Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Understanding the Wildwood 5 of Vessels: Ecstasy

The 5 of Vessels is another of the many cards in the wonderful Wildwood Tarot (Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington; Sterling Ethos 2011) that often tends to confuse readers when they first sift through the deck.  The keyword is “Ecstasy” and it features a woman dancing within a pentagram surrounded by five glowing cups.  The sky above is dark and filled with stars.  This card correlates to the traditional 5 of Cups, which we tend to think of as a card of mourning, sadness, regret, and challenges with recognizing the good in our lives.  So the Wildwood image and keyword seem so vastly unrelated to this understanding that at first readers may not know quite how to wrap their minds around it.  Let’s dive into the Wildwood and see if we can discover the deeper meaning of the 5 of Vessels, and how it connects to the traditional 5 of Cups….

Radiant Rider Waite
Updated by Virginijus Poshkus
U.S. Games, 2003
Christiana Gaudet, from Tarot Trends, has written a wonderful description of the power of the 5 of Cups, which provides an excellent starting place for truly understanding the meaning of the 5 of Vessels - “Ecstasy:”

“I love the 5 of Cups because it discusses a situation we all share. There will always be loss and disappointment in life. But this card reminds us to pay attention to what is standing and to what is still good. When we turn away from what has been lost and look to what is standing we see Two Cups.  The Two of Cups is the card of perfect love, and the healing power of love. The Five of Cups allows us to acknowledge our grief and then reminds us of what is most important to keep us on track - imploring us to release that grief and find healing through love. What could be better than that?”

Perfect love. Divine love. “Ecstasy” refers to shamanic ecstatic healing, a ritual through which shamanic healers access other dimensions and realms, connect to the divine, to Yggdrasil, the great Tree of Life, to the universal energies uniting us all.

There are many reasons for entering into an ecstatic state, but the principal reason is for healing – a spiritual healing from pain that can be brought on by the experience of physical and emotional loss.  “Ecstasy” is the acknowledgement of pain as well as the acknowledgement of the “two cups still full.”  It’s a conscious move toward healing, an understanding that pain is part of the process of loving, and of life.  Whereas we tend to view the 5 of Cups as focusing on what has been lost, the 5 of Vessels focuses on turning pain into transformation. It emphasizes the deep healing that is available to all who suffer, a process facilitated by a connection to the truest form of love that flows through us all.

When we understand what “Ecstasy” truly means, it becomes evident that it’s not really so different from the 5 of Cups, rather it gives us another perspective on loss and the powerful and positive change inherent in recovery.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Use the Deck

I’ve been thinking lately about how it’s impossible to really know how much you will like (or not like) a deck until you hold it in your hands and start reading with it.

In the Tarot course I’m taking (mentioned originally in this post) we’re focusing on “going into” the cards (i.e. letting our intuitions loose, and trusting what we feel regardless of what the card is "supposed" to mean). Last week the instructor didn’t want us using decks we were comfortable with so she brought some decks with her and had us read with them.  I used her Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti, which is a deck I’d been pondering, and has been on my wish list for a while.  I was teetering toward not purchasing it because the artwork really isn’t my style, and doesn’t vibe with me.  But there I was using it to read for a partner, and I have to say, it was a great experience.  No, I don’t love the machine on the Moon card, and all those little “jewels” on the edges seem silly.  But you know what?  The reading flowed, the colors came alive, there was a lot of forward movement, and it was a very easy, intuitive read.  So despite not adoring the art, I felt it read well for me.

Now the Wildwood is “my” deck – the one that resonates with me most deeply on a fundamental level.  But I was hesitant to buy it for quite a while.  I’d heard about how challenging the animal Court Cards were, and how different many of the cards were from traditional meanings.  The artwork I saw on the internet intrigued me, but it took me a while to jump in.  And then, when it arrived at my doorstep, I wondered what had taken me so long.  The accompanying book just made sense to me, and I felt an immediate connection to the cards.  Why did I ever worry about the Court Cards?  The first deck I ever worked with was the Medicine Card oracle, which is all animals.  I have always felt an innate connection to wild creatures.  So the animal Court Cards in the Wildwood deck were not a struggle for me.  In fact I feel it’s sometimes easier to understand them than the typical human Courts.  And in readings I feel so tuned in, the imagery speaks to me very deeply, and it works well for me intuitively.

