Posts Tagged ‘Wildwood Tarot’

We will probably return to the Alchemy Flower Oracle tomorrow, but today I needed the comfort of my favorite Tarot deck. We have lost my favorite kitty, Budge, so I’m hoping this card partially refers to us finding him. However, I know several folks facing a situation of reuniting with old friends, so it may connect for others as well.

Blessings on your Wednesday,


Six of Vessels – Reunion

MEANING: There may be affection and love in a situation that could take time to resolve. Recognition of ancestral and reincarnation memory. Polaric love between soulmates. 

It can also refer to the coming together of a band of comrades, tribal or clan members, or a brotherhood of old friends gathering for the acknowledgment of their shared bond.

DESCRIPTION: A green mound is crowned by a grove of trees. In the face of the mound is an entrance framed with a bright slabs of stone. Water gushes from the mouth of the mound and spreads out to form a pool of still water. On the water float six small vessels, each one filled with light. Two otters regard the scene.

READING POINTS: An emotional reunion can sometimes referr to the mystical karmic cycles that bring lovers back through time, space, and lifetimes. The purpose of this sober union may be manifold but it can be to complete unfinished business or to teach us lessons from old actions or wrong choices. It can also refer to the coming together of a band of comrades, tribal or clan members, or a brotherhood of old friends, gathering for the acknowledgment of their shared bond. It may also refer to the reunion of the individual with their own true nature, in terms of a forgotten or rejected history or experience.

By meditating on a past issue with new wisdom and insight and an acceptance of personal responsibility and forgiveness, reclamation may take place. A spiritual re-amalgamation of a facet of the individual’s personality, for the purposes of clearing and self empowerment, may be possible and a healthy union in the soul the result. Reassurance is gained from a reunion of this nature, revealing that the correct path was taken and your decisions were based on valid and honest instincts and motivations.

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

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OK, so I’ve decided to streamline things a bit here with the cards of the day. You may have noticed I’m not terribly consistent anymore, so I’ve decided to post just twice a week: on Mondays to consider through the week, and on Fridays to guide the weekend. I also am trying to get back to writing some more content like I used to. Wish me luck.

For this week, we are being told to take control of our destiny. Yes, there will always be things out of our control, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make decisions around that or how to handle those things. What attitude we face challenges with is also part of our control – do we want to get bitter or appreciate what we do have?

Have a great week, everyone!

The Wheel

Reading Points: The Wheel has turned; change is at hand. In all nature, there is a time and tide. The cyclic laws of birth, death, and rebirth are ever revolving and, without change, all things stagnate. How you deal with this change is the issue here. Within the tangled and tightly woven fabric of chance, you have the power to make a difference. By your own action you can change your life. You are not a prisoner of fate, but an integral part of it. Remember, this is not a dress rehearsal! Life is what happens to you while you are waiting for it to begin. Whether on the surface the change appears to be for better or worse, welcome it, be at peace with it and take control of your actions within it. All things must pass.

Meaning: The Wheel traditionally represents the cycles of eternal law and evolution that all living creatures are covered by. Change is unavoidable and necessary if the cycles of nature are to remain alive and regenerative. But on the human level, we are the weavers of our own destiny. Consciously or unconsciously, we make the patterns and possibilities that the universe has to offer and, although the seemingly random, chaotic nature of the universe always has the final world, we can affect our own life and that of the world by taking control of our destiny. Many believe that fate is set, that all things are predesigned no matter what we do in this human reality, but the weaver of the cloak can affect this ever-shifting metric of potential just by recognizing the pattern and making timely decisions. We can grasp the web of fate and weave in our own special, personal pattern.

Although the jigsaw puzzle of probability and possibility holds the universe together in a loose web of predictable events, nothing is set in stone. The very act of asking a question creates a whole new set of possible outcomes. But be aware! With this ability to weave our own destiny comes with responsibility. Our actions are not without risk. If things are out of balance with the universe, the Wheel will bring change in order to restore natural harmony to the web of fate.

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

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We saw this card just a couple months ago, but clearly there’s more to be done here. This is an intimidating figure in the boat paired with the beauty and hope of the full moon and sunset. Look at the vessel – a swan – and the sail. Look at the calm waters as you sail into the dark, as they are calmer than you might think. Much to consider here.



