Friday, December 20, 2013

The Guardian and The Great Bear

Ellen at Greylady’s Hearth has been doing some lovely blogging about her experiences with the Wildwood Tarot (and other decks). I recently did a reading for her as she won the give-away I was holding, and I used the Wildwood Tarot for her spread (and she wrote a really beautiful blog post about the reading which you can see here).

Spending some time with this deck over the past week has had me considering (for the millionth time) just how beautifully it flows – not just in terms of the sequential arrangement of the cards (which can be found in any deck), but in how it relates to the Wheel of the Year, which is part of the uniqueness of the Wildwood. Two of the cards that share an indelible connection are the Guardian and the Great Bear. In traditional decks the Guardian (card 15) is called “the Devil” and the Great Bear (card 20) is called “Judgment.”

What I see when I view these cards together is a clear path of discovery and growth, and one that is more obvious and more deeply meaningful to me than most other decks have been in this regard.
Wildwood Tarot
John Matthews, Mark Ryan, Will Worthington
Sterling Ethos, 2011
The Guardian is the intimidating keeper of shadows, who bars entry into the cave of knowledge.  In order to enter the cave you must be strong enough, brave enough, ready enough, to face your fears, your self-doubts, your weaknesses.  If you’re not prepared for the journey, the skeleton of the cave bear will frighten you away.  If you are prepared, your inner strength and balance will reduce the scary bones to an inactive pile of just that…bones. With nothing left barring the way, you are free to enter the cave, to journey within, to confront your truths, however unpleasant, challenging, or beautiful they may be.
Wildwood Tarot
John Matthews, Mark Ryan, Will Worthington
Sterling Ethos, 2011
After your journeying, which includes the sacred energy of the Hooded Man, you reach the conclusion of a cycle of personal transformation, and emerge from the cave at the Great Bear. Now, instead of scary bones, you see a vivacious, fierce animal perched on top of the cave, roaring an announcement to the world that you have arrived. The pole star shines above guiding you forward on a new path, in a new phase of life. The northern lights radiate through the night sky, pouring energy and joy down upon you. You’ve reached a new level of balance between your primal force and the deep wells of your spiritual nature.

So I see a mirror here between these two cards, that provides an important link. It involves the mastery of our Selves, conquering our shadows through acceptance and acknowledgement, the willingness to undertake a journey through the depths of who we truly are as spiritual beings within physical forms.


  1. Thanks for linking my blog :)
    In a lot of mythologies the hero has to enter the darkness in order to be initiated. It is beautiful to see this in these cards to: the scary entrance and the glorious exit. I feel almost sad that tomorrow it is Yule, since I love this time of year so much. And now we are half way there already :(

    1. *sigh* yeah I know what you mean!!!!! I love it so much, and then when January hits I feel a bit sad, too.