Wildwood Tarot
Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington
Sterling Ethos, 2011

I recently acquired the Llewellyn Tarot because decks centered on the early Earth-based spiritual systems of the world (and of Europe) resonate with me.  I also loved the incorporation of so many women in the deck.  The artwork is very pretty.  But the cardstock is so thin that I have to be very delicate with using the deck for readings because one false move and I’ll have a pile of bent cards.  It’s really sad and unfortunate!  In addition, while I love how the Major Arcana explore Welsh myths, the Minors are almost identical to the Rider Waite, which makes me ask: why?  Couldn’t there have been some more creativity put forth for the cards that compose the majority of the deck?  While I do like the Rider-Waite, I found this slightly disappointing - I expected the mythology to be wound through the deck, not only the Majors.  Now it does read well for me, and in fact the first reading I did with it flowed really beautifully and was very clear, but despite that, I probably won’t read with it as much as I might have liked.

Yesterday the Halloween Tarot arrived at my door, and I won’t lie, I was both intrigued and slightly wary about it.  I love Halloween, both the fun and scary side as well as the deep and mystical side, so I liked the idea of having a deck with this theme.  But it’s slightly cartoony and doesn’t feel as “serious” and contemplative as I like my decks to be.  But I gave it a go, and I’m so glad I did.  I’m honestly kind of surprised at how much I love it!  I cleansed and charged it and did an initial reading to “break it in.”  And it was great!  The illustrations have a lot going on, so my intuition naturally picked through the cards, zoning in on various elements that felt important.  It was a serious reading, and the process felt profound and sincere, which I was not at all expecting.  To top it all off, because of its theme and the loads of symbolism in each card, I thought it would be fun to use with my kids.  My 6 year old wanted me to show her the cards, and we did a little mini-reading about her experience at school so far this year.  I let her tell me what the cards meant, and she did a fantastic job.  She saw the 9 of Ghosts (Cups) and told me:  “Those ghosts are all my classmates, and the person in front is me.  I’m sitting on a chest full of crafts that I made to share with them, and they’re waiting for me to pass them out.  That one there with the hand out is my friend. I’m deciding whether I want to pass them out now or wait until later.”  So it will be a great deck to use with the kids because it’s fun, Halloweeny but not scary, and there is a ton of material in each card to help them tell the story.

Halloween Tarot
Karin Lee, Kipling West
U.S. Games, 2003

So what’s my point.

My point is that decks can be surprising.  The ones you might think will be amazing may not turn out to be quite as amazing as you’d thought, and the decks you’re suspicious of may just surprise you with how much they pull you in and engage your intuition.

So now I’m in the danger zone – no holds barred!  My wish list is about to get a lot longer!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mabon Blog Hop 2013 - Persephone, the High Priestess

Welcome to the Mabon Blog Hop 2013!  You may be moving on from Jordan Hoggard's blog, or backward from Christiana Gaudet's Tarot Trends blog.  If at any point you want to see the Master List of participating blogs/people, click here.

One of my favorite myths is that of Demeter and Persephone, and the birth of Autumn and Winter.  As we celebrate the coming of Fall, it's a beautiful myth to consider.  My earliest memories of hearing this myth were as a kid, perhaps 12 years old, as my mother would bring Greek myth to life while doing Tarot readings.  I would sit, mesmerized, as her words brought me into another world. She used - and still uses - the Mythic Tarot (Juliet Sharman-Burke, Liz Greene, and Tricia Newell), which winds Greek stories throughout the Major and Minor Arcana.

