Aeclectic Tarot
Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Tarot Forum

Greater Arcana Study Group—The Moon

  > Aeclectic Tarot Forum > Tarot Special Interest > Rider-Waite-Smith


 
Abrac  Abrac is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466
Abrac 
Greater Arcana Study Group—The Moon


The distinction between this card and some of the conventional types is that the moon is increasing on what is called the side of mercy, to the right of the observer. It has sixteen chief and sixteen secondary rays. The card represents life of the imagination apart from life of the spirit. The path between the towers is the issue into the unknown. The dog and the wolf are the fears of the natural mind in the presence of that place of exit, when there is only reflected light to guide it.

The last reference is a key to another form of symbolism. The intellectual light is a reflection and beyond it is the unknown mystery which it cannot show forth. It illuminates our animal nature, types of which are represented below—the dog, the wolf and that which comes up out of the deeps, the nameless and hideous tendency which is lower than the savage beast. It strives to attain manifestation, symbolized by crawling from the abyss of water to the land, but as a rule it sinks back whence it came. The face of the mind directs a calm gaze upon the unrest below; the dew of thought falls; the message is: Peace, be still; and it may be that there shall come a calm upon the animal nature, while the abyss beneath shall cease from giving up a form.
Top   #1
Abrac  Abrac is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466
Abrac 

I’m posting two quotes from Waite’s Fellowship of the Rosy Cross Philosophus 4 = 7 Initiation as they provide keys to a fuller understanding of this card. Quotes throughout this post will be from here unless otherwise indicated:
“The 28th path of Tzaddi, which is a channel of communication between Netzach and Yesod, is called in our secret tradition the natural intelligence. It is said to perfect, after its own kind, the nature of every being under the orb of the Sun. It refers more especially to the mind, which is allocated to the Sephira Yesod. The ascent into Netzach is not through the natural mind but by that directing power that works within it."
and
“The Symbol of the 28th path represents Shekinah as the new moon on the side of Mercy, looking towards the glorious Sun of Tiphereth and reflecting its sacred radiance. The animals below are the unregenerate instincts of the natural man in Malkuth, while the crayfish reaching up toward the land is the evil part of our nature. Shekinah is the soul-part shining in the region of material darkness, ignorance and savage fear. She reflects over the sad region of our suffering estate the Divine Light of the self-knowing spirit. The two towers signify the ramparts of the visible world, and the space between them is the issue into the unknown. In another and not less important aspect, the moon is the natural mind, the state of reflected and partial light, the illusion, the glamour and the uncertainties of the logical understanding in the presence of the great problems. I have said that the new moon is on the side of Chesed; in the waning it is on that of Geburah; and at the full it is said to reflect the Sun of beauty and righteousness. These also are aspects of the mind, which in the glory of its fullness reflects the mind of Christ, thus corresponding to Shekinah, whom I have termed the vesture of Messias."
From the PKT:
“The distinction between this card and some of the conventional types is that the moon is increasing on what is called the side of mercy, to the right of the observer.”
Here Waite seems to be referring to a comment he made earlier in Class 1, Section 2:
“18. The Moon. Some eighteenth-century cards show the luminary on its waning side;”
The sixteen primary and sixteen secondary rays—32 total—might refer to the 32 paths on the Tree of Life.

The Moon in this image has three parts: (1) A new moon waxing; (2) a gibbous moon represented by a female face with eyes closed; (3) a full moon. The waxing and waning aspects represent the uncertainties and shifting illusions of the natural mind. Waxing on the side of “Mercy” would seem to indicate a beneficent influence contradicting the commonly-held view of this card as negative. Regarding the full moon, to quote Waite, “At the full it is said to reflect the Sun of beauty and righteousness.” The woman is Shekinah.

