The Wisdom of the Trees Oracle tunes into the energies of trees and nature spirits, directing them for use in divination. The deck has 40 cards divided into four suits: Roots, Trunks, Leaves, and Flower, Fruit and Seed.
Trees are part of our consciousness of the sacred. In almost every culture around the world in both the past and present trees are recognised as being representative of or belonging to higher powers and old gods. From Artemis’ sacred cypresses to Yggdrasil connecting the nine worlds of the Norse gods, sacred groves of olives near Athens, the nemeton of the Gaulish Druids, to the many sacred groves of the Hindu gods of India, of the Shinto shrines in Japan, to the sacred forests of the Lakota and other native American peoples, in such diverse countries as the Baltic states, Germany, Estonia, Ghana, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, and Thailand, trees are regarded as having special spiritual significance. They feature strongly in folklore and fairytales, and impart their wisdom to heroes and common folk alike. They have character, personality of a type, exude certain qualities, and communicate with one another.
The Wisdom of the Trees Oracle tunes into the energies of trees and focuses them on divination. The deck acknowledges the existence of devas and nature spirits which are the beings which effectively own each species of plant – think of the ancient Greek dryads, meliai, and hamadryads. Nature spirits work together to fulfil a purpose and to fulfil a purpose, each supporting the other. In fact, nature spirits inhabit or own everything created in nature from rocks to rivers, as well as plants and animals… But that is another story.
The wisdom of the trees Oracle is divided into four suits – Roots, Trunks, Leaves, and Flower Fruit and Seed. Roots focuses on trees that can help you in the immediate present, assist in grounding yourself, and focus your awareness. The Trunk suit is a suit focusing on growth and healing – both physically and spiritually. The Leaf suit is about enhancing one's awareness, with a particular focus on spiritual wisdom. Flower Fruit and Seed is a suit populated by trees that assist in manifestation of personal power. It should go without saying that when working with The Wisdom of the Trees Oracle one should at the very least go out and connect with a tree or two, feel their energy, connect with their beauty, listen for their voice. Not all trees are alike and learning to discern the differences will greatly assist the Seeker when working with this deck.
This is a 40 card fully illustrated deck. The cards measure 78 x 108 mm which makes them considerably smaller than many Oracle decks on the market, perhaps closer in size to standard tarot decks. The card stock is excellent – light yet very sturdy, not particularly flexible but not prone to cracking or breaking. They have rounded corners which are less likely to peel or become dogeared. The finish on the cards is smooth and low sheen, facilitating easy handling and shuffling.
The print quality is excellent, preserving the delicacy and subtlety of the illustrations. Each image is reproduced with clarity, and the lines are clean and crisp without blurring, misprints or colour bleeds. Each suit has its own signature border – Roots have blue as the base colour and feature a serpentine design, Trunks feature a brown, knotty pattern, Leaf has a green background featuring both green and brown leaves, and Flower Fruit and Seed has a background of rich burgundy with fruit and nut details. The overall colour schemes are nature-based – a broad palette of greens and browns with highlights provided by blue skies, and the oranges, pinks, and reds of fruit and flower. The artwork is delicate and stylised, but not to a point where the client in question is unrecognisable. To the contrary, each tree, fruit or flower is detailed enough to be instantly recognisable. There is a genuine warmth to these images, and it is obvious that each and every image has been rendered with great love and respect.
Inside the border of each card there is a white strip beneath the image on which the plant title is given in plain black font. The image on the back of the cards – a yellow background with delicate, skeletal brown and orange leaves – is not reversible.
The cards come packaged in a solid cardboard box printed with images from the deck, as well as information about the cards, and publishes details. Rather than have a liftoff lid the cards are positioned in a little pull-out drawer, with the guidebook placed on top of them. The box is relatively compact and can be easily dropped into a backpack or tote bag without weighing it down or taking up too much space. It is sturdy enough to protect both the cards and guidebook from sustaining any damage, however any cardboard box when subject to careless or heavy handling will eventually sustain wear and tear.
The 80-page guidebook is written by Jane Struthers, conceptual originator of the deck in conjunction with artist Meraylah Allwood. The Introduction discusses the concept behind the deck and brings into focus the part plans and trees play in our mythical and spiritual consciousness. Tuning into Trees discusses methods the Seeker may employ to attune themselves to the nature and power of trees, and begin sensing their energy. Devas and Nature Spirits introduces the Seeker to these concepts and explains exactly what these beings are. How to Use This Oracle introduces the Seeker to the deck proper. It explains the detailed information given for each card and how the Seeker may best make use of it. There are also instructions for working with the deck, including shuffling, the best way to phrase a question, and the best way to lay out the cards – which in this case is face down. There are also tips and hints for keeping a journal of readings, and how to avoid nagging the cards (repeating the same question, same question different phrasing etc.).
Spreads and readings is a chapter focusing on divinatory layouts. There is the inevitable single card draw, the 3-card Past Present and Future layout, and a 7-card Horseshoe spread. Each layout is accompanied by a sample reading. The bulk of the book is given over to exploring the messages and meanings of the cards. The chapters are arranged by suit and each card has its own page with a full colour reproduction of the card. At the top of the page is the card title, beneath it a single keyword which summarises the essential meaning of the card. The Latin name of the plant is given, for those of you with a horticultural bent. This is followed by a message from the plant’s Deva, in which this nature spirit speaks directly to the Seeker. This is followed by information about mythical and sacred beliefs and practices regarding the tree or plant in different cultures. A small sidebar tells the reader where the clients come from, how many species of it there are, whether it bears flowers, seeds, or fruit, if it is particularly long-lived, and the height it generally grows to.
Each client is given a divinatory meaning for both upright and reversed cards. These interpretations are generally positive, and look at ways and means of self-improvement, with a focus on compassion for oneself and others, as well as finding purpose and meaning to one's life.
If you are looking for oracle deck that exudes an aura of calm and peace, which is nature-based and aligned with natural energies and powers then this is the deck for you. If you wish to strengthen your bond with nature then The Wisdom of the Trees Oracle is just perfect. The Wisdom of the Trees Oracle looks to nature not people for answers, and in that, it is grounding, ancient, and wise.