The Wild Unknown Tarot

The Wild Unknown Tarot

 
Artist: Artist, author, and illustrator Kim Krans. You can find more of her work here. Purchase the deck here.
Deck Structure: The full 78 Cards, including 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana Cards. This deck also comes with a 200 pg guidebook. Purchase the deck and guidebook combo here
 
Minor Arcana Suits: Cups, Swords, Wands, Pentacles
 

The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck Review

First Impressions

Comparing the Wild Unknown to the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot Deck

The Minor Arcana

The Court Cards

Final Thoughts

 

First Impressions

  • This deck is not for beginners who do not already have a connection with the symbolism used.
  • The images are stunning, and I can see how many people would be drawn to the lines, colors and shapes on these cards.
  • This would be a great deck for personal work and journaling, and I need to know more.

Comparing this deck to the Rider-Waite-Smith System

Comparing this deck to the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck is important because an abundant amount of resources and information about Tarot is based on the RWS structure and system.

This deck would actually be the perfect example of using the RWS to understand and connect with newer independently published decks.

Feeling an immediate and emotional response to the images in the cards is important, but when you understand the qualitative numerology, astrological and other patterns in the tarot system as a whole, you understand more about the Tarot and the messages waiting for you.

The Fool – The Wild Unknown vs The Fool – The Rider-Waite-Smith

The Fool (Wild Unknown Tarot) Keywords:

innocence, naivety, starting out, spontaneity

The Fool - The Wild Unknown Tarot
The Fool – The Wild Unknown Tarot: A chick/baby bird appears to be stepping off of a branch

 

The Fool (Rider-Waite-Smith) is depicted as a young person that is light-hearted and filled with dreams. He radiates from within spontaneous energy and fluid flexibility ready to step into “The Unknown”.

 

The Fool Rider Wait
The Fool – Rider-Waite-Smith

 

At first glance, the Fool from both decks could not be more different.

A single chubby chick dominates the full center of the Wild Unknown card, and this is very different at first glance to the carefree wanderer out looking for new adventure.

From the muted colors and bold lines in the Wild Unknown to the bright illustrated image to the RWS, stylistically these cards could not be more different.

A tarot reader with knowledge of the Fool from the RWS would look at the card and see so much more. For example:

  • The Rising Sun: the horizontal lines in the background and the gradual coloring of white to yellow from the bottom of the card upwards creates the impression of the sun rising. The coloring effect draws your eye upwards, bringing attention to the source of light instead of the darkness at the bottom of the card. The RWS version of the Fool has a sky yellow with the morning sun, signifying a new day, new beginnings, new opportunities, unlimited potential.
  • Naive, innocent character stepping into the unknown: The baby bird doesn’t have wings big enough to fly, but doesn’t seem bothered by this and seems determined to step off the branch anyway. The chick is going to step into an area of the card that is not well “lit”, signifying the unknown. The RWS version of the Fool steps off of a cliff. Aware that the cliff is safe and sturdy and that stepping off means giving up that safety, the Fool is ready and eager.
  • New beginnings are underlined in the new leaves and flowers starting to grow that the chick is standing on, and offers a gentle nod to the white flower that the Fool from the RWS holds dreamily in his hand.

The High Priestess – The Wild Unknown vs The High Priestess- The Rider-Waite-Smith

The High Priestess (Wild Unknown Tarot) Keywords:

mystery, non-action. going within

The High Priestess - The Wild Unknown Tarot
The High Priestess – The Wild Unknown Tarot features a tiger, an orb and a crescent moon

the-high-priestess (2)

A tiger in possession of an orb and a crescent moon. Not the easiest image to connect with the keywords “mystery, non-action, going within”.

Take a moment to compare what you know about The High Priestess from the RWS, and the elements of the card come together.

  • Tigers are feline and are associated with the sacred feminine.
  • The crescent moon represents the natural cycles of nature.
  • The orb has hidden, mysterious qualities which only reveal themselves if you look at the orb in the right way.
  • The gently white lines in the background look like rain, incorporating the important element of water.
  • The top of the card is primarily black, the bottom white, showing the important and necessary balance between masculine and feminine energies.

The Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana cards (or pip cards) are wonderful.

The scenes are simple, clear but still allow room for the imagination to wander with the traditional wands, cups, swords and pentacle suits.

The images feature strong lines, bold colors and aren’t shy about limiting the spectrum of meaning on a card to deliver a stronger meaning and connection.

The 3 of Cups (for example) traditionally reflects a community of people celebrating, collaborating with a strengthened bond of friendship. The 3 of Cups from the Wild Unknown Tarot, however, doesn’t give the impression of a celebration. Three birds seem to be huddled together, plotting, planning. While the meaning of friendship, bonds, and community are immediately evident, the sense of celebration is lacking. This is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it’s these nuances that define and color a deck’s personality and helps a reader form different bonds from deck to deck.

The 3 of Swords traditionally means heartbreak, grief, separation and overwhelming pain. The Wild Unknown Version of the 3 of Swords vers away from heartache and puts more of an emphasis on pain and grief, and tight emotions.

A note for readers who like to work with elementals – they aren’t very clearly or obviously used with this deck. In my article Best Tarot Decks for Beginners, a common feature of these recommended decks is the ease of connecting the cards with elements.

The Court Cards

The Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings have been replaced by Daughters, Sons, Mothers and Fathers. Instead of different people, animal families are featured on these decks. This change is refreshing and really fun to explore.

Final Thoughts

This deck is amazing for readers who want to explore and work with a deck with strong images, symbols, and emotion evoking messages.

This deck is definitely not for beginners, but it is an excellent second for newbies to start exploring.

I would absolutely recommend this deck to any readers looking for stronger female representation in the court cards, or would want more gender neutrality in the cards overall (often times the sex and or gender of the animals displayed is no evident).

This deck has attitude and personality and this makes it incredibly endearing. If you’re not in love with it, it’s easy to at least understand if someone else is completely obsessed with this deck.

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