Six of Arrows – Transitions

Meaning: Movement toward new possibilities, or cycles, within your own personality or thought processes. A subconscious impulse to travel beyond your present horizons that have become static. Possibly an anxious or testing time of uncertainty, but harnessing positive energies and drives will add purposeful momentum to the coming changes.

Reading Points: The primal impulse here is to move beyond old boundaries and personal thought processes and deploy new methods of reasoning to resolve important issues. Some obstacles may challenge older methods, and new, more dynamic responses are required to adapt to a new set of paradigms.

This can be an exciting process. The journey may be scary, since letting go of old and previously effective processes can be unsettling, but the unseen tides that drive the need to evolve are already pulling you to new experiences and places. Trusting in your own instincts and skills to absorb change is essential to overcome new situation. Take advantage of your subconscious forward momentum and ride the new wave with an open heart and a positive mental attitude. Welcome any new process with confidence and apply your skills to effect healing renewal. Embrace well-tried experiences also, as the Wheel inevitably turns, and enter into these personal changes with stoical enthusiasm.

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

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Here’s another serious card for our week – there’s nothing gentle or meek about the Wodwose as he confronts and challenges us. Can you stand in respect and courage to this initiator?




MEANING: When nearing the heart of a sacred quest, motivation and integrity of human desires are challenged. Ancient wisdom demands the seeker be humble and forgiving. Respect for others and for the environment is required to proceed along the path to enlightenment. There is no completion without overcoming the challenge.

DESCRIPTION: The wild and fearsome Wodwose of the forest crosses your path, brandishing a rough-hewn bow. The Wodwose is linked to many ancient worldwide legends of large and hairy wild men of the forest. He challenges our dedication and courage to continue along a chosen path.

READING POINTS: To follow the path through the Wildwood is not without its challenges and demands. When entering any such environment, one must be prepared to face the dangers and natural perils that abide there. Having empathy for the environment and being ready to deal with it respectfully and in a practical manner is to learn another lesson and take away fresh insight. If we look deeper for meaning in the forces blocking our way, we often see how we have contributed to the problem and how we attracted these negative energies through lack of self-discipline, or mistakes made in the past. The sign of an evolved spirit is someone who can acknowledge past failures or defeats without bitterness and self-torment and move forward through life with a positive outlook and wisdom gathered through struggle. The Wodwose reminds us to treat the challenges of the Wildwood with patience and compassion, marking each scar or wound suffered during the struggle as a badge of honor, earned and overcome by inner courage, dedication, and faith in the lore of natural justice.

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

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Alright, the main card today represents exploitation, but the other two cards represent healing and wisdom. Check it out:

Given that, I feel like today’s message isn’t just a scolding about exploiting resources. It’s a reminder to engage ourselves in healing and wisdom to understand how to stop exploiting our nature world. It is something to consider as well that exploitation comes in many forms, and the current events on the world stage can be viewed as a form of exploitation. For that, what we do and don’t support sociopolitically DOES affect the exploitation of others. Never forget that even the small amount of power given to everyday people has an effect.




MEANING: Selfish or foolish overuse of non-sustainable resources implies imbalance in work and business that is damaging to yourself or the environment.

DESCRIPTION: Two ragged and distraught figures, and old man and a girl, stand by a row of damaged and abandoned beehives holding empty bowls. Broken and unused farming tools lie on the ground nearby. Through the leafless trees, we see the surrounding fields, barren and desolate. In the distance, smoke rises from burning piles of spoiled crops.

READING POINTS: The human race’s capacity to exploit planetary resources to our own detriment is motivated by a flawed belief that we have the right to do so. As we begin to come to terms with the profound effects of global climate change and the irreversible effects this will have on our children’s lives, the human race still struggles to deal with the unresolved issues of how to feed the billions of new human beings born every year. How we will resource the education, health, and social service requirements of entire generations to come seems like a question too painful even to think about. With world financial systems and safeguards breaking down and faith in any government’s ability to tell the truth and act with integrity severely damaged, our social moral codes and once-familiar cultural “norms” appear under enormous strain. We all need to be aware of the price our children will pay for our exploitation of the planet’s resources.

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

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This card embraces not only kindness, wisdom, and sacrifice but also intuition. It’s quite a potent blend – what is it saying to you for your current journey?


Queen of Vessels – Salmon

MEANING: Sacred in most shamanic systems for many reasons, the Salmon’s ability to swim upstream to its birthplace and spawn is one of its most remarkable feats. The journey leaves the Salmon exhausted and most die in the attempt; thus, they represent self-sacrifice and wisdom. Salmon were said to swim in pools overhung by hazel trees and to eat the nuts of wisdom that fell in autumn.

