The Wildwood Tarot is a complete reconception and redesign of the popular Greenwood Tarot. This time author Mark Ryan is working with John Matthews, and illustrator Will Worthington of the DruidCraft Tarot, to the create this deck based on the seasonal rhythms and festivals of the ancient year. It's still in progress, but scheduled for mid-2011.
Information on the Wildwood Tarot by Mark Ryan and John Matthews illustrated by Will Worthington
The following 6 cards represent a selection from both Major and Minor cards in the deck. We have chosen them to illustrate the wonderful depths and magical quality of the Wildwood.
2: THE SEER
The Seer is wrapped in the owl's cloak of wisdom decorated with totem animals of power and shamanic spirits. She stands before the World Tree, drawing wisdom from the roots that are deeply embedded in the earth. Close around her are the symbols of the four elements that she mediates: the cup, staff, arrowhead and stone. From the head of her staff hang the crane bag and a set of runes. Her face may only be glimpsed or seen in half-light. Her voice may be hushed and she may speak in riddles, but if you listen, she can point you to new, wiser beginnings. With her inherent ability to balance emotion, intellect and will power, she spurs us to create change in our material world and is a skilled mediator of all the elemental forces found within the Wildwood. She fosters the positive exercise of will, manifested by emotion and commitment and resulting in outer material effect. This is one of the purest and most blessed forms of Earth magic.
7: THE ARCHER
The Archer holds the broad longbow poised in the act of release. The bow is of an ancient design, the fletchings are of goose 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 stand two great hunting dogs, messengers of the power she holds within herself. 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 drives in a controlled and effective way.
The polarised energies of the land interweave and intertwine around the staff of the heavens, generating the pulse of life. Red and white serpents coil around a great tree - the heart of the Wildwood. Red and white energies represent the basic colours of a primal world - red for blood, fire and iron; white for milk, ash and bone. These colours are particularly relevant to Beltane as it lies at the junction on the Wheel between Fire (red) and Air (white), and from this interaction come creative impulses. The ancient symbol of the caduceus echoes the double helix of human DNA, the building blocks of life, where each strand contains the information of the whole. The human face of the Wildwood has both a light and a dark side, shown here in the face of the wooden masked carved into the tree itself. Both are natural and necessary components of the human condition.
17: THE POLE STAR
The pure white light of The Pole Star illuminates the dark void of the universe and casts its radiance upon the earth. The stars represents the remotest power in the celestial sky and the interaction and fusion of particles that produce light and heat. Stars rise above the Earth, beckoning our searching minds to reach beyond our own solar system and grasp the vastness of space. The swirling clouds of stellar dust that formed the heart of the stars spiral outward into infinity and turn with the cycle of the universe. The blessing of The Pole Star radiates to the Earth across the abyss and reminds us that the same stuff of creation that fuels and binds these mighty sentinels of the night sky burns within us. Latest research shows that stars are initially formed as a sphere within a ring or circle of matter, echoing the cup and ring symbols found carved on the stones of prehistory that may represent the seed of manifestation and the source of creation itself. The blessing of the stellar world bathes the Earth and the human spirit with healing and regenerative energy.
SIX OF ARROWS
A stylised wooden boat with a swan prow floats on a still pool of water. A single white sail on which a six-pointed star is outlines by six arrows drives it. In the prow of the boat stands a lone, cloaked figure. The primal impulse is to move beyond old boundaries and personal thought processes and deploy new methods of reasoning to resolve important issues. Some obstacle 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. Trust in your own instincts and skills to absorb change is essential to overcome new situations.
TEN OF BOWS
A lone figure has gathered a large bundle of ten unfinished longbow staves and struggles stoically and determinedly with the heavy burden over his shoulder, toward a woodland encampment of hunters and warriors. Fires burn, welcoming beacons in the darkness and the figure toils up the dark, winding forest pathway towards the reassuring glow of security and companionship. The challenge of dealing with responsibility brings a need for inner fortitude, stamina and determination. The weight of the burden may be heavy and cumbersome but the task may be vital for the greater good, not just for the individual but also for the wellbeing of the family or chosen tribe.