When I first pulled out The Moon this morning, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. In general, I feel a deep connection to the moon. Maybe that’s because it rules my chart as a Cancer Rising, or because I wanted to paint a crescent moon on my forehead after reading The Mists of Avalon in 7th grade. Maybe it’s just because as a menstruating human I feel the biological pull in my blood to the movements of the moon. Or because I have always related strongly to the element of water and the moon rules water. In any case, it is hard for me to see the moon as anything other than a friend, there to guide me in what is otherwise total darkness.
Then I went looking for other people’s thoughts on this card and found a lot of talk about it being about deception and illusions. About manipulation, trickery, brainwashing, dark influences.
Taken that way, this card becomes, for me, entirely about the Mormon cult. Dark forces manipulating and brainwashing everyone below them = how the LDS church operates. If this is a dark card, it represents the years I spent believing lies, the decades I was manipulated and brainwashed and gaslit by people I trusted and cared about. It’s about how now, 14 years after getting out, I still find it almost impossible to make simple decisions or to ever trust my instincts.
For 18 years I was taught that my instincts were wrong. Unless they weren’t wrong, in which case I should always follow my instincts. Except when what I thought was a warm confirmation of the Spirit was actually Satan trying to trick me and drag me down with him. Then I should pray for real inspiration and find my way back to the Path of Salvation. How was I supposed to know the difference?
Good. Fucking. Question.
I was supposed to just magically know, I guess, and was taught that if I was faithful and worthy enough that I would be able to tell. But since both these sensations felt the same in my body, all I could conclude was that I wasn’t faithful or worthy enough for the Spirit to really talk to me. When this was the case, which was always, I was supposed to rely on my parents and church leaders to tell me whether what I was feeling was good or bad.
I was supposed to look to other people to tell me what my intuition was and what it meant. At the very least I was supposed to always be looking for confirmation from the Spirit for any choice I made. And I mean, any choice I made. So while everyone else was developing an internal compass and sorting the world into things they liked or didn’t like, I was taught that not a single feeling or thought I had could be trusted and I needed to turn to old, white, cis hetero, men to explain my own mind and heart to me.
Illusions? Trickery? Brainwashing? The Moon could be the lingering affects of the cult in my life, even as I work really hard to overcome the lasting damage growing up in that kind of trauma left on me.
Then there’s another side of this card, much more in line with my original impressions of the card and of the Moon itself.
Cassie, in her series Queering the Tarot says
The Moon does illuminate when you are looking for answers, but unlike the bright, warm glow of the sun, the moon guides us with slivers of light and odd persistence, requiring us to go deeper into ourselves for the answers we seek. The Moon represents our shadow self, the side that shows when we are home alone with ourselves and there is no one to put on a show or a happy face for.
That hit me right in the feels. I was so heavily trained to conceal any problems or unhappiness, to hold back my curiosity and my opinions, to put on a happy face for the world, that I have neglected my shadow self my entire life. I love the idea that The Moon is telling me to let myself feel all those things I’ve been holding back. To let them loose like a rising tide to wash away the junk that’s been lingering on the shore.
Cassie goes on to say that The Moon often brings news that it’s time to really face that thing you’ve been avoiding, which rings true for me right now as I’m really tackling my past and the damage that the cult did to me. It’s been a particularly hard week, with a lot of things conspiring to bring what seems like everything to the surface. I get it, Moon, I’m working on it, okay?
But also The Moon seems to promise that it’s going to be okay. The tide will go out again and the shore will be rejuvenated from it. It will happen in its own time- you can’t rush the tides- but it will be okay.
It will be okay.
Also, The Moon also can be a call to spirituality in addition to going deep into your own intuition and subconscious.
I struggle with this, beacause I have nothing but negative connotations with words like “calling” and “higher power.” I am sick of being manipulated by childish man baby gods. I am in charge of my own life and everything that happens in it and there is no whatever up there.
And yet. Here I am. Thinking about the moon and reading tarot cards and undeniably attracted to the idea of a Divine that looks and feels and sees the universe like me. Growing up just in the world and especially in a church where femininity was both demanded and degraded, I have a complicated relationship with the very idea of femininity, but I know that I like the idea of femininity itself being powerful.
So taking all this into account, I see that The Moon, like a woman, has many sides.
I think sometimes, and in some ways, it represents my oppressive and abusive past. But it also represents the promise of healing from that trauma, as long as I’m willing to follow the moonlight to the fairy ring in the forest. As long as I’m willing to dance naked with my subconscious, and to face things that are painful to face, The Moon promises that the tide will come in and go out and I’ll be able to heal and breathe and move on as a more whole person than I am right now.
I have to do the work, not all of it right away, not all of it right now, but if I promise to get in the boat and let the river take me where I need to go, The Moon promises to light my way.