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The Moon Card in Tarot and How to Read It

Andrea has a background in astrology, Myers Briggs, and pop culture with expertise in relationships and dating.

When we don't process our feelings, our conscious and subconscious minds can blur. We start to get confused about reality and our dreams. Everything becomes an illusion.

When we don't process our feelings, our conscious and subconscious minds can blur. We start to get confused about reality and our dreams. Everything becomes an illusion.

The Moon Card

The Moon is the 18th trump in the Major Arcana and is in sequence with the Star, Sun, Judgment, and World cards. The Moon has to do with strong emotional influences and unconscious impulses.

Description

The card depicts a scene at night. There are two pillars, which relates to the common theme throughout Tarot of dualism and the conscious and subconscious minds. A wolf—representing fear—howls at the Moon, and a crayfish—representing the astrological sign of Cancer—emerges from the water. Ultimately, this card represents the imagination as the Moon's light indicates mystery and curiosity of the beyond.

The Moon illuminates our animal nature. According to Arthur Waite, "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.'"

Element: Water

Associated Sign: Cancer

Next Card: The Sun

Alternative Decks

  • In the "Flemish Deck" by Vandenborre, the Moon card shows a woman seated in the right hand corner. A tree is in the left hand corner. The woman is working on spinning fibers. She's keeping them untangled.
  • In the 17th Century French Vieville Tarot deck, an old woman sits by a tree with a spindle and distaff. The Moon shines above her.

Meaning

The Moon card is about overwhelming emotions. You may feel unbalanced or as if your mind is overwhelmed with thoughts. You might presently be engaged in an emotionally charged situation.

Since your emotions are running high, you're likely struggling to get sleep. When you can't get enough sleep, your conscious and subconscious minds start to blur. You have trouble separating reality from dreams and visions.

There is a good chance you are grieving something or feel hurt. Someone may have psychically attacked you, draining you of your energy. If so, the card is indicating that you need to work on better self-defense mechanisms. You need to protect yourself from negative energies, downcast people, and the like. If you don't protect your energy, no one will. When your energy is low, you fall prey to depression and anxiety.

Recommendations for Protecting Your Energy

  • Try to keep a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Cut back on social media apps and watching the news.
  • Practice yoga and meditation.
  • Journal your thoughts. Keep tabs on things that cause you to feel negative.
  • Consider what you eat and put into your body.
  • Avoid having a sedentary lifestyle. Get up and move throughout the day. Movement is fuel for your body.

Card Alignments

Upright

Deception, a difficult period, anxiety, anger, subconscious, fear, hidden things, insecurity, confusion, uncertainty, illusion, setbacks, frustration, out-of-balance, impending doom.

Reversed

Insomnia, mysteries explained, release of fear, unhappiness, unusual dreams, sleep paralysis, repressed emotions, inner confusion, nightmares, mania, overwhelmed.

The Moon card is about your unconscious mind. You're encouraged to look into your deepest fears. Unprocessed trauma could be making rude appearances during your waking life.

The Moon card is about your unconscious mind. You're encouraged to look into your deepest fears. Unprocessed trauma could be making rude appearances during your waking life.

The Moon Across Cultures

Judeo-Christian

The Moon is mentioned more than 60 times in the Bible. Some of the most famous verses have to do with the Moon turning into blood.

"The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the Moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord." — Joel 2:31

The Moon was often used to highlight cosmic events, divine epiphanies, and mark major events in human history. (See, for example, Revelations 21-23.)

The Moon is a symbol for the true people of God, while the Sun is the symbol for God himself.

  • God creates life and the Sun promotes life.
  • God has his own light and doesn't need another light source.
  • God is eternal. Stars have a long lifespan.
  • The Moon has a strong influence on Earth's tides. People have the power to provoke mass movements.
  • The Moon cannot shine on its own. People cannot exist on their own; the Universe brings them into life.
  • The Moon reflects the light of the Sun. Mortals reflect a fraction of the infinite; they have the power to conceptualize infinity in their minds.

