Tarot Insight: The Moon

The Moon is the card of delirium – of art, madness, midnight revelry. It is the unconscious, and as such is the card of those who mine it – artists, musicians, magicians and madmen.

In the traditional Moon card, as shown in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, two pillars stand at opposite ends of a river, and a coyote, dog and crayfish howl at a moon hovering overhead which dispenses drops of lunar essence downward into the stream. Related to the Hebrew letter Qoph and the astrological sign Pisces, the Moon is the path of the open unconscious, which we stare into as if into a pool of dark water, looking for keys and clues to our secret inner selves, the secret fragments of self that hide from the solar light of our daily, work-a-day consciousnesses.

It is in the path of the Moon that we walk when we open up our inner sight through dreaming, vision work, improving our psychic faculties; when we write unstructured poetry or draw freely, directly on the page, seeking to allow some kind of direct visionary faculty access to manifestation; or when we engage in intoxication of one form or another. The Moon is Dionysian – in stark contrast to the reason and logic of the Sun, the moon is the illumination that occurs in darkness, when the rational mind is shut up and the depths rise up to show what lurks beneath.

And it is a card of deception, of lies, for no matter how intoxicating and fascinating the secrets of our unconsciousness may seem to be, no matter how beautiful our dreams, they are still dreams and vapor visions, flitting by on the walls of our projected reality, intangible. Though coursing with incredible, impossible beauty, they are still only visions; reach out to grab them and see them turn to smoke in your hand.

For the Moon may be a Gateway to our inner selves, but it is only a Gateway. Press on through the depths of your inner dreams and visions, and arrive at a new zone of your inner nature. Find what dwells beyond the visions…

(If the Moon comes up in a reading, it often stands for an Illusion, whether pleasant or unpleasant; it can stand for lies and obfuscation; and it can also stand for the initiation into the Unconsciousness itself.)

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