There are a lot of aspects of the Persephone myth that attract me.  One is how it highlights the relationship between mother and daughter.  My mother was always one of my favorite people.  I have always loved and respected her, and she was in many ways my first spiritual teacher.  Now I'm an adult with children of my own (two of them daughters) and I have the gift of experiencing this relationship from the other pole, for which I'm grateful.

Golden Tarot - Liz Dean
Cisco Books 2012
Part of this relationship involves the aspect of separation - the child grows up, becomes a young woman, perhaps gets married (or moves away).  The myth touches on the pain of letting go.  I remember going through this stage when I was engaged and married many years ago.  There is some degree of renegotiation of roles in the relationship that takes place.  It's an adjustment, but the relationship is not entirely supplanted.  Mom will always be mom, will always love her kids, and will always be involved in her children's lives, in some way.  Similarly, Demeter was in grief when her daughter Persephone ended up married to Hades, and was taken to live in the Underworld.  Because Persephone had eaten several pomegranate seeds she was bound to split her time between the Under and Upper Worlds.  In Demeter's sadness the plants began to die, the nights became longer, the cold set in, life became more difficult.  But when Persephone was able to rise again to spend time in the Upper World with her mother, Spring came, the days became warm, food became abundant, and all was well with the world.  Demeter's gift to humankind was the knowledge of how to grow and store wheat so that there would be sustenance during the cold days of Winter.  So to me it speaks of the grief inherent in love, and the life that still flows despite working through difficult times.

Persephone has a place in Tarot, as the High Priestess of the Major Arcana.  This also happens to be
one of my favorite cards in the deck, and one with which I identify in many ways.  She represents hidden things, secret knowledge, femininity, intuition, the balance of dark and light, the realm of the unconscious.

As Persephone descends into the Underworld, and Demeter's grief escorts us into the dark of Fall and Winter, I thought I would create a little spread that focuses on our inner sun - the light we carry within us.  Fall and Winter is our time for reflection and renewal, and at times we need to remember our strengths, and the gifts we have to offer.  This is the Inner-Sun Spread:

1: Me, now: King of Pentacles reversed - I'm working on balancing out my inner King. I feel I embody many of his traits (supporting those around me, being even-keeled, etc.), but especially in terms of economic equilibrium, it's something on-going.

2: The gifts I have to share: King of Wands - I have a deep inner energy to make things happen in my life; I'm comfortable in my own skin; when I set myself to a task I know I can accomplish it; I'm not afraid of transformation - shedding my skin, moving on to a new phase of life.

3: The gifts I'm still developing: 3 of Wands - I'm still in the process of building on what I've begun - working toward my soul purpose; that's me out on the hill looking out toward the horizon. I am determining where I want to go and how best to get there, taking stock of the situation.

4: My deepest desires: 7 of Cups reversed - More than anything else, I want to make my dreams and deepest goals come to life, be realized.  The King of Wands suggests I'll be able to get there, but I'll have to be sure to ground my dreams through the King of Pentacles.

5: Advice for manifesting my desires: 4 of Swords - I can best achieve my desires through quiet contemplation, reviewing where I've come from and where I want to go, careful planning, and taking time to gather my energies before leaping forward.

The summary card for my reading is Temperance: balance; moving forward; patience and surety; the path ahead is clear; quiet contemplation.

Over all it feels good, and reflects where I feel that I'm at, and where I'm going.  It's a nice confirmation that I have what it takes to achieve my goals, and the 4 of Swords is the perfect card for Mabon, as we move into the time of rest and quiet thought and review.

If you decide to try out this spread, please let me know how it goes! :)

With that I will end my post for the Mabon Blog Hop 2013, feeling very happy to have just participated in my first of hopefully many more to come!

You may now be moving down the list to Christiana Gaudet's Tarot Trend blog or backward to Jordan Hoggard's blog.  Don't forget that you can access the Master list here.  Happy Hopping, and Feliz Mabon!

