Following XVI and XVII, we remain by the sea, now looking up to the Moon. This is a card of intense dreams, illusions, and even madness. The Moon pulls the ocean as well as living creatures along in her cycles. This influence is like a “system of strings” (or the strings of the scales in VIII. Does Not Suffice), which tugs at and connects its elements in symmetric tension. The figure wears a wing upon her head to match the dove whose string she pulls. If unbalanced, the relationship becomes that of puppet and puppeteer.
The composition of this card is inspired by the Jacques Vieville tarot (see Selected References), which shows a woman spinning beneath the moon.
Seven trees line the shore for the lyric “seven days out to sea” (roughly a quarter of the Moon’s journey), and eighteen red drops on the figure’s apron allude to menstruation – two ways in which the Moon marks time for humankind. But the guide through this deep night is the promise of eternity, the place at the top of the wide white stairs where the Moon waits to receive.