moon tarot card 18

The Moon Tarot Card Meanings (Upright & Reversed)

Last Updated: December 4, 2022

The Moon is card number 18 (XVIII) in modern cartomantic tarot decks and the 19th major arcana trump card (The Fool, number 0, is the first card). Divination practices such as cartomancy can help us make decisions, offer guidance, and help us tune into our intuition when we are at a crossroads in our lives. Understanding the meanings of each tarot card can help you sharpen your interpretative skills so you can get the most out of your readings.

In this article, we will explore the different meanings of the Moon tarot card in various reading contexts and the different advice it can offer you. To help you understand the deep symbolism within that card, we begin with the below narrative.

“And just like the moon, we must go through phases of emptiness to feel full again” 

A dog and a wolf, representing our tamed and our wild side, sit under a vast moon. In front of them is a body of water, representing the subconscious mind, with a crab/scorpion type creature crawling out of it, illustrating our journey into consciousness. Below the moon, behind the animals are two towers, to the left and the right of the card. 

They represent the polarities between good and bad, wild and tame, conscious and unconscious, dark and light. The path leading off from the two animals goes towards the middle point of the card; between the two towers. The Moon card is about finding the middle ground when walking the fine line between these dualities.

Moon

4 Quick takeaways about this card

  1. The Moon is a reminder that everything is cyclical.
  2. It represents our emotions and our subconscious mind.
  3. The Moon can also be a sign that we are in for a period of introspection.
  4. Finally, The Moon is a reminder that we all have shadows that we need to face.
Table of Contents

Pictorial Symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck

The artworks from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck contain deeper esoteric meanings that tarotists love to decipher. The illustration of the Moon card depicts a full moon with the face of a woman in the night sky, with two large grey towers on either side. In the foreground, there is a body of water from which a crayfish emerges. A wolf and a dog are also present, howling at the moon whilst standing on two separate sides of a central path. 

The symbolism in this card is thought to represent the duality of human nature, with the light of the moon shining down on both the good and evil that exists within us. 

the moon rider waite

The towers represent the pillars of our lives forcing us to focus on balance & the middle ground, while the body of water represents our emotions and the fluid flow of all living energy.The crayfish emerging from the water is a symbol of new beginnings and fertility, and the wolf and dog represent our animal instincts (our tamed and our wild).

This card can indicate that we are at a crossroads in our lives and that we need to make a decision between two options.

The Moon tarot card key correspondences

Upright keywords

Unconscious, Intuition, Dreams

Reversed keywords

Confusion, Fear, Paranoia

Yes or No

No

Numerology

18 (XVIII)

Element

Water

Planetary correspondence

The Moon

Astrological Sign

Pisces

Jungian archetype

Light aspect: The Shape Shifter, The Goddess / Shadow aspect: The Mystic

Tarot timing

Monday

Associated deities

Selene, Nyx

Other name(s)

The Twilight (Egyptian Tarot), and La Lune (Tarot de Marseille). 

What does the upright Moon (tarot card XVIII) mean?

In Latin, major arcana translates to “big secrets” and each of the 22 cards in this section of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck represents an important life lesson we must all face at some point. The Moon, arcanum 18, is no different.

Ever heard of a lunatic? Someone whose mood swings quickly and unpredictably, someone whose perception of reality is a little … out of touch. The concept of lunacy comes from the Latin word for “moon”, “luna”, and refers to an intermittent kind of insanity attributed to the moon’s cycles and movements: the idea that the moon is deeply linked to our emotions is an ancient one.

Thus, in the Tarot, The Moon speaks to our inner world, our private feelings – much like our Moon placement in Astrology. Now, when The Moon shows up in a reading, it’s not calling you a lunatic. But it is indicating that your feelings are very much at the forefront of this question, so that gives you clues as to how to approach it – how objective are you really being about this question?

How caught up in your feelings are you? The Moon is tarot card number 18 (XVIII) in the major arcana, it comes after The Star and before The Sun; after having mastered our capacity to connect with the universe, with the collective (represented by The Star Aquarian ties), we need to be able to go inwards with The Moon and get to know our inner world with this card before we can move on to the joyous and confident Sun.

upright moon tarot card

When pulled in the upright position The Moon is associated with the unconscious, intuitions, and dreams

What does the upright Moon mean in a love reading?