Follow First Earth Tarot on Facebook! 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mabon to Samhain: Tradition

Tomorrow we recognize Mabon and in about a month's time we'll arrive at Samhain, the third and final harvest celebration, the old New Year, where the veil between worlds is at its thinnest. As a kind of internal celebration I decided to ask my Wildwood deck: between Mabon and Samhain, which energies will be most important for me to meditate on?

I pulled the 9 of Stones, "Tradition."

I spent some time looking at the card, feeling its message to me (which is so"right on" for me at this time) and I wrote out a sort of stream of consciousness to capture my thoughts and emotions. Instead of forming that into neat prose, I decided to simply share what came to me, as is:

Cernunnos, Spirit of the Wild, connection to the animals
Holds in his hands transformation, energy, and power


Peace and surety of being
Sits on a hill with the forest out below and around him
       connected to everything now and before
Mystery, spirit, intuition
Deep knowing, flowing


Associated with the Hooded Man
introspection, learning, teaching, solitude
Remembering that you're a part of all that was 
and all that is 
and all that will be

- it's within you -

Standing stones are witnesses to the passing of time
change and transformation
so is the Moon
Connecting us to our past lives, she is also our witness

Alone, yet a part of it all.


I'm still ruminating, still "sitting with" these energies which are very powerful and deeply important to me. Perfect food for this time of year.
Happy Fall, y'all.
Wildwood Tarot
Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington
Sterling Ethos, 2011

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Considering the 7 of Vessels

I dearly love the Wildwood Tarot, and have been enjoying the process of taking the "unusual" cards (where meanings tend to - or seem to - divert from the traditional) and making connections to the more "standard" concepts associated with them.  Today the card is the 7 of Vessels, which correlates to the 7 of Cups.  The latter is often considered to represent living in fantasy, the need to buckle down and make a decision, seeing what you want rather than what's truly there, idleness, being overwhelmed by options, even in some cases being distracted or delayed by momentary flights of fancy that may prove harmful in some way.  So let's see what the 7 of Vessels has to offer.....

7 Vessels. Mourning – The skull sits in the crook of an ancient tree, with seven vessels of various shapes and sizes sitting before it.  We're off to a great, bewildering start! :-D

In a way this card brings to mind a person who has wasted away due to living in a fantasy rather than in reality.  There’s a feeling of a life spent wishing and desiring, rather than doing and making.  The cups in this card are dry, like our opportunities dry up when we don’t take advantage of them.  Nothing lasts forever.

Wildwood Tarot
Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington
Sterling Ethos, 2011

It also can symbolize the sense of mourning involved in making a dream come true, or realizing that a dream isn’t possible.  Sometimes it’s easier to live in our fantasies where we can have whatever we like, or can be anyone we choose.  When we have to ground ourselves and think realistically, it can be a painful process.

This reminds me of a close friend of mine who was thoroughly enjoying planning her wedding, and the early months she’d have in her marriage.  She had to leave the country and fly to live with her fiancée in a brand-new place, which was very exciting.  But when D-Day came (the day she had to board the plane) she broke down and couldn’t go.  She wanted to get married, had invested a lot of time and energy and emotion into planning, but she was suddenly paralyzed by fear when she was suddenly face-to-face with “the rest of her life.”  She'd spent happy months imagining what her new life would be like, but in the end she was terrified to leave her old life behind and brave the new reality coming her way. (She did end up working through it, and finally did change the ticket and board the plane).

Similarly, when we have illusions about a relationship, or when we become side-tracked by fleeting desires, it can be painful to face the truth or the consequences of our actions.  Our “bubble is burst” and a change takes place.  We can no longer live in blissful ignorance, there’s no going back.

Finally this card brings to mind the sense of honoring those who have come before – it doesn’t get much realer than our ancestors who struggled and sweated and toiled away in order for us to have the opportunity to be born.

The spirals and lighting bolts painted on the skull could represent the great circle of life, of the Universe, and those "ah hah" moments where we break through haze and make the decisions that need to be made.

