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Advice And Observations for Wildwood Newcomers


Wanderer

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All Tarot decks have their own personality and ways of working... and since this is such a polarising (and sometimes challenging!) deck, I thought it would be useful to share our observations on how it likes to be treated, and how to get the best from it. I've been hesitating on writing this, because I've always assumed it to be a very personal relationship with each individual... but reading people's comments about trying to use it, I'm really not sure that's true. There seem to be some themes that repeat regularly... so here are my thoughts on what this deck is like, and how to work with it.

      Treat them as my personal foibles... but see if they are also useful to you. Most importantly, please add your own experiences as well - what (if anything!) has made the deck work with you?

 

What the Wildwood 'wants'

 1. Respect. If any one card sums it up, it's the Nine of Bows: the Woodwose grinning out at you, arrow nocked. Using the deck is like communing with someone ancient and wise... and unpredictable. You don't taunt them, and you listen to every word they say. 

2. Sobriety. My impression is that a jovial atmosphere kills the communion. If people are laughing, distracted, or cracking jokes... it just won't happen. Worse, it will be offended. 

3. Honesty. With yourself, and about yourself. You need a clear head, and to be willing to recognise your own flaws. No pretences, no going over the top with your paraphernalia to hide the real you behind rituals, crystals, etc. 

4. Commitment. It is, I think, a rather jealous deck. There's no problem with using other decks as well, but make sure, if at all possible, that you're consistent... if you use the Wildwood for one type of problem, make it your go-to deck for that type of issue. It needs you to feel it is indispensible, and genuinely wanted, because only then will you put in the effort that it deserves. It's not into competing for your attention!

 

How best to offend it

I've heard this from a few people, where something has gone wrong with their relationship with the deck... so it feels like a general pattern. I only just escaped falling into the same trap. So, in a nutshell, make this your basic assumption: when it seems to be giving you nonsense, you just haven't tried hard enough! 

   Disregard the message in the cards, dismiss it, and it might not forgive you. You will immediately start seeing its message in the next readings change to sarcastic, or mocking - perhaps telling you blatantly want you want to hear, because you don't deserve the truth. If you encounter this, if you start to feel uneasy... you've probably been ignoring what it tries to tell you. You need to go back to the reading where it went wrong, the one that didn't make sense, and put in the work to puzzle it out... or at least, after giving it genuine effort, acknowledge that you're not quite ready for that lesson yet. With this deck, presume that failures are your own, and not the cards'. 

   Nonetheless, it is forgiving, to some extent... and I have the feeling that it's testing your humility when it starts to become belligerent. Do you have the strength of character to take its chastisement, and learn from it? It is a relationship of equals (almost) with this deck; we are not its masters, but its mouthpiece. Perhaps more than other decks, it cannot be bent to our will, and communicating with has to be seen as a partnership. 

 

Things to remember

1. This deck is complex. In almost every reading, there are cards that can and should be read on multiple levels at the same time. By this, I mean that there is an obvious (often amusingly literal) meaning that leaps out at you, but that is only the start. There will be something deeper, relating to the nature of what is portrayed in the card, and the stories of its own cycles, that is directly relevant. And then, quite often, there will be a shift in perspective, generated by some detail in the card. When struggling for meanings, look for extra meanings, and for the unexpected... and especially, expect it to challenge your own firmly-held assumptions. Just because we believe something, that doesn't make it true. 

2. It's not a Christian deck. It deals with ancient, often amoral characters and forces of nature. Where there is judgement of our actions, and a moral code, it is to the whole world, rather than just to humans. The Wildwood integrates animals not to be folksy, or as metaphors, but because it sees nature as a whole, and humans just one part of it. We are not separate from the forest, and we share this world with many other species, who each have the same rights as we do. If we impose our modern, human-centric morality onto it, that is our doing; it's not what the deck itself is telling us, and the holistic outlook is a vital part of how it works.

3. The mythology is North European, and especially from the British Isles. If that's unfamiliar, you might need to do some reading. It's less important, I think, to know the details of the stories... but there is a feeling behind the stories, and their atmosphere, that is important to appreciate. Explore the Arthurian legends, and perhaps especially Robert Holdstock's 'Mythago Wood' series of novels to get the balance of idealism and darkness that pervades the realm of the Wildwood... 

 

Any questions, thoughts, or observations? If you'e just started to use the Wildwood, how do you feel about it? I'm sure there will be a lot more to say!😁

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Nordica De Spell

To me, The Wildwood is a deep deck with a primordial connection. I didn’t choose it, it was The Wildwood itself that mimicked me, and in so doing was very obviously interested in being with me. I love my Wildwood, and I’d never know whether it’s a jealous deck because to me there’s nowhere near any competition ever. It’s my first, my last, my forever. 

 

In that place of collective subconscious archetype, where the spirit walks the world on a road of personal myth; The Wildwood is my one and only card companion. 

 

When I say that I love The Wildwood; that’s what it is. It isn’t: ”Oh, Nice Cards.”