The path between the pillars indicates the way into the unknown, beyond five senses and three dimensions. In the PKT Waite says the dog and wolf represent:
“The fears of the natural mind in the presence of that place of exit, when there is only reflected light to guide it.”
and
“It illuminates our animal nature, types of which are represented below—the dog, the wolf and that which comes up out of the deeps, the nameless and hideous tendency which is lower than the savage beast.”
In his description of the Waite-Trinck Moon, Waite describes them as:
“The unregenerate instincts of the natural man in Malkuth.”
and
“While the crayfish reaching up toward the land is the evil part of our nature.
In the PKT, Waite doesn’t address the towers at all, but in his FRC Philosophus Initiation he says:
“The two towers signify the ramparts of the visible world.”
A rampart is something constructed as a defensive device, a wall or tower for example. The towers represent the natural defenses of the mind which resist all efforts an individual might make to move beyond its material frame of reference. This is illustrated as the fear of the unknown in the dog and wolf. This fear keeps us safely insulated, but can also be a barrier that must be overcome if one wants to attain anything beyond the mundane.

The Waite-Trinick Moon makes it a little easier to picture what Waite’s getting at with this card; as does this diagram showing its placement on Waite’s revised Tree. The Moon is reflecting the Sun of Tiphareth for the benefit of the natural mind (Yesod) and the animal instinct (Malkuth).
“The Symbol of the 28th path represents Shekinah as the new moon on the side of Mercy, looking towards the glorious Sun of Tiphereth and reflecting its sacred radiance.”
and
“Shekinah is the soul-part shining in the region of material darkness, ignorance and savage fear. She reflects over the sad region of our suffering estate the Divine Light of the self-knowing spirit." [i.e. Tiphareth]
Waite doesn’t say explicitly but it can be inferred that the influence from Tiphareth should come through Netzach.

As already shown, Waite identifies the animal instincts with Malkuth; these two quotes show his identification of Yesod with the natural mind:
“The 28th path of Tzaddi, which is a channel of communication between Netzach and Yesod, is called in our secret tradition the natural intelligence. It is said to perfect, after its own kind, the nature of every being under the orb of the Sun. It refers more especially to the mind, which is allocated to the Sephira Yesod. The ascent into Netzach is not through the natural mind but by that directing power that works within it.” [i.e. Shekinah]
and
“The Man corresponds to Yesod, the Grade of Theoreticus and the purification of your natural mind.”—FRC, The Ceremony of Reception in the Portal of the Third Order
I don’t believe the number of dew drops has that much (if any) significance, though it might have. Waite gives the key to their meaning in his comment, “The dew of thought falls; the message is: Peace, be still;” The thoughts represented by the dew derive from Tiphareth, the “Divine Light” quoted above. Throughout the FRC Rituals, Waite refers to “dew” in connection with Divine doctrine, presence or speech. Here are a couple of examples:
“Dew of Divine Speech, falling in stillness on the heart, filling the soul with Knowledge. Enter into the heart and purify; come into the soul and consecrate.”—FRC, Practicus Initiation
and
“The dew of Thy Presence falls therein, and it breathes forth fragrance of the Spirit.”—FRC, The Ceremony of Consecration on the Threshold of Sacred Mystery for the Watchers of the Holy House
In summary, in one sense the Moon is the natural mind with all of it shifting and illusions; even when “full” that fulness is still only temporary. In another sense it's Shekinah operating within the natural mind as a calming influence, reflecting Divine dew drops of Light and Wisdom from Tiphareth.
Top   #2
Teheuti's Avatar
Teheuti  Teheuti is offline
Resident
 
Join Date: 24 Aug 2003
Location: Northern California
Posts: 5,539
Teheuti 

According to de Gébelin the Yods on the Moon are “Isis' tears which caused the Nile to overflow its banks each year, thereby making the land of Egypt fertile. Dew is usually seen as a regenerative grace or blessing - especially in dry lands.

"Between dog and wolf" is a French saying meaning twilight - the time of day when it is too dark to distinguish between a dog and a wolf.

Dew refers, among other things, to the alchemical dew that Waite writes about in his books on alchemy and alchemists. The dog & wolf are found in his commentary on The Book of Lambspring.

