Tarot Feature: The Wild Unknown Tarot

So guess who occupies Havi‘s old ballroom space?

The Wild Unknown – another amazing space for self-fluency! I encourage everyone to explore the Wild Unknown website, which has some great spreads that have helped me recently (notably The Way Out and The Year Ahead).

The Wild Unknown Tarot deck itself, self-published by artist and children’s book author Kim Krans, is a gorgeous hybrid of vibrant watercolors and precise ink lines. The designs are very stark and focused, and the lines give the cards an interesting energy. Even what appear to be a solid black backgrounds are actually lots of ink hatch-marks.

There are no humans in the deck – they’ve been replaced by animals, insects, plants, or just removed altogether. Some beautiful examples of this are a red-leafed tree for the Empress, a white tiger for the High Priestess (echoing the black and white pillars from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck),  and two Canadian geese for the Lovers (an excellent choice, as Canadian geese mate for life and are fairly egalitarian in raising their babies). In his review, Le Fanu says,

“This doesn’t proclaim to be either wiccan or pagan or shamanic, it is simply a deck which bears images of the quiet dignity of the animal kingdom.”

Krans decided to rename the Page, Knight, Queen, and King as Daughter, Son, Mother, and Father – which just reflects how most of us probably think of those royal cards anyway. I love whenever a deck balances the royal family with an additional female card.

The animals she chose for the royal cards are interesting:

  • wands = snakes
  • cups = swans
  • swords = owls
  • pentacles = deer

Benebell Wen notes that having snakes associated with wands – which is associated with fire – is more in keeping with East Asian culture.

Speaking of wands – can they really be called wands? They are basically branches. And I am totally into that.

Krans’s guidebook seems to be in keeping with traditional meanings but has some additions, such as associating the Sun with health – which seems only natural, now that I think about it. It’s written in an easy, conversational tone.

The Wild Unknown is truly a beautiful and intriguing deck and I encourage you to explore it further via the links below!

Crossposted at Ridley the Fool