This beautiful deck was designed by Mark Ryan, a gifted multifaceted artist, actor, author and composer, and John Matthews, renowned book writer, expert in Druidic tradition and mythology.
The vision of these two creators was brought to life by the graphic artist Will Worthington, author of many tarot and oracle decks, a real master in creating evocative pagan images.
The Wildwood tarot deck imagery originates in Celtic mythology and is set in a primeval forest. The deities, animals and humans are one with the landscape around them and seem to move in the woods in perfect harmony with nature while performing everyday actions or sacred rituals.
This deck is a new and user friendlier edition of the Greenwood tarot that has been out of print for a long time.
The Wildwood tarot is built around the Celtic Wheel of the Year which is the annual calendar of pagan festivals and the card suits of this deck are closely connected with the seasons of the year.
The suits of the deck are: Bows that represents the element of fire, Vessels for water, Stones for earth and Arrows for air.
The traditional characters of the court cards are represented by animals sacred to the Druidic tradition, they are spirits that guide the reader in the primeval forest. I find the illustration of animals delightful but I must admit it is hard work trying to remember what each one represents.
Overall, the deck is loosely based on the Ryder-Waite tarot but with different interpretation and imagery for many of the cards. Although these cards may represent a wonderful journey through the refreshing Celtic mythology, at times it seems to be really hard work to interpret the symbols especially if you are already acquainted with the imagery of the traditional tarot decks.
The booklet that comes with the deck offers a detailed explanation of every card with a strong emphasis on main life themes and frequent references and admonitions about environmental issues.
The tone of the book at time seem so intimidating that the user might be discouraged to read the Wildwood tarot for petty, everyday questions. A traditional tarot deck, on another hand, can be used at different levels of reading and offers a wider rage of interpretation for any kind of life events.
Besides, I find that the style of the images gets at times a little too cartoonish compared with the extremely serious content of the booklet.
Most of the images are beautiful and highly evocative and the reader can easily pass the written explanation but some of the cards are quite difficult to interpret and the labels (like responsibility, abundance, creativity) added in all the pip cards make impossible an intuitive interpretation of the imagery.
The delectable art work coupled with the steep learning curve the deck requires to anyone used to the traditional tarots, makes in my opinion, the Wildwood tarot a fantastic collectible deck but a mediocre tool for card reading.
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