The dew is also known as the dew of Hermon. Mt. Hermon was the head and crown of the river Jordan that fertilized Canaan.
"The city of the philosophic elect rises from the highest mountain peak of the earth, and here the gods of the wise dwell together in everlasting felicity. In the foreground are the symbolic pillars of Hercules which appear on the title page of Bacon's Novum Organum, and between them runs the path which leads upward from the uncertainties of earth to that perfect order which is established in the sphere of the enlightened.”
--Manly Palmer Hall

This post has some excellent information on the symbolism in the card: http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=75322
Top   #3
Abrac  Abrac is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466
Abrac 

The following is from Waite's Azoth, or, The Star in the East, pp. 194-196. It describes the process of rational mind being raised to a higher level, that of intuition. Some of it doesn't make complete sense at this point but there's so much that's relevant to the Moon I just posted it all and underlined the parts that caught my attention.
"Here is a gracious and gentle message which will dissipate every disquietude and inform all doubt ["The face of the mind directs a calm gaze upon the unrest below"—PKT]. It is not the peace which passeth understanding; that is the inheritance and the recompense of a later stage in the divine experience. It is the ethical and philosophical peace which is the consolation resulting from philosophy and the reward of correspondence with law. In one of its aspects it may be defined as the first repose of attainment. Contemplated from the theological standpoint, it is the higher life which is generated out of the immolation of the meaner self. Symbolically speaking, it is the interior manifestation of the Divine Virgin [Female face of the moon]; it is the extension of the field of consciousness into the region of the soul. It is that state in which the man may, in another form of parabolical language, be said to meet with his eternal complement, and it is therefore the acquisition of the science of the Soul. It is the union of intuition and reason. Of this union, as of the conditions that follow it, there are several degrees and phases, for it can, in the first place, be intellectually realized by many persons whose life is incompatible, through the barriers of environment, with the full possession of the Soul. And it can, in the second place, be experienced in that condition of the life of contemplation which is best expressed by the transcendental term Absorption, whereby the reason is taken up into the higher faculty, and we see with the Soul's eye—not that intuition is the single quality of the Soul, or that it can be said to be described therein, for the Soul has indeed many qualities, and the psychic state has many modes and privileges, but this is the key of all, as it is also the poetic mystery of transfigurement. This condition of the interior life is not one that is to be induced automatically, and for this reason hypnotic experiments are dangerous and fatiguing, though undoubtedly it is possible by hypnotism to enter partially at least into the state, and mesmerism, here as elsewhere, maybe made a "stepping-stone" to occult knowledge. It is a stage in interior evolution which comes to the prepared subject, and therein is accomplished in all fulness, and in all completion, the civilization, refinement, and exaltation of the rational mind. It is the first entrance into the participation of the divine nature. It is a return into the subjective condition; but it must not be supposed that it is ever permanent in this life. It is an occasional, with most a rare, felicity, and it can even be sometimes enjoyed by those who attain it amidst the activities of physical life.

