Posts Tagged ‘Wildwood Tarot’

Our little Queen Cerridwen (don’t let her expression fool you – she’s actually quite sweet) was guarding the deck this morning. Hadn’t shown her in a while, so thought I’d share this pic.

This card appears quite a bit in my personal readings (thankfully!) but hasn’t shown up for the card of the day in a while. Well, she’s a helpful figure who is here to lend you support. Perhaps this is the time to take that step, have that discussion, or do whatever you’ve been hesitating to do. The Queen has your back.


MEANING: Hares have been linked to the spring (Eostre, the Saxon hare goddess) and sexuality since Celtic times, when it was considered taboo to kill them. Prolific breeders, they represent fertility and potential. The Hare is also famous for the “boxing” ritual that takes place during March.

READING POINTS: A companion through life, sympathetic and understanding, leading you to a deeper awareness of what is needed to bring success to your every enterprise. Wise and witty, gentle and kindly, the Queen supports you and strengthens your resolve.

TRACKS & PATHWAYS: Kindness and responsibility; an offering of peace and love; helpfulness, courtesy, and understanding; enchantment; and success in business

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

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It’s such a beautiful day here in southeast Kansas that it was hard to pull myself away from the porch swing to come in to pull a card. Alas, I shall return outdoors shortly.

The Shaman is visiting today to guide us to the inner worlds and meanings of the symbols we find there – and so much more. Take a few minutes today to consider what this means for you.



The Shaman

Reading points: You may hear the beat of a drum or the song of the wind. It may be the dancing of the light on water or the midnight barking of the Fox, but whatever awakens your desire to return to the wild, the shaman within you is ready for initiation into the mysteries. This may manifest itself in the form of desire to study an esoteric science or philosophy and apply what you learned to the world. It may involve travel for the sake of getting confidence and experience. But however the desire to begin a new spiritual chapter emerges, you are now in an emotional and intellectual position to bring forth a real change in your life for the benefit of everyone. This process of focusing, meditating, and applying wisdom from the Otherworld to everyday reality is the true work of the Shaman.

Meaning: The view of the universe possessed by these ancient artists was of a place where human elements and skills were intimately interwoven with the qualities and progress of wild creatures. Human spiritual welfare was dependent on an empathic exchange and respect for the sacred ancestral memory of all life, and mediation of the totem guardians and deities was a primal spiritual function of the shaman.

This is a gateway card, offering illumination to the labyrinth of the inner universe end of the Otherworld of the universe online. The shamans unique quality is the ability to enter and commune with all levels of sentiment life on the earth. It is he who shudders with the wisdom and joy contained in the haunting music of the whale song or whose skin prickles with arousal at the howling of the timberwolves. His soul reverberates with the unheard sonorous call of the mountains and smiles with pure joy at laughter of the waterfall.

The shaman applies his magic with intent. He studies the habits of wild creatures; he understands the weather patterns that bring good harvest or dry summers. He knows the healing plants from the deadly fungi and can travel through the dark by watching the ritual dance of the magical beings that populate the night sky. He give thanks to the trees that supply warmth and light in the winter and gathers the young around a fire to tell stories of great adventure and courage to the light and educate those who would listen.

Through inner working and meditation, the shaman will bring insight and understanding of your true place in the world. Then practical application and the manifestation of wisdom and will power into your physical world is possible. This requires dedication, patience, and commitment, but is the nature of real magic.

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

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I’m not sure about you all, but I definitely needed this card today. Hope you all have a good Tuesday!

Balance (Temperance)

Reading Points: You must be balanced and patient. The time is right to rest and contemplate all the facets of your existence. To continue now you must be still and calm. Finding the inner balance that will enable you to see beyond the present state is a process of trust and confidence in your own strengths. These facets may include the parts of your psyche that you would rather not deal with, but no amount of denial will rid you of the need to absorb and reclaim them. Balance is absolutely necessary to free the inner self from the fears and self-doubts that keep us spiritually deaf, dumb, and blind. Once the natural state of balance is achieved, the plateau that will give you access to the higher self will be open before you.

Meaning: The balance between humanity and nature is vital. The intricate mechanisms that are the arteries and nervous system of the Earth are as sensitive and complex as that of any living organisms, and we have succeeded in shifting this delicate balance from one of finely tuned interactions to malignant and polluted environment. The ancient peoples of the Earth long ago recognized their dependence on the ecosystem of the planet to sustain and renew their children. Modern society has become completely detached from that reality and believes the planet is here only for our selfish and greedy consumption. The renewal is taken for granted, yet we have poured toxic waste into the seas and landscape so that our offspring will be facing death a thousand years from now. Our abuse of the natural world has annihilated whole species of creatures and rent a hole in the very fabric of the atmosphere that makes life on this planet possible. This is a crime beyond comprehension and humankind will be paying the price for generations to come.

