Today’s card is from the Aquarian Tarot by David Palladini. It is a relatively simple Moon image (it reminds me a bit of the 15th-century Rosenwald sheet, actually). A crescent moon with a classic face rests tranquilly in the center of the card, filling nearly the whole frame.
The Moon is one of the “celestial” cards of the major arcana, falling between The Star and The Sun. In previous eras, quite a bit of negative symbolism was attached to it: delusion, deceit, error, madness, addiction, misfortune – these were just a few of the charming connotations of the Moon in old-school fortune-telling.
Today, most readers are (thankfully) more inclined to emphasize the Moon’s spiritual and mystical aspects. She is one of the main connections with Goddess energy and concepts in the tarot (The High Priestess and Empress being a couple other prominent ones). The Moon is aligned with the tides, with feminine mysteries, magic, and divination.
When I first began learning tarot, someone posted to our email group an analogy for understanding the nature of The Moon card: When you walk a familiar route in the sunlight, you see every detail, all the street signs, all the landmarks (large and small), and you can see every step you take. Walking the same route under moonlight provides you with some evidence of where you are, but you find yourself navigating much more by memory and intuition, flowing through the dark shadows and ambiguous shapes. I’ve always liked that explanation. The Moon is there for those times when we can’t (or choose not to) work everything out logically, in detail, or with lots of data. Sometimes, we are guided instead by hunches, moods, daydreams, or memories.
The Moon’s light is less intense than the Sun’s, which creates a more peaceful mood (dogs howling at the full moon notwithstanding). Moonlight is for lovers, poets, jazz musicians, and gondoliers. When daytime’s ambitions have run their course, and we are weary of focusing, competing, and striving, The Moon takes over. Maybe we sit out on the veranda with a bottle of wine, or lose ourselves in idle recollections and fantasies. It’s the winding-down part of the day, where it is OK to let things be.
In some decks, The Moon may feel very active, and make on think of magic, witchcraft, or the power of instinct and emotion. Palladini’s image, though, exudes contentment, almost to the point of languor. It reminds us that there is magic and power in sometimes just “going with the flow” and letting thoughts and images drift through our minds of their own accord.