All Things Tarot: Musings of a Tarot Crone

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Finding the Eclipse in the Tarot

Unless you've been living under a rock, you're probably aware that there's a solar eclipse set to cross over the US on August 21st, right in the last degrees of Leo. Yes, this is a major astrological event (and a pretty cool astronomical one, too), but it also has some connections with the tarot too. The strength of those connections lies in the artist's interpretation of the decks, and some have more than others. When I teach the tarot, I always default to the RWS deck, and it's got some interesting imagery when it comes to eclipses, especially the Moon card. 

Now, I'm sure that some will say that the face on the Moon card in the RWS deck is just that; the face of the Moon. I want to take that further though. Some of the interpretations of the Moon card include 

  • The shadow self
  • Repressed weaknesses
  • Irrational fears or behavior
  • Illusions and deceptions
  • Things not as they appear to be
  • Uncertainty
  • Having to depend on your own inner self for guidance

What I find interesting as an astrologer is many of these themes crop up when studying eclipses, too. Let's face it, what could be more strange, more fear inducing to those who didn't understand the astronomy of an eclipse, to see the Sun darken in the middle of the day! That's enough to create fears, irrational behavior, uncertainty, and more!  

Astrologically speaking, eclipses also trigger life events. They may not happen right at the time of the eclipse, but use it as a catalyst for something to start. Eclipses also represent endings and beginnings. There are patterns and cycles to how each eclipse occurs, particularly when you start to look at the Sun sign sequence. Eclipses also mess with the timing of events, triggering accelerated progression of what has been set in motion. More than any of that, though, an eclipse will shine a bright light into a hidden aspect of your psyche, showing you where you still have work to do. 

There can't be an eclipse without both the Sun and the Moon. The Moon card in the tarot shows your shadow side and where your fears lie; the corona of the eclipse illuminates those fears, bringing them out into the open. In astrology the Moon deals with emotions; sometimes an eclipse will shine a light on an emotional attachment or a relationship that is no longer working, enabling you to see things in a new way, and take the steps that you need to get out from under the uncertainty that these are creating in your life. 

The eclipse exposes what the Moon card tries to hide. This isn't the only card in the tarot where the relationship between the Moon and the Sun is depicted. Look at the RWS 8 of Cups. This is yet another card that shows illumination, light being shed on matters that may have not been all that they first appeared. When I see this card in a reading, I interpret it as 'walk away from what's not working, no matter how appealing it may seem.' All the cups are upright, they're full, they're enticing... but they're not right for the figure in the card. The water in the image reflects the emotional attachment of the situation. He wants more, so he faces the fear of the unknown, and sets out on a new path—a somewhat rocky one—but a new path all the same! 

The moon appears in other places in the tarot; the crown of the High Priestess, the shoulder armor of the rider in the Chariot, and the crescent hanging in the sky over the figure in the Two of Swords. None of these have the full face on them like the Moon in the Eight of Cups or the Moon in the Major Arcana. There may be a myriad of reasons for this, but to me, the differences in the illustration tie the other two cards to the mysteries of the eclipse, and make them powerful cards for personal transformation. 

 

 

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Charlie Rainbow Wolf is happiest when she is creating something, especially if it can be made from items that others have cast aside. Pottery, writing, knitting, and Tarot are her deepest interests, but she happily confesses that she’s easily distracted, because life offers so many wonderful things to explore. Charlie has been reading the Tarot professionally for over two decades, and can't imagine life without it. She is an advocate of organic gardening and cooking, and lives in the Midwest with her husband and special-needs Great Danes.

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