The Whorled

Rachel Satterfield

In the Cards

For the Card Curious. Exploring the World card.

The Wild Unknown Tarot

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The Wild Unknown Tarot was my first tarot deck. I came across the cards in early 2014, at I time when I was desperate, trying to claw my way out of depression and an endless lineup of hangovers. I was in the grip of grief and I didn’t see a way out.

A few months earlier in October 2013 my mom had died suddenly of a heart attack. She had just retired and moved back to Maui where I was born. My dream was to move to Maui, live with my mom, and since I  finished my yoga teacher training that spring, teach yoga. I wanted to be near her, comfort her, and learn from her. She and my dad had recently gone through a painful divorce. His impulsive behavior wreaked havoc our family. It took us 10 years to uncover that his actions were a result of undiagnosed Parkinson’s disease.  Ultimately, I envisioned caring for my mom as she aged.

As you can imagine, the phone call and what my brother said to me came as a total and complete shock. I remained in  state of deep freeze for many many months after.

My mom, elina Velasquez, and I in Wailuku Maui 1981

My mom, elina Velasquez, and I in Wailuku Maui 1981

That winter I didn’t practice yoga. The practice stopped making sense, I just didn’t have the heart to be attentive to the grief in my body. And besides the pounding headaches from hangovers were making down dog unbearable. I mostly walked around Lake Merritt at night until I joined a yoga nidra class out of curiosity for a “reclining” yoga practice. The practice of yoga nidra opened a gateway to my higher self and my most divine intentions.

One evening after the class, I saw the Wild Nothing tarot deck amidst the usual suspects of yoga studio retail. The yoga teacher saw me looking at the cards in the deck, and in her witty way said “You know when I was younger I thought that I was going to be a professional tarot reader.” She also told me that “they” say you are not supposed to buy your own tarot decks but that if I was interested I should buy it anyways.

I bought the deck.

I read the small guide book cover to cover. I started shuffling and laying down single card readings. I looked and listened. After growing the familiar with the Wild Unknown tarot for what it was, I started to hear whispers, nudges, confirmations. I started to make out shapes in the dark undefinable inner landscape of grief.

In the Wild Unknown tarot Kim Krans’ illustrations centralize animals and nature instead of people. Looking back, I can appreciate that I was able to learn the stories in the tarot and link them to my life lessons without feeling distracted by the glaring issues of representation in “classic” decks. I also look back and appreciate that I was part of a monumental revival of interest in the tarot codes. I think it’s safe to say the door has been unlocked and is flung wide open.

5 years and many new decks, traded decks, gifted decks later I found myself feeling like a failure, lost, questioning, anxious on the anniversary day of her death. I was anxious if I was listening “right” or if she was even talking. I turned to the cards. I saw in the cards that my mom has been signing to me through the tarot portal ever since I first turned over that first card. I’ve always been listening and she’s never stopped talking to me through. Her voice is most clear through the Death, Temperance, the High Priestess, 9 of Swords, Mother of Wands, and Mother of Swords.

I never thought that 5 years after my mom’s death I would be spending the day before her birthday, 1) typing a blog post about tarot and 2) hunting down a wheelchair accessible rental van so that I could help my dad go visit his 91 year old mother for the “thanksgiving” holiday. The world gives and takes in its own way. The lesson for me today is that wholeness, completion, and contentment can only be found in my connection to my Self, my guides, and my ancestors.

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In the Wild Unknown world card I see a planetary system of rings- rainbow, snake skin, blooming flowers encircling a black hole (or maybe it’s the big bang?) nestled in galactic starry space. It feels inclusive, indicating the wholeness of experience.

What makes up your galaxy?  Where is your rainbow connection to Source? What are you shedding on the earth plane? What is blooming in the garden of your heart ? Where is the energy of creation and dissolution in your life?

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