The Artemisian
Moon as the Illuminated Shadow

Moon as the Illuminated Shadow

Tracing the Lunar Archetype in Tarot & Alchemy

In this divination I recount a profound experience I had while backpacking through Yosemite National Park. Half-asleep, I found myself in the midst of a near full moon that illuminated my surroundings with a haunting beauty and intensity. Inspired by this memory, I trace the archetypal landscape of lunar consciousness from the Moon tarot card to the alchemical stage of the albedo.

Here are the 3 quotes I reference in the recording:

  • ...The situation is now gradually illuminated as is a dark night by the rising moon. The illumination comes to a certain extent from the unconscious, since it is mainly dreams that put us on the track of enlightenment. This dawning light corresponds to the albedo, the moonlight which in the opinion of some alchemists heralds the rising sun.” - C.G. Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis

  • “The alchemical albedo is hardly a shadowless innocence. Tho' the sigh of despair may turn to a sigh of relief, the blue stain remains. There is now more psychic space to carry the shadow's full, mysterious structure, a higher sky and deeper sea. The soul whitens as the shadow comes out of the repressed and is aired in life.” - James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology

  • “The white world is called albedo. Its metal is silver. The heavenly body of the dark night is the moon. The albedo is a moon consciousness, light cast in the darkness, the cool, reflecting light of the eye of night. It is not a sharply cir­cumscribed world with clear forms, but a consciousness of im­agination and adaptation to darkness. Mercury, god of thieves in the night, he who accompanies souls to the underworld, is at home here like a night wind by a full moon….Reflecting in a dawning consciousness of fluttering night moths, here everything that had been taken literally now becomes metaphor. It is a world of poets, thieves, lunatics, an figurative language; an intermediate realm between bright, clear daylight and pitch-black night; the mediumistic world where one thing can also be another.” - Robert Bosnak, A Little Course in Dreams

Join me in the comments section

All comments are welcome, but here are a few prompts to consider:

  1. How do you typically interpret the Moon card?

  2. What are your thoughts on the albedo stage of the alchemical opus?

  3. What does developing lunar consciousness mean to you?

Leave a comment

Watch my class on tarot and alchemy

If you’re curious to explore the bridge between tarot and alchemy further, you can check out the recording of my class on the subject here:

Tarot & Alchemy

The Artemisian
Contemplating the mysteries of the psyche.
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Appears in episode
Alyssa Polizzi