The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck Review

Mother of Wands

This deck arrived a while ago, in a box that boldly stated in capital letters, “CONTAINS MAGIC”. While I had seen images of the cards online and thought they were powerful and substantial, I did feel at the time this was a big claim to make.

Little did I know that as I came to work with this deck over the months that followed, I found these cards to indeed hold an enchanting and connecting magical energy. It is difficult for me to place my finger exactly on, and define the timeless pulse that flows through these cards, yet for me personally, the readings I have conducted with this deck have been nothing short of magical. I would go as far as adding “shamanic” to the overall feel of this deck, though I’ll let the card pictures tell a thousand words of their own.

The Hermit

The deck is the creation of artist, writer and seeker Kim Krans. If you like what you see, I would encourage you to check out The Wild Unknown website for the deck and other work available for purchase.

I would describe the imagery and scenes in the cards as minimal, yet the carefully chosen use of colour and symbolism allow for a rich visual interpretation. You have to sit with the cards, and allow time to uncover layers of meaning.

I think the departure from descriptive pictorial scenes in the minor arcana is excellent for those of us who feel the need to exercise the intuitive faculty – no reliance on textbook meanings here! And while the deck does have an accompanying book, I would set this aside when reading the cards first, to allow my own intuition to work and bring forth messages – and only later check what the book has to say (this is, of course, a guiding principle in all tarot work, however I think it is even more important with minimalist decks where the lack of descriptive “action scenes” may tempt one to refer to a book first, rather than, you know, exercise that intuitive muscle).

Swords
The suit of Swords: 7, 8 and daughter (Page)

The deck keeps with the four classic suit names, Swords, Cups, Pentacles and Wands. Throughout the deck you will find all sorts of appearances from the animal or plant kingdom depicted in rather beautiful and perceptive ways. Take for example the 8 of Swords above, showing a butterfly cocoon surrounded by 8 swords. Now this is a classic The Foolcard of bondage, restrictions, inability to be free – and this can be due to the surrounding environment, or in the querent’s own mind. I love the way this card is portrayed in this deck: it shows the attributes of restriction, yet the symbolism makes it clear this is only for a limited time. Eventually the caterpillar, safe in that cocoon, will transform. And what will emerge – often from rather painful life experiences – will be a beautiful butterfly. Who among us knows this to be an all too familiar story in life’s journey? How many times have we felt so utterly hopeless, or in despair, by our circumstances – and yet, as we move through this, as time flows, and we are able to transform, we understand the power of perseverance, of not giving up.

Take a look at the Fool, a card known for foolishness, as the name suggests, but also to listening to our hearts, to taking that leap of faith, regardless of what others say: our little duckling must take that plunge and learn to fly. It’s scary, isn’t it, but learning to fly is both freeing and a necessary skill of survival.

Wands
The suit of Wands: 6, 9 and father (King)

There is a departure in the naming of the court cards, so that instead of Page, Knight, Queen and King we have daughter, son, mother and father. Each suit has its own animal representative in the court cards: Swords – owl, Wands – snake, Cups – swan, and Pentacles – deer.

Pentacles

The guide book accompanying this deck is written by the artist, and offers brief, succinct and insightful descriptions for the cards. I would certainly recommend getting the guide book, for it is always interesting to read the artist’s perception and insights into each card – though as I’ve noted above, allow your own mind and intuition to make a connection and bring forth the messages before reading the book.

Cups

To summarise, personally I do love this deck and have found it brilliant for my own readings. I have found that at times, the masterful use of colour is, by itself, a way to interpret a reading. In some cards it is scarce, in others abundant. When you lay 3 or 4 or 5 cards next to each other, sometimes the colour transition across cards tells a message by itself.

The LoversFinally, I must add a few words on the card stock – let me begin by saying it is excellent quality – at least in the 2016 edition I own (I think there may be later editions but I’m not entirely sure). Dear independent tarot creators and publishers, please please please do not overlook the quality of your cards. I have been disappointed one too many times by cards that are flimsy, or smell like a toxic chemical factory, or are too plasticky, and so on. I understand this may be a personal opinion, however the tarot is a tangible, tactile tool. One must shuffle the cards to use them, and the sensory experience is as important as the art, in my humble opinion.

The Wild Unknown deck does not disappoint in this regard – the cards have a nice solid feel to them, and are a pleasure to shuffle. No plastic coating – at least not that I can tell anyway.

I look forward to deepening my relationship with this deck in the years and decades to come. It is a great guide, and I think it will become even more so as I start to explore and practice natural magic, plant spirit work, and other such delectable pursuits.