In this union of mind and Soul we have the first key to the transfiguration of the body of man; for the operation of the Soul, as we have affirmed already, is necessary to such an illustration. Those who have achieved this happy state are withdrawn into the mystery of all poetry. They are filled with gentleness and benediction; they enjoy a calm rapture; they abide ever amidst the delicate spiritual colourings and the magnetic atmosphere of a continual moonlight which enchants all. They divine their origin, and they know their end; the other world has passed into them; they are at once chastened, subdued, informed, elevated; theirs is the poetry of sentiment and the thought deep as the sea; through their eyes, as through a glass of mystery, one may look into the land of souls, to see Jesus and Mary, the far-away softness and melancholy tenderness of Buddha as of a pearl-grey sky in the evening. The refined beauty of a transfigured desire is upon their faces, till we look almost for the sudden outburst of the Artemisian crescent over their brows, or a chaplet of flowers of light. Theirs is supernatural vision, theirs the lone region of prophecy, theirs intuition, theirs insight, theirs the gift of interpretation, and the Soul on the plane of the timeless communicates with her sisters in the timeless; the royalty of reason receives its crown in insight, the exiled King ascends his throne once more, and re-enters into his inheritance. And the light radiates, the light grows, the light increases ["The moon is increasing"—PKT], the absorption deepens like a dream, the dream heightens into vision, the vision becomes full and unclouded; it includes the past and it comprehends the future, till we know that there is neither past nor future, that which is before becomes as that which is behind. The true, ideal, inviolable Virgin is revealed in us, she has descended towards us, or we have risen to her, she is identified with us, she dwells with us, and out from the illumination of her glory, and down from the transcension of her height, there comes the desired illumination, with the glory of dream and legend. It permeates, it illustrates, it informs, it possesses all our being. It has "slept in death through the wintry hours" and the long night of matter, but it "breaks forth in glory"; we may crown ourselves with roses and lilies from the Paradise of the life to come [Nothing to do with the Moon but still of interest ]; for the life is no longer to come; we have achieved in beauty and we shall reign in joy. We have achieved the divine unreason of the impossible in matter. Look on us, for the Eos* is within us! Look round us, for what is "the starry shemaia of Chaldæean lore"** in comparison with this new heaven and this new earth, which we have created out of the environment of the green world without us!"
* Greek Goddess of the dawn. In the image, she pours morning dew from a jug. Cf. with dew in Moon card.

** Reference is to Bulwer-Litton's Zanoni.
Top   #4
Thirteen's Avatar
Thirteen  Thirteen is offline
The Thirteenth Moon
 
Join Date: 17 Sep 2001
Location: Pluto
Posts: 8,760
Thirteen 
Question Questions about the assignment of Pisces to the Moon


Greetings. There's a discussion about the Moon going on in the Using Tarot Cards forum and there is the usual confusion over the assignment of Pisces to that card rather than the Moon (planet) or Cancer (zodiac sign ruled by the Moon). I was wondering if you could explain the rational behind this assignment of Pisces to the Moon in the RWS deck. Is it simply that Waite wanted to give the Moon to the HPS and so didn't have it for the Moon card? Is it because he was going in order astrologically, and Pisces was the only water sign left by the time he got to the Moon?

Does he have anything to say about this? Or is the reasoning best found elsewhere? Because new readers end up bewildered that the Sun is represented by "the sun" but the Moon isn't represented by the moon, or even by a zodiac sign that has, as its planet, the moon. It's represented by a sign affiliated with Neptune.

Another question given this: Should the Moon be viewed metaphorically as "the Moon": nighttime illumination, lunar mother-goddess, waxing/waning, running under the moon, etc. OR, should the card really be labeled "nighttime" or "the dreamer"? Is there anything from Waite on how to associate this card with moon tropes (the ones we'd apply, astrologically, to the planet or sign of Cancer) when it is represented by a zodiac sign which is not directly or indirectly related to the moon (only tangentially in being a water sign)?
Top   #5
Abrac  Abrac is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466
Abrac 

I think a person might have to look further back than Waite to get a satisfactory explanation. I've never run across anything where he specifically addresses it, but that's not to say he hasn't; I'm constantly surprised at what I run across in his writings. I think one would be more likely to find it in the writings of those who were more concerned with astrological correspondences—Golden Dawn, Crolwey, Papus, Wirth, etc.—or historians who deal with them. It's an interesting question. I've never really thought about it til you brought it up. The correspondences have become so universal it's easy to take them for granted. They had to start somewhere but I have no clue where.

In the Pictorial Key Waite says, "I have also not adopted the prevailing attribution of the cards of the Hebrew alphabet—firstly, because it would serve no purpose in an elementary handbook; secondly, because nearly every attribution is wrong." I don't know what this says about his opinion of astrological correspondences, he may have felt they were all wrong too. He never mentions them in the PKT, nor does he use them in connection with his "Great Symbols of the Paths" in the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross.