If you’re in a relationship, The Moon speaks to a beautiful sense of shared emotional depth and honesty. This isn’t a banal, casual type of thing; this is something that has got you feeling all the feels, and that’s gorgeous! 

Depending on your attachment wounds, this can of course be something that feels a little scary to you, so it can be an indication of needing to process the strength of the emotions this relationship is bringing up – a good advice would be to try a therapeutic activity like journaling.

If the relationship isn’t one that has you feeling safe, seen and valued, The Moon in a reading could be trying to point this out: maybe something here isn’t as it seems. There can be some element of illusion or clouded judgement.

If you’re single, The Moon can speak to a strong desire for emotional connection – what’s your relationship to yourself like? Do you ever take yourself out on a date? How are you fostering meaningful platonic relationships in your life? Who’s in your community? 

As The Moon speaks to our relationship (to our emotions), it can bring up feelings around loneliness and emotional confusion – what are you potentially projecting onto others?

What does the upright Moon mean in a career reading?

Are you actually lost, or do you know the answer, deep down? The Moon indicates confusion and intuition, so maybe you feel like there are so many options and paths you don’t know where to start.

This could be a call to tune into your inner voice and do some soul searching. Alternatively, this could be a sign to turn towards something where you’ll be using your sense of intuition and empathy to help bring clarity to situations.

What does the upright Moon mean in a health reading?

This card can signify health issues around mental health – your emotional health. It can relate to depression and/or anxiety – not full-blown lunacy! What can you do to help balance your mental health? Where can you seek support?

Alternatively, it can be an indication to trust your intuition around health matters. Are you not getting the diagnosis that you feel is right for you? Or do you just have an intuition that something isn’t quite right?

If you are a woman or AFAB, this may also be an indicator to keep an eye on your gynaecological, menstrual & hormone health. Might be time for a check-up.

The Moon tarot card as feelings/emotions

If you are asking the tarot how someone feels about you, pulling the Moon card can be a sign to ask you to take your time on this and ponder. It can indicate that they are not being honest with you about their feelings, or that they are confused about how they feel. 

The Moon can also represent repressed anger or jealousy, so it is important to be aware of these emotions if you do see this card. The Moon is associated with strong emotions, and therefore can fit on the extremes from very happy & content to livid & spewing with hatred.

The Moon is all about feeling a little bit emotional! Tender, emotional, perhaps even a bit too sensitive. The Moon wants you to curl up with a snuggly blanket and let yourself have a good cry, to help you get in touch with your feelings to ultimately be more honest with yourself about your wants and needs. 

Honour your cycles and rhythms.

The Moon tarot card as a person

As a personality archetype, the Moon represents someone who is emotionally volatile, unstable, and who goes through drastic mood swings. They can be very creative, but their emotions often get in the way of them achieving their full potential. 

They typically are quick to react without thinking, think of people who act out of anger without pausing to assess. They would typically find themselves in professions with nurturing or rehabilitation roles, such as Nursing, Coaching, and Social Work.

The Moon tarot card as advice

If you are asking the tarot for advice regarding a specific situation in your life, pulling the Moon card means that you need to be very careful. The Moon represents deception, so whatever situation you are in, be sure to watch out for false information and people who may not have your best interests at heart. 

The Moon always has symbolism of introspection. Trust your intuition and don’t be afraid to take your time or think things through. Oftentimes there is an element that is hidden that we aren’t aware of, and that is what the Moon card is trying to advise.

What zodiac sign is associated with the Moon tarot card?

The Moon tarot card is associated with the zodiac signs of Cancer and Pisces. Cancer is a water sign and is also ruled by the Moon. This makes sense, as the Moon represents feminine energy and emotions, which are often deep and complex like the ocean. 

Cancerians are known for their emotional tendencies, but they are also caring and nurturing people. If your birth date falls between June 21-July 22, then your sun sign is Cancer. The Moon tarot card is also associated with Pisces, the dreamy intuitive, and most spiritual sign of the Zodiac! 

