The Black Atlas Singled Out Week: Moonsong: The Black Atlas News
I was on the A train headed uptown after having purchased the Marseilles Tarot deck at a small retailer of curios and cards, a local haunt in Manhattan's West Village at that time. At first I was unsure whether or not to take the deck out right there in the shaky subway car, or wait 'til I was home, at my desk. However, at last I was compelled. Lifting the lid, I turned the box upside down and let the deck slide into my palm. I looked over to my left, at my girlfriend at the time. She was asleep, with her head on the train car wall. Feeling a little nervous and excited, I began to shuffle the cards facedown, without looking at them. I was trying to go by feel. I had done this many times before. I cut the deck and drew a card: La Lune.
The colors were stark, and the artwork somewhat crude, but the sight of it seemed to literally evoke a resonant note somewhere inside my body. The crustacean crawling forth from waters of untold depth, the howling dogs beside the trail that leads winding over the horizon to the foreign city, the moon heavy and low in the night sky. All familiar symbols to me, but somehow seen for the first time. I put the card back in to the deck and began shuffling again. Vigorously. Thoroughly. Cutting the deck once more, I drew the first card on top yet again: La Lune. I felt a chill run through me. Immediately, I glanced up at my girlfriend, still asleep next to me. She had not seen me draw the card twice consecutively.
Later that night, I sat at my desk, alone, with the deck in front of me. Almost afraid of what may happen, I shuffled the cards again, cutting the deck three times now. After a deep breath and a moment's hesitation, I drew once more: La Lune.
The Moon is the eighteenth Tarot Trump of the Major Arcana. Its symbolism includes the realm of mysticism, the exploration of the unconscious world of dream images. A few nights later, I would write "Moonsong" almost in its entirety. Inspired by the recurrent Tarot card, I wrote the lyrics entirely stream of consciousness, drawing from first thoughts, and dreamlike imagery that appeared while writing. The subject most present to me in this song is the dreamlike underworld, where images from the wellspring of creativity and meaning abut and intrude upon the waking mind's rigid rationality. Most significantly, much like my experience on the subway train, these images are experiences in themselves, which we may never truly share with another person. We are the sole witness to our own dreamlife.