Skip to content

The Magical Tarot–The Moon

September 21, 2013

The Children of Hecate

by Madeline Montalban

In considering the arcana of the mystic Tarot, we now come to Trump No. 18, The Moon, a card which signifies much, but mainly that aspect of the moon which is illusory.

She is at once the Light of the Darkness, the Mother of Mysteries, and the Lady of Illusion. Study of the mysteries of the moon soon reveals a strange quality about this changeful orb. She can inspire by aiding the imagination, and she can also destroy by inflaming it.

scan0004In her first aspect, as occult inspirer, she represents constructive imagination made creative, but in her second, the Mother of Unbalance, she is the begetter of harmful delusions, a state of mind that can range from mistaken idealism to downright lunacy.

It is in her capacity as No. 18 in the Tarot, the moon of illusion, to which our illustration refers. This comes from an ancient and little known Tarot pack often dubbed “the black Tarot”, because it illustrates the negative, or reverse aspects of the Tarot forces.

At first sight, one might take this illustration to be that of a solar force, until you notice that the face of Hecate, dark lady of the moon, surmounts the entrance to the temple. The illustration is clever, because it expresses in drawing the “top heaviness” of misplaced lunar force. That it is a lunar card is expressed by the blighted trees each side of the card, which are another form of the twin pillars of the true lunar temple.

In the true temple one pillar is white, and one is black, and they support the temple edifice, representing positive and negative powers properly used, and both serving a useful purpose.

But in this illustration of the temple of illusion the pillars are blasted trees, supporting nothing. This is emblematical of the people who fall under the power of the “dark” side of the moon, those who go to much effort to achieve nothing because their efforts are wrongly applied.

The temple of illusion is top heavy, the entrance being small in proportion. Above it a flight of steps leads laboriously upwards, to end nowhere, save at the base of the obelisk of illusion which points haplessly to the sky. The whole is symbolic of the imagination of mankind run riot, the striving after pretentious and false ideals, and is representative of the person (or group) who spend their lives and energies in the pursuit of a dreadful illusion.

They, in Occultism, are known as the children of Hecate, and everyone of us knows somebody to whom that title applies. There are those people who, without any talent whatever for a certain occupation, will spend their lives in misery and frustration, trying to make the grade in something that appeals to their imagination, without backing it up by any real effort or training, or any practical understanding of the subject. There are the groups of people who adopt strange religious views that contribute nothing, either to the welfare of the world in general or themselves in particular, and who adopt the cult of misery.

They are the children of Hecate. The records are full of them, down the ages, from the people who had themselves immured alive in an effort to please their gods, down to the mothers who threw their children into the fires of Moloch to incline their dreadful gods in their favour.

There are the false prophets, too, who build whole religions on an edifice of nonsense, and who gain followers of all kinds, only to be discredited when their forecasts of the end of the world or the coming of the Messiah are not fulfilled.

There have always been these types, and there always will be. The best that can be said about them is that they are liable only to attract those followers to whom the moon of illusion is more powerful than the light of the night heavens.

Each one of us, at some time in our lives, has entered the temple of illusion, too. We all get crackpot ideas sometimes, and even pursue them. Fortunately for us, we see at last the error of our beliefs, but not before some harm has been done.

To enter through the door of the temple of illusion usually means you are bound up in your illusions for a period. This, at the shortest, can be for a lunar month, and at the longest for two years, after which the individual concerned has caused havoc in his own life and in the lives of those around him. The usual period for which to fall under the moon of illusion is nine lunar months.

This accounts for the many women who think they are going to have a baby, produce every physical manifestation in their own bodies to aid their illusion, and eventually go to bed to be delivered of nothing.

This is one of the most common illusion manifestations, since the moon rules the “mother” aspect of generation.

But one valuable lesson can be learned from the temple of illusion. It is that the mind, or imagination, can actually control the body, and cause physical reactions. Doctors are well aware of this, and the false pregnancy is well known to them.

Illusion-ruled people can have “pregnancies” of other strange kinds, too. I knew a man who spent a lifetime writing a book of occult philosophy that he thought was a God-revealed masterpiece. There was no single sentence that made sense. The further one read, the more one realized that this was madness expressed in writing.

On all other points the person concerned was completely sane and, in practical matters, cleverer by far than most of us. When a self-made millionaire falls under an illusion like that, there is nothing to be done. His manuscript is a monument of futility, of his illusions expressed in words.

If you tell him you cannot understand a word of it, he answers that it is so far above the heads of mere humans that he is not surprised. On the other hand, if you pretend to understand it, he will eagerly ask you what it all means, and admit that he doesn’t know its meaning himself, only that he felt he had to write it.

As a book, it is useless, even ludicrous, but as a safety-valve for himself it has its value. Every word he writes expresses the chaos within him – the chaos the outside world never sees.

Men spend fortunes and their lives building follies for the same reason. The world is full of pretentious buildings, or “follies”, that have ruined their originator in mind, body and fortune. They are temples of illusion. Their builders are driven to erect them by a strange power working within them, and very seldom do they ever serve any useful purpose. They are “follies of the moon”.

We who have not fortunes to expend in follies, or a lifetime to spend in writing books of nonsense, can still make our own temple of illusions.

Sometimes we convince ourselves that somebody who is not in the least interested in us is madly in love with us. The papers abound in stories of the excesses that such people go to under the grip of this illusion.

Others get what is called the “litigation bug”, and these types are well-known to lawyers. They get a chip on their shoulder about something and spend their lives, energies and substance in one legal action after another, to gain a point that cannot possibly be awarded to them because, in the first place, the situation itself was mainly imaginary or delusive.

Like other sensible people, I will run a mile from the person who confides that he has a “special mission from God” to “reveal the truth” to the uncomprehending masses. This is a common delusion, often called religious mania, but the person concerned has passed for ever through the doors of the temple of illusion, to worship himself.

The message of card No. 18, the Moon, is that creative imagination, the power of envisaging something and then putting the vision into action to produce a useful and concrete purpose, is all to the good.

When reversed, the trump signifies the person in the grip of delusory forces, of imagination run riot, the erector of a pretentious facade of nonsense. This is the meaning of our illustration.
[Prediction, February 1964]

From → tarot

  1. permalink

    It would be great to have a complete book of these, perhaps an e-book at least, any chance of that? They are fascinating.


    • I agree that it would be wonderful to have all Miss Montalban’s articles in book form. Sadly, there is no sign of that happening in the near to middle future!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: