As we reach Card 18, this is in most Decks the Card that is defined as The Moon. The Lovecraft Deck is, however, quite unique unto itself as a study, and in representing everything that is esoteric about the Lunar atmosphere of the night, then the Lovecraft Deck represents this idea as The Nightgaunt. With this desfinition made clear, this Card is defined as the suppressed and frightening ideas held by the subconscious mind of the Magus in reading this Card into a spread. The definition of our system of Tarot now starts to become quite significantly dark in its description. With this as the darkness of the night, and the Moon as representing the suppressed ideas of our sleep then, we define this Card in terms of the nightmares that are suppressed through sleep, and those darks secrets that are always there, pushed into the recesses of the subconscious mind. We continue to describe the Lovecraft Tarot under our own terms as a unique interpretation and under our own religious definition; and this description relates to our specific system of worship.
This is very much a Card that belongs to the occult, then, as in the darkness of the subconsciousness our innermost fears are uppermost, especially when we are asleep. In this respect we should be aware that attack may be threatened, both in terms of psychick manipulation in the occult, but also in terms of that ‘which should not be’. I define this Card as representing the fear of darkness and that which is manifest, as such, in the recesses of the subconscious mind, and therefore in every aspect of our conscious lives.
“The lunar crescent dominates the imagery of the Moon and mirrors the symbolism of the lunar sphere Yesod on the Tree of Life – a sphere associated with dreams, fertility, and the astral imagery of the subconscious mind” (The Tarot Workbook, Nevill Drury). Whilst our study of the Great Old Ones starts at the nucleus of chaos, the creation of life, and progression of humanity as an individual creation of the Great Old Ones, now Card 18 is the definition of human society and how we as people uphold custom and law in order to coexist. I find it interesting, then, that this definition has been concentrated on by the HP Lovecraft Tarot, as The Moon is the Card that usually dominates dreams and the psychick communication of mankind and of spirits in the plane of the mind.
The definition here begins that “Winged creatures of the Night, faceless and mysterious, the Night Gaunts are the messengers… of the Dreamlands. The messages they bring us are from… our unconscious and subconscious selves.” If the Cards in this Deck have at times concerned people such as Jung* and the theories of Psychoanalysis, we are now thrown straight in with these ideas of the unconscious and subconscious mind as esoteric. And whilst these ideas are understood by many, the author would here assume that the reader is not trained in such studies. I will therefore try to define this Card in more direct terms of description, and the related theories of psychology.
If the Tarot continues in this manner in terms of the contemporary study of psychology, it now tells us that, in the context of the above statement on the subconscious mind, “if we are not prepared for it, this information can be… dangerous, and traumatic.” What this is telling us is that certain experiences that are traumatic in childhood (and so forth) stay repressed in the recesses of our minds. Our mind will keep these memories, but they will not enter the conscious mind that is our awareness of the situation we experience in the current moment. These experiences always stay with us, however, and at a certain time they may possibly re-enter the conscious mind. In these situations, these recollections can be extremely traumatic. The Night Gaunt is here to tell us, therefore, that we should be careful of this state of awareness if it should be apparent. In this sense, therefore, the Eighteenth Card should be taken to be a warning against us delving too deeply into our own subconsciousness (perhaps through the use of psychology and self hypnosis or possibly in the unintentional uncontrolled use of psychick energy?) “Night Gaunts are faceless… they are those aspects of ourselves that we – consciously or unconsciously – will not confront directly.” This being the definition in the Introductory Book – maybe this is therefore telling us that we shouldn’t confront aspects of ourselves if this is going to be too emotionally traumatic?
The Introductory Book to this Tarot continues with the definition of Card 18, to make the statement that it is the unconscious and subconscious self understanding of the people that allows society to interact as a movement of many people in unity. “The structures… of society serve an… important function” it tells us. It is the structures which have been set up (supposedly) by a unitary agreement of the people, but the Lovecraft Tarot continues with the same statement by going on to tells us that “our shadow… is only a danger when repressed and left unexpressed…” The Nightgaunt is defined, therefore, as a particular Card in this Tarot that refers directly to issues of psychick energy and issues of contemporary Psychoanalysis. If we are to consider ideas of the subconscious being left ‘repressed and… unexpressed’, then this is an issue which cannot be addressed by the individual, and intervention by somebody else is thus necessary in acting upon this Card in divination, should this be the case.
