And now that the year has turned, let's make the journey into the final suit of the Wildwood Tarot....
STONES - Winter
The Wolf stands on a snowy outcrop and bays at the full moon. Wolves are pack animals with a strong hierarchy overseen by the breeding pair who take the decisions for the pack. Young wolves leave the pack at 1-2 years in order to find mates and establish their own terrain. The last wolf in Scotland was shot in 1700, and the only wolves in Britain are now only found in zoos or nature reserves, although there are plans afoot to reintroduce wolves to Scotland, as they are the only natural predator of the deer which have to be regularly culled as a result. The wolf reminds us that the untamed canine is the true master of the wild.
As a person in your life: The King of Stones is an experienced and mature person, with a more traditional mindset. Pragmatic and steadfast, he offers a secure and comfortable reliability to those around him. He is a natural businessman who understands both value and profit, and is often a philanthropist. As a friend, he can be relied upon to keep promises or be a good financial adviser. He often offers a spring-board for likely ventures. Can also be blunt, possessive and vulgar, given to gluttony or be just plain unimaginative.
As an aspect or process: Appreciating the good things of life. Learning to handle money well. Discovering the value of life. Cocooning yourself from outside influences.
As an event/happening: Enterprise. An estate or land. Conservation of resources or environment. Sponsorship. Good health. Financial support. Financial corruption or bribes.
Questions: Who offers you the best security or pragmatic advice? What is the intrinsic value to you or others? Where do you need to provide support? Where is life offering you its riches?
QUEEN of Stones Bear
The mother bear stands on her hind legs to check on conditions outside her winter lair. Bears no longer roam Britain and no-one knows when they became extinct here, perhaps between 1000-1500, though scientists studying the DNA of polar bears have recently discovered that they descend from a prehistoric Irish brown bear many centuries ago. Sadly, the last female brown bear in Western Europe was killed in the Pyrenees in 2004. Bears give birth in the depth of winter and keep their cubs safe until it is safe to emerge. In hibernation they drastically slow down their own metabolism. The end of hard winter, at the beginning of February, is marked all over the northern hemisphere by the emergence of the bear from its hibernation. Folklore says that if the bear can see its shadow, it is too early to leave the cave as the cold will yet strengthen.
As a person in your life: Queen of Stones is a practical and welcoming person. Her home is never empty of hospitable good cheer. She welcomes prosperity and luxury, so expect a little opulence, though she can also have a natural and wholesome simplicity. As a friend, she is loyal, keeping faith with you and being frank about issues needing improvement. She may be a treasurer who is good at managing resources, or a curator of tradition, but she can also be a hoarder or a squanderer, as well as a demanding or timid individual.
As an aspect or process: Managing things wisely. Preserving things of value. Making things better. Providing amenities. Wasting resources. Cutting your losses.
As an event/happening: Craft and design. Expansive liberality. The commonwealth of a group or community. Putting the family first, right or wrong. Refusing to nurture.
Questions: How can you best promote well-being here? Where can you make space to care for yourself or others? What needs to be preserved? How can you improve standards or make things better?
KNIGHT of Stones Horse
The Horse canters across a barren landscape under a cloudy sky. The Przewalski horse, with its distinctive dorsal stripe, is a throw- back to the original prehistoric horses that once roamed Britain. Thirteen of these horses were rediscovered at the end of 19th century near the border of China and the thousand living Przewalskis all descend from them. These wild horses use their hooves to get water out of the ground; the herds graze in grasslands. Smaller than the domestic horse at 13 hands high, they are a living reminder of the herds that once covered Europe.
As a person in your life: The Knight of Stones is a reliable and robust person who has stamina and determination. He takes care of the details and can be depended upon to get a job done. He is naturally adept and has a craftsman’s skill. As a friend, he is a good person to have at your side because he checks all the possibilities before you venture yourself unwarily. He can be dogged in pursuit or else pedestrian, plodding and materialistic, as well as not knowing when enough is enough. He can also take glum melancholia to its extremes or become a couch-potato.
As an aspect or process: Checking the details. Maintaining a steady impetus. Seeing it through. Obliging others. Taking pride in your work. Giving up easily. Missing the moment through lethargy and delay.
As an event/happening: Land-management. Industry or employment. Security firm. Persistence. Unemployment. Poor self-worth.
Questions: Where can you push on to the finish? Where do you need to be proactive? What service is required of you? How is stubbornness shooting you in the foot?
PAGE of Stones Lynx
The lynx crouches in a bare tree, seeking its quarry. It was thought that lynx had become extinct over four thousand years ago, but bones dated to one and half thousand years ago were discovered in Yorkshire. The fact that the llewin (literally ‘little lion’) or lynx is mentioned in a 7th century Cumbrian lullaby may indicate some scattered survivals of this splendid cat which still inhabits a wide swathe of northern Europe and Asia. Hunting by smell and sight, it often uses a high perch to search out prey, usually at dusk or dawn. Adult lynxes live solitary after they leave the litter. There have been plans to reintroduce it to Britain as a means of keeping deer numbers under control.
As a person in your life: The Page of Stones is a person of common sense and dedication. He enjoys learning skills that make him efficient or that lead to prosperity and comfort. As a friend, he values the authentic aspects of your character and sticks to his commitments. Can be an idle good-for-nothing or fall into a fatal inertia that’s hard to shift. If he or his skills are not valued or recognized, he can be wild and undisciplined in the face of authority.
As an aspect or process: Learning the ropes as a beginner. Keeping things down to earth or actual rather than virtual. Setting practical goals. Being busy. Vandalizing public property or mocking concepts of authority.
As an event/happening: Apprenticeship. Study. Schools or training programmes. Concentration. Messages of prosperity or benefit. Theft or pillage. Public disorder. Inertia.
Questions: What data do you need to gather to make a good decision? Where do you need to get out of your head and into your body? What needs your dedicated commitment? What can you learn from this situation?