Updated: Apr 21, 2021
I have made mention of the zodiac season and its corresponding tarot card before, but I've never explained where that comes from. Allow me to do so now! The Rider-Waite-Smith deck is the foundational deck for most tarot today. When I pull cards for the collective, it is the deck that I use. It was created by A. E. Waite and Pamela Coleman Smith, and published by the Rider company. Both Waite and Smith were members of the occult secret society, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The Golden Dawn taught that the tarot corresponded with the zodiac, and so when they created their deck, they 'officiated' the order of the cards to align with signs. This is how we ‘know’ a specific card represents a certain sign.
On February 19th we entered the last sign in the zodiac calendar, Pisces, whose card is The Moon. Because Pisces is our last stop on the zodiac calendar, it makes sense that The Moon comes towards the end of the deck. The Moon is the card of imagination, mythology and vision. Regarding the zodiac, it is where we integrate all the lessons from the preceding cards in order to enter a new cycle in Aries and the Emperor on March 20th.
By the time that we have traveled the hero’s journey in the tarot to arrive at The Moon, we have passed through Capricorn and The Devil (15), in which we confronted illusions. False election narratives were examples of illusions we faced this year. The Devil is followed by The Tower (16), where we experience both destruction and liberation. The Tower isn't married with a zodiac sign, but the assault on the Capital is about as clear a literal and metaphoric Tower moment as anyone could have dreamed. In Aquarius and The Star (17), we are reborn on January 20th. This year, that was inauguration day, certainly a moment of peace after a storm. While The Star shows that darkness can be transformed into light, it is the work of The Moon (18) to instruct us how to integrate that light. Both The Star and The Sun provide their own light, but The Moon is a mutable reflection of light. Dreams and nightmares are our unconscious mind's reflections of our inner-nature, so they are what we must confront in The Moon.
We see in this card a dog and a wolf howling at the moon. These represent our animal natures, often labeled as madness. The word lunacy derives from ‘lunaticus’ meaning "of the moon" or "moonstruck". Language, history, and mythology have long since associated the moon with madness. The Hebrew letter Qoph is attributed to The Moon and means ‘back of the head’. Because we can only see the back of our head through a reflection. This is where our ancient, instinctual, animal, ‘reptilian brain’ resides. The Moon card, not only permissions us to, but insists that we acknowledge and embrace our primal and reflexive passions and fears. Remember that we only arrive at this moment after having overcome illusion, destruction, liberation, and healing. We are not embracing madness for madness's sake, we have been preparing for it these last 12 months. This is an ideal time to ask yourself, what have you learned about your desires since the pandemic began? What fears do you have about returning to a post-pandemic rhythm? Are you refusing to acknowledge and accept your true passions?
Even more frightening than our individual animal nature, lies our collective unconscious. The crayfish that emerges from the rising tides represents the universal fears of the collective. Waite calls it, “That which lies deeper than the savage beast”. These are the fears that hide under the bed, the scary monsters in the closet, the creature from the black lagoon. We can recall that this time last year, under lock-down, the reality of a collective unconscious made headlines as people everywhere reported having wild ‘pandemic dreams’. Perhaps you had some yourself?
The miracle of a nightmare is that you the dreamer are capable of confronting fantastical challenges, without any physical limitations. Your subconscious mind has the opportunity to work out problems and fears and when it is over, you awaken. You are safe. It was all a dream. It is only after we have aroused the fearful images of our inner world that we can pass through them into The Sun. If the subconscious mind isn’t embraced now, whatever revelation The Tower made clear will become an even more painful duality. For example, if our ‘cancel culture’ persists, the worst white supremacy will continue to be nurtured in the shadows. Again, we received healing and light in The Star, our work in The Moon is to integrate that light for the next cycle.
We see that beyond the water and the howling, the road between the two towers is clear. This is the road that leads us back to our consciousness, now elevated and enlightened. These towers first appear at the beginning of the deck with The High Priestess, representing the dual nature of true knowledge. On March 20th we begin our spiral journey again with The Emporer and Aries. It is so important that we don’t take anything with us over that threshold if it isn't in service of our highest and best. We've seen hatred and violence on a public stage. That only demonstrates that the potential for it is in all of us. When we 'other' ourselves from our primal nature, it shows up as white supremacy, cancel culture, bullying, and political deadlock. By reflecting the light of our inner-nature we see that there is no duality in true knowledge. We see we are also all capable of bold loving acts and forgiveness. The drops of light from The Moon herself are yods, the first letter of God’s name in the Hebrew alphabet. When we see the animal spirits are part of our nature, we accept ourselves wholly. The Moon teaches us that our collective fears and the darkness are not our identities, they are reflections of our divinity.