The Moon

Through the Gates

"The moon shows us that the illuminated soul has now to turn itself over to the dark night once more, making its spiral way through the labyrinth of the unknown in order to reach a new level of awareness and ability to heal.  The pull of instincts is the only sign that lights the way to mastery, and the outcome is as uncertain as any throw of the oracle."
-Vicki Noble, Rituals and Practices with the Motherpeace Tarot, 1998

Amy Ericksen & Isha Lerner, Tarot of the Four Elements, United States, 2004
A collaboration between artist and writer, the contemporary arcana of the Tarot of the Four Elements draw inspiration from the rituals, rites, and mythologies of a wide variety of global cultures.

The Moon is the eighteenth key to the Major Arcana in Tarot.  The Element of the Moon is Water and the zodiac affiliation is with Pisces.  

Qualities of the Moon are Intuition, Gestation, and Illusion.  An alternative name for The Moon is La Luna.  Symbols are Dog, Wolf, Columns, and Crawfish/Lobster.

In German the Moon is called Der Mond.  In French, La Lune.  And in Italian, La Luna.


The full and pregnant moon hovers in the night sky, illuminating a path that winds far into the distance.  A dog and wolf stand in sentinels, and in some decks are shown howling up at the lunar light.  The two animals represent the wild and the tamed, the duality of human nature, the loyal and the feral, existing side by side.  Some older decks include two astronomers in the scene, observing the heavens.  In others, a woman rides a horse-drawn carriage across the sky, a crescent moon resting in her right palm.  In the most popular depiction, a small crustacean appears, just emerging from a pond in the foreground.  The crab or crawfish is a signifier of our slow evolution into enlightenment, our ascent from murky waters to dry land, and finally, into air and spirit.  Far away, twin towers guard either side of the trail, representing the line between the unconscious and waking state, good and evil, and all the possibilities that stretch between.


The Moon's soft light reveals hidden truths, verities in dire need of discovery.  She offers clarity, but only if there is a willingness to go deeply within.  She insists that intuition, rather than rationale, be our guide through the inner shadows.  She demands the release of the negative, and expects of us constructive and steady transformation.  She reminds us to be aware of the difference between illusion and reality.  The Moon itself symbolizes dreams, intuition, and the watery subconscious of the cosmic feminine.  She asks us always to connect with the divine, the worlds beyond the veil, and to learn from nature, from the lessons in the cycle of waxing and waning.

Cathy McClelland, The Star Tarot, United States, 2017
Over the course of several years, the prolific American artist McClelland created the dreamlike, vividly complex arcana of her striking contemporary Star Tarot.