THE MOON, number 18
The eighteenth card presents the eclipsed moon, darkness, canines howling, a pathway needed to be made to go past two towers on either side in order to reach the new land of self-realization. This card may represent the dark night of the soul or loss of soul. Other descriptions come to mind: darkness, confusion, depression, feelings of no exit, no way out of a bad situation, paralysis, in all this an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. This is what prisoners must experience in solitary confinement. Often too, experienced at the loss of a deeply beloved person, a husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father; a time of desolation, of inner collapse. Some may even be tempted to cry out, “Life is worthless; I want to die.”
This card represents the absolute eclipse of the moon, which soon however, must begin to reflect some light. Two canines are howling, giving an eerie sense to the surroundings. A pool halts the progress of the traveler, but the crustacean suggests the pool is shallow and therefore passable. In this card there is no path, the traveler must create a path as s/he proceeds. The situation is bleak, the droplets of life energy are being sucked up heavenward towards the dark moon in the sky. The situation for the moment seems hopeless, yet the two growing plants suggest eventual attainment in self-realization if the traveler continues.
Although the darkness prevails in this card, a positive side consists in opening to deep realizations, and finding a way out, a way to rebound, to come back to life. Vicktor Frankl found such a way to make sense out of all the pain and hopelessness existing in the life-destroying situation of a concentration camp (Man’s Search for Meaning, 1959). He found a glimmer of hope in the fact that a person always has the option to choose an attitude to take towards the worst situations. This perspective and taking a positive choice enabled him and other concentration camp inmates to survive in the worst of situations. After all, it is in the dark of night that a person sees to the furthest depths of the cosmos, and can be astounded by all the millions and millions of stars blinking in the starry sky. Sometimes the worst situations bring out the best in a person.
Ultimately use this perspective to meditate on this archetype. This card thus also represents a dark time of stasis, of being stuck (Anonymous, Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism, 1985). But first you need to become conscious of what blocks you from growing spiritually. That is what the gift of light from the moon, which is soon to be revealed must give you. Further, ask your guardian angel to be a figure of light showing you the way out of whatever painful or confusing situation in life is blocking you from advancing personally, psychologically, or spiritually.