The Moon (Tarot card)

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The Moon (XVIII)

The Moon (XVIII) is the eighteenth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

An original card from the tarot deck of Jean Dodal of Lyon, a classic "Tarot of Marseilles" deck. The deck dates from 1701–1715.


The card depicts a night scene. Two large, foreboding pillars are shown. A wolf and a domesticated dog howl at the moon. A crayfish appears in 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.[1] 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.'"[2]

Alternative decks[edit]

  • In the "Flemish Deck" by Vandenborre, the moon shows a woman seated in the right-hand corner with a tree in the left hand corner. The moon is directly above her. She is shown with a distaff in her right hand and spinning thread with her left hand.
  • In the 17th Century French Vieville Tarot deck, instead of the above scene there is an older woman beside a tree, spinning with a spindle and distaff as the moon shines above.
  • In Mythic Tarot decks, the moon is depicted by Artemis, Selene or Hecate.
  • In the Lost Tarot of Nostradamus, above the moon is a V-shaped sign in which is held and eight-spoked wheel and three sickle moons.


  • ^ The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, by Arthur Waite
  • A. E. Waite's Pictorial Key to the Tarot: Being fragments of a Secret Tradition under the Veil of Divination. 1910
  • Juliette Wood, Folklore 109 (1998):15–24, The Celtic Tarot and the Secret Tradition: A Study in Modern Legend Making (1998)

External links[edit]