So at first, the images combined with the keyword "mourning" seem so utterly unrelated to the traditional understanding associated with this card that it may initially present a sort of block or deterrent.  But in the end, it simply provides deeper layers of the experience:

The death and rebirth of people, opportunities, relationships, lifestyles, dreams and desires, goals and plans, the never-ending Wheel.

Monday, September 16, 2013

10 Arrows = Instruction

In standard Tarot decks the 10 of Swords is a rather gruesome depiction - often a corpse laying on the ground, pierced through with...well....ten swords!  It's not a favorite to show up in a spread because it carries connotations of pain, difficult endings, perhaps even betrayal.

In the Wildwood, many cards are presented with non-traditional imagery, which at first glance can make a reader think "what?? This is so different from what I'm used to, how can I work with this?"  Upon meditation and consideration, however, many of the Wildwood meanings do intersect with the traditional meanings - just from an alternative perspective.  This is what I love about the Wildwood.

So the 10 of Arrows carries the keyword "Instruction" and shows an elderly man apparently teaching a young child (his grandson?) how to use a bow and arrow.  There is a tapestry hanging on the wall showing 9 Arrows in a circle formation.  Anyone thinking "painful endings" would be at least initially confused as to how the authors came up with this set of symbols.  But it's really not so strange.  Let's look a bit deeper....

Wildwood Tarot
Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington
 Sterling Ethos, 2011

An elderly man is "instructing" a young boy.  He is dressed in brown, representing a return to the earth, the dying leaves of autumn.  His age represents the closing of a cycle.  The child is wearing green, the color of healing, peace, the new leaves of the springtime.  His age speaks of fresh starts, new beginnings.  That the older is teaching the younger brings to mind the lessons we take away from deeply challenging experiences and heartbreaks in our lives.  If we're engaging with spirit, with our pain, with the movement of the Wheel (represented by the circle of arrows on the the wall), we are changed by our hardships.  We take what we've learned and use it to move forward into a positive new phase of life, where we are less likely to repeat the past.

So I feel that the Wildwood 10 of Arrows simply shows the deeper, more mystical side of the major endings in our lives - the focus is not solely on the pain we've gone through, but the healing and new knowledge and understanding that comes along with it.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Shaman

The Shaman in the Wildwood Tarot is essentially equivalent to the Magician in a more traditional deck...except he's so much more.  When I pull this card in a spread I see mystery, healing, spirituality, and power.  He will catapult you forward to meet your destiny, to make things happen, to find yourself, to make your dreams into reality.

There are so many symbols in this card my head swims, but I'll discuss a few.  His robe has images of the Horned God, representing wildness, humanity's essential nature, the power in self-mastery and balance.  The Shaman wears the cloak of a bear, symbolizing (according to the Druid Animal Oracle, P. and S. Carr-Gomm) the unity of instinct and intuition, "primal power," and the ability to govern oneself.  He has before him all the elements essential to life, and the swirling tattoos on his arms are reminiscent of the great spiral Universe.

He invites us into the dark forest to know ourselves better, and come into our power.

Wildwood Tarot
Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington
Sterling Ethos, 2011

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

8 Pentacles: Improving Your Craft

When I first started down the Tarot path I did a 3-card reading for myself regarding the potential to turn my craft into a career some day.  I pulled: The Queen of Pentacles, the Princess of Pentacles, and the 8 of Pentacles.  I found it a beautiful and very encouraging sign that I was walking down the right path - it was a lovely confirmation from the universe.

The 8 of Pentacles is about taking your talent or passion and working hard to turn it into your life.  It's about understanding that success isn't immediate, and you have to dedicate yourself to your task and to your craft in order to improve it.  Taking a class, reading books, practicing, networking, studying, the list goes on.  And if you truly understand what learning is all about, you realize that you never "know it all" - there are always more layers to unfold, and ways to go deeper.

