THE ANIETH NATURE DECK
I apologize for doing these four at a time; when I have time, I will do a better reader.
Ace of Cups is a picture of a marsh harrier flying over some willow trees. In the Celtic languages, one of the Ogham alphabets was the "Bird Ogham." The word "sail" is the word for willow (sally, sully, withie) and the word for hawk is "seabhac" (shaw vawk). The harrier is also known as the fish hawk, for it hunts on marshes and rivers. The blue is for the body, and water, summer and the "cup" of the lake are part of this card.
Ace of Stones is a picture of an adder hidden amongst strawberries on a rock. All the plants related to the rose are common among the stone (earth) cards of fertility and adult action. This is a classic "snake in the grass" card showing that poison and delight are parts of the same journey of sexual fulfillment. Many goddesses in Europe share names with the snake "Nimhe, "Nathair." The diamond design is also a warning that material wealth is poison as well.
Ace of Blades is a picture of a long-eared owl on the branch of a winter tree, a blackthorn. Owls were the birds of the intellectual gods and goddesses as well as trickers. They were spirit birds, and birds, not of ill-omen, but of ghosts. The full moon in winter is the hunter's moon or the hunger moon or the wolf moon. The long-eared owl is named "strigidae" and the Celtic name for blackthorn is "straif" both of these words related to "strict" or words for the punishing discipline of winter.
Ace of Wands is a picture of a raven in a rowan tree. The raven is a trickster bird and can be seen in some of the Blade images, but is also a bird of war and passion. The birds are so intelligent that they seem to be able to read people, and thus, represent an emotional connection as well as a mental. This suit contains many sympathetic animals such as cats and wolves. The rowan tree turns brilliant red in autumn, the only tree in Europe to do so. Although in the rose family, it is associated with warmth and merriment rather than sexual desire.
Two of Cups depicts river otters wrapped in a knot as they play in the water. The suit of cups is not just "cups" but also vessels and spirals. In Celtic, the word for cup and chalice and vessel are all similar words for similar shapes.
Two of Stones depicts two chamois (wild goats) fighting each other for status. This ties in with the meaning of the card both valuation and frustration. For Stones, the suit of action, society, morality and sex, this process goes on both in the market and among suitors.
Two of Blades depicts fighting herons. Again, this is a fight for status, but the heron represents Thoth's bird, the ibis, and fulfills the same meaning in Europe, sacred birds that represented birth. It is said that Thoth conceived of letters watching the shapes that ibis tracks took in the mud. Certainly the Ogham strokes are like those of bird tracks.
Two of Wands depicts two wolves howling at the sunset. Again, the red color signifies fire, emotions, autumn and evening. The wolf is a very sympathetic creature who both haunts stories and is the ancestor of man's best friend, a hunting partner and a companion.
Three of Cups is a picture of a snipe and her chicks with gentians in the foreground. The snipe is supposed to be responsible for the existence of lakes and, in Europe, is found all summer on marshes and lakesides. The gentian is supposed to draw good luck in love and romance.
Three of Stones is a picture of a red deer in front of an ash tree with two jackdaws on her head. The ash is as important to Europe as the Oak, being the original world tree. The jackdaws are gregarious birds that often groom other animals for parasites. The "daw" in jackdaw is similar linguistically to "chough" (another blackbird) and crow and grackle, all words for the same family of birds. The birds in this instance are entering in an exchange of cooperation with the red deer (elk) a sign of power and majesty.
Three of Blades if a picture of a fox hunting a mouse or vole in front of some birch trees. In Europe, the fox is the ultimate trickster taking on many forms of the helper who turns the bargain to his own favor. The birch tree is a high-country tree, symbolizing both birth and punishment, used for witch's brooms and as cradle wood. Its bark was also used as the first paper.
Three of Wands is a picture of a chough, hanging upside-down in an alder tree. This is another blackbird, common to this number of movement out of the stable ace. The chough here represents will power, or the ability to go for something out of reach. The alder was the original tree of Bran, the Celtic Odin or Hermes, but associated with emotional power rather than the mind, a poet's tree.
