Today’s Card is the Eight of Arrows from the Wildwood Tarot
This card has the keyword Struggle printed on it and it corresponds to the Eight of Swords in the RWS deck. The figure in the card seems lost in the bitter cold, treading through a mess of fired and broken arrows. Perhaps they’ve just come to the sight of a battle that has been fought or perhaps they seek entry into the warmth of a camp where they have no kin.
They have wandered a long time in the ice cold wastes. It brings to mind the Old English poem “The Wanderer“. In this poem the Wanderer has lost his liege lord and all his kinsfolk and so he wanders the frozen land alone in search of somewhere the belong. But with no family to speak of and no lord to vouch for him, he finds himself turned away, unable to find shelter or warmth.
Since long years ago
I hid my lord
in the darkness of the earth,
and I, wretched, from there
travelled most sorrowfully
over the frozen waves,
sought, sad at the lack of a hall,
a giver of treasure,
where I, far or near,
one in the meadhall who
knew my people
In the RWS card the woman depicted is blindfolded and bound. She does not exert her own agency. In this depiction the person in the card is reaching out. Making their way into an unfamiliar camp. She carries her own light out in front of her, the lantern can represent a lot of things, but here it feels to me like an offering, the strangers can see that she brings something with her, despite her weary countenance and tattered clothing. Perhaps she was a mighty warrior in her past and she is seeking to serve again, to be a part of something. She is struggling through deep snow and biting wind. The snowy background looks bleak, but she knows she must keep moving, keep trying to find a new place where she will be welcomed.
The message here is that although you may be slogging through the deep snow and you want to give up, you must keep going. You never know what the next camp may bring. You must rely on yourself to keep moving forward.