The Tarot of the Hidden Realm by Julia Jeffrey landed in my mailbox today, a beautiful and much appreciated gift from someone I highly respect in the tarotsphere. I watched its progress on the parcel tracking web page as it winged its way from the wonderfully foreign land of Texas, a magical place I know of only from encounters with the Ewings as a child of the 80’s. 😛
As soon as I opened the box, I knew that it would be my deck for speaking with nature spirits. My go-to nature deck of late has been the Wild Unknown tarot by Kim Krans. That deck is remarkable in that each card is illustrated with no humans or human-type creatures. This Tarot of the Hidden Realm is completely illustrated with faery beings, all except for the Aces of each suit which are illustrated with animals.
I decided the best way to get acquainted with the deck would be to go for a walk through wild places with it, asking questions along the way. This is one of my favorite ways to use tarot, and this seemed like such a perfectly suited deck for that purpose.
So, come with me as I go for a wander with the Tarot of the Hidden Realm…
The Hanged Man: “I am a deck that will allow you to see things from a new perspective. To connect with the Hidden Realm, the voice of the nature spirits, you must be still and quiet. You must be fully present and surrender yourself to the “Now” in order to be aware of their presence and hear them speaking.”
At the green ferns: What is still green in my life but will be soon dying?
The 4 of Swords: I am just ending a seasonal day job, and entering into a period of working from home, making jewelry and reading tarot and trying to make these things my full-time employment. I have been taking this week, through Mabon, to rest from the busy day job and to plan and lay a strong foundation for the winter’s work. That rest and planning period is coming to an end : it will soon be time to roll up my sleeves and get hard at work again.
At the frost-touched red and brown ferns: “What is dying in my life right now?”
The deck made it’s first little joke with me here, by giving me the Death card. What is dying is the summer, and all that means: the day job waitressing, camping, kayaking. A gradual and inevitable end of the Summer, and the approach of Winter, and a rebirth into my other, more meaningful work of art and tarot. The change has come, the transition. A new cycle is beginning.
At the evergreen Spruce: “What will stay green for me all year long?”
The Fool! My sense of wonder and newness, the sense of so much potential that anything is possible. This is a card of doing what I love, of following my heart instead of my head. Of taking the leap into the unknown – no parachute, just laughter on my lips
The Lovers: This card whispers to me that choices I have made in the past, paths I have taken, were the right ones. My relationship with the land spirits, the spirits of forest and field, the wild ones, has grown and deepened. And it is such a sweet union.
On the card, the blossoms in her hair are supposed to be hawthorn blossoms, but they resemble the flowers of the Serviceberry. Here in Nova Scotia, our seasons seem to be about a month behind the traditional Celtic calendar, and here it is Serviceberry who is blooming at Beltane, not Hawthorne, who finally comes around near the end of June.
10 of Pentacles: The voices of my ancestors call me along, whispering the way. My feet tread with the sureness of a deep and steady connection with the earth, the beat of my walk a drum beat on the very dirt that is my past, present, and future. Life and death and re-birth.
I stopped by this crabapple tree to ask what its message to me would be, and the card I pulled, the Page of Wands, insisted on pure Puckish-ness. Every time I would prop him on the branch to take his photo, he would flutter off, tumbling to a lower branch on the tree. I swear I could hear his laughter. The message: be ever eager to pursue your passions. Go after your dreams with a playfulness and joy. And don’t forget to have fun.
My walk led me to a special spot in a spruce forest where I spend a lot of time in meditation and communion with the forest. It is a place I leave offerings to the nature spirits. Tonight I brought some garden and wild flowers: yarrow for divination, calendula for its sunny brightness, poppy for dreams, lavender for peace and gentleness. I brought a fuchsite stone for connection with the faery world. And a dripping piece of honey comb from a friend’s local bees, the harvest of a thousand local island flowers distilled into glowing golden sweetness. I made my offering, then asked the nature spirits to continue speaking to me through this gorgeous deck.
By this time, twilight was creeping into darkness. I asked one last question of the forest spirits: “What gift do you give to me?“
6 of Cups – the gift of reminiscence, of memories from the past, from childhood. And I laughed, because these magical forest walks were just how I filled my childhood. This island’s woods have been my fantasy land, my church, my home, all my life. When I was a kid I used to love to pack a little bag and head to the woods. There are spruce trees whose lower branches droop almost to the ground, making a round house for a small girl with a big imagination. I would unpack my books and other precious belongings and set up my house, imaging here would be the living room, and here the kitchen. A nice hummock of moss was the table; another, a chair. I would invite my invisible neighbours, the spirits of the woods, in for tea – with flowers and berries arranged as an offering or gift to them.
Here I am, 30-odd years later and still playing the same games. Now those games are deeper and contain more mystery and power – as does this grown little girl who still reads too much and still talks to fairies… now with some extra help from this magical and beautiful deck.