A Call to Action: 9 and the Moon

The Moon, card 18 of the Major Arcana, is related to Enneagram type 9 (1+8=9), and their virtue of Right Action.


This is an interesting correlation, and one I’ve been sitting with a long time. ‘Meditations on the Tarot’ tells us that the Moon is a card of “retrograde movement”, and goes on at length about the principle of reflection and the Moon as an “agent of diminution”, which means a ‘reduction in the importance of something’. This speaks directly to type 9’s tendencies towards self-forgetting. And the reflective aspect of the Moon has this to say to 9s: “Their sense of self is thus a ‘negative capability’, a capacity for holding the other-not themselves.” (Riso and Hudson, ‘The Wisdom of the Enneagram’) This negative capability, the moon reflecting the light of the sun, is the 9 reflecting the light of others but forgetting their own.

So what does the 18th Arcanum of the Tarot have to offer 9s as a template or guide for their growth? ‘The Wisdom of the Enneagram’ says that 9s must “reconnect with their instinctual nature”, which directly relates to the wolf in the card, representing our animal self, and particularly the 9s repressed anger.

But even more than that, the Moon is a card of ACTION. It speaks to retrograde and reflection, yes, to stagnation and self-forgetting. The crayfish in the swamp on the card wants to retreat back to the waters of forgetfulness, just as the 9 wants to remain numb, ‘checked-out’.

However, each card must be seen as a spiritual exercise, and ‘Meditations’ tells us that the Moon’s invitation is to “make a ‘leap’ in order to leave its sphere.” The anonymous author quotes Henri Bergson: “[we are] shut up in the circle of the given.”

9s are both ‘doing dominant’ and ‘doing repressed’, which certainly traps them in a closed circle. But Bergson emphasizes that “*action breaks the circle*.”

The Moon demands Right Action. If 9s are to move beyond the “realms of imagination” (Riso and Hudson), which is very much the shadowy realm of the Moon, they must make the leap. This is why the Moon is such an initiatory and difficult energy, because it requires the “going out of intelligence from its milieu.” (‘Meditations’). “You must thrust intelligence outside itself by an act of will.” (Bergson)

The Moon here is a verb, is a leap, is an act of will. It is Right Action, the 9s Virtue. When their type is pulling them back, crayfish style, into retrograde movement, themselves eclipsed, the Moon calls them to move forward.