READING POINTS: Deeply caring and kind, the Queen’s spirit draws upon the great honesty, generosity, and self-sacrifice that she sees in you. She brings joy to the darkest places and addresses the most difficult problems with grace and civility. 

TRACKS & PATHWAYS: Virtue, kindness, simplicity, and devotion; a caring individual; to cherish or pamper; joyfulness and recovery; and security

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

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A little shocked to pull this card today, given the news in the world. I hope we all can lend our energy to ending unnecessary violence and protecting those in need of it, even if it is halfway across the world. Blessings.

Four of Stones – Protection

Meaning: The newly risen sun brings hope and renewed vitality to the vulnerable. Shelter and protection for the weak or the spiritually wounded is the responsibility of us all.

Reading Points: Many trials and tribulations surface during our lifetime, and being able to endure such times is the sign of a strong heart and healthy spirit. Finding a personal place of emotional safety may require patience and a stoical dedication to the quest, but for those who have weathered adversity and known loss, the light of life and love will always burn brightly within them. By building on a foundation of ethical beliefs, boundaries and skills, we can be assured that when the test comes we are secure in our self-knowledge and confidence. The human ability to recognize and feel compassion for those who need help is just as important. However the storm may tear at our own inner place of protection, we must keep the faith that the sun will rise again for all those in peril and offer fresh opportunities and spiritual rewards. Such is the law of karma, that each act of selfless protection and mercy for those in need revitalized the spiritual warrior with a sense of peace and divinity rarely found in common practice.

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews, art by Will Worthington

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Do you need some extra strength today? Perhaps you are needing to draw the line with someone or a situation. The Woodward is here today to lend his quiet strength.



Reading Points: Through adversity of the process of rebalancing in life, we find courage within ourselves that flows from an unknown source. Sometimes that courage has to do with facing unavoidable truth or dealing with a person or problem that no amount of physical confrontation or emotional bravery will resolve. The Woodward’s strength, drawn from nature’s inherent power to renew and overcome, is needed if we are to foresee what is to come and wait upon the turning of the seasons. Sometimes, when faced with a challenging situation, we must find our own inner backstop, the point from which we will not retreat or from which we can move forward with quiet confidence. The Wildwood ethos has much to teach humanity about calm, resolute strength. 

Description: A human hunter wearing a mountain lion mask holds a bloodied spear in one hand and the cup of giving, intoxication, and compassion in the other. From the crossbar of the spears haft hangs an ivory statuette of the oldest anthropomorphic figure found in Europe, a lion-headed human thought to be 30 thousand years old. A lynx sits at the figure’s side and an eagle swoops over his right shoulder. In the background, Silbury Hill symbolizes the harvest aligned to the sunrise at Lammas. The summer sun rises behind the Woodward, its rays painting the world gold. 

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

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Well, I guess we don’t get a kind and gentle card today, even if it is Imbolc! Regardless of what lies before you, consider all that is behind you that you come through stronger and smarter. Blessings!


READING POINTS: A challenge has arrived in your life. The situation may be very complex. It may even have profound implications for your life and how you deal with the world. It may manifest itself in the form of a profound inner realignment or the facing of some physical outer predicament. Whether from the labyrinth that is the human mind or from some external source, the challenge that presents itself now must be seen for what it is: an opportunity. If something has been hidden or repressed, if a situation has been left to decay or become unhealthy, now is the time to take control of your fears and deal with the insecurity with courage and integrity. Always be aware that however threatening or difficult this situation is, you can only become stronger and more resilient from the experience of understanding and accepting inner darkness.

DESCRIPTION: The bleached white skeleton of a great cave bear stands sentinel in the night, guarding the entrance to a cave. The guardian spirit of the bear challenges those who would enter the cave of ancestral memory without understanding the nature of their own darkness. Within the cave’s open maw, filled with jagged and sharp stalactites, is an unknown and untrodden path. Its destination is shrouded in gloom. No inner light burns to show a way through. Before the path may be followed, the Guardian must be faced and mastery of one’s own fears achieved.

