Mark Ryan, John Mathews and Will Worthington’s WildwoodTarot: I got it, I got confused, and, well, annoyed. Read on, though. There’s redemption in the end. 🙂
Here’s the “rant”: I didn’t like the authors’ “agenda” particularly, even though I agree with a lot of it for us moderns. Well, from the prefaces, looks like its primarily Ryan’s ecological agenda that permeates the book for this deck. I felt like they weren’t being true to the period in which the images seemed to be set. People were into survival back then; they did have more respect for the land than we “civilized” folk, but a lot of that was out of necessity. We can learn a lot from their focus on being in rhythm with seasons and nature’s movements, but they weren’t being that way because they “cared” about the Earth Mother as such. What they seemed to know was that being in tune with the Earth meant survival for humans. We in the modern age have lost sight of that, and although the Earth Mother can survive without us, we cannot survive without her support.
So, this modern environmentalist sensibility seemed artificially imposed on the ancient time frame of the art.
Also, the animal court cards were extremely counter-intuitive at first. Court cards are a challenge anyway, but trying to mentally match the animals with “people” characteristics was difficult (other animal-themed decks notwithstanding).
So, I put the deck away after first reading the book and trying to use it. But I started to keep track of Louise Underhill’s
Priestess Tarot blog (highly recommended) where she does daily card interpretations from the Wildwood, and I liked her takes on it.
Then, several months later, I felt called to pull it out for a reading for my hubby, who is a very back-to-nature-basics kind of guy. He would have been right at home in the Wildwood’s world. I left the book alone, this time, though, and went directly to Worthington’s rich imagery coupled with my own background in ancient European mythologies.
Now I can read the Wildwood! 🙂 I think I did need to read the book first, and then learn what I’ve learned about other decks and systems, then go back to the Wildwood and concentrate on mostly RWS-style meanings, but focusing on just what the imagery is saying about the Earth’s connection with humans in simpler times. I just love having my own special relationship with Ryan and Mathews’ world and Worthington’s art. Thanks, guys!