The Moon has many elements of subconscious and mysticism that align with Pisces as a Zodiac sign, and it’s not hard to see the correlation. Pisces runs from February 18th to March 20th, and I always struggle with Pisces season personally in my magick. I’m an Aries rising and a Cardinal heavy chart so you may see why I want to work with this more for my own benefit and strength! 

The Moon typically can be found representative of any water sign including Scorpio for its energies that align (the hidden, the dark, and the emotional tides).

Is the Moon a yes or no card?

The Moon is a heavily discussed card to answer yes or no to, as it represents so many different things. Instead of thinking in terms of pure yes or no, think of the Moon as more of a warning, to use care, and to trust your intuition. 

If you are in a situation that feels deceptive or delicate, then the answer is definitely no. However, if you are innovative and looking for some guidance on your next project, then the answer may be yes, as the Moon can represent creativity and inspiration. I personally always read the Moon as a “no” card. 

Below are some of my interpretations, as an experienced tarot practitioner, based on different types of questions:

Question: “Will I get the job?”

Card Interpretation: There are other forces at work here behind the scenes, and it is unlikely that this is the right job for you, even if it is offered.

Question: “Is this new person in my life good for me?”

Card Interpretation: The Moon asks you to reflect not on the other person and whether they are inherently good or particularly bad, but on how you feel about them personally.

Question: “Will I achieve my current goals?”

Card Interpretation: This card placement shares with you that there may be underlying, hidden themes we are not aware of, but the conscientious ever-present aspect from the literal Moon, no matter the phase it is in, lends its support and favor here.

Question: “Should I make that investment?”

Card Interpretation: The Moon is asking you to trust your intuition and take time to think it over, potentially a month (in terms of time frame).

Question: “Should I start my own business?”

Card Interpretation: Just like the Moon with its phases and its symbolism, there will be energy waning as well as dark moments if you start this business. Intuitively you will know if it is the right decision for you, but it’s not always an easy journey that is sunny and bright. It may indicate massive emotional leaps if you also started a business, and it calls to question whether you are ready to handle the large emotional, gravity-pull of The Moon if you choose to go ahead.

What does the reversed Moon card mean in Tarot?

If The Moon comes out reversed, then you’ve beaten the nebulous state of confusion this card can represent. Things are clearer, and maybe more rational now. The Moon reversed indicates a triumph against your inner anxieties and projections. 

Unless the reversal is a warning against the fact that you’re refusing to examine your inner world, and almost an invitation to turn the card around and to dive into “your Moon sign”, your feelings.

the moon reversed tarot card

When pulled in the reversed position The Moon is associated with confusion, fear, and paranoia.

What does the reversed Moon mean in a love reading?

When The Moon comes out reversed in a love tarot spread, perhaps you don’t have all the information here. Something could be hidden under the surface, this could be a warning to wait and see what is revealed. 

Honesty and transparency are being called into question here – it doesn’t have to be outright lies though, it can just speak to honesty with one’s own emotions.

What does the inverted Moon mean in a career reading?

Either the confusion you’d been feeling in this area of your life is dissipating, or it’s getting worse! This can speak to a worsening of emotional turmoil at work, maybe some paranoia and anxieties felt by you or your colleagues. But then again, maybe this situation has been resolved, hence the reversal.

What does the upside-down Moon mean in a health reading?

This indicates that your mental health issues are lifting, you’re gaining new clarity. Maybe you’re about to get/have just got a diagnosis, maybe you’ve found the support you needed to help you with these issues. This is a positive way to pull The Moon in a reading relating to your health.

How to use the Moon card in your Spellwork

The Moon makes a great significator card to use in spellwork relating to phases of the Moon. A significator card is a Tarot card that has been chosen specifically to represent the object of the spell – for example, if you’re doing a spell about your relationship, you might use The Lovers or the King or Queen of Cups as significator cards.

You can use The Moon as a significator during the New or Full phase of the moon for example. The New phase represents a fresh start, as it’s the beginning of the 28-day lunar cycle. Start by cleansing your space, to get rid of stagnant energies and to help make room for new.

Place The Moon tarot card on your altar, or in a place visible to you as you settle to meditate on your intentions for this new cycle, before writing them down to help them manifest in your life.