So I decided to sign up for a course (as mentioned in yesterday's post) on "intuitive" Tarot. The title of the course was funny to me, since all Tarot is intuitive (though I suppose there are "cold readers" who may not engage their intuition as much, but I digress).  But I'd been curious about the instructor, a local psychic-medium who seemed very down-to-earth and wise.  I thought she'd be a wonderful person to work with and learn from.  Well, my other 3-card reading (about whether I should take the course - I got Hanged Man, Queen of Cups, 6 Wands) told me to go for it, and I went for it, and after my first evening I was not disappointed.  The instructor is the very embodiment of the Queen of Cups, and the focus is on really going into the cards - not the traditional meanings we all know and understand, but what each card "says" to you, even if that may stray from more intellectual understandings.  That is precisely what I was hoping for.

Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot
(US Games)

Cards speak deeply and loudly, most especially if the deck you're working with is the right fit for you.  If the images mesh with your soul, you get a lot more out of readings.  My most intuitive, in-depth readings have been with the DruidCraft and Wildwood Tarot, whose themes and artwork resonate with me at a fundamental level.  Don't get me wrong - I love my other decks, and enjoy reading with them.  The Rider Waite and Morgan Greer are great working decks, and have a special place in my heart.  But for those moments that leave the ordinary and venture into psychic-land, I find the tool that helps bring me there are those two aforementioned decks.

So last night, after spending quite a while "going into the cards" we did short readings for each other.  The woman who read for me was great.  She is just beginning her journey, and has not formulated strong associations with any of the cards yet.  I chose three cards and when she turned them over they were: 5 Pentacles, 10 Pentacles, 8 Pentacles.  Ah, the lovely 8 Pentacles makes an appearance again, at the precise setting that the original 8 of Pentacles had pushed me toward!  What I loved most was her interpretation of 5 Pentacles.  This can often be kind of a downer card - yes, there is light coming through the window, and the understanding that all things are temporary, etc.  But the main focus is on being shut out, not having enough (attention or money), struggling to make ends meet, etc.  Not having these associations, her interpretation was based solely on the images on her fairy-themed deck.  She said "I think this card is saying that in the past you had a lot of resources around you, but you didn't see them or recognize that they were there for you."  Brilliant.  The materials were always there, you just didn't see them, or know how to tap into them.  It was a beautiful take on a challenging card.

So 8 Pentacles.  The journey never stops.  All of us are eternal students, and taking advantage of opportunities to deepen and expand our craft is not only good practice professionally, but makes our experience richer and more profound and rewarding as well.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Queen of Cups, It's Tarot Time!

Tonight I begin my intuitive Tarot class, and I'm excited and also a little nervous. The Hermit is one of my favorite cards for a reason!! But I'm intrigued to see how the class is run, as it's being given by a local psychic-medium who's been practicing for over 30 years. I figure, no matter what it should be an interesting experience, and hopefully I'll learn some new methods to try out with my readings. A few weeks ago I did a mini reading for myself to determine how the class might go (I wanted to make a good investment) and I pulled the Hanged Man, Queen of Cups, and 6 Wands. In other words, though I hadn't entirely made up my mind it would be a worthwhile investment, the instructor would be great, and it would prove encouraging for my own practice. Okay, sounds like a yes!
So naturally I'm still hesitant about an hour before I'll have to depart, but I'm planning to force myself because I figure I'd better trust my own reading! ;-)
I'll post a follow-up later!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

6 Stones: Balance

Yesterday the Queen of Bows brought up the importance of balance between life's various domains: family and career, inner and outer creativity, light and dark.  Today the 6 of Stones (Pentacles) offers another kind of balance - that of material support.  Traditionally it's the "gift card," representing the receipt or gift of money, goods, or even time and energy.  Upright it's a positive message of balanced give-and-take, economic stability, generosity, and "passing it forward."  Reversed it can symbolize either taking too much, or giving too much without sufficient reciprocity.  It can lead to debt and other kinds of financial imbalances, as well as energy imbalances when we give too much of ourselves.

