Queering the Tarot: The Moon



Perhaps it is because I am a most stereotypical Pisces, but The Moon has always been one of the most important tarot cards to me, and in many ways sums up the Tarot’s intention and purpose in and of itself. This is a card that upright can indicate your own psychic power, connection to the moon or water, or indicate that you should listen to your dreams as a guiding force. Because of this card’s connection to intuition, it often surfaces when someone in our lives is being deceptive—especially if that person is ourselves and self-deception is creating an illusion who’s reality we need to address. The Moon does illuminate when you are looking for answers, but unlike the bright, warm glow of the sun, the moon guides us with slivers of light and odd persistence, requiring us to go deeper into ourselves for the answers we seek. The Moon represents our shadow self, the side that shows when we are home alone with ourselves and there is no one to put on a show or a happy face for. I absolutely love this card. I love that it represents a mixed up Piscean duality by indicating both the illusion at play and an energy calling you to face that illusion head on, and that that seeming contrast leads to something else entirely: a concise message to listen to your subconscious and your intuition, and an encouragement to go deeper into your depths and into yourself. The High Priestess alluded to knowledge that was within us the whole time, and the Moon sees it slowly come to light.

In a reading, the Moon frequently brings difficult news: that thing we were worried about? It’s true, and it’s time to deal with it. It’s rare that people get a reading when they have no clue what the answers are going to be, and the Moon calls us on that farce when we’re determined not to be honest about that. However, in a reading the Moon also assures us things WILL be okay. They ARE getting better, but on a timeline that isn’t your own. The Moon also sees through your happy face, bringing to light the stressors or depressants you were avoiding. Finally, because this card deals heavily with your own subconscious and intuition, a common occurrence is for this card to show up when you are coming into some spiritual gifts or unexpected, ongoing gift for insight. This has been true even for atheist and agnostic clients—you don’t have to believe in spiritual power for the Moon to guide you towards new, helpful ways of thinking. In a queered reading, a lot of this card doesn’t change. I’ve often wondered if I put that on it because I am so queer and so connected to this card that of course I just read it as being a natural fit into queer narratives, but my view of it is not uncommon. Nonetheless, there are specific applications I have seen.

For example, The Moon can be calling us to a spirituality where a divine feminine is honored, instead of the more popular (in present day society) divine masculine. Of course worshiping or praying to a divine feminine isn’t a queer-specific calling and not all LGBTQ+ people will be called to such a religion. However, it is a common experience when your sexual or gender identity isolates you from a more patriarchal religion that a more fluid, feminine one would be calling you, and that is a queer-centric application I have seen from this card. While the spiritual elements of this card that indicate intuition and prophetic (or analytical) dreams seem like they wouldn’t be altered that dramatically because someone is LGBTQ+, those of us who come from oppressive backgrounds where we are told listening to ourselves is wrong, that who we think we are isn’t okay, those people in our community are going to have a tough time learning to listen to themselves. The Moon may show up over and over again for people who have been trained not to trust themselves until the message finally clicks, and you have to be patient. You (or the client) are not intentionally blocking out the subconscious or one’s intuition, you just have to dig deeper into that shadow self to get there.

The Moon does sometimes bring hard to face news, and as such it does come up for closeted querents. Between my intuition, my gifts with the cards, my hyper-perception, and my years of watching closeted friends struggle before coming out, I can almost always tell when this is the case. However, if you’re reading for someone other than yourself, delivering pointed messages about coming to terms with who you are when you’re alone and slowly taking down the illusory mask are a much more compassionate way to help the client come to terms with things themselves. Pointing out that guiding light in the card and the fact that this part of them has been there all along will also help. If you are reading for yourself, you can be a bit more abrupt. If you know what this card is, if it comes up over and over, it’s time to come to terms with that side of yourself. You aren’t being called to take any action with The Moon, which is definitely helpful when dealing with this situation. You’re only being called to come to terms with deception in your life, especially deception or illusions you’ve created for yourself. I have seen this be true not only in gay or bisexual clients, but in cases of asexuality or aromanticism. This is also the number two card that comes up for transgender women and feminine of center genderqueer clients while they are closeted (number one being Death, which is the number one for transgender clients across the board). If a querent is questioning their gender or sexual identity, this is one of the few cards that I feel points to a specific side of the gender binary (the feminine, in this case), but this isn’t always true so do look at surrounding cards for more details.

Regardless of one’s gender or sexual identity, The Moon brings big things to the surface, things we often only let bubble up when we’re alone. An important alternative interpretation to note then is this card as an indicator of past trauma such as abuse or sexual assault. I bring this up not only because I don’t think it gets talked about enough in relation to this card, but because queer people all too frequently accept trauma as part of our lives and suppress the very real effects it may have on us. Even worse, LGBTQ+ people often do not feel supported, included, or even welcome in the few spaces or within the resources that there are for trauma recovery. I have seen the sight of this card bring tears to people’s eyes even when they have no idea what it means, and as we dig through the reading, trauma often comes to light. This is another situation where you don’t pry or insist this is what this card means, and do not try to “heal” or counsel this trauma yourself if you are reading for someone else. Have a list of metaphysical friendly licensed therapists or support groups, or at the very least suggest traditional therapy. This is not going to be the case every time, or even most of the time, when The Moon comes up, but it is a very real element of this card that I have seen too often to ignore.

The Moon does bring a lot of great things—that slight illumination is promised, and if you follow your own intuition you will surely be on the path to moving past illusions, getting to know yourself better and deeper, and integrating those shadow parts of yourself fully. The idea of illumination and the concept of healing in the tarot are closely linked, so in those really rough cases covered above, that moonlight guides us to healing forces if we listen to ourselves and those we trust. Furthermore, it’s most common application is to let you know you’re on the right track, or to encourage you to listen to your dreams or dig down deeper into yourself to get the answers you require. It is one of our cards that deals with headier things pretty frequently, but unlike The Tower or even the positive-but-huge Wheel of Fortune, The Moon allows you to take things slowly, encouraging you to process and get in tune spiritually when a course of action is possible, or when it just isn’t time for one yet.

Be sure to check out the first sixteen parts: Queering the Tarot: The Star, Queering the Tarot: The Tower, Queering the Tarot: The Devil, Queering the Tarot: Temperance, Queering the Tarot: Death, Queering the Tarot: The Hanged Man, Queering the Tarot: Justice, Queering the Tarot: The Wheel, Queering The Tarot: The Hermit, Queering The Tarot: Strength, Queering The Tarot: The Chariot, Queering the Tarot: The Lovers, Queering the Tarot: The Hierophant, Queering the Tarot: The Emperor, The Empress, and Archaic Gender Roles, Queering the Tarot: The High Priestess, Queering The Tarot: The Magician, Queering the Tarot, and Queering the Tarot: Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

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Cassandra is a queer writer, activist, and artist working out of Minneapolis, MN. She is a professional tarot card reader, and runs Gadfly Theatre Productions, a queer and feminist theatre company. Her life's work is on creating safe spaces and transformative experiences for marginalized people from all walks of life. To find out more about her as a tarot reader, check out cassandra-snow.com. For more information on Gadfly, visit gadflytheatre.org.


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