The Meaning of The Moon [Card 18]

The Meaning of The Moon Tarot

At a Glance

The Moon Card #18 represents striving, the cycle of life and death, and finding your path illuminated during a precarious hour.

If You Drew This Card…

Tarot cards offer a range of meanings to draw insight from. Both negative and positive aspects of each card can resonate with various aspects of your life.

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  • What do you desire so much that you are willing to humble yourself in order to achieve?
  • What are your associations with the moon or the nighttime? Do you fear it? Relish it? Where do these associations come from?
  • Try spending more time in connection with the night and moon. That may mean doing a project at night or paying more attention to your dreams. It may also mean, more metaphorically, delving into the unknown to solve a puzzle. What will you learn about yourself and your deep desires?


  • Are you perpetually in a state of yearning or pining after that which is unavailable to you?
  • Have you left your comfort zone to pursue something that feels out of reach, and now you are shivering like the crab?
  • What questions about your future have been nagging at you? Consider cultivating admiration for that which is, currently, out of your reach. Welcome this feeling of yearning; it is a unique form of energy.

Interpreting the Symbols

  • Moon : The moon depicted here also resembles the sun – be awake in the night of your existence as through the day. Take direct meaning from your dreams.
  • Dog : Loyalty, dogged devotion to something out of your reach, and perseverance.
  • Wolf : Pining after something out of reach with animal ferocity. The stark truth of a matter; ferocity.
  • Crustacean : Evolution from pure feeling state to going after your goals; metamorphosis, being armored or walled, and setting out on a journey.
  • Gates : Perceived obstacles may be imagined.
  • Road : Setting out on a journey to achieve your highest goals; the path to fulfill your deepest desires.

Charmaine’s Take

There is a famous poem about this card by Charles Olson - predecessor of the beatnik poets - and it is called, “The Moon is the Number 18”. In it, he paints a picture of the scene: the baying dogs, the dripping moon, and the crab. Olson finds a sadness in this card, and striving. He sees death in it and also birth. Interestingly, the moon depicted here looks very much like a sun. It has glowing rays and drops bright, golden petals of light to earth. Below it a dog and a wolf howl, or send up their prayers, as Olson suggests. On either side of the card is a tower with one window. The towers look cold and uninviting. Between the towers are rocky waves or perhaps a mountain range that looks icy and wild. At the very front of the card, where a stream meets land, a crab reaches upward and marks the beginning of a golden path which leads all the way to the edge of the world.

The dog, wolf, and crab reach out to the moon and desire something from it. What does the moon have that they want? Whatever it is, the moon is not totally in their grasp. To get to the moon each creature goes through a unique transformation. The crab must crawl out of the water. It must dry out and use its claws to walk instead of pinch. The loyal dog must leave its home and master, and the wolf must stop seeking prey and dominance, and instead put its head down to focus on the long journey ahead. The moon these creatures pursue has a furrowed brow and tight lips; it is looking away from those who seek it, shrouded in mystery.

This card is about desire and about what you must undergo to achieve that which you desire. It is about how, admitting your desire, you are like the dog or crab. You begin so far down. You begin in the water, in the dirt, in the backyard where the dog is. Then, you follow the path illuminated by the moon. Following this path, you are led on a journey that may not always be safe and comfortable. However, something in you, in these creatures, needs to have the moon’s mystery revealed. Maybe there is a question that can only be asked at night or some reality about life that the moon alone keeps. Maybe the moon knows something about you, about your destiny, that you cannot understand during the day.

Although to exist in this place of pining can be uncomfortable, this place of yearning for knowledge or connection, of desiring that which is not immediately accessible, it is nonetheless a compelling form of energy that brings adventure into life, gives it purpose, and reveals truth.

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