It’s helpful when considering this card to understand more about the position of the moon in Egyptian society because it certainly does not seem to have the importance of the Sun. This site gives a great deal of information about the Moon. The “relaxing” moon is one of the primary symbols of Islam today and a photograph is attached to this post.

It seems that the Moon was not regarded as a God in its own right, as is the Sun, but various gods have been associated with the Moon over time. The cycle of the Moon was important and many rituals were associated with it. The beginning of the lunar cycle was considered to be the new moon, and it ended with the moment of the full Moon. Therefore, the moon only became visible on the second day of the lunar month. The lunar cycle is represented either as a six day evolution up to the sixth day, or as a fifteen day evolution up to the ideal day of the full moon. The importance given to the sixth day is probably explained by the increasing intensity of moonlight at this stage of the cycle, though sometimes the seventh day is mentioned instead. The cycles of the moon were recognised in various rituals, including funerary rituals.

For example, the murder of the god Osiris and his resurrection were recognized in the lunar cycle, and the body of Osiris was equated with the moon. In this myth, Osiris' body was cut into fourteen parts by Seth, where were later reassembled and restored to life. Here also, the number of parts of Osiris' body were equated with the days of the waning or waxing moon. In other areas of Egypt, the entire life cycle of Osiris were related to the lunar cycle, with the god's conception on the first day and his birth on the second lunar day. Osiris' murder and subsequent dismemberment were associated with the period following the full moon. Hence, the second day of the month saw the reassembly of the god's parts and his "entering into the moon" on the sixth day. The rejuvenation and the defeat of the god's enemies occurred on the day of the full moon, when Osiris was declared victorious in the tribunal, and when Horus was awarded with his heritage.

In Barrett’s XVIII Moon, the coffin of Osiris floats down the Nile, yet to be discovered. The traditional two pillars form a gateway between life and death. In studying this deck, I have come to see that I need to understand much more about the idea of death as journey and the whole process of Egyptian funerary rights.

In the meantime on these two pillars are images of Osiris, awaiting his resurrection, and Khonsu, one of the many Moon gods. Khonsu was the son of Amon-Re and Mut . . His name derives from the root, "khens" which means to travel, to move about, to run. He was usually portrayed as a man with the head of a hawk and wearing the lunar disk. He was also shown as a child with the sidelock of youth. Khonsu was a very old god of primitive times. It was said that when Khonsu caused the cresent moon to shine, women conceived, cattle became fertile, and all nostrils and every throat were filled with fresh air.

Jackals are also prominent symbols in this image. They represent the God Anubis who was once the God of the dead, a role later assumed by Osiris himself. Anubis became the jackal-god of mummification and assisted in the rites by which a dead man was admitted to the underworld. Anubis was worshipped as the inventor of embalming and who embalmed the dead Osiris, thereby helping to preserve him that he might live again.

Scarabs are also prominent in this card. Scarabs are small beetles which push dung containing their larvae up from their burrows to the surface of the earth. The larvae incubate in the dung before bursting out and taking flight. This is a parable for the Sun bursting out of the depths of night. The little scarab beetle came to symbolize the Sun God’s amazing powers of creation and regeneration.

The feeling in this wonderful image is one of waiting, waiting for resurrection and rebirth, the birth into light. The astrological sign for this card is Pisces, represented by the images of fish on the coffin of Osiris.

In this dim half light, poised in the consciousness between life and death, ordinary things assume the character of fantasy and illusion. What is real and what is not? The perennial questions around the Moon. We can use this image and the time of the Moon to explore our imagination and the limits of consciousness. Can we ever be sure, in all these explorations, what is real and what is fanciful, however? For most of us, it is preferable ultimately to be in the light, and the light of the Sun may eclipse what we learn from the light of the Moon. Or does it?

The thing I love about this particular image is its silence. In the silence is clarity. I don't get the strong impression of illusion in this image, just of waiting for the natural cycle of things. And in the waiting and the quiet, much will be revealed. Not everything, but enough to make us want to search for more understanding.


  • moonmosque.jpg
    14.6 KB · Views: 241
  • XVIII Moon.jpg
    XVIII Moon.jpg
    85.5 KB · Views: 267



i have been doing profeesional reading for a while. In my experience i have found that when ever card Moon has appeared, querent has been sufferifng form headaches , been disillusioned and have goen through a time of tough time in decsion making.


