Alchemical Study Group - XVIII The Moon


(from the book)

"It is not gold unless it is first made silver."
--Rosarium Philosophorum (pg. 80)

The Moon represents no alchemical process, but symbolizes the medicine, the white stone, which is a result of the process. The white stone is the culmination of the albedo, or whitening. It is not the philosopher's stone, but is the mother of the stone. What is missing is the masculine seed. The Moon is waiting for her lover brother, the Sun, to join her in the final conjunction that will make the Stone.

The image, inspired by the title page of Michael Maier's Viatorium, represents the Moon as one of the premier lunar goddesses, Diana, who is always accompanied by her hounds. Cancer the crab, the moon's native sign, rides in the sky. The dogs represent the passive and active principles: one is dark and sitting, one is light and standing. Diana holds the waxing moon while the waning moon is in the sky, for she rules over all the lunar phases. Her torch relates her to Diana Luciferus, whom the ancient Romans saw as the beacon of the night. She stands at the edge of the waters of the unconscious.

The Moon's number, eighteen, is a higher aspect of the Great Goddess. It reduces to nine (one plus eight), which in turn is a multiple of three, the symbol of the threefold aspect of the Goddess.

Tarot wisdom: The Moon represents the night before the dawn. It is a time of patience, rest and reflection, in which the soft energies of the moon compel us to enter the waters of the unconscious, the heart of the mystery.

As the embodiment of the white stone, the Moon represents a level of mastery in which are in control of our actions, because we are conscious of psychological influences which remain unconscious to others. We have been purified, and now enjoy freedom of choice in our activities, and patient acceptance of the activities of others. As it says in the I Ching, " strength is on the inside, and glad acceptance is on the outside." However at this level there can be a coldness or flattening of the emotions, because we still need to fully integrate our libido, and so we wait for dawn.