Temperance is the traditional name of this card, and it represents a state of inner strength and tranquility from which deeper knowledge of the self and universe can be absorbed and contemplated. It is the key to higher self. Both on the personal level and as a species, we must strive to find a balance.

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

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This is a lovely card, isn’t it? But it is more than romantic love being demonstrated here, so do keep the Reading Points below in mind.

READING POINTS: On a personal level, love is a universal gift to the generous heart, and the seeker will find balance through inner harmony and healing. Polarity is the key element in the natural ebb and flow of emotional commitment. The Forest Lovers represent a positive spiritual force of creative emotional energy and a universal desire for harmony. The inhabitants of the Greenwood revere and respect the rites of love as the force that ensures the unfolding cycle of creation and emotional stability. Always bring the light of love with you; allow it to illuminate the darkest corners of your world and support you through whatever you set out to do. 

DESCRIPTION: A man and a woman stand side by side, clothed in the green and brown of the Wildwood. They are Robin and Marian, the Forest Lovers, reborn time and again in the heart of the woods, sometimes known as Robin Hood and Maid Marian, at other times by different names. 

Between them stands a maypole, generated by their exchange of energy and symbolized here by a living birch tre. Spiraling around this are green garlands, reaching up toward the sky and representing the ascending Earth energies which meet the descending energies of the sky. the Forest Lovers create a spark of life that generates a third force or energy. Arum lilies, or “lords and ladies” as they are also known, are in flower in that period of Beltaine. 

They symbolize the male and female union at this time of year and the generative energies that bring fruitfulness and harmony within the cycle of the year.

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

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This is a card that says not only is it time to get busy creating and applying yourself (kind of appropriate for most of us on a Monday) but also that the universe will meet you with inspiration and opportunity.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Ace of Bows: Spark of Life

Against a shimmering background of leaves and beaches, a stout, rough-hewn hunting bow shimmers with the fire of life itself. The tip of an arrow rests on a heap of kindling chaff, and curled bark is bursting into flame as the tip flashes with brilliant incandescent light.

Meaning: As the turning of the cosmic axis generates the spark of life, so the kindling of a flame sparks the necessary light and warmth in our lives. The drill-bow suggests the human element, our partnership with the environment in which we live and the mastery of its gifts.

Reading Points: By shaping, directing, and persevering with the tool that both hunts and nutures fire, we kindle the spark that starts the process of creation and empowerment. This takes skill, effort, commitment, and persistence, but the universe always responds with enlightenment, challenge, and opportunity. This is the nature of the human relationship with creation, and leads to a deeper awareness of the part we must play in the great scheme of things.

Harnessing the energy inherent in the bow, and the skill and endurance needed to loose the hunter’s arrows accurately and efficiently, are as primal and ancient as human existence itself. Every native tribe on Earth developed the bow as a tool and choosing, shaping, and tuning the bow stave and the arrows is a time-consuming and demanding craft that hones our skills and widens our knowledge of all the materials required in the ancient art. This also includes the habits and patterns of nature associated with the prey the hunter seeks and may infuse the archer with a new respect and reverence for the creatures that inhabit the Wildwood. Be prepared to learn new skills, adapt to a changing environment, and focus and tune your instincts to the task at hand.

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

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Challenge isn’t always a bad thing. We all need to learn to hold our ground when it’s needed, and we all need to learn to compromise when needed – and learning how to do it with considered action, not angry reaction.


MEANING: Female hares box for domination and territorial rights to breed. After drawing on your grounded energy to reach self-empowerment, a position may be challenged or a struggle for control initiated by others. Learning to deal with rivalry or adversity in a dispassionate manner is a practical skill that can be used to advantage. 

DESCRIPTION: Two low, worn stones stand side by side at the edge of the trees. On each one stands a hare. They are boxing furiously. Ripples of energy flow out from them as if their power and force were manifesting.

READING POINTS: Many challenges or rivalries are born of insecurity and subconscious issues with peers and colleagues. Usually, it is these emotions rather than actual malice or personal ill-will that dictates a rival’s mistrust or understanding of your efforts. In the modern material world, where so much emphasis is placed on a show of power or wealth, it is often a perceived position or status that enflames jealousy, rather than the reality of a situation. Holding your own ground and defending your position at such times can be achieved by keeping in touch with pure and positive motivations and holding on to a personal integrity and sincerity, which is the basis for any fair and enduring material reward or advancement. Some competition and honest differences of opinion can be productive and even beneficial. Remain clear and focused on your objectives and stay firm in your ethical efforts to proceed with a plan or project.