Moon Gods and Goddesses

There is a very long list of lunar gods as just about every culture has had some personification of the Moon and the Sun.

In Greek mythology, Selene was the goddess of the Moon. She drives her Moon chariot across the heavens. She had several lovers including Zeus, Pan, and the mortal Endymion. Selene is often identified with Artemis. Her brother Heilos was identified with Apollo.

Selene and Artemis are identified with Hecate—all three were considered moon and lunar goddesses. Only Selene was considered the personification of the Moon. Luna is her Roman equivalent.

Moon Magic

Several cultures have rituals in relation to the different phases of the Moon. Those practicing moon magic believe it can bring about physical or psychological change.

Some of the most important rituals occur around the full moon or the new moon. The full moon is also relevant to a long list of folklore creatures, including the well-known werewolf.

Moon magic practices are common among neopagans and Wiccans. The Moon is often used to perform a love spell.

Werewolves have no control over their impulses. They are prey to the phases of the Moon. They become restless wanderers who refuse the light of day.

Werewolves have no control over their impulses. They are prey to the phases of the Moon. They become restless wanderers who refuse the light of day.

Symbols Related to the Mind

  1. The Moon is a symbol for intuition, dreams, and the subconscious. It lights up the path between the two towers. The path will take you on a journey to higher consciousness.
  2. The crayfish crawls out of the pool of water. It symbolizes the early stages of consciousness because it is young and not fully developed. It is easily influenced because it hasn't learned how to control and use its mind.
  3. A dog and a wolf howl at the Moon, representing both the tamed and wild aspects of our minds.

Psychology

The subconscious is the part of the mind that isn't fully aware. Sigmund Freud used the term subconscious to refer to the impulses and associations not accessible to the conscious. He later abandoned the term for the word unconscious.

The unconscious mind deals with thought processes, memories, interests, and motivations. Some psychologists believe the unconscious mind has an effect on one's behavior.

The unconscious includes: phobias, hidden desires, subliminal perceptions, automatic reactions, automatic skills, repressed feelings, and more.

  • Freud saw unconscious processes to be directly understood in dreams, slips of the tongue, and jokes.
  • The unconscious mind is the source of dreams and automatic thoughts, the storehouse for forgotten memories.
  • Phenomena related to semi-consciousness includes: awakening, trances, hypnosis, sleepwalking, and comas.

Carl Jung theorized there is a limit to what can be held in our conscious awareness. He suggested there was an alternative storehouse that hosted our knowledge and prior experience.

Psychology has put a modern spin on concepts relating to the mind. However, humans have been trying to unravel the mysteries of the mind ever since they could walk.

  • Unconscious aspects of the mind were studied in antiquity but with different terminology. The mind was referred to between 2,500 and 600 BCE in Hindu texts, such as the Vedas.
  • Paracelsus is credited with making the first mention of the unconscious aspect of the mind in his work in 1567.
  • Shakespeare explored the role of the unconscious in many of his plays—Hamlet is a good example of this.
The Moon card is related to the astrological sign Cancer. The 4th sign of the zodiac is known for mood-shifts, flirtatious charisma, nurturing ways, and creativity.

The Moon card is related to the astrological sign Cancer. The 4th sign of the zodiac is known for mood-shifts, flirtatious charisma, nurturing ways, and creativity.

Upright Moon

The Moon represents fears and illusions. It is possible you are projecting unnecessary fears into your present and future. This could be causing you to have anxiety with noticeable physical symptoms, like a racing heartbeat.

You may have a painful memory that you can't put to rest. You're not dealing with it effectively, so the memory gets louder and louder. We all have unprocessed trauma and generational trauma. Addressing it and resolving it will help you to have normal sleep again.

