Care and Feeding.

Welp. It’s officially Spring. Not that the weather ’round these parts got the memo, seeing as over the Equinox we got the biggest snowstorm yet this year. Cripes, I’m tired of this shit.*

Speaking of the Equinox, I’m supposed to post an entry on the corresponding cards from the Wildwood Tarot, but I’m not going to. Sorry. I managed to keep my commitment to the Wheel of the Year series longer this year than I did last, but my life’s getting in the way, and I can’t promise any more. I didn’t do even the slightest research about the cards for this festival, and rather than bullshit anyone reading this, I figured I’d just let it go. I may or may not return to this series as future festivals roll around. Given enough time, I eventually hope to write about all of them. But enough for now.

I’m not complaining when I say my life’s getting in the way. In fact, this is a very good thing for me, I think, but it unfortunately means that I don’t have the time to dedicate to my blog that I’ve had in the past. I’m not saying I’m about to let this blog die. I intend to keep it going for years if I can, or at least until I’ve covered all the topics on my To Do list (there are more than a few, I assure you). But I may be posting less frequently than usual.

Then again, longtime followers of this site will know that I am wont to go into writer’s hibernation from time to time, so hopefully my sporadic posting habits won’t come as too much of a surprise. Still, I thought this post was warranted (mostly because it’s taking the place of that scheduled post about the Wildwood – might as well put out something of a stop gag if I’m not going to put out anything of substance, right?).

~~~

With all that being said, I hate to post things that don’t really have anything to do with the Tarot, so I’m going to ramble for a bit about some of the stuff that’s been rattling around my skull lately.

Let’s see, what’s new here….

Several weeks ago, I performed a spread for myself to help me make a decision about whether or not to go somewhere. I’m not going to get into the dirty details of my personal life, but suffice it to say that this reading not only prefaced a night which served as a catalyst for some significant developments in my life, (much of which is the reason why I haven’t been writing) but it was uncannily accurate about certain details to which I was totally oblivious at the time (this is why we keep journals of our readings, kids. You can’t know how accurate a reading truly is until you look at it again with the benefit of hindsight).

The question of divination looms over this blog. Does it really work? If so, how and why? I have a draft in the works – that has been over a year in the making now – which is supposed to answer these questions, at least in terms of my perspectives (I don’t think such questions can be answered definitively by anyone this side of the grave). It’s meant to be a follow-up to this post, but I continually run into a wall when I try to put words to the very subtle nuances of my beliefs about divination, and so it remains languishing in drafts folder limbo.

Occurrences like that which was mentioned above reinforce my beliefs about divination, and it validated to me all the time I’ve put into learning about these cards. Divination is not the only thing I get out of the Tarot, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a major aspect of my practice. The Tarot is my personal oracle, and it is a very spiritual thing. I think it’s worth mentioning that I do have anecdotal evidence of it’s efficacy in my own life, even if I’m not quite willing to share those anecdotes on my blog.

Of course, I still have questions, and I still have doubts, and I still have many things to ponder when it comes to divination, but that’s a subject for another day.

In other news, I’ve started being more open with people around me about my interest in the Tarot, which is not the way I’ve been previously. I don’t go around advertising it, but I don’t actively hide it anymore, either. As a consequence, I’ve done more readings for people I know less about, and have come to some interesting conclusions about the nature of divination for oneself versus for others. I suspect seasoned readers will already know what I’m coming to learn, but I may share it on here at some point, anyway.

Other than that, not too terribly much is new in the Sentinel’s world of Tarot reading. I think about the cards all the time, of course. The way they’ve permeated my consciousness over the course of the last couple years is remarkable. But to be honest, if I had something really significant to say about the Tarot, I’d just write a post about it, instead of using it as filler for this one.

Anyways. That’s all for now. See ya next time, whenever that might be.

