A landscape resembling a riverbank sits before you. The scene shows three animals, all frightening in different ways, looking up at the moon. The dog and wolf howl, while a crayfish inches its way onshore. A winding path leads to some mountains and beyond, and two towers signify the passing through of a gateway. The "man in the moon" presides over the affair as the sun shines behind him, trying to break through.
Main Interpretation: Hello Darkness My Old Friend...
I'll be honest. This is perhaps one of my least favorite cards in the Tarot deck, because what it represents simply stinks. My heart always sinks a little when I see it in a reading, because I know that I'm dealing with the darker side of life.
Just like when the day gives way to night, the Moon card is something you need to live through - it rarely reflects a quick episode in one's life. No, it usually signifies a period of prolonged introspection, triggered by a sudden or tragic event. Imagine the feeling you have when someone close to you dies, or when your heart is broken badly, or when you feel overwhelmed by insecurities - this is the space occupied by the Moon card. It's usually an unhappy place, marked by a deeply unsettled feeling. At times, it can even signify depression.
However, not all is lost. After all, if you find yourself reeling from a dream or some other psychic development - which are other potential triggers for this card - you may be on the brink of a valuable breakthrough in your life. In the same way, if you've ever listened to an album written by someone whose heart's been broken, you know that from this place of sadness can come the most potent beauty. Yes, our "wild sides" can be scary, nightmare-producing machines, but they are also the holders of our purest selves and potential.
This is why there is a path leading out of this place in the Moon card. As we walk along this path, we find a way to cope with this side of ourselves. Maybe we glean some new information from a nightmare or turn our heartache into the most touching poetry. Whatever the means, it is critical to see that there is a road leading out of this place. The trick is knowing the reason why you're here and finding a way to address it so you can get the heck out!
Upright this card suggests you understand the cause of your situation and are giving it the respect and attention it deserves. Reversed, the card can signify that you are resisting the situation out of fear, ignorance, or - sometimes - the fierce determination to get out this place at all costs.
Example: Terror Attacks in Paris
It was November 14, 2015. I woke up, acknowledged the sun shining brightly outside my window, and went about my morning routine, which includes a daily Tarot reading. I sat down to my reading with the same hope and curiosity that I bring to every reading.
But the first card that I turned over was the Moon card. It was staring at me with force.
A few minutes later, I learned what had happened in Paris the night before. On the night of November 13, 2015, a series of bloody, violent terrorist attacks took place in Paris, France. The brutality of these attacks - which featured suicide vests and shooting rampages - was difficult to comprehend. It was horrific. More than 130 people were killed and hundreds wounded that night.
Over my life, I've been fortunate to have many opportunities to spend time in France, whether as a student or tourist. French was the first foreign language I learned - and really the only one I speak somewhat well - and so I've always sort of seen France and French culture as my "first love." Suffice it to say, when something terrible happens to a place that has helped nurture and educate you, you will probably feel a little down. Enter the Moon card.
The Moon card that day also showed me facing an ugly reality - the worst side of humanity. In the grief and shock of the attacks' aftermath, we all tried to wrap our heads around how someone could act so coldly, so mercilessly. And what about the victims, the people who lost their lives, whose futures were cut short, and whose dreams were potentially unfulfilled? Then came the rage at the authorities - how did they not know this was happening? Who can we blame?
The Moon card suggests you're feeling a little uncomfortable with reality, and here I was, struggling to pull myself up, snap myself out of this darkness.
Fortunately, the sun that shines behind the Moon will eventually get brighter, and you will walk on that path, finding a way out of it. Just look at the people of Paris. Within days of the attacks, they were out performing their normal duties and getting on with their lives. At some point, you need to move on, so they did.
Bottom Line: This May Hurt ... But It Doesn't Have To Last Forever
Life has its fair share of down moments. When we find ourselves in these depths, the kind of events that force us to ponder our lives, we are living the experience of the Moon card. However, this time will gradually expire as you find a way to make peace with what is happening. The trick is finding a way to move on so you can leave the Moon card far, far behind.