Blessings,
Monica

Wild Unknown High Priestess

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Deck Review: The Housewives Tarot

EPSON MFP image

I’ll be straightforward: this is a brilliant, well executed deck. It is fantastic for pragmatic questions, topics on mundane affairs, and concerns dealing with the tangible, material world – yet it is far from being a dry, uninspiring deck. In fact the only thing dry when working with this deck is the martini you’ll be savouring as you shuffle the cards from the immaculately clean kitchen table 🙂

DSCF8672Let’s start with the package: a well made, sturdy box that serves as a filing cabinet, with tabs for the Major Arcana, Minor Arcana, and the instruction book: a perfect start towards domestic orderliness.

The deck is a collage of retro images from 1950s Americana, complete with vintage cars, domestic bliss (or nightmare!), DSCF8674scotch on the rocks, a plethora of martinis, the start of suburbia and kitchen appliances, and let’s not forget the politically incorrect (that Justice card, in particular…) Strictly speaking, I am not a fan of retro vintage art, however I love the creators’ clever use of words, colour and decor that bring the message across with ease.

The design is based on the Rider Waite tradition, and, for the most part, keeps well in line with the Rider Waite interpretations.

EPSON MFP imageThe suit of Swords features sharp utensils that can be equally used to cut a cake or to backstab: knives, skewers, pins and scissors are the favoured tools here.

EPSON MFP image

The suit of Wands is all about cleaning – now I don’t know about you folks out there, but this is a brilliant choice. As a fire sign myself, and knowing quite a few other fire signs too, I can attest to our love-hate relationship with keeping the house clean. Most of us end up hiring a cleaner at one point or another, since there’s just too much going on out there in life, than sweeping floors and wiping windows. Sure, I want a spotless home to come to, but in reality I am faced more with a 10 of Wands scenario at the end of the month, rather than that admirable 6 of Wands above.

EPSON MFP imageThe suit of Cups can be summed up in one word: Martini! It’s great to have a deck where there is no room for ambiguity or grey messages in a card. In the Four of Cups above, the woman is leaning away from what she is being offered: a full glass is being handed to her, while 3 empty ones sit in front of her. This is a great visual interpretation of not taking an opportunity when offered, which is something most people do at one time or another. Unless, of course, she’s an alcoholic – and then of course it is a wise choice 😉

EPSON MFP imageThe suit of Pentacles features mostly plates or dishes – in the Nine of Pentacles above we have, what must have seemed at the time, the ultimate in kitchen fulfilment: the invention of the dishwasher.

EPSON MFP image

The Major Arcana is equally ingenious and quirky – in the Temperance card we find “a delicious and healthy combination of opposite sides of the spectrum – a heaping helping of compromise or cooperation in marriage, relationships, or partnerships. Spoon this mixture into every aspect of your life“, the little book sagely guides.

EPSON MFP image

In Judgment we find a literal interpretation – still a common experience in many women all these decades later, the constant inner and outer judgements of how we look, how much we weigh, etc etc. It gives an immediate visual visceral punch: no matter the circumstance, the message is simple: you are not good enough.

Throughout the deck we find a liberal encouragement of cake making, martini drinking merriment. Heck, the devilish little package even comes with a few inviting recipes, such as “Madame Marlena’s Mystical Martini”, to go with their Martini spread, because, as the little book explains, having a dry martini will “enhance the effect of a reading.” Well if you say so, who am I to argue? I also need to point out the little book is excellent and the messages contained fit the cards well. This is no generic little white book, and the creators have done a brilliant job of succinctly getting the message across without getting too fluffy about it.

TowerMy favourite card? It would have to be the Tower: just check out how happy our lovely protagonist is! For she’s breaking from convention, she’s breaking from the known and comfortable and secure, she’s breaking the mold. What a brilliant Tower moment – for anyone who is afraid of it, for anyone who fears that limitless unknown, this is the card to see every time you wake up and face another day in the mundane mediocrity of conformity: break free, be yourself, and be joyous.

To conclude, this deck, my dear reader, is certainly worth your moolah: at worst, you’ll enjoy a few martinis and give the bathroom a good scrubbing. At best? You’ll get a deep, sensuous satisfaction of the simple life: a home in order, a garden well maintained, a wardrobe meticulously put together, a pantry well stocked, a decent martini at the end of a well lived day – even if it may all very well just be a vicarious experience and not in the least related to the actual state of your ramshackle, chaotic and messy life.

http://www.housewivestarot.com

Many domestic blessings to all,
Monica