~~~

*It’s actually been a very mild winter overall, but winter is winter, and even if it’s not as freezing as it should be, it’s still colder than I care for, and it’s dark. It depresses the hell out of me every year, and when March finally succeeds dismal February, I find my desperate hopes for the promise of spring dashed against its temperamental winds. I always say February is my least favorite month, but if I’m being honest, March is when I feel the deepest despair. The night is darkest before the dawn, as they say (I may have had a bit too much fun with the alliteration in this footnote, but such are the games I like to play on my blog).

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Wheel of the Year: Imbolc.

I know that it’s been a while since I’ve written when the last post I published was the previous installment of the Wheel of the Year. Has it really been seven (eight?) weeks since the solstice already? Damn.

And yes, I know I’m lagging more than a few days behind on this one, too, since Imbolc is supposed to be the first of this month.

It is winter, after all, and I certainly tend towards sluggishness this time of year. Still, I don’t like it when I go an entire month and more without posting on here. I’ll try to write a bit more in the next few weeks.

Anyway, on to business.

Imbolc is a festival marking the transition from the time of Stones to the time of Arrows – that is, from Winter to Spring. Of course, this seems like nonsense to me, because it is still very much winter ’round these parts. But I suppose I can’t deny it: even though the ice continues to form, it melts away almost as quickly. The sky remains the color of slate, but the sun is rising earlier and setting later. The White Witch’s iron grip on the land falters ever so slightly as Aslan makes his way closer each day.

The Wildwood left us last time with the Hooded Man and the Great Bear. These are cards of rest and hibernation, as well as facing difficult truths as the year comes to a close. Now it’s a new year, and it’s time to wake up. The Horn of Judgement has sounded. It’s a new day. Great, I’m ready to get going. Let’s do this!

Wait, do what? Where do we go from here?

The Ancestor (the Hierophant) greets us at the edge of this transitory  time. Though she has the body of a woman, her head is that of a stag. She is the mythical link between man and animal, remembering things long forgotten by us. After the ordeal of the Great Bear, it’s time to return to our roots; it’s time to start anew. She pounds out a rhythm with her little drum, the pulse of life, gently awakening things that lie dormant in our nature. The pulsing never really stops, but now, with hearts quiet after winter reflections, we can most easily hear it. With nowhere else to go, we follow the Ancestor as she leads us back into the forest to begin a new year.

But a return to roots is not the only thing we need. Now is an uncertain time for many, and though the sun shines longer, darkness and cold still reign. The Ancestor may be a comfort with her intuitive knowledge of the forest and our place within it. But the Wildwood is vast and overgrown, and we can easily lose our way. If we lose sight of her, if we stray far enough away that even the beat of her drum disappears from our ears, then it is easy to despair. We need more than a return to roots. We need unfailing guidance, and for this we must turn our gaze upward towards the sky. This is where to find the Pole Star (the Star), that ancient compass which has helped navigate since time immemorial. This card indicates not only guidance, but a larger perspective. The Pole Star helps to find the way through the woods, but it also reminds us how small we are in this Universe; and how we – and everything we know – are made of the same stardust. Sometimes a new perspective is all one needs to fight the darkness.

I know that star-gazing has helped diminish many of my perceived problems in the past.

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The Shaman, the Ancestor, the Pole Star, and the Ace of Arrows.

Finally, with the transition into a new season, we get a new “element” card. The Wanderer passes the baton to the Shaman (Magician). He will oversee the spring. But I think I’ll talk more about him some other time.

