I climb to the tower-top and lean upon broken stone,
A mist that is like blown snow is sweeping over all,
Valley, river, and elms, under the light of a moon
That seems unlike itself, that seems unchangeable,
A glittering sword out of the east.
~ William Butler Yeats
As I shuffled my deck and prepared to pull this week’s card, I wondered what might illuminate this momentous week ahead. It brings the Republican national convention and the final affirmation of Mitt Romney as the GOP opponent of Barack Obama. And as I write this, Hurricane Isaac bears down on beloved New Orleans. But not least, this week also brings us a Full Moon — in fact, a Blue Moon, since it is the rare second Full Moon in the same month.
Which is why I was covered in chills as it practically jumped into my hand. Hard on the heels of The Magician and following the deep lunar wisdom of The High Priestess, this week we are challenged by The Moon.
The Moon is the last of the “Nighttime Cards” in the Major Arcana. If we see the Majors in terms of “The Fool’s Journey,” that is, as a progression of the soul’s evolution, or human awareness, this card comes after the lessons of Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, and The Star: all with important lessons about our Shadow self and our fears. As a final rite of initiation, The Moon offers Her mysterious lessons to us.
Unlike The Star that precedes it, and The Sun that will follow it, the Moon does not give off its own light, but reflects the sometimes hidden light of the Sun.
Here we see the dog and the wolf, howling and possibly turned savage under her light. These are the wild parts of ourselves, aroused by the strange light of the Moon.
What is our wild, untamed nature? What dark, perhaps even mad (as in lunacy) parts of us burst forth when our dreams are too intense to process?
The crayfish emerging from the waters of the unconscious is potentially even more frightening. Waite himself described it as, “that which lies deeper than the savage beast.”
This is our reptilian brain: our unreasoning instincts, the part of us that is without control, without words, without logic, but based in obsessive, repetitive, pure survival instinct. What cycles do we repeat, over and over, until finally we heed the understanding hidden within?
The Moon is the card of the imagination, the subconscious, and the fears that lie just below the surface so much of the time. But where there is fear, there is power. And that power is accessible to those who understand, who have made it to this final card of the dark, on the Fool’s Journey.
Like the shaman who travels between worlds, The Moon appears when we must be willing to be stripped of our ego, our cultured personality and logic, in order to go into the deepest, most shadowed realms. Like the shaman, such a journey must never be undertaken without great experience, respect, and preparation, lest terror and madness be all that remain.
If, in fact, we return at all.
Yet there is hope in this card, for there is a road back, if one is willing to face the challenges within. 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 that represents the spark of hidden goodness within.
As Tarot expert Rachel Pollack so beautifully describes it, “If, through preparation and simple courage, we accept the wild things brought out by the deepest imagination, then The Moon brings peace, the terrors subside, and the imagination leads us back, enriched, with its wonders.”
This week, be ready for strangeness, déjà vu, possible fears, intense dreams and emotions. The Pisces Blue Moon means that boundaries may be blurred, and we may feel hypersensitive. This could be a time for unusual psychic activity, but there is great potential for soul-deep healing.
Take extra care to stay grounded and not get swept away. Like Ulysses, you may long to follow the sirens’ song, even if it would lure you to disaster. You might ask your faithful crew to watch your back, or secure you firmly to the mast of your ship.
Under The Moon’s influence, there is a real possibility of confusion, self-deception, and being overwhelmed by the emotions. It is interesting to note that The Moon is the personality/shadow aspect of Mitt Romney. What is real and what is imaginary? Powerful illusions and spin are likely to be at work, carefully hidden behind the scenes.
Look for patterns and listen to your inner guidance. If you need to turn away from outer busy-ness and cultivate inner serenity, do so. Be truthful about any karmic work you need to address.
The way to navigate by the Moon’s light is to honor her powers as she pulls the hidden tides within us, waxing and waning as she will. She can be fickle, lovely, dangerous, seductive, deceptive, and peaceful all at once.
Her gifts can be the juiciest, most intense kind of magic, but they are only given to those who are willing to face the glittering sword out of the East.
Shall we journey together, you and I, through these strange, unnameable realms?