I had no idea the moon was associated with the resurrection of Osiris. It certainly makes sense, given the 14 day lunar cycle (from new to full or vice versa) and the 14 pieces of Osiris.

I will tell you what happened which allowed me to finally understand this trump. I did a reading for someone rather young regarding a relationship he was in. A separation of about a month's time was coming up in the future, which all parties involved knew. In the reading, the querent and his love, both represented by court cards, had the moon trump in between them in the spread. Additionally, his love was looking away from him in the spread.

The relationship was one filled with chaos, as they often are amongst the young. There were many suspicions on both sides of this relationship and both parties had been trading accusations of cheating for some time. The querent knew on some level something was wrong, but still held very tightly to a fantasy of perfection from which he viewed the relationship. And this was his main problem.

On the one had, his fantasized version of the relationship had a strong hold on him. On the other, his fears she was cheating were equally strong. And the spread showed exactly what would happen in that month. He almost went insane bouncing between these two extremes, the fantasy of perfect love and his imaginings she was cheating. Just as the moon trump showed in the spread, he would not be able to distinguish reality from fantasy in the month long separation.

Eventually, it turns out she was cheating in a most underhanded and sneaky way. Just as the spread predicted, once out of the phase of the moon trump, she would not be looking at him. Once he did find out, however, it was mostly a relief for him. He dropped her and was able to move on with his life rather quickly, being that he no longer had to bounce between the two extremes and was finally able to distinguish reality from fantasy.

That one spread helped me immensely to understand how to interpret and understand the trump XVIII.


The moon suggests a situation that can't be looked at logically. Just as moonlight is nothing more than a reflection of sunlight, the mind can only reflect observations that are made. Interpretations of these observations are often flawed because the mind is inherently limited and mental processes are prone to error. When confronted with the reflected light of the moon (which doesn't contain the illumination provided by true sunlight), superstition comes into play. Life under moonlight becomes a journey into the unknown, which causes fear, which in turn brings up issues of illusion and delusion.

The towers guard the gateway between life and death. Osiris, awaiting his resurrection, is shown on the left tower. Khonsu the moon god of healing and regeneration is depicted on the right tower. Khonsu aided Thoth by helping him track the passage of time. He was also an exorcist since it was believed that evil spirits were the cause of illness.

Khonsu is shown with a horizontal crescent moon under a full moon atop his head. The symbol for the full moon can also symbolize the human spirit and that which is eternal or endless. It can also signify wholeness, completion, strength and spiritual power. The horizontal crescent can represent the personality. It can also represent light, growth and regeneration.

The jackals are sacred to Anubis and can also represent man's basic animal nature.

Osiris' coffin floats on the Nile, waiting to be discovered. The coffin represents a passage or the experience of significant change. It also suggests a lack of consciousness, vitality or awareness. The rippling waters suggest confusion or illusion. As the coffin floats upon these waters, the suggestion is that the mind is attempting to rise from the waters of confusion, drawn by the light above. But as has already been stated, this isn't the true light of illumination, but a reflection of it.

The top end of the coffin that we see is decorated with many symbols. In the lower right and left corners are the fish who consumed Osiris' penis. Fish are the symbol of Pisces, which is associated with this card. Pisces is the last sign of the zodiac and signals the end of winter and the coming reemergence of the sun's preeminence. As the next card in the tarot is the Sun, the suggestion is that if one can manage to navigate through this card, the reward will be the true illumination of the Sun.

There is also a modified version of the winged solar disk on the top end of the coffin. We see Manjet, the solar barque, carrying a winged scarab holding the sun disk in its toothed legs. The left and right Eye of Ra/Horus also appear on either side of the sun.

The landing upon which the jackals recline has images of the solar barque carrying Ra on the front of it. If moonlight is the false light of illusion and delusion, then Ra's presence suggests that this is the way to illumination as long as the Querent sticks to the path and doesn't stray from it. In order to successfully traverse this path, the Querent must ignore the illusions/ delusions/ distractions provided by the moon because they will have an adverse affect on his mind and therefore his ability to think logically, which in turn will lead him to folly.