The Moon Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretations

The Moon Tarot card meaning and interpretation

The Moon is a deeply symbolic entity which makes understand its meaning challenging in any spread. Before technology it was used to mark the passing of each month in a year. In any year there are approximately 12 lunar cycles which is why we have 12 months in a year. Timing is a key element of The Moon's symbology and this can be a useful attribute when reading tarot cards as its appearance, and sometimes position, may signify a period of one month. For example, next to the 5 Of Pentacles it could mean that it will take a month, or one lunar cycle, to recover from an injury.

The Moon is the most dynamic object in our sky, its light and visibility different each night. The Sun and the stars change position but their light and visibility always remain constant. Change is a central theme of The Moon's symbology. Timing of future events is a challenging skill with Tarot and an awareness of the current lunar cycle should be kept in mind when reading tarot and determining time scales. Some Tarot decks depict The Moon in other cards in its different phases, either waning crescent, full or waxing crescent. Never ignore these subtle details as they can also be helpful timing guides.

Lunar light is not the same as Solar light as one is just a weaker reflection of the other. Solar light warms the earth and provides energy for growth, lunar light is a cold light which does not. On the night of a new moon that light will be no better than the light of the stars for visibility in the darkness. Poor visibility is another central theme of The Moon's symbology. In Lunar light things are not what they seem and can be distorted, illusionary, confusing and disorientating. Symbolically The Moon represents our subconscious and its fears, dreams, nightmares and deep rooted and suppressed emotional issues. The Sun represents our conscious mind, reality and truth.

Tarot gets its framework and structure from numerology and numerology's origins are in how mankind relates to the cycles of The Moon. Our decimal numbering system, and numerology, are probably linked to the 9 lunar cycles it takes from conception until birth of a human. This is why the number 9 is known as the number of man or humanity. Since the menstrual cycle of a woman is, on average, approximately one lunar month there has always been a deeply felt connection between mankind and the moon. In Tarot The Moon is card 18 of the Major Arcana which numerology reduces to a 9 (1+8=9). The number 9 is the final number in the cycle of the 9 numbers and it is symbolic of endings. Therefore the change that The Moon represents is a cyclic change, not an abrupt one like we'd associate with Death or The Tower but a natural ending which should be expected. The 9th card of the Major Arcana is The Hermit who carries a torch to light his way in the darkness. He is more commonly depicted travelling at night time with no moon to light his way, only his torch. If you are looking for a time marker for a new moon then The Hermit would be a good fit.

The Rider Waite Smith (RWS) deck depicts The Moon as full and at its zenith in the night time sky. Below it are a dog and wolf barking and howling at it, fearful of what they don't understand and cannot comprehend. The lobster, a creature from deep waters, has surfaced and come ashore in a symbolic reference to deep rooted, negative feelings rising to the surface. The Moon appears in 3 other cards in the RWS deck. It can be seen, as a waxing crescent, at the feet of The High Priestess and high in the sky in the 2 Of Swords. In these cards it is symbolic of poor light and visibility, secrets and mysteries. The RWS 8 Of Cups has a full moon providing enough light for the traveller to navigate in the darkness of night.

The Moon is a card of illusion, confusion, falseness, monthly cycles, imagination, fears and the subconscious (dreams and nightmares). The light of the Sun warms us, brightens our spirits and make's our crops grow that we can eat. The light of the moon is a false light, a reflected light, a light that is never the same from night to night. In the light of the moon the world appears differently and our ancient instinct is to fear the night and what prowls in the darkness. The Moon can be a useful time marker in Tarot. Events indicated by surrounding cards may come to pass around the full moon.

© Phuture Me Ltd 2010-2019. All rights reserved.


By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)

The distinction between this card and some of the conventional types is that the moon is increasing on what is called the side of mercy, to the right of the observer. It has sixteen chief and sixteen secondary rays. The card represents life of the imagination apart from life of the spirit. The path between the towers is the issue into the unknown. The dog and wolf are the fears of the natural mind in the presence of that place of exit, when there is only reflected light to guide it.

The last reference is a key to another form of symbolism. The intellectual light is a reflection and beyond it is the unknown mystery which it cannot shew forth. It illuminates our animal nature, types of which are represented below--the dog, the wolf and that which comes up out of the deeps, the nameless and hideous tendency which is lower than the savage beast. It strives to attain manifestation, symbolized by crawling from the abyss of water to the land, but as a rule it sinks back whence it came. The face of the mind directs a calm gaze upon the unrest below; the dew of thought falls; the message is: Peace, be still; and it may be that there shall come a calm upon the animal nature, while the abyss beneath shall cease from giving up a form.

Related Tarot Cards

The Nine of Wands Tarot card meaning and interpretation The Nine of Pentacles Tarot card meaning and interpretation The Nine of Swords Tarot card meaning and interpretation The Nine of Cups Tarot card meaning and interpretation
The Two of Swords Tarot card meaning and interpretation The Eight of Cups Tarot card meaning and interpretation The High Priestess Tarot card meaning and interpretation The Hermit Tarot card meaning and interpretation

© Phuture Me Ltd 2019. All rights reserved.

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