The 78-card tarot deck is divided into two parts: the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana.
Using the Cards
Best of luck on your journey. May you always be on the inner quest.
Anyone can learn to read the cards — all it takes is a little time, practice, and focus. Each card possesses an infinite number of interpretations depending on the question posed, how it's framed, and the quality of attention applied by the seeker.
Here's an easy practice to develop your intuitive capacity to engage the cards.
- Place your deck in front of you and get centeredYou can focus on counting your in-breaths and out-breaths, repeating a sacred mantra, or drawing your awareness to the center of the forehead.
- When you're ready, let the question arise in your mindKeep your focus fixed on it for a moment, letting the question flow through you.
- Keep the question repeating in your mind as you shuffle and cut the deckContinue until the you feel a subtle sensation of readiness.
- Center your mind...then pull and turn over a cardDon't attempt to immediately arrive at the intended meaning, or turn to the guidebook in hopes of finding a simple explanation. Let the card's deeper message for you unfold slowly under your persistent gaze — you can turn to the guidebook for additional insight in a few minutes.
- What does the image evoke in you?What story do the colors tell? How about the patterns? If there's a figure or animal featured in the image, what feeling do they evoke in you? Do the symbols resonate? What memories and emotions does the imagery bring up? It may help to write some notes on your perceptions as they come, with no judgement or immediate analysis.
- After spending 15-20 minutes letting the card float in your awareness, put the card down and review your impressionsYou may be surprised to find yourself face-to-face with a clear, nuanced response to your inquiry.
Repeating this practice regularly will help you become comfortable with the idea that each and every meaning you perceive during your sessions with the cards is valid and worthy information. Stick with it – the reward is a powerful relationship with your deck that will last a lifetime.
There’s only one way to break in any new deck — and that’s by spending time with it! It’s worth it to take a day or two in the beginning to really get to know the cards on an intuitive level before diving deeper into the guidebook or others’ interpretations. Give yourself time to get acquainted with the imagery, how the cards resonate with you, and what they evoke and provoke in you.
Here’s how to get started:
- Break the deck into three pieces and re-stack them into one. Hold on to the intention of getting to know your new cards as you repeat the process as many times as feels right.
- Spread out all the cards face-up on a clear space. This gives you a sense of the deck as a whole, and enables you to begin to see what cards stand out to you. Make a mess and go wild.
- Make piles of cards you love and ones you don’t understand. Favorites. Ones that freak you out. From a logistical standpoint, this step also breaks up the cards and helps the deck become more integrated. Organize them into little stacks in any way you see fit.
- Go through your piles and reflect on the imagery. Use a journal to write some reflections down. What does the card make you think? What about it do you like? What don’t you understand? Does it remind you of someone? Then look to the guidebook for insight.
- Add each card back to a single pile, and repeat the process as necessary.
We can’t invite a meaningful dialogue with a new deck without getting involved and invested in the process. Develop a good rapport with the cards. Journey beyond mere surface interpretation to allow deeper insight to unravel. Find the reservoirs of intuition that will give sustenance to your readings for years to come.
We asked resident astrologer MOON + QUARTZ to tap into the astrology that powers The Wild Unknown Tarot, and take a peek at the cosmic underpinnings of the deck’s upcoming transition.
9:00 am, October 8, 2012 in New York, NY
The Wild Unknown Tarot is a Libra sun with a Cancer moon and Scorpio rising, which gives the deck a quiet, transformative strength borne of tremendous emotional depth. As cardinal signs, Libra and Cancer are two of the four leaders of the zodiac, possessing an initiatory energy and the fortitude to serve as an example for others.
But the biggest stand-out I see in the chart for the Tarot? A harmonious trine between Saturn and Neptune. Let’s break it down.
Saturn is a planet of boundaries and form, rules and authority; Neptune, in contrast, rules the mystical realm: spirit, inspiration, the unconscious, the collective, dreams and psychic insight. Neptune is intangible, slippery as the sea; Saturn (as anyone who’s been through their Saturn Return can tell you) is as real and concrete as an 18-wheeler semi-truck. When these two energies engage inharmoniously, we see widespread disillusionment, the dissolution of borders and boundaries, and a breakdown in the collective status quo. (If this sounds familiar, it's because an inharmonious Saturn-Neptune aspect has been active since late 2015 for everyone on the planet!) We are confronted by the realities (Saturn) our collective unconscious darkness (Neptune).
But when these energies engage harmoniously, as they do in the chart for the Tarot, the two planets serve each other. Saturn creates a form for the mystical, and the psychic insight Neptune exudes is given a concrete means of delivery. Neptune and Saturn move slowly through the zodiac, so any engagement between these two planets waxes and wanes over a 12-15 month period. That The Wild Unknown Tarot has this aspect exact to the degree in its chart (Saturn and Neptune are located at 0 degrees Scorpio and Pisces, respectively) is exceedingly rare, giving the cards the ability to channel enormous psychic and intuitive power.
A few other important notes:
Venus in Virgo speaks to the intricate artistry and line-work of the cards as well as the deck’s orientation toward service. Mercury trine Chiron gives the cards an uncanny ability to show us our growth-points, or where we’re in need of healing; a Venus-Pluto trine only magnifies the deck’s transformative power.
Mars square Neptune enables the deck to actively reach past the limits of ordinary reality to connect with psychic and otherworldly sources of knowledge. This aspect also speaks to the magnetism of the cards, and the potential for deep, personal connection to the insight they offer.
Jupiter in Gemini gives the cards the ability to guide and teach; the planet’s residence in the eighth house of transformation gives the deck the power to deliver deep revelation and healing through our surrender to the wisdom of the unknown, something we do each and every time we turn to the Tarot for insight.
As I write this, a tense square from transiting Pluto (the planet of death and re-birth) to the The Wild Unknown Tarot’s Sun (the place of self and identity) is at its peak. Astrologically, square aspects present a challenge: when two planets form a 90-degree angle, energy doesn’t flow easily between them. They are at odds with each other, and something has to give — which means action must be taken to resolve the tension.
Given the few days that remain before the end of the artist-printed Wild Unknown Tarot, it comes as no surprise that the Sun-Pluto square is an identity (Sun) transforming (Pluto) aspect.
The ultimate message here is one of surrender. Transformation comes through yielding to forces larger than our conceptions of our own personal identity. We find empowerment not from clinging to what we know or fighting the current, but by embracing and entering the unknown.
We might even turn to the Death card, to which Pluto bears the closest similarities. The Wild Unknown Tarot Guidebook advises: “A positive transformation begins after the initial forms of suffering have passed.”
The astrology and the cards are in agreement: once we surrender to the ego death that Pluto brings, what we gain in re-birth is evolution of the most powerful kind.
The time has come. Introducing The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck: 63 cards filled with powerful animal archetypes from realms both natural and mystical.
Structured by the five yogic elements that make up all living things — Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether — here you’ll find creatures that roam the field and forest, swim in the oceans and rivers, inhabit deserts and grasslands and soar through the sky. The Ether suit holds the seven spirit cards, and represent the seven chakras of the subtle body.
The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck and Guidebook is available now. Pull a card a day or dive deeper with a more complex spread. Add the cards to your tarot practice to bring clarity and nuance to your readings. Use the deck for self-reflection, as an oracle, for inspiration.
The natural world beckons our attention and reflection with a voice more powerful than ever — and our need for its deep and grounded wisdom has never been stronger.
Re-awaken the magic. Invite the wilderness in. Welcome to The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit!