The Wildwood Tarot.
This is not a deck for the faint of heart. Nestled among moss carpeted branches and partially hidden in shadow, its fearsome occupants don’t appear very friendly. And, according to the guidebook, they’re truly not friendly. If you’re going to ask them for the answers, you’ve got to be brave enough to tap these assholes on the shoulder and look them in the eye when you speak.
This is not a beginner’s deck. BUT WAIT. If you’re a beginner and you have this deck, don’t get rid of it! Just store it away and you’ll know when the time is right. Just trust me.
Even aside from the somewhat sinister artwork, this deck requires some background knowledge. Do you know your Wildwood mythology? With Robin Hood and all of that? How comfortable are you with the Wheel of the Year?
You can flush your knowledge of your Rider-Waite style decks right down the toilet with this one too. Not only have the majors all been renamed, their meanings have changed as well. Many of the minors have nothing to do with their traditional meanings either (but they do have keywords).
This deck has a sprawling, spiralling mass to it, almost similar to what I said about The Fountain Tarot. If the Fountain Tarot is “as above,” the Wildwood is, “so below.”
So how am I recommending to approach the Wildwood Tarot?
Have some basic knowledge of how cartomancy works. Know how big of an idea a single card can represent. It’s like jumping in the deep end when you don’t know how to swim. You’ll drown in the sheer size of this shit.
Read the goddamn guidebook. Ignoring the reading material on this one is not an option. The sheer amount of posts online that I found about The Stag being “Strength” was appalling. It’s Justice, as Justice is 8 and Strength is 11 in this deck.
Be ready to spend time with this deck. This isn’t the kind of deck you can open right up and start reading with.
Personally, I tend to view the Wildwood Tarot as an oracle deck more so than a tarot deck. Don’t try to force your previous tarot knowledge on this, because it will refuse. This is its own separate world.
Have patience. Seriously. This deck is truly worth the time you’ll put into learning to work with it. Give yourself time for this. Anything worth doing takes time.
You’re fucking with slow, ancient things here. They’ve forgotten how to communicate with humans (if they ever knew how to in the first place). You’ll have to shut the hell up and listen.