We’re approaching my favourite time of year.
When summer begins to fade…mornings are crisp and cold, I can see my breath, there’s mist on the canal but it’s bright. The air quality is changing and it’s just so beautiful.
In the Wildwood Tarot (and in many other decks), each season has a corresponding suit. The accompanying Wildwood Tarot Guidebook contains a circular diagram showing the wheel of the year… the seasons, the eight Pagan sabbats (festivals), and the corresponding tarot suits, numbers and major cards. It’s beautiful.
Summer is the time of fire, of wands (or ‘bows’ in this tarot deck). Gradually, now, we move towards autumn, represented in the Wildwood by water/cups/vessels. I can feel that. I tend to undergo a kind of ‘rebirth’ each autumn – I often describe this time as my personal new year. As the days get shorter and cooler, I feel an emotional shift take place within me.
On the Wildwood wheel of the year, The Woodward marks Lammas.
The Woodward stands at Lammas, 1 August, which falls as the summer wanes, between the elements of fire and water. He is associated with the full moon, where bows become vessels.
The Wildwood Tarot Guidebook, by Mark Ryan, John Matthews and Will Worthington
The Woodward is card 11, replacing the more traditional ‘Strength’ card. A burly-looking fellow with a long beard and plaited hair holds both a spear and a cup of wine. He looks out over the landscape, his posture is like a yogic ‘warrior’ pose – strong and steadfast. He is ragged but well-resourced.
When the individual is removed from a place of seeming security, they are stripped of the emotional baggage that holds them in a state of limbo. During this stripping away of illusory power, individuals find within themselves their true strength.
I can’t think of a card I need to see more right now. In my mind, I’m gearing up for a journey. After a wand-ish summer of ideas and DIY in the sunshine, I’m ready to take Swallow, my boat, off on an adventure. As days and weeks slip by and I keep…not going…I know that it’s because the place I’m in is too safe, too comfortable. Emma is right next door on her boat, we’re moored at a pretty, peaceful garden, all is calm, all is… well, a little bit boring actually!
The Woodward reminds me that strength is found when we leave our comfort zones. If this is my personal new year, and the start of a new emotional chapter, and if this is the beginning of the season of vessels… then what better thing to do than to set off on a watery journey.
Do you want a copy of the Wildwood Tarot Guidebook?
I have a spare book- I’d love to swap for something cool!
(Basically I bought the deck and book ages ago….then lost the cards…then bought it again. So I have two copies of the book!)
The Wild Unknown Tarot Guidebook is much more than a book-about-a-deck. It’s full of beautifully-written chapters on pagan festivals, human connection/loss of connection with the earth, our primal instincts, western/European/British folklore, Pagan festivities and more. It’s a great read and worth getting for the wheel of the year diagram alone.
This isn’t for sale – I’ll swap if for a deck you no longer use, tarot artwork, quartz or… what you got? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested 🙂
On the other hand you probably should just go ahead and buy the whole thing…
I’m a 30-something writer, artist, tarot reader, and perpetual explorer of the space between thought, feeling, and action.
I believe that spirituality and ritual are for everybody. I’m about the journey, in all of its messy, non-linear, chaotic iterations. I am excited by anticapitalist business and living with my whole entire self present. I use tarot cards to bring forth hidden truth, and ritual to affirm my commitment, over and over, to my ever-shifting path.