18. The Moon

All is not what it seems

When the moon shows up as a symbol on the other cards (the High Priestess, the Chariot) it is a symbol of intuition, the power of the subconscious. However, when we encounter the Moon card itself, there is a lot more going on.

The Moon is concerned with all things shadowy and hard to see. Secret messages, dreams, intuited information, obscure symbols and odd signs. It’s that “is it…? Or am I imagining it?” kind of energy, that feeling of just not being sure what you’re seeing or feeling.

The Moon, that great, grey rock in the sky that governs our oceans, pulls the tides and with them our moods, is at the heart of many, many myths. It represents mystery and madness, the unseen, shadows and sorcery.

The traditional image on this card is weird and otherworldly: Two odd towers form a gateway to the distant mountains, who knows what lies there. In the foreground, a lobster emerges from the sea, representing the unconscious and the intuited rising from the deep. In the centre, two dogs howl, either side of a river. One is a domestic hound. The other a wild dog. Both are parts of us. Under the Moon, the wild dog gets its chance to howl.

It is scary to see what is normally tucked away inside, out in the open, using its voice. We can be afraid to allow our inner wildness – which some may see as madness – to be seen. But it is liberating, too, to give space to that untamed, unsocialised nature. To let your wolf howl.

The Moon represents witchery, spellwork, magic and occult arts of all kinds. It’s rituals and ceremonies, and also smaller acts of magical intent. It asks you to forget about what is rational, what you ‘know’, and to delves into life’s mysteries. This can be soulful, creative and profound work, or it can be simple and experimental.

The Moon can also represent lies and manipulation. We all wear masks, we all deceive and are deceived. The Moon shines its silvery light on those elements of ourselves, asking uncomfortable questions about what is true, and what isn’t. What we present, and the reality.

As an archetype, the Moon is the lunatic, the ‘mad’ person (by whose definition, we may not know). Perhaps this person hears voices, sees visions. Perhaps they are trying to tell us something and nobody will listen. Through this, the Moon raises the subject of mental health. It can point to mental health problems or challenges, neurodivergence, different ways of perceiving the world. It can be read as encouragement to seek support, but it can celebrate aspects of being neuroatypical too – ‘mental health’ need not necessarily be seen in a negative light.

Advice from the Moon

There’s a lot going on here, and it’s hard to know what this card might be saying to you. Is it encouraging you to wake up and smell the coffee, or to give in to the mystery? Does it say you’re deceiving yourself, or that you’re receiving messages from the other side? Things are certainly strange, and it’s okay if you feel disorientated.

All is not as it seems, and frustratingly, this is not a card for answers. It’s a card for weirdness, secrets and mystery. It’s up to you to check in with how that feels, to listen as deeply as you can to your intuition, and to either figure out your next steps, or give up and go with the wild, howling flow.

Don’t focus on concrete answers right now, but be open to the grey areas, the swirling nature of things as truth is gradually revealed. Relax your need to know where you stand.

If you’re called to any kind of magical practice, now is a good time. Get as witchy as you like, really connect to that wild moon energy.

If you’re feeling the deception/manipulation vibe of this card, dig into that. It’s scary and its hard work, but it’s time to look closely at what’s really going on. What are you not seeing? What are you turning a blind eye to? What are you hiding from? (There may be echoes of the Devil here). Which areas of your life feel like they are lacking in integrity, or as though someone is not being honest? Why is this, what’s really going on?

If you’re wearing a mask, ask yourself – is this mask a healthy boundary, or am I pretending to be something I’m not. Go beyond this, to discover why.

Key words and concepts

  • Shadow work
  • Getting in touch with your wild nature
  • ‘Letting you wolf howl’
  • Listening deeply to your intuition
  • Secret messages, signs and symbols
  • Being totally non-rational
  • Witchcraft, magic and spellwork
  • Lies and deception
  • Deceiving yourself
  • Wearing a mask

Some common symbols

  • Howling dog and/or wolf (your wild nature)
  • Crab or lobster (messages from the subconscious rising to the surface)
  • Sea, water (intuition, emotion)
  • Mountains in the distance (a journey)
  • The moon (intuition, hidden realms, inner wisdom)
  • A mask (deception, obscuring the truth)