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Saturday, 21 December 2013

Cats in the Wild Unknown Tarot

Wild Unknown Tarot
There are four cards in the Wild Unknown Tarot featuring cats - Magician, High Priestess, Justice and Strength. I like that these cards have natural links to each other and also share the same animal theme. That is logical and sensible.

Let's start with the pair of Magician and High Priestess. For some reason, a leopard looks more feminine to me and a tiger more masculine, so already I see a yin yang type thing going on with these two cards - a masculine energy of the Magician with the slender, feminine lines of the leopard, and the female energy of High Priestess with the chunkier, hulkier appearance of the tiger. The Magician is active and his card is filled with light, and his cat is associated with agility and speed, particularly adept at climbing trees, leaping and running fast. The High Priestess is passive, her card is dark, and her cat is the largest of the cat species, and while it can run fast in short bursts, is mostly portrayed as lying around looking formidable. (Did you know the global tiger population is under 4,000? That's not really tarot-related, but comes as a shock to me.)

Then we have the two cards, Justice and Strength. In the Wild Unknown, Justice is card 8 and Strength is card 11. I don't really care which way around they go, but since I first learned with RWS, to me Strength will always be number 8 no matter what the card says at the top. Anyway, it seems to have no bearing on these two cards. Justice features what looks to me like two domestic short-hairs, a black one and a white one. Of course this refers to the 'black and white' nature of the concept of justice. We often see black and white patterns in Justice and Emperor cards in other decks. Also, since 'justice' seems to be a construct of human civilization, I think it makes sense that the animal chosen to go on the cards would be a product of human genetic modification - the domestic cat. And of course, as there is a lion on the traditional RWS Strength card, it's no surprise to find one on the Strength card in the Wild Unknown. The maiden of the RWS card is represented by the rose clutched demurely in the lion's jaws.

I like these four cards.


  1. I love how you're breaking down this deck symbolically, and you're right, these are fascinating pairings! I can definitely see the mercurial aspects of the Magician in the speed and agility of the cheetah, and the calm knowing of the High Priestess in the tiger. Wonderful cards :)

  2. This is a splendid way to get more familiar with this deck. The commonalities seem to make the differences stand out even more when you group them. Looking forward to seeing more! :)

  3. Happy Christmas to you and yours, Carla. Thank you for the continued gift of your blogging.