MEANING: Over the centuries, there has been much cynical manipulation of the concept of “the Devil” for political, religious, and doctrinal purposes, leading to the demonizing of this complex, pagan nature spirit. Yet the prime role of such archetypes is one of protection and initiation and is the human link to wilderness, nature, and fertility, sometimes manifested as fierceness, ecstasy and sexuality. However, the fear engendered by the warping of this archetype will be with us for a long time to come.

The Guardian stirs irrational fears from the muddy bottom of the human subconscious and fills the timid soul with foreboding. He is charged with an inhuman subconscious and unseen sentience, feeding off of fear and panic with a malevolent joy. But within this sardonic and chaotic energy lie wisdom, courage, and strength. The human survival instinct was geared for fight or flight, yet we have learned to rationalize our darkest fears and deal with unknown dangers with intellectual insight. As we have evolved our understanding of the unknown, we have learned that no diabolical or supernatural force in the universe is as frightening as the human imagination.

If the Guardian is frightening, it is because we are frightened by our own reflection, our own dark shadow, and it this element of ourselves that we must master. Within this process is the stripping away of conditioning and the distilling of absolute essentials within ourselves. Much can be gained by facing our most deeply hidden and suppressed fears, which usually stem from our own deepest instincts and desires. Once this truth has been absorbed and utilized for our own defense, the darkest of places and the most challenging of forest guardians can be looked in the eye without fear.

The Wildwood Tarot by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, art by Will Worthington

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This seems a strange card for a Monday, but Spirit doesn’t work by the capitalist schedules, does it? Today, take some time to find some stillness and quiet so you can more accurately hear the inner voice and wisdom that you need.



READING POINTS: The time of the Hooded Man is here. Whether he appears in the guise of an inner guide and mentor or simply as a state of mind, you will understand that now is a time to withdraw and rest. After a long journey through the Wildwood, many emotions and experiences need to be absorbed. This is the beginning of understanding – not just of yourself, but of the universe. The hermit-like Hooded Man appears differently for everyone. Whether through meditation or solitude in the mountains, through prayer or holidaying in a secluded place, his light will illuminate the way to the heart of the endless cycle of being.

DESCRIPTION: A lone hooded figure stand before an ancient oak. It is midwinter. Thick snow covers the ground and the branches of the tree. The Hooded Man is dressed in an evergreen holly and berry cloak. He holds a stout staff in one hand and a lantern to light the pathway in the other. In the great tree is a battered and moss-covered wooden doorway. Through the swollen timbers, a warm light spills into the evening gloom. The inside of the great tree appears inviting, a haven from the chilling air. Above the doorway is a wheel-like wreath of holly and evergreen foliage. On a cold stone rising from the frozen earth, a wren watches and waits.

MEANING: After the trials and tribulations of dealing with the primal forces that confront you on the wheel of the year, a space is needed for stillness and contemplation. For the spiritual warrior or seeker looking for esoteric knowledge, the complex matrix of symbolism and insight may confuse the intellect and shake the reality. The Hooded Man (also known as the Hermit or sometimes the Robin-in-the-Hood, the deeper archetype of the Outlaw of Sherwood Forest) offers a steadfast light in the midwinter world and a steady staff on which to lean and gather your mental resources. His shining lamp illuminates the darkest recesses of fear and incomprehension and guides the way to the doorway that leads into the heart of the great tree. He knows that knowledge is light and sometimes only earned with sacrifice and stoicism. Such things offer admittance to the great mystery of the woodland and show the seekers how they may find the wisdom to advance through the wilder reaches of the forest. Within its ancient heart lie locked countless secrets and the profoundest treasures of wisdom.

The Hooded Man survives even in the cold empty winter landscape because of his wisdom and his will. He is at one with the harshness of the climate because he draws upon the strength of the evergreen holly that that even winter cannot turn to dust and has stored spiritual nourishment to sustain him. He has absorbed the lessons and knowledge that his journey has afforded him; and to those who have followed his path and now are tired an in need of solace, he waits to pass on wisdom, comfort, and guidance.

On a small rock nearby is the wren, the sacred bird of kings, revered as an oracle and a keeper of secret wisdom. The wren is an ancient totem bird that flew highest of all creatures by riding on the back of the great eagle, thus earning itself the title of King of All Birds. It serves as a reminder that the smallest of the Earth’s creatures is capable of soaring to the greatest heights and seeing beyond the furthest horizon.

This time of rebirth is both inward and mystical, and yet outward and universal, beyond the narrow boundaries of human civilization and moral codes.

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

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