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The Crescent Moon Bear Story & Strength Tarot Card - Major Arcana Card #8

Below is an excerpt from the Dark Days Tarot Guidebook by Emily Mundy:

The Strength card (Leo’s correspondent) is representative of one’s use of personal power to weather turmoil, traverse trauma, and endure obstruction. Reversed can refer to a weakness or timidity in facing the current test – these could be physical/mental (sickness/depression), as well as physiological/spiritual (loss of inner and conscious cohesion). Tilted left points to proper use of sexual energy to ignite creative transformation; tilted right highlights the appropriate doling of power to affect external circumstances. Upright, Strength offers you a chance to pounce at opposition and sooth yourself with an increased self-confidence.

upright: personal power; endurance

right: appropriate use of power; influence

left: sexual vigor; intimate creative energy

reversed: weakness; frailty

This dark moon, I’m inspired by a story I read recently. The “Crescent Moon Bear” is a tale of taming rage, and can be found in Clarissa Pinkola Estes Ph.D’s classically witchy text, Women Who Run With the Wolves.

While reading this story, I was reminded of the Strength Tarot card. The Dark Days Tarot version of this card features a Leo lion and a magical femme kneeling proudly nearby. She has befriended this cat with love -- not fear.

Her power lies in her bravery and compassion. She is loving despite the possibility of danger. The Lion has also exhibited bravery by showing mutual trust in this femme. We can learn from this both of them.

In the Crescent Moon Bear story, a similar theme develops. A husband returns home from war a battered, angry and destructive force. His partner is stymied as to how to love him despite his protective nature. She consults with a healer, who sends her to climb a dangerous mountain in order to retrieve a hair from a wild crescent moon bear.

The partner faces her fears and climbs the mountain. Upon arriving, she calmly explains her predicament to the wild bear. She needs his hair to help heal her partner. The bear, appreciating her bravery and honesty, grants her wish. Upon returning to the healer with the hair, the wise sage tosses it into a flame, explaining the lesson had been learned therein.

What’s important to remember is that all of the archetypes present in the Tarot, and stories like the Crescent Moon Bear tale, represent living pieces of our human experiences. We are, all of us, every character in the story combined. Thus, we are able to access their power as needed.

Access the Crescent Moon Bear characters:

  • The healer: consult your cards, your altar, or speak to a mentor; the High Priestess / the Empress.

  • The protagonist partner: the Magician; seeking solutions and communicating.

  • The bear: the Wheel; honoring un-tamed wildness.

  • The war-battered partner: The Tower; openly struggling. Patience is a resource.

Access the Strength Tarot Card characters:

  • The Lion: taming the ego, loving and trusting despite the past.

  • The Femme: loving and trusting, exhibiting leadership despite perceived danger.

Just as the full moon encourages wild manifestation, the dark moon encourages truthful reflection in preparation for the coming cycle. Dark moon days can uproot stagnant anxiety, depression, anger, etc. due to our heightened sensitivity at this point in the lunar cycle. These emotions can be awesome tools for setting intention, if we practice using them creatively.

This is where Tarot archetypes come in handy. By developing bravery, patience, and communication skills, we become better able to take care of ourselves when dark moon messages come bubbling up. These characters can be tools in our imaginative tool belt this fiery new moon in Leo, or any other time.

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