Moon! Moon! I am prone before you. Pity
me, and drench me in loneliness.
~ Amy Lowell (1874-1925)
The unprecedented string of Major Arcana cards continues.
This week, strangeness and possible illusions may be in store, for our card is The Moon. If we see the trumps in terms of a progression of the soul’s evolution, or human awareness, The Moon comes after the lessons of Death, Temperance, the Devil, the Tower, and the Star. Each of these offers important teachings about our shadow self and our fears.
So it seems to me that this is the final exam of the Nighttime Cards. If we dare to walk the path of the Moon, we will be moving through the final initiation of the Dark.
Here we see a ferocious dog and a wolf, howling and hackles raised. One of my favorite Tarot authors, Paul Quinn, notes that this may be a reference to the French idiom entre chien et loup, which means “between dog and wolf.”
French translator and blogger Céline Graciet explains, “Entre chien et loup is a multi-layered expression. It is used to describe a specific time of day, just before night, when the light is so dim you can’t distinguish a dog from a wolf. However, it’s not all about levels of light. It also expresses that limit between the familiar, the comfortable versus the unknown and the dangerous (or between the domestic and the wild). It is an uncertain threshold between hope and fear.”
Other images here are also mysterious and vaguely disturbing. Waite himself describes the crayfish emerging from the waters as, “that which lies deeper than the savage beast.”
This reminds me of the “reptilian” part of our brain, the brain stem which controls the autonomic, involuntary physical processes. It is the part of our brain that is responsible for rage, xenophobia, and basic survival fight-or-flight responses. It is deep, nonverbal, and non-rational, and the source of nightmares.
This is the card of the imagination, the subconscious, and the fears that lie just below the surface so much of the time. It speaks of cycles and patterns of which we may be only partially aware, but which strongly influence us just the same.
The Moon is a mirror; what will it reveal? It is a light that guides us in the night; what darkness lies about us now? And it is the ever-changing, most ancient and beautiful Mystery that pulls our women’s blood and ocean’s tides. What dark memory, past life, or dream haunts you?
While there is uncertainty and even a hint of danger in this card, there is also great power and hope. The path is clear, once the challenges are met. If we are willing to walk through the gateway made by the two towers, the Moon’s light appears in droplets that are, in fact, yods – the Hebrew letter representing the will and blessings of the Divine.
This week, do not be surprised to see fears take center stage. Be prepared for intense dreams and emotions. The Moon often appears when we need to examine the repeating patterns and possible distortions in our lives. And while your intuitive skills may be much more powerful than usual, try to stay grounded and not get swept away, for there is a strong possibility of illusion.
The Moon can be fickle, lovely, seductive, wild, and peaceful all at once. Her gifts are given to those who are willing to go beyond the surface, unmask deception, and forgo familiar comforts.
Shall we journey together into these strange, unnameable realms?