“‘I have come to…
The unfathomable deep
Forest where all must lose
Their way, however straight,
Or winding, soon or late…”
– Edward Thomas
I was first introduced to the Green Woman though the Wild Wood Tarot. She is the third of the Major Arcana, which is the Empress in most decks.
In traditional tarot, The Empress is the archetypal Earth Mother. It is fitting that her card be changed in the Wild Wood Tarot deck to The Green Woman as she represents fertility, a happy home, marriage and contentment with life. The Empress represents comfort, peace, nourishment and abundance, good things and prosperity, and empowered women.
I have known of the Green Man for years, as many of us have, but we don’t often speak of the Green Woman. It is the Green Man that we see adorned in gardens, and on ancient buildings in the UK. Many of us refer to the Green Woman as Gaia.
The Green Woman card called to me, but I wasn’t overly sure what that calling was. Maybe it was her hair of oak, or cloak of ferns. Maybe it was Sheela-na-gig on the cauldron, or that her pose beckons me to look into the cauldron to see what the future brings, or what she is preparing. But I look forward to seeing her in my tarot spread.
She is the female archetype of wildness and green energy. As the Wild Wood tarot book states, “her presence balances that of the wild man and represents the earthly manifestation of female solar energy and the rich bounty of the Great Mother.” There’s that word again – balance – something I am obsessed with. Finding balance, achieving balance, maintaining balance.
Standing along side the Green Man, she represents Midsummer Solstice and Noon. She is fire, she is female solar energy. She ensures the rising of the morning sun, so the earth can bask in the glorious sunshine so all that lives on her may grow.
She is the Goddess of the land, the essence of nature. She is Sovereignty.
Recently I participated in a workshop to meet and honour Shamanka Woman. She who is the essence of the land and nature; who is the Journey Woman and Rainbow Dancer. She who is the truth of who we are – light and dark. She who is steadfast and unbreakable. She who is the Shamanic midwife for our own story.
Within the workshop we painted masks to represent Shamanka Woman. In a moment of, “shut up, don’t think, just paint!” this is who came through for me. Layers and layers of paint were added as I did as I was told. A brown undercoat before gold for the changing Autumn leaves, sandy beaches and the strength of the sun; brown for the dirt and soil of the land; red for the desert rocks; green for the forests and bush. Feathers were added to represent the animal life of the land, and the trim represents the beauty that hides beneath the land – the caves, the rock formations, the crystal pools.
What I had originally set out to paint was completely different to who came through, which is usually the way with me. It’s like beginning to draw one thing, only to go with inspiration and draw another. To write one story, only for the Awen to flow through and be told to write something completely different.
The more I look at this mask the more I wait to see her spring to life, for her eyes to fill and her lips to move. I believe she is going to teach me a great many things. She is the strength of the land, the strength of the sun, the strength of woman. She is will, and drive, and the strength to carry on.
The more I look at this mask, the more her name speaks through to me. She is the Green Woman.