IN THE WILD WOODS.

THE WILD WOOD TAROT.

WHEREIN WISDOM RESIDES.
by Mark Ryan  and John Mathews

And my most favourite illustrator ever- Will Worthington. 

This deck feels so sacred it makes me want to whisper.

I feel like donning my magical cloak and slipping quietly into the forest to begin my solace and retreat until some time later I reemerge a wizened soul. 
Cover of book Wildwood Tarot.
This Tarot creates its own paradigm. It doesn't exist in the tradition of tarot, this is a tarot created by a child who's playground was the famous Sherwood Forest, where animal, bird and man lived in a dance of survival and spirit. The characters of this deck are an intermingle of these three realms and depending on what time of the year we are in Arrows (air), Bows (fire) Vessels (water) or Stones (earth);Wildwoods suits for the minor arcana, sets the theme of the lessons we are learning. So like the HALLOWQUEST, also created by John Mathews partnered with Caitlin Mathews; this can be used as a deck to study the Wheel of the Year and the forest legends and characters of pre-Christian eras.
Wildwood Tarot @
Ryan, Mathews &Worthington

THE PATH THROUGH THE FOREST 
are the cards themselves.

Wildwood Tarot @
Ryan, Mathews &Worthington 
To begin my study of this deck I am concentrating on the spectacular Major Arcana. The traditional characters of the Major Arcana are heavily disguised in this deck. Will Worthington has excelled as always, bringing us a bizarre group of characters that we approach with caution and wonder. Are they human or otherworldly? Our innocent Wanderer leads us into the forest where we meet firstly the Shaman- would we trust him or shit ourselves? Followed closely by the Seer, she's gentle but I'd approach with caution.

Wildwood Tarot@
Ryan, Mathews &Worthington
The journey continues to the Green Woman and Man, equally as foreign until we are stopped dead in our tracks by the incredible image of the Ancestor. This image will be a Tarot icon: Presence, power and wisdom we are led in silence to the beat of its drum. This image is a true Heirophant of the present day. The Ancestor is an archetype to study at Imbolc according to the Wheel of he Year. This deck breaks for me at the Ancestor. 
Wildwood Tarot @
Ryan, Mathews & Worthington 

When studying any Major Arcana it is necessary to break it up into parts. 

The next group begins with the Forest Lovers so at least there is company which is quickly confronted by an aggressive Archer and a huge Stag. The  Stag and the Archer are the study archetypes of the Spring Equinox. I feel relieved to donne my cloak and return to the wintry solitude of the Hooded Man
( traditional Hermit) and let the wheel turn in the Majors' ten.
Wildwood Tarot@
Ryan, Mathews &Worthington
Card eleven; The Woodward, a wild beast of a being but he feels his timeout may have refreshed him, starts another chapter. This section of the major journey becomes more solitary and gentle, I feel I can travel at my own pace here and that at least for a moment the intensity is off. The beautiful Mirror, a rare feminine image is peaceful and restful before the crow calls us to journey back from the transformative realms. In any major part of a deck these cards challenge and quickly on the return journey the intensity reenters with  Balance where serpentine creatures wrap rythmically around a tree, followed by a skeletal giant blocking our path outside a very dark and overgrown cave. Yikes.
 This is followed by a branch struck in a storm which throws us maybe onto differing paths. 
These paths are always known in any deck as the "dark night of the soul paths" and this is a wildly fantastical journey. The fear of the forest which seems to be innate in many of us is certainly triggered.

What a relief to reach the Pole Star (Star in traditional decks) and to embrace the Moon on the Water and the Sun of Life. A beautiful moment but we are not done. One last challenge from a huge white bear; the Great Bear no less who awaits us to either enter or leave the lair underneath it. Whatever our choice we arrive at the World Tree, an old icon of years of wisdom, I gladly crawl through the door and rest.  
How long have I been in this forest, well twelve months if you study this deck alongside the Wheel of the Year as suggested by the accompanying book? A lifetime if you use tarot regularly, repeating the journey over and over through a myriad of issues. 
Wildwood Tarot @
Ryan, Mathews & Worthington

In the introduction Mark Ryan quotes 
"The best advice I ever got about Tarot was:
Read the book, meditate with the cards then put the book away
 And do your own thing!"

This is very true of this deck. Once you start the cards totally grasp hold of you and they are not comfortable but unknown and enquiring. 

This deck never leaves #Lyndallstarot #Daylesford, I always keep a deck in stock. It is a truly wonder of illustration and it totally chooses its owners. The wonderful image of the Ancestor, which is on the box, catches the eye of  its initiate and draws them in across many a crowded room.

Wildwood Tarot@
Ryan, Mathews &Worthington
Wildwood Tarot@
Ryan, Mathews & Worthington

 OF INTEREST:

Will Worthington can make Tarot Cards sing to any reader.
See Druidcraft  Tarot which he did with Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm

Camelot Oracle again with John Mathews. John Mathews is a man of huge knowledge in the Celtic landscapes.

Mark Ryan has published a workbook to accompany Wildwood Tarot entitled Wild Magic 2017



Mark Ryan and Chesca Potter also published the Greenwood Tarot in 1996 which is long out of print but a collectors deck with an extremely high value.



http://thewildwoodtarot.blogspot.com.au

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