The Meaning of
"The Moon" Tarot Card
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What is the inverted meaning of
The Meaning of
The Symbolism of the Moon Card
On the iconic Moon card of the Major Arcana, a dog and a wolf stand in a grassy field, howling at a brilliant full moon.
To the right and left of the Moon are two stone towers, symbolizing a gateway to the unknown or to the subconscious mind.
To the right and left of the Moon are two stone towers, symbolizing a gateway to the unknown or to the subconscious mind. Descending from the Moon are 15 yod symbols, signifying divinity and power.
The yod symbols seem to separate the foreground scene from the background scene between the two towers — suggesting a spiritual importance to the place of dreams and the realms of the subconscious beyond.
In the foreground a lobster crawls from a pool and onto an earthen path which winds past the barking canines, through the towers, and off into the mountains in the distance.
A.E. Waite, creator of the Rider Waite Tarot wrote over a century ago that the wolf, dog and lobster represent different types of our animal nature, or our primitive fears:
The dog and wolf are the fears of the natural mind in the presence of that place of exit, ... beyond it is the unknown mystery which it cannot shew forth ...
A.E. Waite, 1910
The dogs may howl at what they do not understand, but they cannot enter the place of dreams between the towers. The symbolism here points to different levels of conscious thought — distinguishing between animal fears and higher levels of awakening.
Surrounding the Moon are 16 major and 16 minor rays. The number 16 is symbolic numerologically as it reduces to the number 7, which is number of spirituality, mystery and magic in numerology.
NOTE: Observant tarot readers may recognize the two towers appearing on the Moon card. They also appear far in the background of the Death tarot card. The meaning in both places is the same: The towers mark a gateway to the impenetrable mystery of the unknowable. In the Moon card, the unknown is the subconscious. On the Death card, they mark the gateway to the ultimate unknown.
How to Interpret the Moon Card
The Moon is a card of illusion and the subconscious. Typically when it appears in a reading it suggests that something from the hidden part of our minds has surfaced.
... something deep within us — something beyond the edges or our awareness — may be more influential than we know
This surfacing can have a wide range of outcomes: Perhaps an emotion or a memory which was buried, suddenly becomes relevant in some way. A childhood experience or a deep seated fear may have influence over our decisions. In other cases a subconscious like, dislike or bias may affect our perception in some way — without us even being aware of it.
In many cases we choose things or avoid things subconsciously, because something deep in the hidden part of our minds imperceptibly influences our conscious mind.
The appearance of The Moon card in a reading suggests that something deep within us — something beyond the edges or our awareness — may be more influential than we know.
If the card is referencing a past event, it may point to a past event where subconscious desires or irraational fears played a part. If the card is referencing a future event, it may serve as a gentle warning that our judgement is prone to the influence of our own subconscious.
The Moon card is neither positive or negative — it is simply a call to be aware of the influence of the subconscious. It points to something under the surface, of which we are probably unaware. Needless to say, The Moon is a card shrouded in mystery and uncertainty.
The Moon Card Inverted
The reversed Moon card typically indicates that irrational fears or illusions have begun to surface — or even control someone.
Sometimes our fears become amplified, to the point where they're larger than life. At other times, our minds seize on an irrational fear, which no matter how unlikely or impossible, we believe is to be likely or possible.
We may connect the dots in a way that leads us to a false conclusion. Or we may only be looking at one part of a bigger picture...
Sometimes we become controlled by fears, like the fear of failure or the fear of rejection — to the point where our fears inhibit our actions. At times, we may project our fears onto others, and our fears may influence our work, our relationships or our general outlook on life.
In other cases, the inverted Moon card references an illusion, not a fear. Illusions too, are the products of our minds. We believe we see something, which may not be there. We may connect the dots in a way that leads us to a false conclusion. Or we may only be looking at one part of a bigger picture — leading us to an understanding which is incorrect.
The possibility that what we think we know may not be real can give rise to a period of uncertainty. Illusions can temporarily make us question our beliefs, our relationships and everything we hold dear.
When the reversed Moon card rises in a tarot reading, it's usually an indication that an illusion or fear is cause for concern. Someone is either blowing a fear or a worry out of proportion, or someone's perception of something is distorted in some way.
The card asks us to re-evaluate what we think we know. Are our assumptions correct? Or are they illusions, mirages or irrational concerns?
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