolvable salt content in the system overall, certain tissues either store too much fluid, or get dehydrated—and often it’s a matter of both! Because of this, it is actually possible to both drink too much water, have excess fluid stored in the body, and yet at the same time be dehydrated at a deep, cellular level.

For most of us, we don’t have to worry—drink when you’re thirsty, and your kidneys will manage balancing the dissolvable salts available. This only becomes a problem when the kidneys (and indeed the whole system) are depleted of available dissolvable salts.

So, what depletes your kidneys’ reserves of dissolvable salts? The more active the kidneys are, the more quickly the available salt content is depleted. As I said earlier, spring is the time your kidneys kick into high gear and clear the dross from your winter slumber… this requires lots of water, to be sure, but to process all that water and filter it with the junk, the good, available mineral content drops. This effect is exacerbated by additional loads on the kidneys such as fighting infection, since the kidneys are a crucial hub (as blood cleansers) in the immune system’s cycle, and higher than normal stress levels. In turn, when the fluid balance is disturbed, this can affect blood pressure, either raising or lowering it depending on the overall fluid levels. Long-term high blood pressure can damage your kidneys’ efficiency in managing these levels, and they can even become confused—often by raising fluid levels when blood pressure is already high, leading to the swelling in the legs.

OK, so what does this have to do with Tarot?

There is a card in the deck that directly speaks of fluid balance: Temperance. In most traditional decks, it shows a woman pouring water from one cup to another, with care and precision. She is balancing the fluid levels in both cups. Doesn’t this sound familiar?

It’s an awful lot like what your kidneys are doing, day in and day out! It’s no coincidence, then, that she holds the cups just above waist level—as is convenient to do—at kidney level.

From an interior perspective, Temperance is not only speaking to us about balancing our emotions, but she also speaks to us about balancing the fluids—the medium through which our emotions run—in our bodies. She also represents transformation. Great transformation is occurring constantly in your body! Chemical chains are created, transformed, and destroyed with every heart beat, and those transformations occur primarily through the fluids that your kidneys are constantly balancing. These are not just functional organs to keep you alive: they are crucial to your evolution as a living, conscious being!

So, in this season of “spring cleaning,” take out your Temperance card and meditate on her. Nay, BECOME her. Her vessels are your kidneys. Her care is YOUR consciousness. Her ability to manage fluidity—indeed, the flow of life—is in YOUR hands.

On top of it, drink adequate fluids, not too much and not too little, get dissolvable minerals from natural salt sources, and eat your fruits and vegetables, as they contain the most readily available minerals around. Gentle, fluid movement will also help transfer your waters from cup to cup. And if possible elevate your legs at the end of the day or whenever you can to reduce edema and assist venous return. The more serious your condition, the LESS extreme that elevation should be, unless your Doctor recommends differently, as there could be other factors such as blood clots, and you do NOT want those rushing out of your legs! Mild elevation, though, will allow the fluid to trickle, rather than pour, back toward your torso for your heart and kidneys to process at a manageable rate—again, Temperance.

If you feel your kidneys are depleted, consider lowering stress levels. A fellow tarotist suggested that if the 10 of Swords comes up in these matters, consider acupuncture. This is excellent advice, especially for kidney issues… if there’s one thing that TCM knows very well, it’s kidneys!

For more information on blood pressure, fluid balance, and kidney function, click here and here

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