Anyways. Enough of Imbolc and the Wheel of the Year for one day. Hopefully as the ice continues to melt, I’ll feel inspired to write a little more often than I have lately. In the meantime, happy February.

~~~

 

Wheel of the Year: Yule.

More widely known as the Midwinter Solstice, today is the shortest day of the year (that is, the day with the least amount of sunlight and the longest night time*). Tomorrow, the days will start getting longer again, slowly but surely. Before we know it, springtime will be here again.

But it’s not here yet. Oh no. In fact, today we find ourselves in the deepest depths of winter. It is a dark time, quite literally. Sure, we are assured that warmth and light is on its way, but we still have to bear a couple more months of dismal winter skies. The midwinter solstice festival therefore symbolizes peace and comfort in times of darkness, as well as hope for the light to come. Peace, comfort, and hope are certainly needed by many during this time.

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On the Wheel of the Year, as presented by the Wildwood Tarot, we find ourselves halfway through the time of Stones. The Wanderer continues to guide us. And on this day, it is none other than the Hooded Man, the Hermit, who greets us. He holds his lantern and his staff, lighting the way and offering support. He invites us to stay a while in his abode, to rest and warm our bones for a spell before venturing back out into the cold. He tells us that now is a time for reflection and recuperation. It is time for rest. We can do nothing else until the sun rises again.

In a grander sense, the Great Bear has a similar lesson for us. This large beast crouches atop a burial mound, guarding it. We are facing North, the quadrant associated with winter, as is evident by the constellation Ursa Major and the aurora borealis shining bright in the sky.

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The Great Bear is the 20th card of the Major Arcana, which means in more traditional decks this card would be called Judgement. Certainly the open entrance to the tomb here is reminiscent of the open graves on the Judgement card. Past this, though, it’s difficult to see how these cards are connected.

At this time, the time of rest, we can do nothing. The year is over; our seeds have been sown; our harvest has been reaped. Perhaps this is not what many think of when they hear the word “judgement”, but that is indeed what’s going on here. It is time to own up to who you are, to face the terrible polar bear with an honest heart, for good or for ill. It is time to learn from the year behind, and prepare for the year ahead. There is no turning back.

The Hooded Man offers comfort and rest, but the Great Bear reminds us that we can’t sleep forever. It’ll soon be time to wake up from winter’s reprieve.

~~~

*Assuming, of course, that you and I share a hemisphere.

Wheel of the Year: Samhain – Take Two.

Welp. I really dropped the ball on this one. I’d resolved a year ago to celebrate the 8 traditional Celtic seasonal festivals by blogging about the corresponding cards from the Wildwood Tarot as each festival rolled around. I began the series with Samhain, and then proceeded to miss all the rest. Here we are at Samhain once again, and so I think I’ll try, once again. I make no promises, though.

I’ll just do a quickie, since I’ve already made this post before.

Samhain (a.k.a. Halloween) marks the end of Autumn and the beginning of Winter. The Wildwood Tarot assigns Winter to the suit of Stones (Coins) and to the Wanderer (the Fool). These cards set the mood for the new season, and they are ushered in by the festival cards the Guardian (the Devil) and the Journey (Death). These are scary cards, with somber implications, but they are a necessary part of the cycle with valuable lessons to impart.

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The Guardian, the Journey, the Wanderer, and the Ace of Stones – WWT

~~~

It’s eerie how the time flies. I mean, there’s no way an entire year has passed – and yet, the calendar doesn’t lie. Perhaps the reason I let the Wheel of the Year blog idea get away from me is because I don’t really actively observe many of these festivals. I’d like to, even though I’m not a pagan; I like what they represent, and I especially like the way they are presented by the Wildwood Tarot. Halloween is, of course, an exception – I always celebrate this time of year.

~~~

A Perpetual Calendar.

The Book of Days is a hard-bound calendar that I picked up recently. It’s very nice, with thick pages that withstand lots of ink, and it’s decorated with full-color and captioned images from the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. This book is different than your average one-and-done calendar in another way, too: the days of each month are numbered, but are not assigned a weekday. This means that this particular calendar is not meant for a single year, but rather to keep track of yearly events regardless of what year it actually is. It’s marketed as a perpetual calendar to keep track of all the birthdays, anniversaries, and various other momentous occasions that take place from year to year, but I don’t care about any of that. I got it because I had in mind a better use for it: the Tarot.

