Waking The Wild Spirit by Poppy Palin
Review by Bonnie Cehovet

Suits: Spirit of Fire (Wands), Spirit of Water (Cups), Spirit of Air (Swords), Spirit of Earth (Pentacles)

Court Cards:

  King Queen Knight Page
Spirit of Water Soothsayer    Mermaid     The Seeker     The Fortune Teller
Spirit of Fire The Chieftain  Wildwitch The Gypsy The Shapeshifter
Spirit of Air The Peace Keeper The Faery Queen The Storyteller The Trickster
Spirit of Earth All-Father Mother of Life The Giant Jack-in-the-green

Major Arcana:

Wandering Minstrel - Free Spirit                          The Fool
Cunning Man - Magical Spirit                               The Magician
Wisewoman - Dream Weaver                              The High Priestess
Mother Nature - Spirit of Love                            The Empress
Lord of the Wild - Strong Spirit                           The Emperor
Interpreter - Spirit Guide                                     Hierophant
Soul Mates - Blessed Union                                The Lovers
Hunter - Spirit of Clarity                                      The Chariot
Natural Force - Wild Power                                Strength
Healer - Wise Counsellor                                    The Hermit
Dance of Life - Web of Fate                               The Wheel Of Fortune
Hooded One - Honourable Spirit                        Justice
Silence - Visionary Spirit                                    The Hanged Man
Rebirth - Spirit of Change                                   Death
Inner Child - Spirit of Purity                                Temperance
Fiddler - Wild Spirit                                            The Devil
Lightening Tree - Spirit of Change                       The Tower
Source - Connection                                           The Star
Mother Two Moons - Sensitive Spirit                  The Moon
Sky Dancer - Morning Star                                 The Sun
Transformation - Awakening Spirit                      Judgment
Reaper - Wild Harvest                                        The World  

This deck came to my attention when someone on one of my tarot e-lists started talking about it. Actually - it was used for the reading of the day - and the scans were out of this world! I had to check out the artist, her site, her work - everything! It was time well spent - pure energy of Grandfather Sun into my day! Poppy Palin is an author and illustrator who has written on her personal experiences as a psychic. She is also a professional tattooist, teacher and lecturer. And, in my humble opinion, a lady with a great deal of insight into life in general and the Tarot in particular.
I do not usually connect with high energy decks - they tend to put me off. But this one is so whimsical, so carefree - it makes me laugh, it makes me want to pick it up and work with it some more - it is magickal! The deck, Waking The Wild Spirit, and the accompanying book, Stories Of The Wild Spirit, provide a wonderful walk through the tarot.

Waking the Wild Spirit takes the format of connecting with the wild - in the form of nature, the elements and our own wild, instinctual sides.  Ms. Palin sees the cards as a way of connecting with the animal, plant and spirit beings around us, and of living in the "now", of being aware of our acts and their consequences. The Major Arcana represent archetypal human experiences, while the Minor Arcana represent things of a day-to-day, physical nature.

The book, Stories of the Wild Spirit, is exactly that -  a series of stories about the wild spirit within each of us. Each Major Arcana card is presented with a black and white scan and a story, from the card's point of view, taken from myth, childhood fantasy, faery tale and legend. There are no keywords, no reversed meanings - just a wonderful story that makes one think.

Each Minor Arcana card presents its voice in a shorter version, and in a manner that supports the Major Arcana. They speak in what Ms. Palin terms a "briefing."

From the book:

The Peace Keeper (Spirit of Air) (King of Swords):

I have the authority to build bridges between nations and  forge links between people. I have a grasp on vapor, for peace cannot be quantified, only felt. It cannot be held, only discussed. I am the Keeper of a concept, the one who spreads an idea of how it could be if we listened  ... really listened, as if we were one another, as if  we felt the empathy that makes us walk, albeit briefly, in another's shoes. I am he who seeks a solution, he who needs to complete a mission to bring peace to all.

I let my understanding of peace spread out around me wherever I go. I am the representative of no one man, only the messenger and the intermediary of a Way of Being. I advocate accord, reconciliation and compromise, in the name of unity, for the purpose of strengthening our connections to all things and one another. I share my words of kindness, I divulge my methods of constructive discussion, and I pass on the information, which I know has forged solutions that have worked for others.

I never give up on my peace talking, and I will not abandon the need for someone to stand at the center of arguments and disputes, for I am a solid, stable form, and invite others to bounce their ideas an opinions off of me. I am friendly and open, hiding nothing, walking with Spirit and talking honestly , from the heart. People feel my inner peace, and they know that I am not out for my own ends. All I desire is to see the concepts of  harmonious cooperation discussed calmly, with a mixture of compassion and logic. My ideas are always tempered by consideration for others. My aim is to bring together the rational and the imagination, to blend them into a seamless way of interacting with others.

Let us all contribute to the peace process with our honest communication, and may we never give up the will to achieve peace on earth.

I only have two quibbles with the book: one is that while each of the suits has a chart for which card is which (all cards and suits in this deck have been renamed), the Major Arcana has no such chart.  The other is that the traditional names are not given on the same page as the "retitled" card.

The deck itself is quite nice at 3 1/4" by 4 1/4", on glossy, quality card stock. The backs are busy, but done in pastel colors with two sets of figures facing each other in the center, each with arms outstretched. One would not be able to discern a reversed card until they turned it over.

The face of the card has a 1/4 inch white border, with a color-coded border containing black triangles with symbols in the four corners. Spirit of Air (Swords) is coded yellow, Spirit of Water (Cups) blue, Spirit of Earth (Pentacles) green and Spirit of Fire (Wands), red. Each Minor Arcana card carries the suit name and number of the card on the top, and the retitled name on the bottom of the card. The Major Arcana contain the number and retitled name on top, and the spirit on the bottom.

The scenes are done in pastels, and have an "other-worldly" quality to them. The Seven of Earth (sub-titled Journey) shows a figure in a jacket, wearing heavy boots and carrying a walking stick moving through a forest. The Wandering Minstrel (The Fool), subtitled Free Spirit, shows a Joker-like figure jumping through space, his dog beside him, pack on his stick over his shoulder, reaching for the sun. The Healer (The Hermit), subtitled Wise Counselor, shows a figure seated at a table, working with a light coming from behind him, holding his hands over some type of bowl, with a cat at his feet and a white bird over his head.

There are two extra cards to this deck, each presenting different a manner of reading the traditional three card spread. I find this a very nice addition to the book/deck presentation.

The cards are evocative, and follow the intent, if not the symbology, of traditional tarot cards. I find this a lovely deck, easy to use, but perhaps not for beginners. I recommend this as a working deck, as well as a deck for meditation and study.

You can read other reviews of this deck here and here.

Waking the Wild Spirit by Poppy Palin
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications Inc.
ISBN: #0-7387-0097-5

Bonnie Cehovet is a Tarot Master, a professional Tarot reader with over 10 years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. She has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, including Secretary of the ATA Board. She is co-founder of the World Tarot Network and Director of Certification for the American Board for Tarot Certification. She currently has columns appearing in the World Tarot Network newsletter and on the Meta Arts e-magazine site (Gateway to Tarot). She is editor for her own monthly newsletter, Gateway to Tarot, on Yahoo Groups.

Review 2003 Bonnie Cehovet
Page 2003 Diane Wilkes