Sunday, July 29, 2018

Deck Review: The Wildwood Tarot

I was fairly skeptical when this deck was first suggested as a good fit for me, but as much as I love
the Llewellyn I should have known better. I'm an avid collector of decks; however, over time I've found myself getting bored with the artistically stunning, but mythos lacking decks. I know many readers prefer decks which visually stimulate them for intuitive readings, but I generally prefer decks which offer a narrative.

Unfortunately with my reading style and deck preferences requiring more learning time, I felt that my habit of collecting was beginning to dilute my readings. It was time to take on a deck with more meat, and when I began working with The Wildwood Tarot, I was not disappointed.

At the point that I purchased the deck, I had not yet found my spiritual path. I have since joined a Druid Grove, and I was delighted to see how in tune the Wildwood is with my current spiritual journey. I regret delaying getting to know this deck for so long!


The deck was created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews with illustrations by Will Worthington. For fans of The Greenwood Tarot, the Wildwood is a re-energized version of this popular and out of print deck originally illustrated by Chesca Potter.


I found the deck on Amazon priced so affordably there was no way I wasn't at least giving the deck a shot. As of the time of this posting, the listing I purchased from was $13.34 USD. Normal retail is $19.95 USD.

Physical Attributes

The deck comes in a book-sized box, which I always find handy for storing the book and deck together. My one complaint is that it is a thinner box, which you have to split the deck into half in each section. This is simply a personal preference, but I enjoy how decks such as the Wild Unknown and Linestrider hold all the cards in a single slot and still have room for the book. Considering how affordable the deck is, I view this as an incredibly minor complaint.

The actual size of the cards was manageable. I can't claim to have especially small hands, but I certainly have delicate woman fingers. I was able to easily shuffle the cards and found them manageable for spreads. Overly large cards tend to not only be difficult at the shuffling stage, but also when trying to create larger readings. 

I also found the cards bent well, but not too well, for the shuffling. Yes, I'm going to tarot hell. I casino shuffle my cards. Because of this, I find it particularly important for the cards to be a reasonable size and sturdy. Though I love my Shadowscapes deck, I have found the material the cards are printed on are not withstanding my rough shuffling very well over time. I have not worked with the Wildwood for very long yet, but I foresee the deck maintaining its fidelity over time.


Will Worthington has illustrated other popular decks such as The Druidcraft Tarot, but I find his work much more impressive within the Wildwood! Each image is wonderfully detailed and brilliantly eye-catching. The backs of the cards are a gorgeously deep forest green with a white outlined Celtic Tree of Life.

Each image feels like it was taken straight from a storybook which is what I enjoy most about the deck. Though I love the beauty of cards which each feel like a stand-alone piece of art, I love decks which use the images to allow a narrative to unfold in a reading much more. I believe this is my English degree surfacing in my reading style, but so be it!

Companion Book

I absolutely love when a deck comes with a full companion book—especially one which doesn't assume you already know how to read tarot. I felt the book offered information in such a way that both beginners and more experienced readers could learn something new by reading the introductions. 

I particularly love the explanation of how the deck functions around the wheel of the year. This approach to the Major Arcana was new to me and proved to be an incredibly insightful  addition to my reading. Being based on the wheel of the year, this also demystifies any qualms you may have about conflicting tarot timing techniques and which to apply. 

The explanations of the cards were full with keywords and connected legends for further research. I find this makes checking myself much easier as I'm familiarizing myself with a deck. I'm always disappointed when I receive a large book to accompany a deck, but it's full of the author's own narratives. This unfortunately makes it hard to just do a quick check if each time you have to reread the story to grab the main points for the card. I prefer to be given the key points and allowed to create my own narratives. However, this is once again just my preference.

Deck Interview

For many of us, this is the most important part of a deck review! What's the personality of the deck? I was incredibly awed by what the spread revealed.

  1. What is your most important characteristic?
    The Wildwood didn't hold back and presented The Guardian as its primal force. This deck intends itself to be a challenge. It will not be easy to master, and I will have to face my own fears to master it.
  2. What are your strengths?
    Another heavy hitting card, The Journey, surfaced to drive home the nature of this deck. The Wildwood's take on Death, the Journey is about facing the inevitable—facing fate and emerging stronger.
  3. What are your limits?
    The Queen of Stones discloses this deck is not one of earthly matters. It goes deeper and it will not pamper you along the way.
  4. What are you here to teach me?
    I was startled by the appearance of the the Three of Arrows offering a new perspective on a card we know well as disappointment. Within the Wildwood, this disappointment is delved into further and uncovered to grow from jealousy. This deck will teach me to get to the source of problems, gain a different perspective, and it will help me clear my emotional insecurities.
  5. How can I best learn and collaborate with you?
    The Ten of Stones entreats me to make this deck a part of my home, my practice, and my family.
  6. What is the potential outcome of our relationship?
    The Wheel assures me that over time, I will learn to work within the threads of fate. That which is out of my control, I will learn to weave myself among the threads carefully. That which is within my control, I will learn to weave into a beautiful pattern.
Please tell me about your experiences with this wonderful deck if you currently use it!!

Are you interested in learning more about how tarot works and the major arcana? Check out this post on major arcana from A Little Spark of Joy.


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