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I was looking for something like this to replace the crummy old datebook in which I’d previously recorded the suggested dates for each Wildwood Tarot card (if you’re unfamiliar with the Wheel of the Year and how the Wildwood relates, you can check out my post about it here). Using green ink, I went through each page of the calendar and wrote down each card from the WWT on its respective date.

It occurred to me partway through this endeavor that I have at least one other deck with cards that can correspond with dates on a calendar: the Thoth Tarot. Using the astrological attributions for the court and small cards given in DuQuette’s book Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot (which is far more user-friendly than Crowley’s own book and includes handy charts with exactly the information I needed for this project), I sat down and wrote the cards into their respective dates alongside the Wildwood (using black ink this time to more easily differentiate between the two in my calendar). I’ve yet to tackle the issue of the Major Arcana, although I plan on working through them shortly.

The result is now I have a perpetual Tarot calendar, simultaneously keeping track of the Earthly Wheel of the Year and the Heavenly Wheel of the Zodiac, and there’s still plenty of room left over should I find another Tarot that can similarly relate to a calendar.

Now it’s a simple matter for me to look up the date and find the cards of the day. It’s a fantastic way to get to know my cards on a more intimate level, or to focus my thoughts for each day. With the Wildwood, I’ve experienced great spiritual insight already by using it like a calendar, albeit sporadically, and this will only better facilitate that. I’m interested to begin to use the Thoth in this fashion, as well. And I haven’t tried this yet, but I think it would be interesting to draw a card from a third deck at random (a daily draw) and see how it relates to the WWT and the CHT cards of its day.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share this on here in case anyone else found the idea of a Tarot calendar interesting. Fair warning, though: it’s meticulous work, and it can be somewhat tedious flipping through pages and writing down each card on its date. You have to pay attention to what you’re doing, because it’s very easy to screw up. Trust me, I know from experience.

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I found masking tape to be an adequate solution for my blunders. There’s enough showing through to remind the jackass writing to PAY ATTENTION to what he’s doing in the future.

 

Wheel of the Year: Samhain.

I’m a little late in posting this.

A while back, I wrote about the Wheel of the Year as it pertains to the Wildwood Tarot.

Now it’s time to begin a trip around it.

The beauty of the Wheel is that you can begin your journey at any place on it. There is no established, “official” beginning or end. I’ve selected Samhain as the starting point for a couple of reasons. First of all, as any of you Wiccans or Neo-Pagans probably already know, Samhain is considered by many the “Witch’s New Year”. This pleases me, I admit, but means little to me by itself, since I am neither Wiccan nor Pagan.*

Samhain lands on the first day of November, and it is associated with death and communion with the spirit world. Naturally, most of us know the celebration today as Halloween. Of course, technically speaking, Halloween is on October 31st, or the eve of November 1st, the latter date being All-Saint’s Day in Christianity. There is an entire history on the relationship between these holidays, mainly on the syncretic attempts made by Catholics in the face of pagan (that is, old pagan) traditions to assimilate them, but I see no need to elaborate on that here. For all intents and purposes, both Halloween and All-Saints represent Samhain (and while I’ll continue to refer to Samhain throughout this post, it will always really be Halloween to me).

Halloween was also the day on which I was born, and so it quite literally marks a new year for me, as well.

But, perhaps most significantly for the subject of this blog, October represents the time when I began working with my first Tarot pack, one year ago. Not only that, but it was Halloween season the year prior when I first discovered Tarot, as I’ve written about here. Now, I don’t remember the date on which I obtained this deck (a Radiant Rider-Waite at a local metaphysical shop), but by the time Samhain rolls around the Wheel of the Year, I know that date has passed. So, in other words, I am beginning my journey around the Wildwood Wheel of the Year one year after the start of my Tarot studies, and two years after my discovery of Tarot. It has officially been a full year of intensive Tarot, and when I complete this cycle, it will be one more.

So hooray, happy birthday to me, and a happy symbolic birthday to my first Tarot deck.

But enough of that. On to business.