Four of Cups shows four ducks coming to land in a lake surrounded by hazel trees. The four ducks represent the four "legs of the chair" or childhood passages into a stable adult. The white duck has long symbolizes a woman who has been changed by an evil spell. The hazel tree represents wisdom out of poetry and dreams. This is a change card showing that the ducks are poised to be both wise or foolish, real or unreal, a mirage of fulfillment or a dream.
Four of Stones shows a mother wolf and her three cubs in front of an oak tree, reflected in the water. This is the suit that shows family, for the adult social life is that of raising a family. The oak in back of the wolf shows her to have mastered the adult state, but the reflection shows it to be also an illusion of mastery that is not completely real.
Four of Blades shows two owlets in a dying birch tree in the mist. One of the owls is curious, the other apathetic, symbolizing the dual nature of the cards. Owls signify the curious mind, for they are predators who all share the "cocking" or turning of the head to fixate on the prey. The dying tree symbolizes the cycle of death in the mists of our understanding.
Four of Wands shows a picture of a Scottish wild cat kitten and a vole amidst a bed of ferns. The meaning of the card is domination/suspence which the cat seems to signify, playing with its prey, unable to decide to tease it or eat it. The vole seems to be protesting loudly. The fern symbolizes fascination and confidence, but these ferns are the bracken of autumn, the seeds of which would make you invisible.
Five of Cups is a picture of a fallow stag running away across a marsh in front of a white willow. The stag is in a dark aspect, for the fallow deer comes in the three colors of the moon. For the Celts, the stag represented independence. On the five card, the running stag is a reaction of the body to disappointment. The willow symbolizes the border of the other world, and is an ancient symbol of water magic.
Five of Stones is a picture of four lynx kittens struggling to dominate one another and one abstaining in the branches of this holly tree. The holly tree has long been a "tanist" tree or a tree representing the dark king of the world of winter. The tree means everlasting life, like all evergreens, but is prickly and spiny and has the connotation of the rich king Hades, who gave out wealth but also deprived the soul of life. The lynx is a magical cat in Europe, its urine transforming into amber.
Five of Blades is a picture of a wolfhound barking at a pine marten in a pine tree. It is a warning card of argument/evasion where the mind is trying to understand chaos but evade the answers. The dog, symbolizes the argument of the mind, the impetus to call out and draw attention, but the marten, like all weasels, wriggles away. The pine, another tree of immortality, was burned at equinox and at solstice to call back the sun. Here, it is a symbol of the world or the mystery of life and death.
Five of Wands is a picture of five rooks on the skull of a fallow stag in front of a dying rowan tree at sunset. Rooks were death birds, symbolizing death, but also taking souls to heaven. They forecast the weather and luck. As the "crow" flies is about rooks, who fly in a direct line. Here, with the rowan and the skull, they symbolize the struggle against death, but also the resignation to it.
Six of Cups depicts six gray seals sunning on a rock in in a harbor. This seal is called a "selkie" in Gaelic when it takes on the form of a shapeshifter. All over Europe the seal represents those who were drowned and turned into seals. For this card, it means both the gratification of the sunlight on the water, but also the sacrifice of the human shape to be in the sea again or vice versa.
Six of Stones depicts the European beaver, which had the same meanings of industry and cleverness in craft as it does today. The tree is the aspen tree, a "trembler" which often means a tragedy or deep emotion, but on this card merely means both success and destruction.
Six of Blades depicts the "hoodie" or "hoddie" pied crow, a two-toned version of the back crow. These three birds have settled on an antler pile. This crow is the symbol of intellect, but is a trickster, like the regular crow. It is a bird who often speaks out the truth in fairy tales or gives a warning. In this card, the bird speaks out of the pile of shorn antlers, a sign both of science and heresy.
Six of Wands depicts a family of otters in front of a pine tree. The card means both truth and rebellion, and the otter, a weasel and a clown, is a symbol of a "water dog" or the elusive nature of emotional bonds and break-ups. It is a symbol of loyalty and constancy like the pine behind the otters, but also of fertility, fun, and playful sexuality. The pine was the tree of Dionysus and figured greatly in all fertility rituals of the dead and risen king, Osiris.
