First came ’43 – Happiness’.
A card, blue-tacked to the headboard, noticed as I was making the bed. A running wolf, and I read ‘Good news from afar. Brings important papers and opportunity. What you started in the past now brings rewards. A culmination of ideas or projects. A time to reflect on your life experiences. Happiness is attained.’
What is this?! A shrug. I stuck the card next to my bed and grinned and loved it.
Next came 66 – The Well. Within yourself is a wealth of information. If you know how to draw from the well within, it will bring you new found skills, talents and strength. Then 21 – Fulfillment. I wondered if it was The World in another guise: All your hopes and wishes will now come true. Total success in your life. You have earned this success. our diligence and hard work is now being rewarded. A feeling of accomplishment.
Still came the shrugs – no-one knows where they’re coming from, hidden around my room each morning, except the car, and she’s not telling. Now I have eleven. A pack of eleven wolves.
I love the clipped, neat little sentences – each card is like a fortune cookie.
Of course, I’m only getting the positive, happy ones in this way. When, on Christmas day, I hold the whole 78 in my hands the cards will tell a different story. Better give some credit – it’s the The Wolf Pack Tarot, by Robert Petro, with beautiful pencil crayon drawings by Pat Morris. The illustrations are so humble yet proud, so simple, yet really moving. I can’t wait for Christmas!
Tonight is the winter solstice. The shortest day. From The Company of Wolves by Angela Carter:
She gave him a pair of bonny babies and all went right as a trivet until, one freezing night; the night of the solstice, the hinge of the year when things do not fit together as well as they should, the longest night, her first good man came home again.
Wolves get such a dreadful rap in fairy tales.
In this story, her ‘first man’ comes back as a werewolf and slaughter ensues. Fortunately, our heroine, our Little Red Riding Hood (on whose original fairy tale this short story is based) is able to evade being gobbled up by a scary wolf-man by, er, getting her kit off. Ah well.
But as usual I digress… What I was really trying to say was that wolves are frequently demonised in fairy tales and horror stories, and unfairly. On a recent trip to southern Spain I visited the Lobo Park – a wolf park dedicated to educating people about the amazingness of wolves. It fulfilled its aims! The park is huge, completely no-frills, with massive enclosures for different types of wolves, living together in packs. The wolves are mostly rescued – wildly mistaken pet-purchases and so on – who now live together in Andalucia and help us to understand more about their behaviour.
Here are a few of the many interesting things I learned about wolves:
- The howling thing is usually about team spirit. One of the pack will start howling and everyone else will join in joyfully, consolidating the pack mentality.
- Packs have an alpha female and alpha male, and also a beta female and male. There’s lots of five-of-wands-style jostling to work out who’s gonna hold these positions.
- Wolves are highly unlikely to attack a person unless directly threatened. They are far, far more likely to run away from danger.
- They also don’t generally like to jostle among the pack. Innately, they understand that they are stronger as a whole, and that energy wasted on in-fighting and getting injured can only harm them in the long run. So they are typically patient, tolerant and communicative.
The Wolf Pack Tarot shares my new-found respect for these beautiful animals. It’s an oracle, not a tarot, no matter what it claims, and I can’t really imagine reading with it, but what I can imagine doing is pulling a single card for guidance whenever I feel I need the brutal wisdom and guidance of the wolves.
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.