As I said, I’m using the Wildwood Tarot for this exercise. This is the deck that introduced me to the Wheel, and I’ve come to realize that understanding the Wheel is indispensable to fully understanding the cards. So while this and future posts will be following the Wheel, the point is to actually explore the cards within its context. The Wildwood is a fascinating non-traditional approach to the Tarot, and in working with the Wheel I hope to ultimately convey a sense of that.

Samhain marks the end of the Time of Vessels and the beginning of the Time of Stones. The days are getting colder and shorter. As the Starks are wont to say, Winter is coming.

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The entire Time of Stones is represented by the Wanderer, one of the four “hub cards”. The Wanderer corresponds to the Fool of a traditional Tarot, and is therefore an apt card to kick of the yearly cycle. The Wanderer’s influence will remain present throughout the remainder of the Time of Stones. He (or she) is only really associated with Samhain insofar as Samhain is associated with the Stones.

Winter can be a very depressing time. Colorless and cold, the promise of springtime often seems remote. In many ways, the Fool is the perfect card to embody this season. He holds the promise of Spring, but nothing more. He is Zero, at a precipice, so close to the plunge, but as yet remains still. The Wanderer is literally in such a position, and across the gorge is the Wildwood. He is not actually in the Wildwood, symbolically placing him outside the rest of the pack. His connection to the suit of Stones is referenced by the big rocks, one of which almost appears to be in the grasp of the Wanderer’s right hand. These rocks are reminiscent of the Ace of Stones., which is the small card associated with this point on the Wheel.*

While the Wanderer does show up at Samhain, yet isn’t really representative of it, there are two cards which are specifically assigned to this festival. These are the Guardian (the Devil) and the Journey (Death). Keeping in mind Samhain’s connection with the dead and the otherworld, the choice of the WWT creators to use these two cards seems like an obvious one. I think most people would agree: in virtually any Tarot, the Devil and Death are the Halloween-est of all the cards.

One thing I find particularly interesting about the Wildwood is its unique spin on traditional cards. While the Devil is typically interpreted as a card of innate animal desires, and how they tempt us, the Guardian taps into our most primal fears. It is pictured as an animate bear skeleton standing on its hind legs at the mouth of a cave, but is described as being more of a bogeyman-type shapeshifter by the authors. However, despite its appearance of manifest terror, it is in reality a harmless trickster with nothing worse than a twisted sense of humor. It guards the entrance to a realm of darkness, perhaps symbolic of the subconscious.

Unlike Death, which is usually portrayed as a skeleton or grim reaper, the Journey is not anthropomorphized. The card consists of a deer skull surrounded by ravens. One large raven picks bits of flesh from the bone, and seems to look out at us from the card. The “Journey” refers of course to death. It is morbid, but we are urged to remember the fleeting nature of life and not to fear its end. Perhaps fear is the wrong word; after all, the Guardian suggests that fear is necessary for survival, and if there is no fear of death, what role would the Guardian play? Acceptance is better, I think, because whether we fear it or not, death is inevitable. But the point is to change our thoughts about death being the end. Death is only a transition, a Journey.

These cards ask us to face difficult questions as we prepare ourselves for the coming winter. In myth, winter is usually associated with death, and this makes sense. The trees and plants seem to wither and die, and many of the summertime birds and animals disappear. Even we humans tend to spend more time inside, away from the harsh elements. We turn inward literally, and are encouraged by the cards to do so figuratively, as well.

Of course, Winter isn’t here just yet, and Samhain is symbolic of a festival celebrating the final harvest of the Autumn. It is a time of somber joy, of celebrating the year’s bounty while remembering those things which have passed on to the spirit realms.