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

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This card reminds us that it is normal to struggle sometimes. If everything came easy, we wouldn’t appreciate them. Currently, there are some serious struggles socially, economically, politically, and even with our current weather. Overcoming things has to be taken one step at a time. Big issues sometimes makes us want to take wide, sweeping actions, but when others are involved change is often more effective in little steps. Keep the faith, folks.


MEANING: In the darkness of failure, the burning torch of hope remains lit in the human soul and encourages struggle. Courage is needed to survive the storm. 

DESCRIPTION: A lone figure struggles across a bleak landscape, leaning heavily on a staff. Closely wrapped in a cloak and thick garments, she fights her way through a blizzard that whirls around her. In the ground amide the whirling snowflakes, we see eight bent, broken, and wasted arrows, weathered and tattered by the elements.

READING POINTS: However much we wish that divisive and conflicting issues and moral dilemmas didn’t exist in our lives, sometimes they are an unavoidable part of the journey. If we are lucky, we have the support and sympathy of friends and loved ones to help us deal with the struggle, but not always. 

Sometimes, because of the very personal nature of the problem, we are alone, dealing with a thorny dilemma that only the individual at the center of the issue can negotiate. The choices can be painful and stark. The path may appear fraught with unfamiliar obstacles and pitfalls, and with no obvious remedy. All these elements may strain our core beliefs, causing us to doubt the validity of previous choices. Such profound personal struggles require calm, decisive and resolute action. Reach down into the very core of your being and summon all the reserves of your courage and wisdom. See honestly what the issue will require for you to resolve it and present those who might be a party to the problem with an implacable and unyielding dedication. View this necessary sojourn with clear eyes and a resolute heart, for to overcome these tests of life makes us stronger.

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

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While yesterday’s card suggested we take a break, today’s card is all about getting ready to take aim at our goals.

Still a super cold day here (woke up to -14 F!), and we are having rolling blackouts from our electric company. It should prove interesting! Have a great Tuesday!


READING POINTS: The dawn of a new adventure, folded in the web of universal potential, waits for you to string the bow of your imagination and loose the arrows of creativity. This is the time to be bold and commit to the hunting of new life and a better relationship with the world, as well as the fulfilment of wholesome ambition. Take a moment to gather your tools and steady your state of mind. Take careful stock of what you want to achieve, why, and how you will go about it. Then harness your potential by filling your quiver with all the talents, knowledge, and cunning you possess and string the bow of burning gold” with the “arrows of desire.” Take a deep breath and be calm. I tis time to let your soul take flight.

MEANING: The bow’s importance for most of early mankind, both as a tool for survival and for defense, cannot be underestimated. It is for this reason, perhaps, that it has also become a spiritual symbol, and the drawing and releasing of an arrow is sometimes seen as a ritualistic practice in its own right. For many, the bow is a powerful link to our past, and the patience required to mast it connects the Archer with ancient life-or-death experience.

The Celts placed written spells on their arrows and Sioux Indian “medicine” arrows were painted with geometric designs and held special ritual significance, so that from early times the use of the bow took on a role in the harnessing and transmission of the will. Stringing the bow gives the wood a potential for the release of energy, drawing the bow controls and harnesses that energy, and releasing the arrow with intent finally sends the archer’s will through the air to its target.

Just as spells and curses were loosed through the air by hunters and shamans, so we must ourselves tune in to this ancient process and become archers with quivers full of ideas and desires, capable of forming and focusing our aim in the steady drawing of our will and then loosing our creative and intellectual drive in a controlled and effective way.

The key to a smooth and accurate release of the arrow is a steady and relaxed state, both physically and mentally. As hunters in the forest, we need patience and cunning, as well as an intimate knowledge of the Wildwood, to move with stealth toward the quarry. Then, with a cool and deliberate aim, the arrow must be released, itself containing something of our will and of our spirit on its flight toward its goal.

DESCRIPTION: The Archer holds the broad longbow poised in the act of release. The bow is of the Meare Hearth design, the fletchings are of good feather, taken from the right wing, and the arrowhead is flint. The Archer’s gaze is focused and steady as she looks beyond the arrow into the sky, holding the tension between the bow and the sinew bowstring with controlled and relaxed intent. She wears a simple amulet and appears serene and confident yet full of purpose. By her side wait two great hunting dogs, messengers of the power she holds within herself.