Wildwood Tarot
The Wildwood Tarot card places a heavy emphasis on the traditional reversed meaning of imbalance which has led ultimately to exploitation, the card's key word.  An elderly man and young woman stand with bowls thrust outward to us in silent begging.  They are surrounded by a desolate landscape.  Empty, partially destroyed bee hives sit upon 6 stone pedestals.  The honey has been reaped but the bees were not nurtured and hence the hives collapsed.  Nothing grows in the dry, dusty earth, tools lay broken on the ground, and in the distance a fire rages, burning away the dead grasses.  The Wildwood places a special focus on environmentalism, encouraging us to be mindful of the way we use resources.  In recent decades humankind has pushed the earth's capacity to support us to the brink of failure by using too much, wasting a lot, and not giving back to the cycle of life.

When I see this card in a spread I usually use the more traditional meaning, because while I understand and agree with the Wildwood message, I think that there is a positive significance in there which shouldn't be lost.  But I appreciate the gentle reminder - even when using the positive meaning - that there is a fine line between reciprocity and exploitation, and maintaining that balance requires acknowledgement and mindfulness.

(Wildwood Tarot, Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington. Sterling Ethos, 2011)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Hare, Queen of Bows

I chose this card as a daily draw to meditate on today, from the Wildwood Tarot.

In the Wildwood deck the Court cards are represented by animals instead of human figures, and I find it an interesting added dimension to traditional understandings of the various cards. The Hare, today, is no exception.  A Hare stands partially upright in a rolling field by night.  One paw lies on a stone image of the Green Man/Green Woman, and high above a round and luminous moon shines.  In the hazy light  a dark shape in the distance looks rather mysterious: it could be a stand of pines, or a tree-covered ridge.  

None of the symbols are anything I would traditionally associate with the Queen of Wands (Bows in this case).  Wands represent fire, energy and movement, and tend to be connected to the sun rather than the moon. The moon represents intuition, and the "dark side of creativity" - the inner mystery as opposed to energetic, outer creative force of the Wands suit.  Normally we see the moon associated with the Queen of Cups, a water card.  The Hare itself represents intuition and rebirth, so it connects well to the moon, however rebirth and hares also connect to the Judgment card, which is represented by the element of fire, and the sun, like this Queen, so there is a unifying element here.  In fact, I like the touch of intuition given to all the Queens in the Wildwood deck (water is included in each depiction except this card, which includes the moon) because it is a quality naturally associated with femininity in general, not just a particular sort of femininity (though the Queen of Cups might have a special depth of intuition, I suppose).

Wildwood Tarot
Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington
Sterling Ethos
 I usually think of the Queen of Wands as "the woman who can do it all."  She is successful, vibrant, and knows how to strike a balance between career and home.  In this way the Hare is appropriate, as it also represents the idea of balance.  The symbol of the Green Man and Woman are also fitting in this way.  In Wildwood, the Green Man is the Emperor, who provides structure, guidance, authority and  protection. The Green Woman is the Empress, who nurtures love, family, and creativity.  I believe the Queen of Wands/Bows embodies both sets of characteristics.  

So as for myself?  I tend to feel that my strongest Queens are Cups and the Pentacles (making for a rather muddy combo!). I feel fairly strong in Wands, though my energy tends to be more passive and introverted.  Swords is the one I'm trying to develop.  When I look at this Queen of Wands/Bows card I don't automatically connect strongly to the book meaning, but I do connect very deeply to the images on this particular version, and feel it's a very good match for how I've been feeling lately: in a process of rebirth, connected and steadily deepening my connection to my intuition, nurturing, creative, balanced.  I really enjoy the new elements that the Wildwood Queen of Bows has to offer.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hidden Mountaintop, Here I Come!