That’s all I have to say for now; I’ll add some photos of both the Guardian and the Journey to this post in a day or two.

~~~

*You may be asking yourself, because the Wheel of the Year is a Wiccan sort of thing, and El Sentinelo is not Wiccan, why does he use the Wheel? I like the concept, that’s all.

**I will not go into any sort of discussion on the small cards and court cards. There are just too many of them, and so I will stick to the major card while I study the Wheel of the Year.

The Wheel of the Year.

It seems as though I’ve been in writer’s hibernation for a while, now. Here I am, poking my head out of my hole, squinting in the bright sunlight. Time for a stretch; shake off the cobwebs; put on the coffee. Here we go.

While I haven’t been writing, I have been reading about the Tarot and using my cards. The Council has (finally) joined me on the Tarot bandwagon, and I am no longer alone in my cartomantic practice. So I have been thinking and talking Tarot, creating exercises to help them get acquainted with their cards (which I may post on here at some point), discussing, positing theories, studying, and taking suggestions from them (they catch on quick when they want to). I’ve also been spending time getting to know my own decks, deciphering their unique nuances, and evolving my overall relationship with the cards in general. I think there will be more writing to come after this. It’s been building up inside for a while.

In particular, I’ve been really spending time with my Wildwood deck, using it for readings like I’ve never been able to before, but more importantly (I think), familiarizing myself with the Wheel of the Year.

The what?

The Wildwood Tarot is essentially composed around two separate structures. The first is that which is common to every Tarot. There are 56 minor arcana divided among four suits, numbered within each suit from ace (1) to 10, and complete with four court cards per suit; there are also 22 so-called trump cards or major arcana, 21 of which are numbered in sequence, with the addition of an unnumbered (Fool) card. In this way, the WWT is a Tarot just as any other.

The second structure underlying the WWT is known as the Wheel of the Year. Where the typical Tarot structure is essentially linear,* the Wheel of the Year (or Wheel, as I’ll henceforth be referring to it, not to be confused with Arcana X the Wheel of Fortune) is cyclical. It is the presence of this structure, co-existing with the first, which sets this Tarot apart from others.

The WWT did not invent the Wheel of the Year. This deck was inspired by the earlier Greenwood Tarot, which used (what I presume to be) the same system. I’m not positive, but I believe there are some other Tarot decks out there that also have used this or similar systems. As a spiritual concept, the idea behind the Wheel is older, predating Christianity and indeed, the Tarot itself. However, in my collection, it is through the WWT that I have become acquainted with the Wheel, and so everything I say will be in terms of that deck and its corresponding guidebook.

The Wheel of the Year is essentially based on the cycle of four seasons that is characteristic of temperate climates. Unlike astrology, which is also a wheel of the year in a sense, albeit existing in the heavens, this system is rooted in the earth. While the stars and planets operate on the same yearly cycle, the Wheel here in question is much more immediate, much more tangible, and has a much more noticeable effect on humans than its counterpart in the sky (no matter how much stock you may put into astrology), not to mention its simplicity next to all the decans, dignities, and what-have-yous of the heavens. In terms of yearly-cycle-systems, this makes the WWT more immediately accessible than other occult decks that base their attributions on astrology.

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Counterclockwise from left: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter represented by their respective Aces.

The function of the Minor Arcana in this system is fairly straightforward, making use of the divisions inherent in traditional Tarot structure (four suits for four seasons). The suits are re-named to match the theme of the deck and reordered to follow the seasons: Arrows (Swords) for Spring; Bows (Wands) for Summer; Vessels (Cups) for Autumn; and Stones (Coins or Pentacles) for Winter. Each season begins with the Ace and King of its suit, and progresses through the remainder until the season changes. The Court cards progress separately but alongside the small cards, meaning that the time it takes to go through the four cards of the court is the same amount of time it takes to go through the ten small cards. Each season is roughly three months long, and while the guidebook doesn’t specify which cards go on which days, it’s a fairly simple matter to figure out a system that works for you. Generally speaking, a small card will encompass a little over a week, and a court card somewhere around three weeks.

