By Darren Shill
It’s the first #tarottuesday of 2019! Err… it’s the first post anyway. We all gave ourselves a bit of a break over the holidays and we’re feeling refreshed and ready! Whatever the new year means to you, we hope it brings you health, happiness, love and lots of amazing books and tarot cards! We can help a little bit with all of those things!
We’re kicking off the year with The Moon…
The Moon in tarot shares much with The High Priestess. There is a sense of mystery and enigma about both cards that can make their presence in a reading sometimes confusing, with clarity brought by the cards that accompany them. You won’t be surprised therefore if this look at The Moon gets stranger before it gets clearer … and then just stranger again!
In an earlier blog on The High Priestess, I mentioned that The Moon is not necessarily the moon, The High Priestess is the moon. Yes, that was purposefully enigmatic (those are the demands of The High Priestess!) and, yes, you now deserve an explanation. It is as if the qualities of the moon have been allocated between the two cards – the higher themes (i.e. perhaps more Qabalistic themes) are associated with The High Priestess. A sense of connection between humanity and the divine. The role of initiation. The revealing of what lies behind the veil. The Moon takes it’s fill of what is left but there is also plenty they share; a lunar Venn diagram if you will. Falling under these qualities are a strong feminine essence, a sense of mystery and a silence that accompanies this mystery plus they are also both rooted in the subconscious and have a watery connection.
So, what is unique to The Moon? Let’s look at the symbolism in the Luna Sol Tarot. Both the card’s layout and its order, falling between The Star and The Sun, provide guidance here. The strong, watery (subconscious) motif of the Star is here at the front of The Moon. And there, at the back of The Moon card, behind the mountains, is a doorway leading to The Sun, the conscious mind.
This is therefore very much an inner journey. There is often a sense of fear, symbolised by the two crumbling towers, but the moon can also provide guidance – see the two torches of Hecate, Greek Goddess of magic and crossroads. The crayfish in the foreground is a symbol of consciousness awakening and ego. The two animals on the route to the mountains are a wolf, representing nature and a dog, representing the domesticated and more human adapted quality of art. The cycles of the moon around it’s main body showing the moons association including biorhythms, tides and perhaps even the transition from life to death. It reminds us of the mutable, ever-changing nature of existence.
It is not uncommon for a Major Arcana to herald the appearance of the next in the Luna Sol, or at least provide a sequential link. But here, the appearance of the sun in the distance reminds us of one other quality of the moon, namely whilst it appears to illuminate by itself it is actually the reflected light of the sun. And this is one of the main interpretive meanings of The Moon, masking one thing for another. In terms of advice this might mean looking out for deception. Or perhaps paying attention to dreams. In terms of pursuits it might point you towards acting or writing poetry, where one meaning masks another. Combined with the fear that can be associated with this card it be also be a calling to take care of mental health. This is a time when your intuition is more highly attuned than usual, but it certainly does not mean that every hunch is correct.
But I’ll end on aside – how typical of The Moon to lead you off of the path and on to the moor. This does not apply to the spirit with which The Moon was created in the Luna Sol, but there are some tarot decks where The Moon can indicate something distinctly eerie. It reminds me of the book Neil Gaiman said he would love to write consisting completely of the word “spooky”, but with increasing number of “oo”s. The Moon is arguably the spookiest tarot card there is, which is saying something when you have The Devil and Death for company! This may well hark back to the nocturnal element of fear that accompanies this card. When things are occluded or masked in the night we may well conjure up the uncanny. I will let Aleister Crowley provide the last piece of wonderfully melodramatic advice from The Book of Thoth in this regard:
Whatever horrors may afflict the soul, whatever abominations may excite the loathing of the heart, whatever terrors may assail the mind, the answer is the same at every stage: “How splendid is the Adventure!”
The presence of mystery and potential confusion or deceit. An inward journey that may evoke fear but will ultimately provide conscious rewards. Pay attention to dreams.
Here’s hoping your year is off to a great start! Read about how ours is going so far here.