17. moon


collective unconscious – fear – surrender – feminine power

17. moon

Moon is the card of the collective unconscious. Again the water in this card is the entrance to the world hidden underneath our daily muddle of life. In the water we see the hope bags, now transformed into jellyfish, or ‘medusa’s’. The jellyfish represent Moon in the sense that they are creatures that at the same time have and don’t have a body: their gelatinous, tentacled forms are almost indistinguishable from the water around. They are like water in water, one with the element they live in. They navigate through the dark deep sea by connecting to the moon’s magnetism, lingering in the lunar cycle in complete surrender to the tides. Hence, they express the state of Moon and the loss of personal identity that comes with it. Moon also is the card of the Mother, that gives up on her personal body to host a new life. In her belly the fetus floats in the water, unable to distinguish itself from his mother’s body. Just like the mother is no longer one but extends her body to include the Other.

As the mirror card of The Hour Blue, Moon takes the initial spiritual awakening of Hope one step further, to dive into the realm of collective myths, saga’s and unconscious desires. Where The Hour Blue situated itself in the twilight zone between waking and sleeping, at dusk or dawn, Moon is the card of the deep starless night. Dark and impenetrable by the Eye, which in the Tarot of Hope represents the rational mind. Moon stands for the stories that make up the ancient fabric of society itself. The hidden fears that nestle in our unconscious, the secret powers that rule our lives. Moon expresses itself in very different ways: in the inspiration of the artist, mystic or storyteller connecting the dots of seemingly unrelated events in colorful myths or sweeping epics. But also in the images or movements that shock us into acknowledging all that is mysterious or possibly even horrific in our understanding of life; in the eruption of irrational fears and terrors that rule our daily imaginations. In Moon this does not only happen on an individual but also on a collective level: stories and myths create an outlet for the hysteric aberrations that feed into our rational experience of life. They create mythical figures to deal with the inexplicable fears induced by otherness or incomprehension. Fears that often lead to violent conflicts between humans, or a destructive attitude towards the world. In the stories these fears become malleable, graspable. They are the tools we crave to be able to deal with what escapes our understanding. Also, Moon is the source from which symbols gain their power, the affective source that speaks through them to the bodies and minds of those who perceive them, both in a positive and a negative sense.

Medusa is in that sense a powerful representation of this underbelly of our rational society. Raped by Poseidon in the temple of Athena, the goddess turns her anger over this desecration onto the beautiful girl and morphs her into a monster whose gaze petrifies any onlooker into stone. Medusa in a feminist reading thus became the image of feminine rage, hidden just under the surface; a guide to navigate the map of the female unconscious, leading us through terror to the source of our feminine powers. But this power also has a dark side: the petrifying gaze of Medusa can also stand for the loss of belief in the meaning of life itself. Moon can indicate the realm of passive surrender, like the jellyfish floating in the water, adapting to the tidal flux to transport them and sweep them from the beach back into the bay. Then the experience of living like ‘water-in-water’ can develop into a sense of confusion, of disorientation that can possibly lead to a serious incapacity to deal with life as it is.The jellyfish/medusa’s in the picture are probably the most ancient multi-organ creatures on Earth. They are believed to be more than 500 million years old, and in Moon they carry this ancient history with them, lingering in our brains like fossils of a history that goes way beyond our scope of life. The symptoms of these ancient remnants are fear as well as inexplicable exhilaration, mystic intuition as well as creative force. These symptoms cannot always be explained rationally, but they can speak to us if we open up our minds to the unknown they speak of. Jellyfish move by creating a hole in their bodies, that produces a vortex for the water to come in and push them forwards. Their contraction leads to expansion and movement, much like the birthing process. In a reading Moon asks us to allow for this ‘hole’ to live inside us. For an openness to the unknown that saves us from becoming petrified by fear or anxiety. Moon tells us that the unknown is not necessarily a source of violence but possibly a source of movement and change that can push us forward without having to know what lies in wait.
In a negative reading Moon can also indicate the passivity that comes with allowing yourself to be swept by the waves of life, without taking care of your ‘center’. It can indicate a flight into obliviousness that can possibly turn self-destructive and expresses a disdain for the world rather than an embrace of it.

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