For the Major Arcana, things get a little more complex. In order to understand, it helps to visualize a literal wheel with 8 spokes. These spokes represent the start or midpoint of each season, always associated with a festival (or sabbat, if you’re into that neopagan/wiccan jargon). On each spoke stands a pair of Majors. These two cards represent energies specific to the festival on which they stand, one of which is individual, and the other collective.

But that only accounts for 16 of the trumps.

Four of the remaining six trumps sit at the center or hub of the wheel, and they each represent, you guessed it, one of the seasons. The Time of Stones, for example, begins with Samhain (11/1), upon which stand the Journey (Death) and the Guardian (Devil). Halfway through the season, we reach the Winter Solstice or Yule (12/21), and here are the Great Bear (Judgement) and the Hooded Man (Hermit). The Time of Stones gives way to the Time of Arrows with the Pole Star (Star) and the Ancestor (Hierophant) at Imbolc (2/1), and the cycle starts again. However, throughout the entire season of Stones, the Wanderer, one of the four “hub cards,” is present. He (or she) represents the entire season.

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The Hub of the Wheel.

The four Elemental cards (as I personally refer to the hub cards) are the Wanderer (the Fool – Winter), the Shaman (the Magician – Spring), the World Tree (the World – Summer), and the Seer (the High Priestess – Autumn). The final two cards remaining, that are neither on a festival nor representative of a season, are the Sun of Life and the Moon on Water (the Sun and Moon, respectively). Each of these is assigned to half of the wheel, divided along the line of the Equinoxes.

So, on any given day, you have at least four cards (two Majors, one court, and one small card). On the eight festival days in the year, you have an additional two Majors.

For example, at the time of this writing,** the cards are the Sun of Life, the World Tree, the Stoat (Page of Bows), and the Ten of Bows, titled “Responsibility.” These are the very last cards of the Time of Bows, and in a couple days (8/1), we will enter the Time of Vessels, and while we’ll keep the Sun of Life for a few more weeks, the World Tree will give way to the Seer, the Stoat will hand the baton off to the Heron (King of Vessels), and the Ten of Bows will become the Ace of Vessels. Additionally, on August 1st, which is Lammas festival in the Celtic Wheel of the Year, we’ll have both the Woodward (Strength) and the Blasted Oak (Tower) to examine and celebrate.

As you can see, the Wildwood and the Wheel are structured in such a way that can be used as an interactive calendar, which is a novel use for the cards to me.*** As I progress through the year, I meditate on the meanings of the cards assigned to each day. Many people consider the WWT to be a rather dark deck, and while I don’t totally disagree, the guidebook takes a very positive and constructive stance on interpretation. As I consider the cards of the day, I remember the lessons and suggestions of the guidebook, and no darkness is ever too dark to penetrate. The result is a deck that acts as a daily spiritual guide for me, and while I realize it is completely possible to do this with any Tarot deck, I doubt any would be so thorough by virtue of its design. This is the best way to get to know the WWT. It takes a year, but I think it’ll be worth it.

I’ve been using the WWT like this since about May (the Time of Arrows), and because of it, the WWT has gradually become one of my favorite decks in my collection. As of now, it is my primary deck for personal spiritual development, and it is quickly becoming one of my best reading decks (it works surprisingly well with my Sentinel Spread).

I’ll check back from time to time with updates on my thoughts about the Wheel of the Year.

Samhain
Yule
Imbolc

~~~

*This is a simplified generalization compared to this more accurate description of my views of the Tarot structure. What I really mean by linear in this instance is the sequential numerical progression, which, when taken in segments of 10 (or 22), is a line.

**This part of the draft is outdated, written during the final week in July, but I kept it because it was on the cusp of the change in seasons, and I liked that example. If you’re curious, the current cards as of August 27th are the Sun of Life, the Seer, the Salmon (Queen of Vessels), and the Three of Vessels, titled “Joy.”

***I love discovering new and innovative ways in which the Tarot cards can be employed. When I picked up my first pack, I never would have guessed I’d be using cards as a calendar tracking spiritual development six or seven months down the line (I also never would have imagined I’d own more than one pack). The possibilities are limitless.