 

That said; yeah I love many decks to pieces, because I’m really passionate about the tarot! Those are decks I could write 300-pages of lovesong for, and I don’t think that I love those any less than the one whom loves them the most! AND I rarely use my Wildwood. (I don’t pull it out of my cabinet just to find out whether to choose this-or-that in the daily workings of life, nor do I read for or about other people with it.)

 

But I’m a Wildwooder; and because it’s so immensely personal to my core; sometimes I actually wonder whether this deck is made for other people at all. 

 

I know that it is, and that it’s forest is crowded, actually. But somehow it relates Just You And Me.  

 

I’d say though, to anyone whom wonders whether to get this deck: For me; I knew right away. If you don’t and you feel hesitant, well some people can’t read with this deck at all and don’t like it; and that’s a possibility that that could happen.

 

I guess I’m saying that it talked with me just looking at the cards over the internet; and it was never gonna be not readable because it read from the moment I gazed the first card. Not just read; it was an open gateway of massive two-way communication that knew me already; and to be abundantly clear; I already knew The Wildwood too!

 

It’s my dear dear companion, and no, I don’t think from your description that it relates the same with us all...

 

But for all of us whom have received personal invitations; it’s just not a shallow acquaintance. 

 

Thank goodness for The Wildwood! 

 

You know, you can take my collection; but you can never take my Wildwood — as it grows within and without everything, myself included.

 

I can’t write a love song about it, because it goes beyond words.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Nordica De Spell
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What. A. Beautiful. Post. 

 

I can sympathise so much with most of these sentiments, @Nordica De Spell, but I couldn't find a way to put how I feel about it into words. I do use it almost exclusively, but I don't read for myself all that frequently, and when I do it's about something that I feel deserves its attention. Our reverence for the deck is what is important, I think, even if our relationship with it differs in some ways.

Thank you so much for posting!

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I wanted to comment on the background reading material. Although as @Wanderer knows I don't use the Wildwood so much myself, there is obviously a lot of crossover with the Greenwood!

 

John and Caitlin Matthews have, between them, written a lot on Celtic mythology, Celtic shamanism and Arthur, and it's worth having a look and seeing what you think you would find most relevant.

 

R. J. Stewart has also written a few though I've not read so much of his work as it seems a step removed from my quite specific area of interest atm.

 

There's also the actual Celtic myths themselves oh course! And if you're curious about the antlered beings "Finding Elen" edited by Caroline Wise provides a lot of background.

 

Personally I've found it fascinating looking into the background, influences and just the basis for it all and I'm always happy to share links etc. to anyone interested.

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The Greenwood has obsessed me quite a bit. It is a visionary work, a true bridge. And although I haven't delved that deep into the Wildwood yet, I'm totally drawn to it and have used it some. It is a descendant of the Greenwood and I'm glad to hear the bridge lives on in it.

 

Currently I use them to add perspective/contrast but they aren't my main focus right now.

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8 hours ago, ilweran said:

There's also the actual Celtic myths themselves oh course!

Thanks for all the reading tips, @ilweran- totally agree with all this! :smiley:

For the Celtic myths, the Mabinogion is the best starting point, I reckon. It's probably the oldest, and the root of a lot of the rest. 

And great to see you here, @McFaire- thanks for dropping in, and please do stick around!

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6 minutes ago, Wanderer said:

For the Celtic myths, the Mabinogion is the best starting point, I reckon. It's probably the oldest, and the root of a lot of the rest. 

Yes, I love the Mabinogion. Damh the Bard has begun a series of retellings. It’s available on Spotify and really helps bring the stories to life. I listened to the stories of Pwll and Gwyn ap Nudd around Samhain and it was very atmospheric.

 

For a scholarly approach, I’d also recommend the books of Sharon Paige Macleod - Celtic Myth and Religion and Celtic Cosmology and the Otherworld.

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There's a discussion going in another thread about how decks relate differently to the four seasons, and the Greenwood and the Wildwood Wheels of the Year are compared.

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Flaxen said:

Yes, I love the Mabinogion. Damh the Bard has begun a series of retellings. It’s available on Spotify and really helps bring the stories to life. I listened to the stories of Pwll and Gwyn ap Nudd around Samhain and it was very atmospheric.

Cool. I want to give these a listen.

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Nordica De Spell
17 hours ago, Wanderer said:

Our reverence for the deck is what is important, I think, even if our relationship with it differs in some ways.

For sure. 🙂  

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I am so glad to have found this forum. I love the Wildwood deck so much. It speaks to me in deep whispers of the past, and having read this thread, I am so inspired to pick it up again and continue my journey. What a special deck it is.