Seven of Cups shows a brown bear with a mouthful of salmon, a sure sign of gluttony. But the bear is also a symbol of protection through the harsh months of winter and is a totem of the hunter and the warrior for strength and luck. The salmon is a symbol of wisdom for most of Europe, closely connected with the understanding of mystery. The bear here also represents the cycle of glut and famine that the wise prepare for.
Seven of Stones shows another bear, robbing a hive of honey and chasing away a wolf who has stolen the bear's other meal. The hive of bees in the oak tree has been pushed over by the bear. This card is meant to show the cycle of invention and skill needed for survival, but also the short-cut road of stealing another's success.
Seven of Blades depicts the seven swans of winter, a famous tale in which seven princes were changed into swans by their evil stepmother. The swan is a symbol of transformation into beauty, but also a sign of fertility and sexual infidelity. In the story, the sister of the brothers must weave them shirts of linen without speaking to break the spell. She is at the stake when she throws the shirts over her brothers, but did not finish the shirt of the seventh, who had a swan's wing for an arm. This is a card of illusion and truth, both covering and showing beauty and ugliness in the same person of different forms.
Seven of Wands depicts a short-eared owl in a holly tree. The holly symbolized plenty in winter and was a sign of the Winter King, but is also a sign of the dualism of the red berry and the spiny leaves, three-colored of the moon goddesses and changing, wavering, like the flames of emotions and feelings. The owl is the mind, watching and wondering what changes will occur.
Eight of Cups is a picture of a fox on a fen trying to drink from a spiral pool of stagnant water. Water when it flows is full of life, but when it stagnates becomes a fetid pool of flies and death. We see the fox reflected, poised between the worlds of heath and disease, a shapeshifter who may go one direction or another.
Eight of Stones is a picture of the frozen leaves of an ash, bound by a spider web. The spider in mythology was a sign of industry and craft. The ice seems to take the web and have made of it crystals, but is is also a picture of life frozen, industry crystalized, with no movement, but the knowledge that life has stopped for the winter and this is only a memory.
Eight of Blades is a picture of a dead pine and a starling cloud in the background. The pine is no longer a symbol of immortality, but of the futility of that belief, for all things die. The structure of the tree remains, but there is no life. Only far off, in that cloud do we see life and organization. The starling is a messenger that means change is coming.
Eight of Wands is a picture of a starling on a thistle over the skull of a sheep next to an alder tree in a field of mugwort. The starling is a bird that will invade the nests of others and eat everything available. On one hand the thistle symbolizes nobility, but on the other is means something cursed. The alder is a tree with a dual reputation, both useful and cursed. Everything in this card speaks to a duality of strong emotion, cycles of death and the moon.
Nine of Cups depicts nine orca herding herring into a spiral. The card means both fulfillment and appetite seen in the plentiful food and the predation of the killer whales. The orca symbolizes romance and harmony, but were viewed in the West as savage killers because they attacked ships. In Europe the herring is called "the silver darling" and is the subject of festivals and kingships.
Nine of Stones depicts a goat on the wall of a mountain. Goats have always been associated with wilderness, vigor, stubbornness, shyness and strength. The ibex, or wild goat has long been associated with the Winter King who distributes wealth and gifts at the winter solstice. The wall is no barrier to the goat, but keeps what is within secure.
Nine of Blades depicts a sacred image from Celtic mythology, the upside-down tree. This birch has tried to grow in the wind of a hill and has nine branches grown down, leaving its upper nine branches exposed to the winds. The nine fallow deer below symbolize the nine days that Odin hung from the world tree before attaining the knowledge of runes, but also stand for the nine muses or the nine worlds of the great tree. This is the highest attainment of talent and intellect. In Europe, anything beyond nine was the unknown.
Nine of Wands depicts a flock of ravens flying over a field of poppies in the morning mist before a holly tree. Ravens and crows flocked when people went to war. Poppies are often the first flowers to bloom after a fire or a war and symbolized eternal sleep. However, in some tales the poppy is the blood of a dragon spread out over the field. This card symbolizes the dread of war or the call of war.
