The Moon Tarot card is a difficult card for many people to understand, myself included. I learned to read Tarot with the Rider-Waite cards and for a long time I had only an intellectual understanding of the meaning of the Rider-Waite Moon card. The Moon Tarot card meanings seemed broad and vague. The image showed a crayfish emerging from a pond, heading toward a path that led off into the distance between two towers. There were two canines in the middle of the card. One was supposed to represent our wild side and the other our domesticated side(?). And that moon with its eyes closed, what did that mean? I really struggled with this card for years because I could not fully relate to it.
The Moon card indicates the subconscious (the pond) and the crayfish emerging from the water shows the first steps a person makes toward consciousness. There is an eeriness here because things are not yet clear. It seems this is going to be something scary we must go through in our lives. The landscape becomes austere and foreboding in the distance and it is nighttime. Sometimes this card is thought of as ‘the dark night of the soul.’
The Moon is traditionally a card of intuition, dreams, and striving toward consciousness. It can also indicate illusion, deception, fears and things hidden within the subconscious that need to be released. The wolf can represent what needs to be released from the subconscious. The two towers remind me of the old tales of someone embarking out into the wide world and having to leave the confines of their protective environment to do so… like Bilbo Baggins leaving the Shire.
When I look at this card, I do see things of fear that I can relate to… like the dark. I have never been able to fully overcome my life-long fear of the dark. I can deal with it by going into a dark room by way of the light switch, but walking the dog at night is a scary proposition if there are no street lights. It is odd that I have always loved monster movies in spite of this, but I have noticed there is generally someone in the movie who goes alone into a dark room or alley to investigate some odd sound that is going to turn out to be a monster. (What are they thinking?!) Fear of the dark is a palpable thing you can feel in your stomach and hear in your mind. I can see this reflected in The Moon card.
But what about the good things of the card, like dreams and intuition? And the difficult element of the Shadow? Those are symbolic realms of the moon, to be sure, but I had a hard time seeing them in the Rider-Waite card. Yods are drifting down from the moon in this image, like manna from Heaven. Perhaps the dreams and intuition are represented by these. But I somehow always saw them as protection. (Back to the fear of the dark thing, I guess.)
And then something happened in my life that broadened my perception of this card. I had a hypnotherapy session wherein my inner self went deep, deep, DEEP underwater. When I reached whatever level I was apparently meant to go, I started swimming upward. Then a hand reached down into the water and pulled me up on the land. This person then led me into a scene where I experienced a regression into an important past life event. As a direct result of this hypnotherapy session, things were released within me that I had not known were there. Because the issue at the root of this experience was healed during that session, I was freed of its subconscious hold. That hold had been a shadow element for me, of which I was completely unaware. It was something I needed to release and to do that, I had to see it, understand it and re-experience it in an empowering way. This was the key to the release. Once this occurred, my inner life changed in positive ways. This in turn led to positive changes in my outer life. (Doesn’t it always.)
Not too long after that hypnotherapy session, I was working with my Tarot cards and using the Tarot de Paris deck. I love this deck and its deep esoteric underpinnings. On this particular day, The Moon card happened to show up in a spread. As I looked at the card, I noticed the water. Then, immediately, my hypnotherapy session came to my mind and in a flash, I understood The Moon card in a deeper way than ever before. Since that day, I have understood this card as immersing oneself in the dark water of the subconscious. There is a need to go into that water and ’swim’ under and through the mental and emotional constructs we create for ourselves (the cathedral). Like the land path that leads through the towers in the Rider-Waite card, we must strive to get through to the other side, toward the light. The water in the Tarot de Paris Moon card will always speak to me of the need to access the subconscious for wisdom, illumination and wholeness.
The Tarot de Paris Moon card has been my all-time favorite Moon card ever since that revelation. It still is my favorite, but now there is a new Moon card very close behind it, from The Fountain Tarot. The two cards have a lot of similar symbols I can totally relate to. There is that dark, scary water where things can be hidden. There are unique towers. On The Fountain Tarot card there are the faintest forms of the dog and wolf howling at the moon, like on the Rider-Waite card. These are repeated in the gargoyles of the Tarot de Paris card. In both images, there are fear factors shown, yet still a sense of hope and guidance can be seen in the glow of the moon and its reflection on the water of our subconscious. There is a light shining on – and in – the darkness.
If you find yourself struggling to understand this card, I hope these insights will help you. This card is a reminder of the necessity to work through your fears, your shadows and your illusions – even if it is scary and intimidating. Getting through to the light of understanding will pay off handsomely. Be brave. Have courage and determination. You will find profound truths about yourself within your light.
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