I recently received my brand new Wildwood (amongst many other beautiful decks) and fell in love instantly. This is so far from my usual style (I love dark, quirky decks) and honestly I ordered it only for the sake of my collection – but I almost instantly got rid of the white borders and now it is laying on my table, mocking me for not being in tune with nature. I can tell you what 93/93 means in a heartbeat, but the symbolic connotations of an otter… far out of reach as it is.

I decided to use the Wildwood and the Sidhe as my summer decks (perhaps Shadowscapes as well, lavender for Litha as it is), but in order to play with decks you must have something to read. I prefer deep, insightful readings as you know and you can only ever have so many of them. “What should I know about this year?” might give you insight, but then you must wait 12 moons to be able to ask it again. “What are the deep undercurrents of my relationship with X?” might stab you in the heart, but these undercurrents seldom change in less than a season. So what better way to play with your cards than some self-journeying? I chose Mary K. Greer’s Tarot Constellations, and pretty much rolled through the entire thing. I will write a separate post on all of that, but – I got a massive surprise with the XV Devil, so I have decided to showcase the 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card by going through that exercise with the Devil indeed. It has shown up today as my biggest fear and my greatest life potential – so there we go. Mary K. Greer, show the way!

I know that usually this exercise should be completed with one card only, but I am going with my summertime trio, with a few crystals I brought from Chile to accompany them.

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Wildwood Tarot (trimmed), Tarot of the Sidhe, Shadowscapes Tarot – The Guardian, The Pan, The Devil (all number XV) 

Step 0: I open myself to all possibilities! 

Step 1: The name of the card is THE DEVIL!

Step 2: Describe!

In the Wildwood Tarot, we see a skeleton moving away from a dark path, perhaps a cave of some sort. It is definitely human built, not natural, as suggested by the placement of the pieces of wood and the rocks. His movement is dynamic, he is probably moving fast. His mouth is ajar, maybe he is panting – but maybe roaring or laughing. He steps towards you relentlessly. 

In the Tarot of the Sidhe, we see Pan having sex with either a Sidhe (a fallen angel) or a human. She has closed her eyes in ecstasy and she is being wholly dominated. Pan is holding a cup of wine, which hasn’t been drunk – you don’t need that to enjoy what Pan has to give you. Although the woman is fully immersed, he himself is not so present in the act. He lives in the material world, whereas the woman he dominates in the subconscious world. He comes out of the tree, perhaps representing the World Tree, Agartha, Yggrdasil. 

In the Shadowscapes we see a myriad of symbols, all of which show cravings, obsessions, trickery of some sort. In the purple hill, there are creatures pleading towards the blackbird for a crown; in the heart of it, there is a lone woman whose heart has been locked onto the hill, a mask that holds the key, a mannequin puppet in the wake of the witchy black devil-creature on top of it who holds a heart entangled in spider webs. 

Step 3: Emotions! 

Enthusiasm, ecstasy, carelessness, living in the moment – both Sidhe and Wildwood. In Shadowscapes, I see regret, holding on to things that are long gone, thinking something is relevant when it is in fact not. It also seems to suggest that the creature who is holding the heart “trapped” (and probably everyone else in the image too?) is also sad, as the spiderwebs around the heart suggest it hasn’t been used in a long time.

Step 4: Story! 

Wildwood: He had been trapped in the dark a long time ago already, until a shepherd came to light the cave with a single candle. That reminded him that there is no door, no limit to what you can do, and he set out to his journey. Nothing had remained of the material world, but he was set on his quest to master it still. Nothing would stop him now. 

Sidhe: This is the story of a sylph and Pan, those that can never be united, knowing that should they ever be in holy union, both of them would shatter to ashes. She lets herself go in her last breath in this iteration as Pan gets ready to pour blood down her throat, in an elusive act of hope for survival. Was it really worth it? 

Shadowscapes: The old witch had kept her locked in the tower or years, so as to stop her from stealing her loved one. Every day she would hear the wails of the girl, separated from her loved one. The witch had his heart, and every day she stood on top of the mountain, hoping him to come and claim it. Noone every did. 

Step 5: Number! 

15 becomes 6 (the Lovers), alternatively it is the Hierophant on the “second round”. Mary herself explaines sixes as:

the perfect number, emerging consciousness and purification, two opposing triangles, fire and water, integrated awareness of spirit and matter, sex, generation, marriage, six is two threes. It forms the number of surfaces on the cube.

In Kabbalah, 6 represents Tipharet – symmetry, beauty, Power of Creativity. Devil is on the path between Tiphareth and Hold – Beauty and Splendour, Mercury and Sun. The colour for Tiphareth is rose gold, angel Raphael – also signifying healing and compassion.

Step 6: Mode, Suit, Element! 

This is a Major Arcana card (in all 3 decks) – celestial cause, the Why? behind things, principles, laws, archetypes.

Devil is usually in the Earth element.

Step 7: Synthesis! 

We are dealing with a Major Arcana card that embodies the spirit of earthly pleasures.

Step 8: Metaphor! 

Pleasure with disregard to consequence

to be continued…..