Ten of Cups is a picture of a wild pig crossing a swamped land with seagulls flocking overhead. The pig and board have long been symbols of gluttony and the gull is also a creature of appetite who will rob and kill for food scraps. But the card depicts a spring flood with bright green plants growing up out of the water in the distance. The pig seems to be swimming toward a new horizon.
Ten of Stones is a picture of a brown bear in front of a rowan and a hornbeam tree. This is a king bear who dwarfs the very rocks in front of him. The rowan is a tree of magical protection, the hornbeam, also called ironwood is supposed to live forever. Yet the meaning of this card is not protection, but persecution and tolerance. The bear looks suspicious, rising up to see something. A card both solid, but also open and wary.
Ten of Blades is a picture of a wild cat climbing a pine in the moonlight. The stones represent the solidity of thought and the tree rising above into the moon is a way out through exploration of for the cat. This is a "henge" card which both symbolizes the total mass of learning that cannot be broken, but the way beyond through creative thought. In many European cultures, Osiris was walled up in a tomb of pine by Set, only to be burned to release Horus. The moon dictates the rising of the sap in the wood, another sign that there can be motion up out of the stones of ossified thought.
Ten of Wands is a picture of a beech avenue where the trees dwarf a single buck running away. The trees have grown close and have crowded out their leaves, but shafts of light show the way through this tunnel. The beech is a tree of dark power, sacred to Saturn and to the dark aspect of the Goddess. But it is also a tree of knowledge and wisdom. The stag is often a guide to the other world in European myths.
Muse of Cups focuses on the botanical symbolism of the plantain and the marsh fly surrounded by a woven circle. Plantain is a healing herb of mucilage and a soothing effect on the digestion. This herb is closely tied to the snake in many stories and myths. The marsh fly has larvae that parisite snails. The symbolism of this card is both healing and protection from danger, but also able to suck out the life as well soothe the poisons of the body.
Muse of Stones shows the dog rose and a bee, both symbols of fertility and humble beauty. The rose is astringent but produces hips for winter. This card symbolizes the ability to "stock up" for winter, but also shows that beauty and sweetness is often bought with thorns and stings.
Muse of Blades is a picture of the sea holly, a plant in the carrot family and a butterfly. Butterflies are symbols of transformation and growth, but are also the souls of the dead. The sea holly is a spiny plant with delicious leaves. Its roots were used for coughs and as a tonic. The way of the mind is full of plants that look inedible and worms that become fluttering bits of color. Thoughts transform even if they are not what they seem.
Muse of Wands is a picture of another prickly plant, the nettle, with a moth. Unlike the butterfly, moths were seen as psychic symbols of concealment and determination. The moth is a darker symbol attached to dreams and unconscious desires. The nettle is both hated and loved in Europe, nutrition-packed, producing the finest linen in the world and responsible for terrible rashes. This is a card that shows the duality of feeling, both hurting and revealing.
Hero of Cups shows the frog on a lily pad, one of the better known stories in Europe about the Frog Prince or a prince that was enchanted by an evil witch only to be released by the kiss of a maiden. Frogs, symbols of fertility in Europe, were sacred to goddesses of water. The transformation of the frog from aquatic tadpole to a land animal shows the magical ability of water to transform. The waterlily has its roots in mud and its leaves and flowers to the sun.
Hero of Stones depicts another famous "helper" in fairy tales, the Mouse Prince, who helps the princess with impossible tasks. This mouse is gathering acorns next to a dandelion and sea kale, all important edible plants to ancient Europeans. The mouse was the original tooth fairy that took the teeth of children and left wealth in return. The dandelion represent happy unions, but also riches and long life. Sea kale is also called "thousand headed kale" and is a sign of wealth.
Hero of Blades is a picture of a long-eared bat, another kind of prince in folklore, taking on the darker aspects of the vampire. A dead bat nailed up over the door was thought to prevent disease from entering the house. The bat was a guide to the other world and a door to immortality and the land of fairie. The bat is surrounded by white moths, symbols of ghosts. Yet the bat has supernatural abilities, like those of thought, and is a kind of trickster.
