This deck intends to be a reflection of the Wheel of the Year. Again, some parts of it I don't understand, because I am more used to the typical 'pagan' archetypes, and the Wildwood works with something that is prior to it. For instance, I usually see the Green Man as the Holly King, the God that sacrifices himself to sustain his children, earth and all her creatures. In the Wildwood, he appears as the Emperor and as an archetype of the Midsummer, and his fertile side is emphasised. Both views can actually work together, but it requires an expansion of my own vision of this deity.
I also miss the archetype of Cernunnos in this deck. I am sure he's there in the deck (there's plenty of horned figures in it), I just haven't been able to locate him yet. The Wildwood forces me to leave my symbolic comfort zone, to to speak, and to explore different aspects of archetypes I thought I understood.
(Just to clarify: I tend to work with deities as symbols related to nature and its cycles, not as supernatural beings to worship. That said, I respect those who view them under a more religious light.)
And I miss the owls. There isn't a single owl in this deck. *snif* The only reference is the Seer [High Priestess], who wears a cape made of owl feathers... and I personally LOVE this card!
Because the Wildwood is so connected to the Wheel of Year, the cycle of the seasons, I decided to actually do a mandala with the cards, following the guidelines given by the companion book. I hoped this would help me to understand the unique structure of the deck. Below is a picture of my final work. I apologise because the picture does the mandala no justice - it was very colourful and harmonic under the morning light, but the camera failed to capture that.
|Right-click and open it in a new window to see full-size!|
The wheel begins at the bottom, with the cards related to Midwinter, and then it goes up anti-clockwise, passing through Imbolc, the Spring Equinox, Beltane, Midsummer, Lammas, Autumn Equinox, Samhain and back to the Midwinter. The book uses the Northern Hemisphere seasons when explaining the wheel, but the cards themselves have no notations specifying calendar dates, so it works even with the differences seen in the Southern Hemisphere.
I liked how The Hooded Man [The Hermit] and The Great Bear [Judgment] are in the Midwinter part of the wheel, because both card represent going into the dark for a while and then being reborn, which is my very idea of this season. Also, I was pleased to see the Balance [Temperance] card accompanying the Forest Lovers in the Beltane season, because for me the Temperance is a card of sex in certain contexts. Not the instinctive impulse or lust, represented by the Guardian [The Devil], but rather the mingling and balancing of polarities.
I cannot say I have come to fully understand of the Wildwood language, but I feel that I am slowly opening to the knowledge its offering. I just need to let go of certain prejudices and pet peeves.
The Wildwood Tarot © Eddison-Sadd Editions & Will Worthington