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

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Brrrrrrrr! That’s my word for the day as our area experiences an Arctic blast – we are at 14 degrees at the moment and this weekend is supposed to see temps below zero. While we are accustomed to windy cold weather in southeast Kansas, weather this cold is unusual. So it seemed incongruous when the Green Woman decided to pop up as our card of the day.

Yet, even in the deadly chill that will grip some of our area’s this week, the Earth is still there offering support and a connection with nature. Especially with this cold, I will be attending to the bird feeder and the place I live corn and peanuts for birds and squirrels alike. They will need the extra energy to survive the cold. In the cozy indoors, the lap cats and dogs will curl up with us and seek out the heater vent. We have all we need physically and our work is closed due to icy conditions, so it will be a good time to turn to inner work. I hope everyone is as safe and cozy as we are.

Have a good Tuesday!


READING POINTS: Appearing at a time of rich nurturing and protection, of learning and initiation, when loving and fertile relationships, both human and universal, abound, the Green Woman mediates the sacred sovereignty of the Earth’s soul and can show the path to understanding and communion with nature. But with this blessing comes responsibility. Remember that this glorious, magnanimous and generous spirit can live through you, radiated by the sacred breath of life and given to others who need guidance and healing. Learn from the abundant and joyous spirit of the Earth and be at one with the world and your true self.

MEANING: The Green Woman encompasses the female archetype of wildness and green energy. Her presence balances that of the wild man and represents the earthly manifestation of female solar energy and the rich bounty of the Great Mother. She also represents the goddess of the land, sometimes expressed as Sovereignty, who challenges all comers to braver her tests and to offer to those who succeed the gifts of inner kingship and love and a deepening bond to the riches of the Earth. From her pours the glorious light of the midsummer sun, blessing everything it touches with life and boundless energy.

This figure is complex and subtle but highly dynamic in her interaction with anyone who seeks to understand the nature of the Wildwood mythos. She mediates the sacred blessing of earthly fertility, and the beasts that inhabit it, and forms a deep bond with the seeker who wishes to attune to the rhythm of the Wheel of the Year.

In the Arthurian tradition, she validates the kingship of Arthur by bringing him the sacred sword and establishes him as a guardian of the Hallows of Britain, sometimes appearing as the Lady of the Lake, who fosters both Arthur himself as well as the young hero Lancelot. In other stories she manifests as the Flower Bride, sought after by more than one of Arthur’s great knights and offering the deep bonds of matrimony and joy to those with whom she shares her bounty. At its heart, her sacred role is the initiator of the human individual into the realm of the Wildwood.

DESCRIPTION: The Green Woman, disgorger of nature, crowned with ferns and wild roses, breaths the divine word of life. Her calm, serene expression is steady and full of graceful sovereignty. Around her neck is the golden Celtic gorget representing the sun throughout the year. The golden amber cup before her has within it the milk of love and nurturing and the sheela-na-gig on its side represents the life force of all women. The Green Woman symbolizes the forest at midsummer. Here, amide the luxuriant foliage, small animals and birds of the Wildwood live and build their homes, creating a whole ecosystem within the branches and a safe haven for the innocent and vulnerable beneath its roots.

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

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After one has lost a person who was significant to their life, mourning can always feel so literal. However, mourning things and people that are no longer in our lives – former friends, a loved job, and so forth – can help us move on and not feel stuck in a cycle of feeling sad or bitter about changes that are quite natural. We can’t stay the same forever, so honor what was and step into what is.


Seven of Vessels – Mourning

MEANING: This is a time to honor what is dead and mourn for what has gone. Learn the lesson of letting go by offering thanks for cherished memories and being at peace with the past. 

DESCRIPTION: A human skull painted with an array of designs including spirals, zig-zags and wavy lines, lies at the foot of a tree. Around it are scattered typical grave goods: five cups, and oil lamp, and an offering bowl. 

READING POINTS: Mourning begins the process of recovery after failure or bereavement. This process may even be unconscious, for we often do not realize what things were significant until they are gone. Mourning serves to ritualize the process of being at peace and honor the passing of what is important and significant in a personal relationship. It allows the tidal flow of emotions to rise and fall naturally through the psyche, and bring a sense of closure or completion and peace. This may take time, of course, and some losses are felt more acutely than others as mourning is a very personal and individual process, sometimes taking years to complete. 

In Ireland, the wake exemplifies one way of processing and dealing with loss by turning the ritual into a celebration of life and achievement. The celebration of the completed journey and the beginning of a new one has been a part of the human mourning process since the dawn of time. Whatever the loss, whoever the wake is being held for, let them go with love, and honor their passing with fond memories. Hold the golden, beautiful moments of life close and let their passing not go without a note of reverence for a life fully lived. 

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

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