Hero of Wands depicts a titmouse the European chickadee. This tiny bird is resting on a gooseberry plant. This bird is heroic because it is a symbol of flexibility and courage not matter what size you are. The bird is associated with both lies and truths but cheerfulness and curiosity in the face of large danger. The gooseberry was to drive off enemies but also denoted anticipation or the arrival of a birth.
Queen of Cups shows an egret flying through a spring willow bed over yew in front of the snowy mountains and the setting old moon. Willow has always been a "moon" plant, young here for the maiden moon, which is old in the background, making the bird the full moon figure. The egret here is the pregnant aspect of motherhood, flying north into the snows of spring to bear her eggs in the wide marshes of Europe.
Queen of Stones is a picture of a bear mother and her cubs in an oak wood. The three cubs represent the three stages of childhood, and the mother the adult leg of the chair, or socio-sexual action. What defines a queen is her children and the word "virgin" used to mean "childless." The word for bear is also the word for "carry" (bear) and to give birth or be pregnant. The name for oak in Celtic is "dair" which is very like our words for "door" and "endure" and "durable" for the hardness and strength of the oak.For centuries, the bear an the oak have been tied together in European mythology.
Queen of Blades shows a fallow doe with two fawns. The suit of blades (swords, spades) is mental, which is the third leg of the chair, thus the allusions to the numer three. The deer are standing in front of birch trees, another tree of birth. The deer, although an aspect of the feminine goddess, is also a symbol of grace and speed, of precision rather than "digging in" of the bear or "gripping hard" like the wolf. The birch is a tree of discipline, another aspect of the mother of the mind.
Queen of Wands depicts a wolf and her cub, two for the second level of childhood, the second leg of the chair which is emotional exploration and sibling rivalry. In back of the wolves is a female holly tree, loaded with berries. The wolf is a an animal of sympathy and emotion for Europeans, an animal of territory and inner family conflict and cooperation. This mother represents the aspect of the mother we know best, dominating with loving guidance, rich in her feelings, yet also spiny and vicious when crossed.
King of Cups shows the king salmon. In Europe, many animals were known as "kings," the salmon, the bison, the stag, the lion. There are many stories of the salmon king, for in ancient Europe the salmon used to grow to six or seven feet long, the largest fish of the north. Admired for its tenacity and strength to fight upriver to spawn, the salmon fed everyone and every animal on the European coasts and riverways. The Atlantic salmon male grows a huge beak and turns color when mating.
King of Stones depicts the bison king, an animal almost extinct in Europe, but once common to woods and fields alike. Here, the king stands in front of an ancient birch tree in a bed of fiddlehead fern. Short-tempered and social, the bison like most other herbivores had to fight to win access to females. The king was an older bison, large enough to frighten away the young and untried. This king is the king of earth, unmoving until enraged.
King of Blades shows the king stag, the red deer or elk of Europe, in late autumn in front of a group of migrating birds. Each year, a deer would add to its antlers, and a king stag was a buck of many points, called "tines." The word "tine" is also the word for grief. Unlike the bison, the deer sheds its antlers in late winter to rid himself of the great weight of them. This card is of the watchful king of the mind, with a great growth of learning that must be shed to survive the dark season.
King of Wands is a picture of a lynx in a pine with a kitten. Lynx fathers do not play a part in raising the young, but in this picture I wanted to show the aspect of the lazy cat and curious kitten that is in all adults. One of the aspects of fatherhood is having children and being annoyed by them, trying to sleep when they want to play, trying to get some peace and quiet. This king cat seems boneless like many cats, but will leap out if danger threatens. In Europe, the pine was always a male tree, due to its shape and its cones.
The Major Arcana
The cards of the Major Arcana can represent points of psycho-mental energy, people who are involved in the reading or larger energies around, creating setting. In my research, they are points in the four spiritual paths of western magic, but for this purpose, I will only talk about the cards and their symbolism, not their meanings.
The Magus shows a merlin falcon flying over the mountains. The falcon is a spirit bird of summoning, swift and direct when sighting its kill. It represents far seeing and the rising sun, the sky and the hunter.
