The World Tree

In December I began what I intend to be a monthly ritual on this blog: drawing a Celtic Oracle or Tarot card to shed light on considerations for the month. As I mentioned then, I draw these cards to focus a meditation or invite contemplation and reflection. It is uncanny how helpful they often are.

Today’s card, The World Tree, is pulled from The Wildwood Tarot by Mark Ryan and John Matthews. This card set follows the traditional Tarot. The World Tree card is in the last position of the Major Arcana (classically called The World card). The authors introduced the much-acclaimed Greenwood Tarot set some fifteen years before this set was created. Both sets have companion books which richly describe the time and tradition of the period we might think of as that of Robin of Sherwood Forest. If you want to know more about the Celtic lore and wisdom of that period, these books are a good start and reference many other works.

The World card symbolizes culmination of a journey of major proportions, balance of the elements and suggests affirmation of the path one has chosen. The World Tree card in this deck adds the imagery of a labyrinth. This reinforces the notion that as one finishes the journey inward, there is another journey to begin, going out again. The World Tree adds to this message, with its roots going deep and its branches reaching high, symbolizing the cycle of life, the balance of nature and the sturdiness of a healthy organism.

I pulled this card the night of the lunar eclipse when the energy of release and new beginnings were coming in for the new year. For me, it seems auspicious that this card has arrived for February. I feel I am being reminded to give attention to health and balance as I move forward into a new phase of my work and of my life journey.

Let me draw your attention to the labyrinth in the picture above once again. This ancient symbol also speaks to the mindfulness, the flow and the presence in the sweet spot of our journey. I walk a labyrinth frequently and feel the power of my movement along a path that twists and turns but always arrives at its destination. Note that the path to this labyrinth leads not only to the center and out again but then also to a doorway leading in to the center of the tree trunk. Like a fairy door, it invites us into the Mystery.  (You may remember Celtic Mystery was our Oracle card for January.)

We have a foot of snow here in the Finger Lakes now, so I will not be walking my favorite labyrinth any time soon, but I do want to incorporate this card’s image into my morning meditation this month.  By either using a finger labyrinth or just my imagination, I plan to bring this image and its message into my morning meditation. I will to imagine walking in and out of this twisty path and right through this fairy door on the wildwood tree with intention, allowing the mystery of what is beyond the door to unfold, and then spiraling back out the door, ready for the labyrinth again.  I invite you to join me in your own such visualization. We can compare notes in the comment section below.