The Moon tarot card can be read in a multitude of ways, like the various phases of the Moon orbiting the Earth. It can be positive or negative depending on context, but also on tradition (the Moon is quite neutral in the Ride-Waite-Smith tarot but clearly has a more negative meaning in the Marseille deck, for example.
Keywords associated with the Moon Card
Upright: Imagination, dreams, positive emotions, and soul purpose
Reversed: Delusion, nightmares, negative emotions, and depression
Traditional Representation and Description of the Moon Card
The card depicts a night scene, where two large pillars are shown. A wolf and a domesticated dog howl at the Moon while crayfish emerges from the water. The Moon has “sixteen chief and sixteen secondary rays” and “[is] shedding the moisture of fertilizing dew in great drops” (totaling 15 in the Rider-Waite deck) which are all Yodh-shaped. The figure in the Moon is frowning, reflecting displeasure.
According to Waite’s The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, “The card represents life of the imagination apart from life of the spirit. The dog and wolf are the fears of the natural mind in the presence of that place of exit, when there is only reflected light to guide it. The intellectual light is a reflection and beyond it is the unknown mystery which it cannot reveal.” Additionally, “It illuminates our animal nature” and according to Waite, “the message is ‘Peace, be still; and it may be that there shall come a calm upon the animal nature, while the abyss beneath shall cease from giving up a form”.
Modern Representations of the Moon Card
The actual Moon in the sky is ever-changing, and in a similar vein the Moon card has many different interpretations. The only common point between all these interpretations is that they are all layered, not easily accessible, and usually require a close connection with your unconscious mind to be fully understood. Instinct and intuition are the mysterious keys that can unlock the wisdom hidden away by the Moon. Like the secrets in an initiatory tradition, they require a thorough knowledge of symbolism to be fully understood.
The Moon and modern feminism
Just like the High Priestess, there is another layer of meaning to be found in the Moon card. Traditionally, and for centuries, the Moon has often been associated with female energy and female empowerment. In that context, the Moon card can be read as a strong feminist impulse when drawn in a reading related to a woman or a girl. In that context, the positive aspects of the Moon reading are further enhanced and should be analyzed accordingly in the reading.
The Mythic Tarot (1986)
The Haindl Tarot (1990)
Osho Zen Tarot (1995)
Law of Attraction Tarot (2011)
Spellcaster Tarot (2016)
Ostara Tarot (2017)
Upright Moon Card Meaning
There are a lot of hidden messages to be found in the Moon card meaning. And appropriately enough, the first and most important one lifts a mirror to the face of the card, as the Moon major arcana can be a sign of hidden messages that need to be deciphered.
On a positive aspect, this can be an introspective message, a way to find meaning in your life through the symbols and images you encounter, understanding how they come together to provide you with priceless insight in your everyday life. On a negative aspect, it might represent a web of deceit and illusions, and bad decisions made from false information when things are not exactly as they seem.
This is also a card that references your dreams and imagination, anything related to the unconscious mind, and the way it uses symbolism to share important messages with you.
In a Question about Love and Relationship
The Moon card is profound for energy around relationships because it encourages you to connect with your deepest feelings and needs that are tied to romance and the love of another person or other people. The Moon is not your rational or logical energy, but rather your emotional and needs energy. What do you need from your partner and lover to make you feel emotionally safe? What really turns you on?
If you are single, this card encourages you to reflect on all the irrational and feeling energy you have about love and romance. You need to trust your intuition and your gut when it comes to dating. So, on your next date, take a moment to tune out the conversation, ignore the data you see in front of you and concentrate on how you feel about the person you are with. Do you feel safe, excited, and positive? Or do you feel insecure, uncomfortable, and negative? Just on your feelings, what do you learn and know?
If you are in a relationship, this card encourages you to evaluate your feelings in the now. How do you feel about the relationship? If you have been together for some time, enough to make some important discoveries about each other, and you were to meet for the first time again, would you still start dating? What have been and are the emotional lessons you have learned and are learning from your partner? What ones do you still want and need to learn, and can this person take you on that emotional journey?
In a Question about Career and Work
Career encompasses school and education if that is your current stage; work that is necessary, but not what you would consider a career path; and your actual career path. Regardless of your current stage of development, the Moon card asks this fundamental question, “how do you FEEL about what you are DOING with your life?”.
If you are a student and this is your card, then how do you feel about your education? Do you feel that it is taking you on the path to work or a career that will satisfy you and help you succeed, at least enough to take care of yourself, so you can be self-sufficient? Or are you “not feeling it”, realizing that your current education path is actually the wrong one, usually revealed to you when you do not “feel” any energy to do the work or pursue the studies.
If you are working, but not doing something you would consider a career, how do you feel about your work situation? While there is a constant narrative about “having a career”, doing and enjoying work, so long as it gets you what you need to be self-sufficient is or can be great. The Moon simply asks, rather persistently and intensely, how do you feel about your work? If it is satisfying and you feel satisfied and that is what you need, then keep on keeping on. If not, then the Moon will push you to be honest about your feelings of dissatisfaction in the hopes that it will motivate you to make a change.
If you are in a career path, again, how do you feel about your path? Is it still satisfying, do you feel good getting up and engaging in your work, whether you go to an office or work from home? If so, enjoy and celebrate those feelings when this card appears. If you realize, under the scrutiny of this card, that you are not happy with your career path and maybe have not been for some time, then what needs to be done to get you “feeling better” about work. Maybe it is time to find a new career, take time off and reassess, or just demote yourself to plain old work while you reassess your options.
Reversed Moon card meaning
When the Moon card is reversed, most of the positive aspects of this complex major arcana disappear, leaving nothing but the various artifices used to obfuscate truth and meaning. Lies and betrayals can be found in this tarot card meaning if you let your guard down, as well as empty promises that might leave a bitter aftertaste in your mouth.
In a Question about Love and Relationship
Reversed, this card suggests your emotions regarding your partner are confused. There may be resentment you need to understand and address. It is possible you may have to recognize that your feelings have changed, and not for the better. Betrayal may be occurring.
In a Question about Career and Work
When this card appears reversed in a question about work or career, then “your heart is no longer in it”. Your work or career does not stir up the same positive emotions. It may not be as bad as new negative emotions, just simply no strong feeling in favor of what you do. If so, it is time to look for new work that grabs your heart and ignites your passion.
The Fool’s Journey
Like the various faces of its counterpart in the real world, the Moon tarot card has many interpretations and aspects. The Fool must learn how to make sense of it all. Drunk of the blissful feelings experienced in the Star, it would be easy to fall for one of the various traps and illusions that come under the gaze of night. Happiness and bliss should not be an excuse to be naïve and offer blind faith into anything.
If the Fool can remember all the lessons they have learned so far, then what seemed like illusions and dangerous traps at first can end up offering hidden knowledge and wisdom to anyone bold and competent enough to lift the veil of deceit meant to keep unworthy at bay. When you don’t lose sight of reality, it is easier to make your dreams come true and boost your own creativity and imagination.
Meditating with the Moon
Whenever you seek to determine a hidden message or need to separate truths from falsehoods, the Moon tarot card is ideally suited to the task. When you meditate using the Moon tarot card, you are channeling your own intuition and subconscious and bringing them closer to the surface.
As a result, your intuition gets honed and you will more readily understand the arcane meanings hidden between many layers of lies and half-truths.