There’s a reason the word “lunacy” has the root “luna” in it. The Moon is a sign of untamed primal power, but not a power that is well understood. In tarot terms, this is a card of Instinct, the Unconscious, and Illusion – because creative power, and thus the ability to see what isn’t there, comes from the unconscious.
(Having worked as an artist I can say that creative power involves a whole lot of conscious effort. But you know the drill by now: SYMBOLISM!!! Even so, there is an old saying in the creative world – “write while drunk, edit while sober”. And you have to admit, your dreams can throw up some pretty crazy stuff without any effort on your part.)
The wolf and the werewolf are there to remind you that no matter who you are, and how rational you think you are, you are not immune from the Moon’s power. Even a man who’s pure of heart, and says his prayers by night… More scientifically, we know that quite often, your rational thoughts are just post hoc justifications for your subconscious impulses. The “illusion” of the moon can represent the two bleeding into each other. You can no longer tell what is real and what is just a manifestation of your fears and desires.
Pay attention to the pool of water at the bottom as well – it reflects the Moon on the surface, but if you stuck your arm in, you’d find things go much deeper than you thought. This is the symbol of the subconscious, with the reflection of your thoughts hiding what is going on beneath them. This is also a symbol of illusion, as what you see conceals the true depths of the situation.
As such, although the moon is bright, it represents a form of darkness – you are making your journey without outside guidance, and you have nothing to light your way except the deceptive light of the Moon. You have no way to know which way is right and which way is wrong. But you still have to make this journey, so you will have to depend on your intuition, and go forward blindly.
I made that note about “lunacy” above, but here’s where it really comes out. While the Moon upright is warning you that you’ve fallen under its sway, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to be caught up in your primal instincts – after all, you have nothing else to go on. When the moon is inversed, however, it’s a warning of deception and imagination run wild. Either something is lurking beneath the surface, seeking to deceive you… or there’s no deception beyond that of your own senses, and you’re afraid of something that isn’t there. And of course, it’s hard to tell which is which. That’s the power of the Moon, to come and befuddle the situation. Your senses are being played with, so beware! Keep a sharp eye out for signs that things that aren’t what they seem, but don’t get caught up and carried away by paranoia.