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Symbols and their meaning : the Moon

Symbols and their meaning : the Moon

30 Oct 2015
Let’s have a look today on an iconic star: the Moon. Since the dawn of time, the lunar orb has been ubiquitous in mythologies, popular religions and beliefs around the world. Often associated with a feminine symbol, the moon represents the rhythm of time because it embodies the concept of cycles. The moon phases symbolize immortality and eternity, enlightenment or, conversely, the darker side of nature and soul. It may also reflect the inner knowledge or stages of the man’s life on earth, because it controls the tides, the rain and the seasons. Let’s see now, through its origins and its history, the symbolism of the moon.
The Moon is first the light of the night in the sky. It illuminates the earth on full moon nights and plunges it into the mystery of darkness until the new moon. This phenomenon of constant emergence, growth and disappearance of the moon symbolizes life, death and rebirth. Ancient peoples used to measure time with the regular moon cycles rather than sun.

The moon, a feminine symbol

The Moon is associated with goddesses and feminine principle in most cultures, although it was associated with masculine principle in some of them, as in the pre-Christian Nordic pantheon or in ancient Egypt where Thoth was the god of the moon.
The diversity of lunar goddesses in cultures conquered by the Greeks and Romans is attested by the large number of the moon deities in their mythology.

The oldest Greek goddess was Selene, whose two daughters were sired by Zeus. Selene was finally supplanted by Artemis (Latin Diana, Luna), Apollo’s twin sister. Artemis was the virgin goddess of hunt and animals. She was roaming the forests with a doe (see "symbols and their meaning : the deer and the doe"). Artemis was also patroness of maternity and childbirth, the gradual transformation of the female body during pregnancy beeing symbolized by the crescent moon and the full moon.

The Greeks had also affected different goddesses to the different lunar phases. As independent virgin huntress Artemis generally symbolized the waxing Moon. The matron, fertile aspect of the full moon is symbolized by Hera (Latin Juno), wife of Zeus and protector of the house and family.
Hecate was the goddess of the waning moon and symbolized old age and in the life of woman.

Selene, goddess of the moon, surrounded by the Dioscuri or Phosphoros (the morning star)
and Hesperos (the evening star). Marble, Roman artwork of the second century AD. J.-C.

Among the Aztecs, the Moon was symbolizing carnal love.

In China, at the beginning of each month, Heng-gno, the mother of the twelve moons was washing her children in a lake. Then, each in turn, the moons were leaving for a one-month trip across the sky. The moon was inhabited by a hare who was creating a liquor of immortality. Heng-ngo, eager to taste immortality, drank it secretly during his absence. Discovered by her husband Yi, the goddess fled to the moon to escape his anger and lives there since.

Among the Incas, Quilla, the moon, in Heaven follows the journey of her brother and husband, Inti, the sun. Queen of the night, she watches over the smooth running of the time. Represented by a silver disc with a human face, Mama Quilla is the mother of the first Inca, Manco Capacaussi, and also became the protector of married women.

In some African myths, the Moon Mawu symbolizes the feminine principle. She is the Goddess of Night, wisdom and knowledge meanwhile the Sun, Lisa, embodies the masculine principle. He controls the smooth running of days and has the strength and power that sustains the world. When Mawu and Lisa mate, an eclipse occurs in the sky. Both are at the origin of the world, they are the creators of the gods and humanity

Symbolism of the Moon in the divinatory Tarot

In the Arcanum XVIII (The Moon), the earth is immersed in the night. But it is nevertheless illuminated by the moon, major element of the card. This decor evokes the world of dreams, imagination and the unconscious. The moon has a face, but it is shown in profile. It is a crescent moon, who has not reached its fullness. Some of it remains hidden in the night, symbolizing the mystery of the soul or the secret and invisible process of pregnancy, and in general everything that is secret or hidden.
The ability of the moon to create life and light, is only half revealed but very powerful yet. This is embodied by the red color behind its rays, symbol of life, vital.
Below the radiant moon, two animals are facing each other, probably dogs or wolves. They are framed by two towers in the background of the landscape. The animals seem to howl at the moon, or open their mouth to be feed with the colorful drops that the Moon seems to send them. They can be a symbol of brotherhood, of children claiming their food to the Mother. But their position indicates that they can be friends as well as enemies.

Another major element, the pond represented at the bottom of the card. Blue water reinforces the symbolism to the unconscious, to the hidden (in the interpretation of dreams, Water is the symbol of the unconscious). Water also evokes spirituality, intuition and receptivity. The basin seems bounded as a pool, but nevertheless agitated with waves recalling the tides, directly governed by the lunar influence. The water of this arcane evokes biological rhythms, female cycles and the passage from life to death and death to life.

In the center of the water stands a kind of crab or crayfish. Crustaceans have the particularity of having a shell to protect their fragile flesh. The crustacean so symbolizes the intimate part of our being, the hidden emotion in our body (carapace). It is a fragile and delicate part, but where emotions, intuitions and sensations can arise (including sexual). In this crustacean, a symbol of an aspiration to rise to Moon or, conversely, of abandon can also be observed. Depending on the look you wear, it's a positive desire for intuitive and deep communication and elevation, or on the contrary loneliness and separation. The Arcanum XVIII is very ambivalent: Indeed, the incredible power of the moon to receive and transmit light and nourishing energy, if unchecked, may lead to loneliness or voracity. The crab claws can then be threatening, dogs can appeared fierce and fighting. The receptive capacity of the Moon can become an insatiable hunger, and sick energy absorption. Waves of water are then unconscious mental chaos and madness. Therefore, in the tarot interpretation, If you draw the card forward, it is rather positive, synonymous with passion, lack of taboos in sexuality, maternity, changes … Backward, it can announce couple conflicts, depression, nightmares, separation etc.

Custom pendants Hypnotic Dreams and Love in the Moonlight by Vulcain Market

Custom pendants Dans la Lune and l’Esprit de la Lune by Angelola

Come and create your custom jewelry Moon on Jweel !

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