The High Priestess depicts a heron in a pool surrounded by willow. The heron symbolizes the antithesis of the hunter. The heron symbolizes the beginning of time and the turn of the calendar, also the aspect of wisdom of the creative goddess. The willow is the tree of medicine and water magic.
The Empress is a picture of a wild cat showing her kittens how to hunt in a bed of heather. Heather was the crown of the year, a solstice plant in royal purple, the cat is a sign of femininity the world over. In European mythology, heather was one of the sacred plants of the poem, "I am the queen of every hive." The cat has nine lives and is ferocious as well as loving.
The Emperor shows the eagle flying over the land. Another king bird, the eagle has always been associate with royalty rather than the common hunter or shaman. However majestic in flight, the eagle is a vicious opportunist and will steal prey from other animals. The symbolism of this bird is often shown in triumph over evil.
The Oracle (Hierophant) is a picture of the cuckoo in a may tree. The cuckoo is the herald of spring and summer and is associate with the hawthorn (may) tree, a tree of Bealtaine. In ancient times, the month of May was a cleansing month where one had to abstain from drink and carousing. The cuckoo represents both sexuality but in the form of desire and unrequited love. The call of the cuckoo is said to tell you how long you will live. The hawthorn has long been a fairy tree, associated with the gates to the other world, unlucky to cut or put into the house.
The Lovers pictures a white wolf couple with an apple tree. The apple has been associated with love, youth and immortality for thousands of years. Wolves are associated with gentleness and loyalty as well as the darker images of Red Riding Hood. In Europe wild apples flourished in the lands of youth where Arthur sleeps. Arthur is also associated with the white or gray wolf.
The Vehicle (Chariot) shows a snail on a leaf of ivy in the water. The ivy is a symbol of immortality of the female element, also conveyed in the fact that cup and vessel and cart are all part of the same word group. The snail was a sign of immortality in the spiral of its shell, but also a sign of slowness and the turning of time. This card represents the turn of the year in autumn, where Graves, in The White Goddess put the ivy plant. The ivy has long been associated with Bacchus, probably because it is very closely related to ginseng.
Strength shows a lynx in a holly tree in autumn with yew underneath. This cat changes color during the year like the leaves behind, but the holly and yew are evergreen. This symbolizes the "feminine" aspect of strength to adapt to changes in the environment and the "male" aspect of endurance through change. This card is always a feminine cat card, demonstrating the solitary hunter, or the female ability to tame the animal.
Solitude (the Hermit) is a picture of a fox swimming across a flooded hazel grove with poppies and bulrushes in the foreground. The fox is a sign of cunning and trickery, but the hazel was the tree of Taliesen and Merlin, the tree of knowledge of all things. The cattail is a male plant and the poppy a female, demonstrating that both aspects of healing are represented. The poppy soothes and puts to sleep, the bulrush nourishes and clothes. The bulrush was used as a torch, but was unlucky to bring into the house. The poppy a sign of death and dreams is also a sign of luxury. This card means that knowlege may be submerged, accessible by dreams or riddles.
Fortune depicts a herring school hunted by a hungry seal who is also being hunted by a shark. The spiral nature of karma is shown by the spiral of herring that hides the danger to the hunter as karma is often hidden in the spiral of consequence. The herring were a symbol of wealth the seal a sign of hidden femininity and the shark of the successful hunt, but also the sickle of death, meaning more deeply, the chase of silver and the chase of beauty end up harvested by the spiral of time.
Balance (Justice) shows a roebuck watching over a herd of nine does in front of the tree of justice, the birch. The nine deer represent the nine goddesses of talent and abilities, or the nine gifts of the cauldron. The watchful buck is the code of the law backed up by the tree of chastisement and birth, for the roebuck is also a symbol of mortality and the blind flight through time.
Sacrifice (the Hanged Man) depicts the ancient ritual of the wren in the oak, for jenny wren was the king of birds and hunted in mid-winter. The wren is called the "druid" for its color and the oak the druid's tree. The wren is both the queen of heaven's bird and the king of birds, a bird of augury and omen. For many cultures it was the symbol of the winter solstice king, sacrificed at that time.
