Better Together: The Wild Unknown Spirit Cloth + the Divina Tarot
I made a very conscious and purposeful decision last year to get these two items for myself for Christmas. When The Wild Unknown announced that they would be releasing spirit cloths, there was bsolutely no question that I was going to buy them—it was just a matter of when. I was lucky enough to chance upon a Black Friday sale post-Thanksgiving, so I snapped up both the black and white cloths for myself in time for the holidays. The Divina, on the other hand, I had been watching closely on the Spirit Speak Instagram account for weeks and as soon as they went on sale, I headed straight over to Etsy and purchased my copy without thinking twice.
I'm a huge, huge fan of both Kim Krans and Mary Elizabeth Evans' work. I have all editions of The Wild Unknown (I wasn't going to get the mass market edition, but a friend who had attended the TWU LA workshop bought one for me!) and I also have all the Spirit Speak decks and have a very intimate working relationship with them, so it was a given that I would grab these two as soon as they went on sale.
What I didn't plan on or expect was how beautifully these two items pair together. Aesthetically, the blacks and whites are a match made in heaven. I always bring cloths with me because I like to make sure my cards are protected—I typically do my one on one readings in coffee shops and restaurants, and I'm a massive proponent of anti-bacterial hand sanitizer so you can imagine the lengths I go to to make sure my cards don't get dirty. At the same time, one of the major reasons I love the Spirit Speak decks is because they're playing card sized—super portable and handy to bring around, whether I'm bringing my tarot carrying case along or just stuffing everything into a tote bag.
The Spirit Cloth comes with seven recommended spreads to use with the mystical icons and symbols drawn on the cloth. As someone who reads intuitively and doesn't really use spreads, this provides me a way to change things up and try to put a little more structure into the way I read. Since I've gotten this deck, I've broken out of the very confining Celtic Cross mode I've become quite used to, and those I read for have commented that the insights that have come out from my readings with the cloth have been a lot more meaningful, hitting more closely to home. I also like that these spreads are merely "suggestions," and that you can technically use the symbols to spread your cards out any way you want to, leaving a lot of room for imagination and intuition.
The Divina Tarot holds a distinctively different style compared to the Spirit Speak. The illustrations are a lot more organic, the lines are softer and rounder, and even the shading is a lot less harsh than the Spirit Speak. Juxtaposed against the Wild Unknown Spirit Cloth, the cards are super easy on the eyes. The messages they give are more like "whispers," as opposed to loud, blaring screams from the Universe.
I've always been pleased with the Spirit Speak card stock, and the Divina Tarot is just as easy to work with whether you riffle shuffle or do an overhand instead. What surprised me most with this deck is its guidebook. The meanings for each card really feel like they've been written from the heart. Like the deck it followed, the Iris Oracle, the language of this guidebook is straightforward, kind and very compassionate. There are a couple of typos here and there, but I kind of forgive that because it makes the book a lot more personal—it's almost like a friend wrote you a letter and just wanted her message sent to you as quickly as possible.
The Spirit Cloth guidebook suggests that you use it with a mix of different decks. I usually do tarot and oracle, but because the cloth does encourage a range of influences and messages, I like throwing in an animal deck too (perfect, since I do love The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit as well). For the most part, I ask clients to pull more cards from tarot than for oracle or animal themed decks—these cards, I use to mark major points in a timeline… I use the tarot to tell the main story. The oracle or animal themed cards, I use for plot points and themes—they're great for first and last draws too. Nothing like a thought-provoking oracle card to kick off a message, and a right-on-the-mark card to leave your reader to ponder on.
And because I'm a collector at heart, I did get both the black and white cloths. I actually thought I'd like the black one more, but for one reason or another, I haven't used it. The white cloth has been with me since Christmas and I haven't stopped using it!
The cloths' texture isn't anything too special—not too soft and not too stiff, I like that it isn't as slippery or smooth as the satin fabrics I typically bring along with me. Because I've been using the white cloth the most, I know I'm going to have to wash it soon. The book suggests hand washing the cloth and air drying and lord knows I'm not going to put this in the wash just for safety. The cloth does hold creases, but it doesn't really matter to me. I've saved my cloth a couple of times between readings and it hasn't really held the sage smell, which I'm pretty relieved about.
I love how these tarot brands I love continue to expand their lines to include accessories, tools, and objects that help make our sacred spaces even more special. At the end of the day, a reading is a reading is a reading, but I do love the ritual and the ceremony that these beautiful things provide.