The Moon Card in the Tarot Deck

Posted by on Jul 2, 2016 in Astrology, New Moon, Tarot | 0 comments


Happy new Moon in Cancer this July 4th 2016! A tarot card that many people have trouble understanding is The Moon card, number 18 of the 22 major arcana cards in the tarot pack. Tarot cards illustrate symbols and myths that are allegorical of life experiences and situations. By reading your personal experience in the cards, you become part of the collective whole of human experience.

This greater whole is based on the structural foundation of the four elements fire, water, air, and earth. These four elements are symbolized as the wand (club), cup (heart), sword (spade), and pentacle (diamond) suits of the tarot. They are numbered one (Ace) through 10, just like a playing deck.

In the tarot deck there are also 16 court cards, or royal figures, who rule the four elements. The King, Queen, Knight and Page of tarot correlate to the King, Queen, and Jack in playing cards.

What distinguishes tarot from a playing deck are the 22 cards of the tarot, referred to as the major arcana. These cards tell a story of The Fool’s journey, the story the soul’s evolution. #18 of the major arcana is The Moon card.

All that flows is balanced in rhythm with the Moon. The Moon governs water on earth, ocean tides, reproductive cycles, the weather, and fluids of the human body, animals, and plants. The Moon also rules emotions.

In the tarot, The Moon card represents personal development, growth, change, and evolution. Just as the Moon in the night sky changes in phases, your Moon metamorphosis also occurs in phases. Your personality evolves as forgotten talents and interests surface.

There are 8 lunar phases each lunar month. The 8 phases can be understood by observing plant growth. As above, so below.

  1. The new Moon is like a seed planted in the earth, ready to grow, full of potential and energy for the journey. A new concept has taken hold. The new Moon rises at sunrise and sets at sunset. She is not visible in the night sky.
  2. The crescent Moon is the sprout. The seed had broken through the moist dark earth and reaches upward. One must break from the past, from the moist, familiar earth to venture forward. The crescent Moon rises mid-morning and sets after sunset. She is the first visible sliver of Moon seen in the western sky in the late afternoon and early evening.
  3. The first quarter Moon is the growth phase. Roots venture deeper, the stem shoots up, and leaves form to create a new strong body. There is much action as development quickens. The Moon rises around noon and sets at midnight. She is visible from the time she rises until the time she sets.
  4. The gibbous Moon is the bud of the plant, the pulse of life wrapped tightly, needing to expand. This is the time to analyze, refine, and purify. The gibbous Moon rises mid-afternoon and sets before dawn. She is the bulging Moon, ready to be visible soon after she rises until she sets.
  5. The full Moon is the flower, the open blossom, sharing light and beauty to the fullest. There is a desire to enjoy companionship and merge deeply with another. The full Moon rises at sunset and sets at sunrise. She is visible all night long from moonrise to moonset.
  6. The disseminating Moon is the fruit of the plant’s life cycle, the fruits of wisdom and experience. At this Moon phase, you have much to share and teach. You can live your truth. The disseminating Moon rises mid-evening and sets mid-morning. She is visible in the night sky from the time she rises almost until she sets.   
  7. The last quarter Moon is the harvest phase, when the plant gives away its life so that others may continue theirs. Now is the powerful reward of the Moon card, the phase of reflection and transformation while maintaining different roles as you skillfully balance your external and internal worlds. The last quarter Moon rises around midnight and sets around noon. She is visible from the time she rises until she sets.
  8. The balsamic Moon is the compost phase. Nutrients remain in the soil, providing nourishment for the next new seed. The cycle is complete. Now is the time of insight, patience, and understanding. The balsamic Moon rises before dawn and sets mid-afternoon. She is the last sliver of Moon seen in the eastern sky at dawn and in the very early morning.

To receive The Moon card indicates that you will experience the Moon’s eight-phase cycle. But your outcome is not guaranteed. The plant might not survive. This is not a card of lunacy as some tarot interpretations have claimed, but sometimes during the middle of a Moon change, one may feel a bit off-balance. The Moon card is ruled by the mutable waters of Pisces, so try to flow and not become confused or fearful by nebulous Piscean energy. (Although the Moon is usually associated with the astrology sign Cancer, in tarot Cancer rules The Chariot #7, not The Moon card.)   

In the popular Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck, The Moon card image depicts a portal through which the initiate must pass in order to be transformed. There is a winding, meandering path, flowing like a river. There will be twists and bends in the road before completion. One experiences evolution to a whole new being, just as the dog evolved from the wolf. A crayfish emerges from the waters, half in water and half on land. These feral animals signify the primality of lunar energy.

The divinatory meaning of The Moon is that you are in the middle of a form of evolution. You no longer desire what you did in the past, but you have not yet developed a new sensibility or emotional response. You are unformed, but begin to take on new shape. Events may take more time than anticipated, and the outcome may differ from original intent.

Wishing you a happy new Moon,



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