What and when is the ‘dark moon’ time?
Also known as the “dead” Moon, this is the time when there is no solar reflection, leaving the lunar face in darkness. The dark lasts about three days before the new crescent appears.
The perfect time for a tarot reading, no? A time for reawakening, fitting for springtime. An assessment – where am I right now? What do I need around me? How shall I go forward, and in what spirit? The weather was so wonderful at the weekend, the streets seemed full of conversation, music from cars, a new optimism after a long harsh winter…yes, it’s time for an assessment of where I’m at.
Here’s a simple tarot spread I found on Melia Suez’s wonderful blog (which could also be used at the full moon):
The Dark Moon Tarot Spread
1. Things to let go of
2. Things to keep
3. Things yet to come
4. How the world affects you
5. What to give
6. What to receive
7. What to learn
The cards are laid in two crescents of three, with the seventh card lying between them as the lesson.
There’s no guidance on phrasing questions, so I simply ask What do I need to know right now?
1. Things to let go of – Three of Swords
That’s not hard. There’s pain and heartbreak in my past, some of it I’ve released, some of it I can’t seem to shake. The advice to ‘let go’ of this is perhaps too simplistic, as I am always seeking advice as to ways I can do this. I’ve tried many things, including confronting the problem head on…which backfired. The answer, I believe, is in the slow passage of time, in self-investment, and in distraction. Perhaps this card is more helpful than I first thought…it’s about letting go, not confronting and incorporating. Hmm.
2. Things to keep – Page of Wands
I’d jotted down simply ‘inspiration and excitement for new projects’…and now want to look a little deeper. Biddy suggests there is ‘a creative restlessness within us that is anxious to find expression‘, whilst Rachel Pollock adds to this that the Page could represent a messenger, or a faithful friend or lover. And the creator of the card, Stepanie Piu-Mun Law, writes that she ‘dares you to delve within and seek out the opportunities that may be frightening, but have so much potential.‘
A useful message for a new moon, a new phase. Only yesterday I was writing lists of new projects, secret ideas, ambitions, little jobs to do…and wondering which ones I’d manage and which I’d have to let slide. This card encourages me to think big.
3. Things yet to come – Queen of Pentacles
This card astounds me – it’s stunning. I see strength, support, generosity, creativity, good fortune. Will this be a person in my life? Or myself? Perhaps it will be the forces of nature supporting me in my projects…I shall have to wait and see, but I am encouraged by the support and resources this card seems to offer me. I chose this card for my daily draw, and wrote more about it here.
4. How the world affects you – Nine of Swords
I’ve come to love this card. Traditionally, I’ve found interpretations say it suggests you are tired, battle-weary, but must go on. I’ve found in it a sense of righteousness – an awareness of your inner strength and an embracing of the battle, for it gives you a chance to fight for what you believe in. Looking at the Alchemical Tarot (which I will never be able to afford so must settle for online gazing-at) the message is that, in the heat of battle, impurities are burned away, and gold can emerge – the inner strength I referred to. In this position, I feel the message is that I am at odds with the world, or at least in battle with something. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? With the meanings I assign to this card, I reckon good. Fighting for my beliefs will strengthen me.
5. What to give – Two of Pentacles
Now, this is a totally new one on me. I don’t think I’ve ever drawn this card in a reading! Isn’t that strange. My Shadowscapes illustration shows a juggler, balanced, one-legged on a narrow pedastal, high in the mountains. Of this image, Lau writes ‘The Two of Pentacles is a balancing act, juggling and keeping everything in motion, being flexible, and adaptable, and changing direction easily. Meeth these challenges that tumble your way with high spirits, but be wary of taking on too much at once.’ Well…’nuff said. Relating this back to the Page of Wands, and the many projects I want to embrace, this card warns me that my energy has limits. If I’m to keep things in balance (and by this I imagine my home life, my emotional life, my relationships, as well as exciting new projects), I need to think carefully about where I can realistically put my energy.
6. What to receive – Queen of Swords
One of my favourites, and much-discussed lately it seems, with Biddy asking for thoughts on her feminism. I’m in total agreement – this card, to me, is a person who sees injustice and pain in the world, who has experienced this herself, and who carries the weight of a sad wisdom – the wisdom of real truth. But this gives her power. If she sees the darkness as well as the light inherent in the world, she can use this understanding to act more justly, more ‘rightly’, more wisely. She can weild this understanding in the face of sadness and unjustice. Wow…the cards are telling me to recieve this energy? Okay!!
7. What to learn – Death
‘Death is a clearing away of the old to make way for the new‘ (Biddy). Yep. *Some things you lose, some things you give away* It’s harsh, but it’s neccessary. When we experience death, and loss, we mourn. But part of the healing is a reassessment of what’s left. An examination of the soil after the fire or the frost, and seeing the new green shoots that will grow now they have the space and the air. A good card for spring, a good card for a new moon.
Reading the whole picture, a spread for going forth into a new phase, a new moon, a new project, I feel a clear message coming from these cards. I am full of potential – ideas, energy, creativity, right now. That’s all great, but there are things which can hold me back. I need to let go of the pain I’ve harboured for a long time now. Recent developments on this front have shown me resolution ain’t gonna come.
So let go. Let go. Keep the lessons, the wisdom, like the Queen of Swords, channel this into action. Give myself wholeheartedly to the projects that most excite me – even if they seem scary. I can do it. But be wary of spreading myself too thinly. Give my energy fully and joyously to those projects I most care about – don’t try to do everything, and remember to balance this with love and care for myself and my relationships.
I’m a 30-something writer, artist, tarot reader, and perpetual explorer of the space between thought, feeling, and action.
I believe that spirituality and ritual are for everybody. I’m about the journey, in all of its messy, non-linear, chaotic iterations. I am excited by anticapitalist business and living with my whole entire self present. I use tarot cards to bring forth hidden truth, and ritual to affirm my commitment, over and over, to my ever-shifting path.