Repressed emotions can be powerful. If they're strong enough, it can make it difficult to know the difference between your conscious and subconscious minds. You'll struggle to know the difference between your waking life and dreams.

For instance, if you were in a really bad situation, like a wildfire, you may have fears that pop up around summer, while visiting places that remind you of the disaster, and even candles.

For veterans, fireworks often trigger PTSD. It reminds them of the violence they encountered while in combat. Without proper support, these invasive memories can make someone feel lonely and depressed.

To bring back some sanity, you will need to recognize your fears and release them. You can't let these things hold you back forever, and if you ignore them for too long then your paranoia may grow out of hand.

  • A therapist can help you with unsettling memories.
  • Hypnosis can help if you're struggling with unwanted thoughts or behaviors.
  • Meditation and yoga can help you find a sense of calm.
  • If you've never had a session with a psychic or energy healer, now might be the best time to see what it's like.
  • A pastor can help you get plugged into a community.

The Moon is all about uncertainty. Our fears play off uncertainty, the unknown, and danger. We like to know what are our risks. We don't like to jump into something out of blind faith.

You need to feel into situations and not just think about what they mean. Let go of your conscious mental blocks and negative self-talk. Try to unclog your intuition, so it can guide you.

Get in touch with your subconscious, so you can interpret it. If you don't pay attention to your dreams then how will you be able to determine what they mean?

The Moon card is a reminder that you should pay attention to your progress and what you do on a monthly basis. Set monthly goals for yourself. (The Moon got its name because it was used to measure months.)

  • 30 days is enough time to set new behaviors.
  • 30 days is a powerful amount of time to dedicate to a new skill.
  • 30 days can help guide you out of trouble.
  • Over a month, set new intentions and see how they grow.

Reversed Moon

The Reversed Moon indicates that the negative energies you're dealing with are subsiding. You are actively working through your fears, anxieties, and paranoia. This process can be unpleasant and look disparaging.

Our anxieties are often attached to a limited belief system. You're needing to let go of ideas and things that no longer serve you. You have unhealthy attachments in your life, and those attachments might simply live inside your head.

  • Let go of high expectations.
  • Be willing to accept new dreams and opportunities.
  • Don't be so stubborn that you have to have something a certain way.

Working through your anxieties can be liberating. It's hard work, but in the end, you'll be more in tune with yourself.

Don't bury your feelings. Hiding your feelings from yourself will backfire. You need to recognize the way you feel, acknowledge it, and give it direction.

Deal with your emotions head-on. You can only push emotions off to the side for so long before your mind requires that you deal with it.

The Reversed Moon can indicate you are getting intuitive messages, but you're not sure how to interpret them. The messages you're getting in your life are confusing to you.

When the Reversed Moon appears, you should listen to your inner voice. Spend time in solitude to try to hear your thoughts. You need to trust your inner guidance system to help you manage your life.

  • Keep a dream journal. Dreams are how your subconscious tries to communicate with you.
  • Get enough sleep so that you reach the REM cycle.
  • Avoid things that keep you up too late.
  • Try putting yourself in a room or closet with no distractions.

References

  • Allen, Thomas W., E. E. Sikes. The Homeric Hymns, edited, with preface, apparatus criticus, notes, and appendices. London. Macmillan. 1904.
  • Freud, Sigmund (1955). The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume II (1893 - 1895). The Hogarth Press.
  • Jung, Carl (1964). "Approaching the unconscious". Man and his Symbols. Doubleday. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-385-05221-4.
  • Locke, Edwin A.; Kristof, Amy L. (1996). "Volitional Choices in the Goal Achievement Process". In Gollwitzer, Peter M.; Bargh, John A. (eds.). The Psychology of Action: Linking Cognition and Motivation to Behavior. Guilford Press. p. 370.
  • Waite, A. E. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot: Being fragments of a Secret Tradition under the Veil of Divination. London, W. Rider, 1911.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2021 Andrea Lawrence

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