Death is a picture of a bat cloud. Bats were always view in Europe as souls of the dead. These pipistrelle bats eat insects, but all bats have the sharp eye teeth of the carnivore which leads to the mistaken conclusion that they all suck blood. Vampire bats are native to the Americas. In Europe, before the exploration of the Americas, bats were messengers of the gods and the other world. Both trickster gods and goddesses of death and the other world have taken the form of bats.
Compassion (Temperance) pictures a swan with her babies in front of a field of bluebells and aspen trees. The swan and the aspen, or white poplar, were tied to the autumnal equinox. Bluebells were the guardian fairies of the land of youth. A crown of aspen leaves was said to allow a hero to enter the realm of Fairie and return safely and is nicknamed, "shied tree." The swan is also a powerful totem, masters of water, earth, and air, aiding a person to travel to the other world. The symbolism of this card is protection, allowing one to travel to the lands of death and return safely.
Mischief (the Devil) shows the magpie in a swamp elder or viburnum tree. The magpie is named "Pica pica" in Latin a word that is closely related to "trick" "pick" "piquant" "prick" and other words of a teasing or biting nature. The magpie is also a thief and a collector, both traits of the dark king. The magpie, being both black and white, is also an oracle bird of great wisdom. The viburnum is named also after "red hot," in the sense of being a passionate maiden. The tree is associated with fire and the taste of piquancy.
The Storm (Tower) is a picture of lightning striking holly trees. Normally, the oak was said to draw the lightning, but the holly is a tanist tree, or a tree of the dark king of riches and the immortal lands. Lightning striking this tree is an overturn of the favor of the king, loss of fortune or of health. The holly was also a protection from evil, so this strike may be the destruction of protection.
The Star is a picture of a barn owl, a protection and messenger of the goddess of night. The owl is a symbol of the bride of the underworld, an omen of death, but also protects pregnant women who hear its call. The owl is sacred to the goddess in her dark aspect, when the moon is old. The owl is a deep connection to hidden knowledge of the the world beyond, clairvoyance and a sense of the dead. Its face is always visible at night, but it is often phosphorescent due to its habit of nesting in caves and trees.
The Moon depicts two hares who are facing off before a full moon in the ice of a late frost in spring. The tree is budded out but also icy. Hares have long been associated with the moon because they change color with the seasons. They are signs of spring and resurrection, carried over to our "Easter bunny." They are also associated with fertility and the swift passage of time.
The Sun shows the European dolpin and a calf. Dolphins were a sign of fair weather and good luck for sailors. Dolphins were associated with the sun god, Apollo, whose temple at Delphi was founded by them. The dolphin was a sign of resurrection and protection. They were also messengers of the ocean gods, but playful, not monstrous.
Nemesis (Judgement) shows a fire taking an ash tree. The ash was the world tree in the north, linking the words of the underworld, the middle earth, and the sky, as well as linking time. It was a tree of such protection, that babies were marked with its sap (later its ashes) to keep them healthy. The festival continued by bring a charred twig to school on Ash Wednesday. Ash was considered the best firewood, green or seasoned and large plantations of it were coppiced for firewood. Another Wednesday god, Gwydion, carried a staff of ash. The tree has long been associated with the year's turning and fire.
The Fool is a picture of the European badger hanging on a branch of elm. The elm is the first tree of the Ogham vowels, and closely associated with the yew tree in the cycles of death and rebirth. The wood was used to make coffins and both woods were used to make bows. The elm was also said to be a fairy tree in which one would find the entrance to the other world. The fool card stands for the entry of the innocent into the magical worlds. Much of the symbolism of the fool, was in exaggerating the male member. Badgers have long been associated with male potency, made into pins and buttons and sporrans. The black and white face of the badger was a sign of the trickster god, or the make-up of a clown, another kind of male fool.
Completion (the World) Is a picture of sleeping otters in the pines. The otter represents transitions and creativity. The animals mean the renewal of joy and the ability to "go with it" or relax into the moment. The pine is a symbol of wisdom and longevity, but also of the cycle of the year and the triumph of light over darkness, used both at solstice and at the vernal equinox.