Meeting the Tools: The Wild Wood Tarot

I came across this particular deck a couple of times before being graciously gifted both deck and book. The art drew me in the first time I saw it, but I wasn’t reaching out to Tarot at the time (I was concerned I’d lose my connection to my runes if I “cheated” on them).

Then a friend got the deck and just fell in love with it. It was a good fit for her, and I had thought at the time, only her, and had moved on again.

Third time’s a charm however, when I was visiting another friend – the same one who helped me find my path in ADF – and she let me look through all her tarot decks. By this time I already had the RWS deck, and had been visited by my squirrely friend during the guided trance (led by the self-same amazing friend), and there was more of a pull.

I’d obtained a RWS deck because I was curious.

That curiosity was fast turning into a Need, and as I looked through the assortment of decks she had in her collection, rolling past most with little more than an appreciation of the art work, I came to the Wild Wood deck.

I’d forgotten about it. Forgotten it wasn’t a standard RWS and had its own symbolism and meanings to learn. But as I shifted through the cards, something tugged. Like a part of my mind fell into the card and for the briefest moment I was in its world. Melissa Cynova talked about such occurrences in her book Kitchen Table Tarot, but I did not expect it. Logic brain told me that such people – as though I weren’t part of the group – were given to exaggeration and flights of fancy. I wasn’t going to see these things or experience these things because Logic Brain.

Logic Brain is important in life, don’t get me wrong, but current society and knowledge causes it to bump up angrily against Magic Brain (or Magic Heart, as you prefer), and I refer to both as the same thing because to me Science and Magic are two sides to the same coin. This is my theory and belief, and every day I find reason to believe it ever more.

Now, on to the deck proper.

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Instead of Cups, Pentacles, Swords and Wands, this deck has Vessels, Stones, Arrows and Bows. The Shaman steps up in place of The Magician – a lot of meaning is shared between Wild Wood and RWS, and the overall feel of the decks are similar. But while the standard RWS deck – the default setting – is akin to stepping into a room to learn the whole picture, the Wild Wood is like walking through a cosmic forest.

The trees can defend you, shield you, guide you and comfort you, but the mud and moss can also devour you – and not necessarily in a bad way either. These cards draw me in, as if they mean to incorporate my very spirit into their world. That the mud and stone, water and tree would become as much me as me them. Which, for someone as uncomfortable out in the wildness as I am, is an odd sensation. (I attract mosquitoes so well that no one else needs spray and I look like I’ve contracted Chicken Pox. I do not “outside” well.)

But the cool muck between my toes seeps life into my body, the gentle breeze combs my hair, and the sounds of life, the smell of death and rebirth invade my every sense. The Wild Wood is a deck that adventures within me. It can reach out into the broader world and Know and bring that back that I might learn, but it’s primary course is to help me in my struggle against my greatest challenge – myself.

RWS keeps me in a bubble, but lobs that bubble out into the vast Everything. Wild Wood pulls me in to my beginnings, and has me mind the Everything from within. Your mileage may very well vary, but these are introductions to my tools, so hopefully these insights will help you with future posts.

~ Quin

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