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Join Date: 31 Jan 2009
Location: British Columbia, Canada
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swimming in tarot 

I love this card, too! When I did the deck interview, the Moon was the shadow card at the bottom of the deck, beautiful in its own right, and infusing the whole deck with moonglow and dark meaning. How much more appropriate a card could show for the Bohemian Gothic?

I love all the interpretations, all plausible on various levels and applications. I don't have much more to add, save the scene beyond the woman looks like a painted backdrop such as they used in photo studios: Egyptian pyramids, Scottish highlands, Italian villas, etc. and the sitter would dress up in appropriate costume for the photo. Safari photos taken in London! Hah! We still have these today. Dressing up as can-can dancers and outlaws, with Wild West saloon backdrops, comes to mind. But my point...the scenery itself is an illusion!

To me, because of the clarity of the reflection, those are no crashing waves but still waters. No matter: the glassy stillness is a surface appearance. Who knows what rocks and currents, what depths and shallows, what biting fish, dead bodies, leached poisons, etc. may lie below? (Not meaning to ruin the beauty of the card!) Psychologically, a person may present a smooth, bland face to the world, but be psychopathic beneath the facade...a lunatic.

The wolf--sorry, I keep seeing my friend's husky dog, who looks VERY similar, right down to the red smear on his mouth. However, I think this is meant to be a wolf with a bit of blood from a recent meal. The wolf is not evil or anything, it's just being a wolf--thinning the herd is what wolves do! But it is a wild creature that lives by its instincts, and is associated with the moon. (In the case of the husky dog, the smear is a natural discoloration found especially in older dogs, caused by the chemistry of the saliva or something--I forget the details. If it were blood, the husky would have cleaned that off his chops, as he is very particular about cleanliness!)

If the lady is not Diana herself, surely she identifies with the moon. The moon changes, but with regularity and predictability. (I can't stand it when people say "fickle as the moon".) She wears a tiara echoing the shape of the crescent moon in the sky, which reflects its growing, changing light. To me, this symbolizes the ability to see things "in different lights". She wears a gown blue like the ocean, which is responsive to the gravitational pull of the moon, and she adorns her head with pearls, to me symbolizing wisdom retrieved from below the surface. She is a picture of serenity. But if we are to take a dark view of the lady (being a dark deck, and all), perhaps she is only calm on the surface, like the water, but unstable beneath: completely taken over by the emotion of the moment, or by the shadow of her unacknowledged subconscious or unconscious, and repressed urges. (This deck depicts Sigmund Freud's era, pretty much.)

Thirteen makes the point that people will do things by night that they won't do by day. That in part may be a social conditioning thing of what is "appropriate", which one will gladly do in front of one's neighbours, and that which is "inappropriate" but an undeniable urge, which one indulges under cover of darkness. Think of all the "dark deeds" the Moon has witnessed! Strangely, this card reminds me of the Empress, just in that it reminds us to remember both sides of the coin: life and death with the Empress; serene civility and wild instinct with the Moon. Both are natural and encoded in us. The things that we cannot control are not necessarily "wrong" or "bad", and do not need to be denied or repressed.

I'm not sure if the birches are significant symbolically the way they would be, say, in a Celtic deck; or whether they are simply esthetically pleasing and trees likely to be found in such a scene.


Baba, I well remember the Piper at the Gates of Dawn. That passage took my breath away, and I have gone back to the book several times, just to re-read it!
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