When I was very young, I lived on a street called Wildwood Road. At the end of the road was a wooded area with a creek. I loved to walk to that creek and wander through the trees. When the creek was dry, my friends and I would hike its entire length, pretending we were explorers or detectives or woodland spirits.
It seems appropriate to travel in my mind to that wooded creek for my interview with The Wildwood Tarot. I sit on a tree stump and listen to the sounds of the forest as I wait to see who will appear.
"Your confidence is to be commended," he says. "For you will need to be brave and bold if you wish to read with The Wildwood Tarot. You cannot shrink from decisions, nor can you allow your energies to flare unchecked. If you are prepared to balance and manage these energies, you may proceed with this interview."
I sense that this is a situation in which "he who hesitates is lost," so I take a deep breath and assure the wildman that I am prepared to do what he describes.
He nods curtly. "Then you may ask your first question."
"My essence or essential energy is primary and primal, masterful and magical. I walk between worlds and I travel through time. My tools are a roebuck skull rattle (Air), a stone knife (Earth), a smoking bundle (Fire), and a hollow antler-tine cup (Water). I reach into levels of consciousness that defy human understanding. I use my magic with intent. I bring inner working and meditation to life in the physical world as I apply wisdom from the otherworld to everyday reality."
THREE OF VESSELS (Joy)
"Your essence or essential energy is represented by the dance of three white cranes among three goblets -- one golden, one green, and one white. This is a dance of joy, connection, and celebration. In your case, this energy is often hidden or suppressed, for you fear the pain you may suffer when it departs -- which it will do. Yet in every case, joy will return again. This is what you must understand. Life moves in cycles within you and without you. You may feel "safe" when you block or repress emotions, but these emotions are still with you, and they will express themselves one way or another. Allow yourself to join the joyful dance of the cranes, knowing that you are strong enough to weather any letdown that may follow."
EIGHT OF BOWS (Hearthfire)
"I hope to tell you of the warmth, light, and friendship available to you through the shared consciousness of the human spirit. You are never alone. Security and harmony dwell in the midst of any gathering of kindred spirits, whether this is a physical gathering or a spiritual one. I hope to tell you a story of personal peace and collective well-being."
FOUR OF BOWS (Celebration)
"Do not expect me to take the place of human connections and camaraderie. I know that you tend to be reclusive and might wish to dwell too long in the otherworld, within the images on my cards. But this is not the best thing for you. Revisit my answers to your previous questions, and you will understand more."
THE JOURNEY (Trump 13)
"We journey together into the darkness, by the light of a full moon. As a team, we are the circling ravens and the horned skull; we are death and life; we are endings and beginnings. Together we can reveal illusions for what they are, lay to rest that which is no longer useful, and journey forward into the light. Together we celebrate the past even as we turn toward the future."
One by one the images fade, until I am left again with just the wildman and his flames.
"Decisions," he says. "Every turn, every twist, on every path requires decisions."
With a whoosh and a crackle, the man and the fire vanish. Soon the wooded creek also disappears into my memory.
The Wildwood Tarot
By Mark Ryan and John Matthews
With card illustrations by Will Worthington
Published by Sterling Ethos (an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.)