Working with The Wooden Tarot: The Beginning and the End

by Marianne in ,


I had been ruminating for a few days about the next post I would write about The Wooden Tarot. Where to go from here? There are so many options! As usual, after trying to figure it out with my rational brain, I realised that the best answer would come from - duh - pulling a card. Even if I couldn't decide what to do, I was pretty sure the deck itself would have something to say. Lo and behold, I was not disappointed when XXI The World showed its pretty face! 

So, let's look at the bookends of the Major Arcana. From the moment of conception to the last gasp of glorious completion, 0 The Fool, and XXI The World. 

The Fool has such an interesting energy to it. This is usually a card that fills me with joy and anticipation, but in this incarnation, things are a little bit more complicated! While the cliff's edge of the traditional Rider Waite Smith Fool can present a pitfall, the next step on this little Fool's journey is a matter of life and death. Taking that next step could very well mean this intrepid field mouse becomes dinner! It's interesting that this card puts such a strong emphasis on the potential dangers of the journey. I don't often interpret The Fool as being about foolishness, but here I think that interpretation is hard to ignore! 

As with all things Wooden Tarot, there is more to it than meets the eye, though. Given that our mousey friend is already standing on the belly of a python, it seems she has no choice but to forge ahead. When this card comes up, we have to ask ourselves, what is the cost of standing still? Are we placing ourselves at risk by declining this opportunity, by refusing to walk this path? Notice that the mouse's swag is in fact a lotus flower - symbol of divinity and enlightenment. The journey may present many dangers, but with the promise of enlightenment at our backs, what choice do we have but to take it? Like the lotus blooming out of the mud, it may be those very dangers that propel us to be reborn. Our bags are packed, the sun is shining, and hey, this snake just might be asleep, so let's make a mad dash and go for it!

If you avoid getting eaten for lunch by that python and any other pitfalls that might ensnare you on the way, you just might be lucky enough to end up here. And what a beautiful place it is! I love this take on The World. What a gorgeous vision! The shape of this image is quite unique. Of course, we are all used to seeing a circular depiction of The World, but here, we have a kind of floating island, a self-contained universe that encompasses everything we might have experienced on the road to this point. As above, so below! Although it isn't actually a circle, I think there is still a sense of a flow of energy in this card, from the draped greenery on top, through the clouds in the middle, to the swirling seas of the subconscious below, and back again. 

Everything is here, and yet, there is still somewhere else to go. In those treetops, we see a door opening onto... what? Who knows what comes next! The World is both an ending and a beginning, a cycle that perpetually renews itself, and I love the way this card represents that idea of a journey without end. We are both arriving and leaving here all at once. Perhaps, when we step through that door, we find ourselves again perched on the belly of a snake, ready to undertake another grand and perilous adventure! 

Before I sign off, I just had to share that the fabulous creator of The Wooden Tarot has a new oracle deck available to pre-order. Squee! Naturally, I have my order in. Do you?

What's your take on these two cards? I'd love to know! Please do share any interpretations or inspirations you might have in the comments.

Interested in keeping apace of my Wooden Tarot study? You can subscribe to all Two Sides Tarot posts by email here!

Book a Two Sides Tarot Reading | Shop Tarot Decks