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Welcome, @Painterspoon:smiley:

I'm so glad to find another devotee... the consensus on this forum is decidedly mixed, and quite a few people just don't get on with it at all. I know what you mean about the 'deep whispers of the past' but what really strikes me is that those bits of the past seem to be the timeless ones; as in the best folk songs and proverbs, the deck gets to the core of what matters. All Tarot is about encapsulating the human experience, but to me the Wildwood gives a direct link rather than veiling occult meanings in symbolism. But... obviously not for everyone. If you connect to it, relish that... and please do continue the journey. It seems to me that it doesn't like being forgotten about. :wink:

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On 11/10/2019 at 3:19 PM, Wanderer said:

Welcome, @Painterspoon:smiley:

I'm so glad to find another devotee... the consensus on this forum is decidedly mixed, and quite a few people just don't get on with it at all. I know what you mean about the 'deep whispers of the past' but what really strikes me is that those bits of the past seem to be the timeless ones; as in the best folk songs and proverbs, the deck gets to the core of what matters. All Tarot is about encapsulating the human experience, but to me the Wildwood gives a direct link rather than veiling occult meanings in symbolism. But... obviously not for everyone. If you connect to it, relish that... and please do continue the journey. It seems to me that it doesn't like being forgotten about. :wink:

I have to admit that this was a boomerang deck for me. I owned it several years ago and felt guilty because I wasn't using it. So I passed it along. It didn't take long for it to call to me again, so I picked up another one and lovingly trimmed it and housed it in a special bag. It is a special "buzz" this one gives me...

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I am so grateful to have found this thread, many of these words are as if you were all speaking fromy heart. I got this deck as a complete surprise for the holidays and it has literally grabbed me by the soul in a primal and profound way. I feel like it is alive within me and is already teaching me things about the Tarot and myself that have been sleeping for too long, it feels so personal, it is outrageous and exposing to work with and almost impossible to believe. The concepts of respect, sobriety, honesty, and dedication/devotion are so "spot on", that it took my breath away to read it. Thank you, Wildwood tribe, for sending out the signal beacon, I hope some of you are still around here to learn from.

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Hi @SilverLeaf - sounds like the Wildwood has claimed another victim! 😎

 

That's exactly what most of us feel, I think - as Nordica put so well. It's the immediacy of the deck, and the way it speaks to (some of) us so directly. Before the Wildwood, Tarot worked for me, but I didn't truly understand it; now, it makes perfect sense, and I can apply what I feel with the Wildwood to Tarot more widely.

 

12 hours ago, SilverLeaf said:

I feel like it is alive within me and is already teaching me things about the Tarot and myself that have been sleeping for too long, it feels so personal, it is outrageous and exposing to work with and almost impossible to believe.

Yep. Beautiful words, and that says it all. Enjoy your journey, and please do share your discoveries with us!

I've not been around all that much lately, but I'm still lurking... and I'm sure some of the others are as well. Oh, and Happy New Year, too! Let's see what deepening of our life experiences this turning of the wheel brings us, for good or ill.

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39 minutes ago, Wanderer said:

Hi @SilverLeaf - sounds like the Wildwood has claimed another victim! 😎

 

That's exactly what most of us feel, I think - as Nordica put so well. It's the immediacy of the deck, and the way it speaks to (some of) us so directly. Before the Wildwood, Tarot worked for me, but I didn't truly understand it; now, it makes perfect sense, and I can apply what I feel with the Wildwood to Tarot more widely.

 

Yep. Beautiful words, and that says it all. Enjoy your journey, and please do share your discoveries with us!

I've not been around all that much lately, but I'm still lurking... and I'm sure some of the others are as well. Oh, and Happy New Year, too! Let's see what deepening of our life experiences this turning of the wheel brings us, for good or ill.

Dear Wanderer,

Thank you for the reply and feelings of kinship, I have been working my way through your public readings with avid interest. They feel so similar in temperament and style to my own work with the deck, I am looking forward to sharing readings here myself once I work out a bit more on what the deck is "telling" me regarding a new framework of reading (for me). I really admire your creativity and intuition with the spreads you use and am tickled that you had the courage to "lay bare" your process with the deck so publically, I have felt privileged watching the evolution of your reads, which began far deeper than I've ever seen and ever deepened with their mystcal aspects, thank you!

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I'm embarrassed now, @SilverLeaf! 😁 Thank you so much, but I'm just really glad to know that you're finding my readings useful. It is interesting looking at how I've developed over the past couple of years, and it's striking how the readings occasionally went awry in the early days, but now very rarely do. I still felt like a novice when I started using the Wildwood, even though I'd been using the RW cards for nearly 20 years... but I'm not sure if that explains the difference. What has changed over that time, I wonder? It seems to me that it's as much that I would sometimes draw the 'wrong' cards, at least in terms of the meaning I should have got from them being different to what I saw. In the early days, I would often refer to the guidebook when in doubt, and usually those meanings would seem to be the most relevant. Now I hardly ever touch the book, and the cards  seem to have adapted to my ingrained understanding of their meanings. 

    As for laying it all out in public, I've not been initiated into any traditions, so I've got no secrets to hide. :wink: I will say, though, that many of the professional readers don't do public readings here, as a rule, so they may go to a level beyond what I can imagine!

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