Friday, March 22, 2013

Stoat on the path

I am getting to know the Wildwood tarot, whose beautiful images are painted by Will Worthington. I love the animals that take the place of the usual face (or "court") cards.
    The Stoat, tagged here as the Page of Bows (=Wands in other decks) has come up a couple of times in recent readings. Better known as the ermine or short-tailed weasel in North America, the Stoat is described in the book (written by Mark Ryan and John Matthews) as a fierce hunter who lives underground, adept at changing colors with "mystical links to the sovereignty of the land."  As a person in your life, the appearance of this card may flag "a charming and adventurous individual who may act as an ambassador."
   I note, researching the natural habits of stoats, that they don't dig their own burrows; they take over the homes of rodents they kill. They have that great ability to change with the seasons, by putting on and later taking off those thick winter coats. In folklore, they are iffy as omen beasts. In Ireland, the old ones said it's not likely to be a good day if a stat crosses your path - unless you greet it as friend and neighbor. In history and society, the ermine has often denoted rank or royalty, and not only as a fur collar. There is a portrait of Elizabeth of England with a white stoat (ermine) on her arm.
   When the Stoat comes up in the place of the Page of Bows, or the Eel as the Knight of Vessels, I am less inclined to think about the procession of the court cards familiar from other decks and simply to go with the qualities of the animals that show themselves - whether as aspects of the querent, or of someone entering his or her life, or as denoting an inner or outer event.


Justin Patrick Moore said...


I bought this deck a few months ago and find it quite remarkable. Co-inciding with this deck has been my reading of the King Raven trilogy by Stephen Lawhead, a fresh and vibrant retelling of the Robin Hood stories, setting them in Wales, weaving in some stories from the Mabinogion here and there as Lawhead is want to do. What makes that good reading for this deck is the use of Bows & Arrows in the suits.

Onwards & Inwards


Robert Moss said...

The Wildwood tarot requires some adjustments for those of us familiar with the procession of the numbers and of the court cards in the Rider-Waite and other decks derived from the G.D. It probably works best for those without a lot of experience with tarot, OR who are able and willing to set aside their normal associations and go with the fresh images in front of them - and/or like you (Justin)are tuned into mythic and fantasy worlds of Celtic-British provenance.

Justin Patrick Moore said...

I also like the fact that this deck corresponds to the Wheel of the Year (a modern conception to be sure, but one that works!). On that note, happy equinox.