The Moon as a Symbol of Women – And Why
The moon is the primary night light of the skies, illuminating the land brightly on the nights of the full moon and receding again to the mystery of complete darkness at the new moon. This ancient enigma of constant regular appearance, growth, and subsequent disappearance is a visible symbol of life, death, and then rebirth with the appearance of the new moon. Ancient peoples measured time by the regular cycle of the moon rather than the cycle of the sun. Even the solstices and equinoxes were originally celebrated on the closest full or new moon.
As a mirror that reflects the light of the sun, the moon represents the shadow side of the sun’s light. It reflects the mystery and fear within our souls. Learn how the moon is reflective of all the stages of a woman’s life, learn why the Moon is representative of the Triple Goddess, and more:
The Triple Goddess and the Moon
Because its visible cycles mirrored the life of woman, the ancients believed that the moon was the representative of the Triple Goddess. Her three incarnations of maiden, mother, and crone were closely matched with the lunar phases of new, full, and old; therefore, the complete triad of goddesses is symbolized in the changing face of the moon.
As the moon holds within her the totality of the feminine experience, she is most closely associated with the old and wise (or old and fearful) crone. The old woman has lived through her girlhood and has been a mother, and now contains within her the wisdom and the experience of all the parts of woman’s life. Like the moon, whose phases repeat and repeat, the final phase contains the knowledge of the others before it. Therefore, the moon’s connection with superstition and fear of the dark is but a reflection of the dark old crone who can foretell death and whose age makes her both venerated and feared.
The changing moon is particularly associated with women because its regular twenty-eight day cycle so closely matches the cycle of menstruation. Our English words for month (derived from Anglo-Saxon monath, akin to mona, “moon”) and for menses (from the Latin mensis, “month”) are related to ancient words for moon because of their close association with the cycles of women’s bleeding. Therefore, the moon’s identification with blood was deep and incontrovertible.
The Shadow Side of Sun’s Light
As a mirror that reflects the light of the sun, the moon represents the shadow side of the sun’s light. The Moon reflects the mystery and fear within our souls. It reflects to us all that we cannot see inside ourselves because we cannot look directly at the brilliant sun. We look to the moon to see our face, just as we look into the mirror to see ourselves because we can never directly look at our own face. The mirror of the moon illuminates both the darkness of the night, our shadow part, and the blue day sky, our conscious selves.
Adapted from The Wheel of Change Tarot, by Alexandra Genetti (Inner Traditions, 1997). Copyright (c) 1997 by Alexandra Genetti. Reprinted by permission of Inner Traditions.
Adapted from The Wheel of Change Tarot, by Alexandra Genetti (Inner Traditions, 1997).