Today I'm feeling Hermit-y.  On my way to work this morning I was dreaming of a lonely mountaintop, my own private cabin, no one for miles around.  Some days being part of humanity is taxing!  I watch the news and see stories of so many horrible things.  I drive to the grocery store, and on the way have to battle 28 crazed motorists that make me feel like I'm in a battle video game.  At work there is always some new miscommunication in the general environment which leads to rampant gossiping.  I know that escaping is not really the solution, but that doesn't mean
that at times it isn't very tempting!
DruidCraft Tarot, St. Martin's Press
S. and P. Carr-Gomm, W. Worthington

Oh, the Hermit!  The solitary figure on the cliff high above the land.  He is accompanied by a wolf, signifying the power, fortitude, and deep self-understanding that come from being alone, while the moon shines above, a symbol of inner-knowledge and intuition.  The green shade in the sky represents healing, peace, and our innate connection to nature.  In his right hand the Hermit bears the lantern of spiritual illumination and teaching.  He's alone because he chooses to be, not because he must be.  His gifts are the pursuit of truth, guidance and learning, and the wisdom that comes from experiencing the deep quiet within.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ah Temperance....

Temperance is about balance and compromise, both inward and outward.  It comes with a certain clarity of purpose, where the road ahead is open, and feels certain, so there's no need to rush.  Patience is key, patience and keeping an even keel.  A phrase I often think of when I see this card is "inner peace."  When you are calm on the inside, it's easier to ride the waves of life without going under!

Radiant Rider Waite Tarot (US Games)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

So Many Options!

This morning I picked the 7 of Cups for my daily draw, from the Radiant Rider-Waite deck (U.S. Games 2003).  I had to laugh.  This fellow stands in shadow before a brilliant display of options and opportunities..... the hard part...which to choose!  So many glittering possibilities are available for the picking.  Does he finally make a decision?  Or does he decide it's more fun to think about them rather than making any into reality?

I laughed because I've been reading about so many different Tarot decks lately, and my wish list keeps
Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot
growing.  You could easily replace the man in the card with my own image, and fill each of the cups with a different style of deck!  I keep trying to decide which I might buy next, but it's just not that easy.  Some days I feel excited about a particular deck, and think I've made up my mind.  Two days later I feel more drawn to something entirely different, and consider changing my choice.  I'm excited to make that final selection and go for it....and then while it's en route to my house, I get lost in thought about the other decks on my list, and wonder if I should have picked something else!  It's really ridiculous and funny.  I love how different decks carry new takes on card meanings according to the thought behind its creation, or the style of art.  I love how illustrations can affect or influence interpretation and intuition.  So it's no wonder so many readers develop major deck collections over time!  I hope to keep it to something I can reasonably work with - I don't want any decks to gather dust.  But it's certainly a lot of fun exploring all the Tarot diversity!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

3 Bows, Fulfillment

Today's draw is the 3 of Bows from the Wildwood Tarot (Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington; Sterling Ethos, 2011).  A figure stands on a winding path, holding a bow, and beckons.  Two unformed bows stand out of the ground forming a portal to the future.  This card is all about initial creative successes and planning for the long-term.  Things have gone well, but it's time to open the mind, look for new opportunities, and think ahead to the vision of the future.

I do feel that I'm experiencing this card's energies, and have been spending a lot of time lately considering the future, and where my path is taking me.  In many ways I'm charting new territory which is motivating and exciting as well as a bit daunting and challenging!  But I'm more than up for the challenge, and am looking forward to seeing where the road takes me :)

Wildwood Tarot

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Considering the Pole Star

I love, love this card!  The Wildwood Tarot version of the Star card is probably my favorite (illustrated by Will Worthington).  The Star is all about inspiration, love, optimism, emotional healing, and renewal.  What I love about this particular version is the feeling of quiet hope that comes across so clearly: the Fool wanders into a deep, dark wood at night, but the Pole Star shines brightly above to guide him and illuminate his path ahead- he can walk on knowing that he won't lose his way.

Wildwood Tarot