A birthday reading with the Wildwood Tarot


Yesterday, I wrote a little about Cailleach – the Gaelic storm hag, queen of winter.

Today, she is paying a birthday visit. I woke this morning, the first of my 34th year, to rain and wind lashing the caravan, the sound of the sea louder than I’ve heard so far. She brought a storm alright.

In the dark, I made the fire, lit a candle and read my tarot cards as day slowly dawned. The cloud is so thick today that even as I write now, at semi-light 8.30, the mainland is invisible. There’s nothing out there but rain, waves and heavy, heavy mist, through which the Knoydart lighthouse can just about flicker. Rain hits the caravan windows and runs down it in streams, waves crash on the lagoon rocks. Well, hey there Cailleach, thanks for the festive weather.

I used a shortened version of my Happy Birthday tarot spread. I didn’t want a long, exploratory tarot reading as right now, I really feel I’m doing plenty of that anyway. Today’s reading had the pure intention of celebration, marking the turning of another year in my life.

Cards and quotes from The Wildwood Tarot, by Will Worthington, John Matthews and Mark Ryan.

1. The old year and how to say goodbye

The Green Woman (Empress)


There’s a reminder here to be grateful for the abundance I created last year, to acknowledge the work I did and what it has brought me. I’ve been quick to write off my 33rd year as one where I spent too much time working, living in a place that never felt quite like home. In reality, my last year has been incredibly creative. I put in the work it took to make my business sustainable, to creatively build a livelihood that could sustain me, wherever I wanted to go next. I welcomed abundance into my life, saved money, and felt genuinely proud of what I achieved. True – I want this year to be very different, but it’s important for me to enjoy the fruit of last year’s work and to acknowledge the richness it is allowing me to enjoy now.

2. The new year and how to welcome it

Eight of Vessels (Cups)

Everything is flow, everything is change. Let this day be a turning point, a day of integration, a chance to learn from mistakes and look forwards all the wiser because of these. I often see this card as the moment we say a sad but wise goodbye to what is no longer working and set forth towards pastures new – the Rider-Waite-Smith cards and countless others showing a cloaked figure turning her back on her life and heading off, staff in hand, towards shadowy mountains, beyond which lies…who knows what? Something better. Something new.

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Here, the imagery is more flowing, less harsh. A waterfall, a plunge pool, another waterfall, cauldrons spilling over into each other. ‘Rebirth’ is the word on the card.

By looking to the past, acknowledging our mistakes and learning from them, we grow and attain new wisdom. The future waits to be unfolded by our positive action as we become ‘The Eighth Vessel’ and receive powerful rejuvenating energies of rebirth.

The key ‘mistake’ I feel I made last year was not listening to my intuition. I knew that I wanted to move away from the computer, I knew that I wasn’t happy in the city, I knew that my daily habits and routines weren’t healthy for me, didn’t feel good. Yet I didn’t change them. I rolled along, trying to quietly watch what happened to me, rather than actively stepping up to get a handle on my own life. I want to release this now. Actually, I feel I already have, with this move to Skye, with a new commitment to grounding and connecting with the earth. Still, this card tells me that today is a turning point, a day of potential, a day to really feel that difference and welcome this new way of being.

3. & 4. Today – how to celebrate, what to do…

Ten of Stones, Three of Stones (Pentacles)

‘Creativity’ and ‘home’ are the words on these cards. A day to make something. A loaf of bread. I have spelt flour, yeast – I’ll take them up to Sandra’s house and bake a loaf we can share.

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5. A message from my ancestors

Otter, Page of Vessels

An otter! You know, I’ve never actually seen an otter, though I’ve always wanted to. On Sunday, a local wildlife photographer is taking me otter-watching and I am beside myself with excitement. Here’s what the Wildwood Tarot has to say about this beautiful creature:

Equally at home on land or in water, the Otter’s ability to move between these spheres, perceived as the way between worlds, made it especially sacred to the Celts.

As a dreamer and a visionary, you weave a spell that few can resist. Your loyalty, devotion and sense of fair play mark you out as an individual whose will is tempered by a profound understanding of the otherworld.

I’m going to keep this otter with me today, and make her my guide. She knows what’s up. Forming a bridge between earth and water, dancing and playing at the intersections of these two worlds – the rocks, the beach, the shore, the place I love the most – she understands how to make the intuited real, and the real magic.


This reading, too, feels like a bridge. The cards are all of earth or water – the earthy Green Woman showing me the richness I have in my life, the Eight of Vessels allowing me to flow forwards, integrating the lessons I learned last year. Today is an earthy day, though. One to work with my hands and to celebrate home. Which is just what I will do.


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  1. Tamarack Verrall says:

    A very Happy Birthday to you, Aquarius. Fun to read your birthday spread. Beautiful deck. Here, the Otter is known as one who loves, loves, loves to play!

  2. Trine says:

    It is beautiful reading your interpretation of the cards as always! Happy birthday Beth, I wish you all the best for your 34th year!

  3. Calgary says:

    Happy birthday, Beth! I turned 34 myself a couple weeks ago…not a bad age! 😉 And thanks for sharing this nifty spread with us.

  4. Mara says:

    Happy birthday, Beth! All my good wishes and happy vibes to you. Otters are versatile and adaptable, clever tool users, and float in groups! They hold hands in order to stay together while sleeping, eating, or feeding. I’ve always found that really lovely.

    I hope this day is wonderful for you.

  5. Alba says:

    A birthday on Skye sounds like a wonderful thing! Tanti auguri Beth, and my respects to your feline shop assistants 🙂

  6. Ange says:

    Happy Birthday Beth. Many of us are delighted, celebratory and grateful for your presence. with affection, Ange

  7. SJ says:

    It’s so much easier to criticize ourselves than to be proud of what we’ve accomplished, isn’t it? Glad the Green Woman reminded you otherwise. Happy happy belated birthday and I hope you got to watch lots of otters this weekend!

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