Reclaiming Confusion

As part of my process of pursuing certification as a professional tarot reader (and just because I feel like I have a lot to say), I’ve decided to go through each of the Major Arcana and continue the meditations I’ve already started on cards (see my previous posts on The Tower and Death, as well as my discussion of passivity in the Osho Zen Tarot and Triple Goddess Oracle). I’m not going in any logical order, just responding to the intuitive draw I have to certain cards at the moment.

Today I want to talk about a card whose traditional interpretation has never made sense to me, and quite frankly, pisses me off.

This is The Moon, number 18, from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. I’ve read several Tarot interpretations and meditations on this card that just doesn’t satisfy me, and at times, I feel, don’t do this wonderful card justice. Often, readers will tell you that the moon symbolizes confusion, cosmic or karmic displeasure, and fear of the natural instinct or mind.

From my own location, I can understand why things look different in the moonlight. The sun casts direct light on our world and reveals reality in a direct and safe manner. Moonlight obscures and reflects, perhaps distorts our world image and view. The moon is a stark confrontation of vulnerability, and reminds us that control through our senses and comfortable interpretations of the world is not possible, nor realistic. This is not an easy perspective to experience, but a fully necessary one for exploration of intuition and psyche. The Moon is looking down at the animals and ocean scene looking displeased to some, but to me, looks resolved and in tune with the cycle of feelings through the ego, internally focused.

The dog and wolf (or coyote) are often said to symbolize our instincts or “barbaric” side, but I feel more comfortable describing the dog as our domesticated and socialized selves that do not question or evaluate our socialization process, and then the wolf as the unbridled instinct and passion toward living life. The crustacean between them makes us consider the third option we didn’t think was possible, or the below-the-surface intuition we barely know anything about, like our own ocean and its inhabitants. We are the dogs that walk straight from our house to our car to our next destination at night without a second thought, and we are also the wolves who take night prowls and stare at the moon with a hypnotic admiration. We are the crustaceans that see the night as day full of life and opportunity and growth.

The two stone pillars are often described as tombstones, but when I first got the RWS deck I just assumed they were entrance pillars of some kind, a man-made construct to mark the beginning of the journey into wilderness and wide open spaces. You can see the yellow path leading from the prairie to the mountains through those giant stone starting points.

The confusion that most people feel when looking at or interpreting this card comes from a variety of places. Confusion is a universal experience, and like irony, often happens when reality does not meet our expectations. An inability to process data correctly or receiving mixed messages also produce confusion, but remind us that relying on only one form of communication or thought cannot reveal the entire picture or give us clarity.

Some people might be confused by the relationship between the moon and our oceans (which we also know precious little about), or the menstrual cycles of women. The moon does change (think Romeo and Juliet: ” do not swear by the inconstant moon!”) but its cycles are familiar once you’ve lived a year on this Earth and the crescent or full moon is nothing you’ve never seen before. Perhaps it just takes the time and true effort of really seeing this divine orb in its place and on its own terms to get over the anxiety that confusion can cause.

From the Tarot of Trees deck by Dana Driscoll. Speaking of dreamy decks, I’m all excited about getting my Dreaming in Color Luman Deck today.

How’s that for a card? I can’t wait to get into this imagery. I’ll probably go through this deck and the osho zen one at the same time, after I finish the Major Arcana. Next card will probably be the Devil. Stay tuned đŸ™‚

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~ by cuteredhood on April 22, 2010.

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