A few years ago I came across the Etsy site SKULLGARDEN and discovered the beautiful artwork by Andy Swartz, including his tarot deck The Wooden Tarot. I was captivated by his world, a mix of fantasy art that included much influence from nature. Each piece of his artwork is done on wood. This can be recognized by the different patterns of wood grain in the background imprinted into the art. Of course after seeing the tarot deck, the Wooden Tarot and discovering the ‘Happy Squirrel’ card I KNEW this deck was made for me!
Although Andy sticks with the RWS system he puts his own little spin on the deck. The suites being Stones (Fire or Wands), Blooms (Water or Cups), Bones (Earth or Pentacles) and Plumes (Air or Swords).
Most seasoned card-slingers will warn against decks like these as they stray enough from the traditional RWS deck that this can be confusing for first time readers to be able to learn the system and help memorize the deck. I do not disagree with their opinions as I have found myself more intrigued with traditional decks to help facilitate my studies in tarot lately. What I do believe however is that we are all attracted to different decks for different reasons. If I hadn’t had followed my intuition would I still have been brought to this very moment in my life? Perhaps, but then again maybe not? As a person highly guided by my intuition I utilized those same resources to be able to read and work with this deck which continues to serve me well.
A little funny backstory… This is actually my THIRD copy of this deck. Death became of the first two copies I purchased. I also learned that my little pup Rupert is a tarot reader himself. I’ve made the mistake, several times, of leaving decks within his grasp and while I’m off at work he takes it upon himself to do readings while I’m gone! Needless to say he’s not very gentle with the decks and unfortunately they always need replaced. With that being said I think we can all agree that I believe strongly enough in this deck to not only purchase it once, but three times! lol
Pictured above are some of my favorite cards. The Fool from the majors, 5 of Bones from the minors and Knight of Bones from the courts. Each of these have such an interesting depiction that really bring the meaning of the card to a new light. Even before I “knew” what the card meant I could feel the meaning by spending some time with the cards and listen to what they were telling me.
If this deck interests you I highly implore you to check out the rest of Andy’s work. Currently I’m super stoked about his Pathfinder Oracle deck which will be released later this year. I chose to back the project on Kickstarter and look forward to it’s release in the Fall of 2019!
To check out the walk-thru of the Wooden Tarot and bonus look at The Earthbound Oracle deck as well!