During the New phase, the moon isn’t visible in the sky, representing the breadth of possibilities of what you can call in for yourself. You can use the rest of your deck to pull some additional cards to help specify where to focus your intentions, using The Moon as the centrepiece of your spread.

During the Full phase, you can use the card in the same fashion, as a focal point as you celebrate the things you’re grateful for, that you’ve already managed to manifest for yourself. Try a gratitude list, or write a letter of thanks to yourself, expressing your positive emotions about yourself. 

Spend some time looking at the Full moon illuminating the sky, maybe have a little dance under it, and say some grateful affirmations out loud to yourself.

Using the Moon card in Dreamwork

For centuries, humans understood very little about the moon. For this reason, it’s appearance in your dreams can mean that something isn’t fully clear to you. It illuminates and brings a form of clarity in that sense, but it also creates shadows with its light. 

What’s hidden? Try keeping a journal by your bed, and take notes about the themes of your dreams, the other elements that surround the moon. This can give you some clues as to what the moon is trying to shine its light on.

The moon in your dreams can also be an invitation to trust your intuition, to connect with that divine feminine energy that feels more than it needs facts to attain knowledge.

A Poem to remember the upright meanings

Poems can be a good way to remember information because they often use rhyme and rhythm, which can make them easier to memorize.

Additionally, poems often use vivid imagery and figurative language, which can help to make the information more interesting and engaging.

The moon waxes and wanes in our sky,

A symbol of change, that we can’t deny.

A card of insight, that can help guide,

It’s full of mystery, and can’t be denied.

 

The moon reflects our inner light,

A symbol of intuition, so very bright.

It’s a card of dreams, that are so true,

It can bring a sense of clarity, to me and you.

 

The moon can be deceptive, in the night,

For it can cast an eerie light.

It’s a card of secrets, that will soon be revealed,

For it can bring us to a place, where fear is repealed.

 

The moon can be a sign of duality,

With one side of dark and one of light, we can see.

It’s a card of transformation, that can show the way,

To a place of renewal, in the night and day.

 

The moon tarot card is full of surprises,

It can bring a sense of balance, to our lives.

It can bring us peace and serenity,

A card of intuition, that is oh so free.

A Poem to remember the reversal meanings

The Moon reversed is a sign of woe

A warning of chaos and deception so

The truth is obscured and lies arise

And darkness is a veil before our eyes

 

The subconscious is in turmoil and despair

The veil of illusion is in the air

The path ahead is uncertain and unclear

Your emotions are a raging sea without a pier

 

The dreamlike state is hard to break

And inner fears you must take

The hidden traps can linger and bind

Risking your clarity of mind

 

The unknown may be hard to face

But don’t give in to the fear and chase

The truth will be revealed in time

When you step out of the shadows and shine

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Moon tarot card is a powerful symbol of the unconscious, intuition, and dreams. When this card appears in your reading, it is often a sign that you may have some unresolved emotions and indicates a time of uncertainty or confusion.

Despite its association with mysticism and occultism, the tarot has grown to become much more than a simple “fortune-telling” tool. For many tarot readers, it is a complex system made of symbolic imagery and psychological considerations (Jungian archetypes for example) that can be used for self-exploration, meditation, and personal transformation.

The 22 major arcana cards each correspond to different aspects of the human experience that are universal. They represent the different stages of the “hero’s journey”: our biggest challenges and life lessons, as well as our highest aspirations and greatest potential.

Have you ever had a reading where the Moon card appeared? What was the outcome? What does the Moon mean to you personally? How do you interpret this card in your own tarot practice? Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below.

If you want to know more about the different tarot cards, feel free to check out our complete list of all 78 tarot cards and their meanings.

daisy forrest

Written By Daisy Forrest

Daisy Forrest is a queer, neurodivergant witch, astrologer and writer based in France. She is a qualified workshop organizer and space holder, who’s currently merging her passion for IFS therapy and astrology into her signature coaching offering called Selves. She’s on a journey to heal generational trauma through astrology, tarot, witchcraft, therapy and manifestation. You can find her writing about these themes on Instagram @Daisy Forrest, or on her website daisyforrest.com

Learn more about the major arcana tarot cards

This page is part of our comprehensive list of the 22 major arcana tarot cards & their meanings. If you enjoyed the read, then you’ll love the following articles.

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