But I did find one interesting bit of information. In the PKT he describes the crayfish as, ". . .that which comes up out of the deeps, the nameless and hideous tendency which is lower than the savage beast." That's about as low as it gets considering he only describes the Devil as "the brute." In his book The Occult Sciences he describes Pisces: "The twelfth house is that of Pisces, which is called the Love of Saturn. It is the most baleful and fatal of all; it is the house of poisonings, of wretchedness, of envy, of evil temper, and of violent death." Though he doesn't mention Pisces by name in the PKT, at least one aspect of the Moon seems to be in correspondence with Waite's assessment of the 12th house.
Top   #6
Thirteen's Avatar
Thirteen  Thirteen is offline
The Thirteenth Moon
 
Join Date: 17 Sep 2001
Location: Pluto
Posts: 8,760
Thirteen 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abrac View Post
But I did find one interesting bit of information. In the PKT he describes the crayfish as, ". . .that which comes up out of the deeps, the nameless and hideous tendency which is lower than the savage beast." That's about as low as it gets considering he only describes the Devil as "the brute." In his book The Occult Sciences he describes Pisces: "The twelfth house is that of Pisces, which is called the Love of Saturn. It is the most baleful and fatal of all; it is the house of poisonings, of wretchedness, of envy, of evil temper, and of violent death." Though he doesn't mention Pisces by name in the PKT, at least one aspect of the Moon seems to be in correspondence with Waite's assessment of the 12th house.
Geeze. I guess Waite didn't like people born in late Feb-early March He was a very dour man, wasn't he?

Thank you so much for this information, it's pretty fascinating, especially the remark about Pisces as the Lover of Saturn and being all poisonous and wretched Victorian/Edwardians could be so melodramatic. I'll take this question to the other history forums and see what they have to say.
Top   #7
Abrac  Abrac is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466
Abrac 

Wait wasn't that dour, that's a big misconception. He had dour moments and people like to focus on that for some reason. When you already have a negative preconception about someone, everything they say and do gets filtered through that lens. Waite has been given a very bad rap, undeservedly in my opinion. I don't have any axe to grind. I'm not an occultist, mystic, author or tarot reader. I'm a researcher and as such try to keep an open mind.
Top   #8
kwaw's Avatar
kwaw  kwaw is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 29 Dec 2003
Location: Nr. Ephesus, Turkey
Posts: 5,400
kwaw 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thirteen View Post
Thank you so much for this information, it's pretty fascinating, especially the remark about Pisces as the Lover of Saturn and being all poisonous and wretched Victorian/Edwardians could be so melodramatic. I'll take this question to the other history forums and see what they have to say.
He is probably thinking of the 12th house being the 'joy' of Saturn. Nothing to do with being dour, victorian or edwardian, nor indeed of Pisceans (he is talking about some of the traditional meanings and associations of the 12th house, not of the characteristics of those born in feb/mar) - but an element of traditional astrology:

http://www.astromundi.com/documents/...thePlanets.pdf
Top   #9
Abrac  Abrac is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466
Abrac 

kwaw, I think you're right. Oddly, in The Occult Sciences Waite only gives the "Love of" for four planets but they match the houses in the document you linked to.
Top   #10




 


 


Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Tarot Forum
Aeclectic Tarot Forum Links
· Tarot
· Tarot Special Interest
· Beyond Tarot
· Forum Library

Aeclectic Tarot Categories
· Angel Decks
· Dark & Gothic Decks
· Goddess Decks
· Fairy Decks
· Doreen Virtue Decks
· Beginner Decks
· Cat Decks
· Pagan & Wiccan Decks
· Ancient Egyptian Decks
· Celtic Decks
· Lenormand Decks
· Rider-Waite Decks
· Marseilles Decks
· Thoth Decks
· Oracle Decks
· List All Decks
· Popular Tarot Decks
· Available Decks
· Tarot Books
· What's New

Copyright © 1996 - 2019 Aeclectic Tarot. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Contact us.