The definition of this Card concludes that a problem if so defined in a reading with this Tarot can lead to a mental illness that could “tear us to shreds, like a werewolf at the full moon. But when [the subconscious is] given a voice, it is the… most honest source of human power, genius, and inspiration.” The Night Gaunt is to be taken seriously, therefore, and this Card may mean that we are dealing seriously with issues of psychology and the mind – but the potential with a Positive Reading with this Card could make it possibly the most powerful in the Deck.
POSITIVE READING: This definition is written with consideration of Card 18 as relating to the unconscious mind. With the Card defined as above, the Positive Reading here concentrates on some of the darker issues of the religious R’Lyeh, whilst the Negative is the only discussion of Mythos Worship with our consideration of evil. The definition begins as defined as meaning “the primal power of darkness as a resource to be drawn on; Night as mother of us all.” In this the power of darkness is a positive thing: the power of the night is therefore the benefactor of the worship of the Old Ones – the understanding of this is not a form of anything negative. “Dark – but not ‘Black’ – magick” is defined here – although the question here concerns the issues of the occult as an issue of worship. Surely in the worship of the Necronomicon Gods, black magick would be the form of the occult that should usually be used? Anyway, with this statement defined, the Positive meaning of the Night Gaunt continues as follows:
For the first time here, the Lovecraft Tarot speaks of astral dimensions and the issues of the religious R’Lyeh of Lovecraft’s land beyond sleep, the Dreamlands. Card 18 in a Reading can be symbolic that the person for whom the reading is for, will find themselves travelling the lands beyond sleep. It can be representative of somebody relating to the reading travelling beyond the normal realms of sleep, and into that dimension of dream where most of our worship exists in terms of strange dimensions. It may be interpreted that serious dream work should be considered, or that we may be visited for some reason in our sleep state*.
It is appropriate in this consideration, therefore, that the Introduction continues to define the Night Gaunt as signifying an involvement from “the Inner Realms of magic & imagination [and] shamanism.” With this statement now defined, we can read Card 18 as symbolic of the freedom and power of the mind when directed as worship in the context of shamanic ritual. With this concentration of the human mind, we are now speaking in terms of directly worshipping Mythos Gods in terms of magick. This should be the religious duty of the R’Lyeh.
Now the last statement under the definition of the Positive in a reading is defined as “Assimilation of the Shadow into a holistic consciousness & state of being.” Whilst this takes us back to the discussion of psychology, I interpret this as meaning an assumption of the negative around us as a directly beneficial power. The negative around us has now been understood and turned into a force that we can use.
NEGATIVE READING: The whole of the Negative Reading with this Card can also be interpreted as being a part of the religion of the R’Lyeh, and as relative to our use of the occult as a form of worship. However, as “Black magic, necromancy; confrontation and / or conflict with the Shadow without proper preparation” is defined, the Negative Reading with Card 18 can be representative of dark forces at play in our lives, the involvement of Daemon worship, or otherwise of ourselves in a position of using such forces without using the proper preparation.
The Negative Meaning here goes on to make a statement as to our frame of mind. As a definition of “Nightmare” is foretold, we may have an issue as part of our subconscious that needs to be resolved, or there may be dark forces at play in our sleep that we are not ready to contend with. And as the definition continues with a statement as to “intoxication; delusion, hallucination, alcoholism, drug abuse”, this could be symbolic of a situation as could arise, that we are indulging too much, and – whilst it is totally acceptable to the R’Lyeh to be using drugs – it is always sensible to maintain a mindframe where we are aware of our own involvement with the astral forces of our worship as we use magick.
The definition as described with this statement concludes with a passage that is defined as “Externalisation & demonization of the shadow.” Again this is an example of the HP Lovecraft Tarot and where it makes direct reference to the principals of Psychoanalysis. In this our Deck is often not entirely clear to the layman as to what it directly means, but the statement above explains this with the clarity which is necessary. The Tarot concludes by defining “political correctness” as being an issue, although where this should arise as a part of the Negative Reading, I am not entirely sure? With this statement then having been defined, the definition of the Night Gaunt directly relates to the understanding of psychology. It should be remembered, though, that this is only in relative terms to the Magus, and if the system of Necronomicon magick is taken seriously, then divination with this Card is relative to the proper use of the occult.
* Ideas involving Psychology come quite seriously into play with Card 18 as here defined. Whilst it could easily be the case that the reader of this book does not have a knowledge of such subjects, I still feel it to be appropriate to continue this definition in this context. My reasoning for this is that the HP Lovecraft Tarot defines this Card in these terms, so I will continue to define this Card within this context, as discussed.
* Work in terms of dream is a practice of the religious R’Lyeh, and we see it that such dream work has direct effect in terms of our own use of magick, although this idea is not covered in this book, as such.