The Wild Unknown Tarot

The Wild Unknown Tarot.
By Alan Ritchie

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The creation of a deck of cards is an opportunity to express a view of the world that can communicate wisdom and truth through images. Is this the very nature and purpose of art? To call The Wild Unknown Tarot art is an easy call. The self-published works of Kim Krans are the collection of art prints that work together as individual oracle decks. The Wild Unknown is art that transports the reader and client into the world view of the artist.

The Wild Unknown Tarot was published in 2012 and quickly found an audience. Initially, I was interested but not overly compelled to use decks that are nature and animal based so I held off on getting the deck. Sold through the website:

On the site they offer promotions and specials on the deck and on one such promotion I decided it was time to at least add it to the collection. I purchased a first edition deck and is the one I am reviewing.

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The deck is hand drawn and predominately black and white with splashes of emphasis coloring. The effect is enchanting. The black and white coloring is stark and the coloring adds points of focus. Some cards are completely black and white while others are nearly complete color. The Court Cards are Daughter, Son, Mother, and Father and the suits are Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles. The deck has Justice at 8 and Strength as 11. The back design is a simplistic wonder. As a reader, I do not demand a nonreversible back but want a look to the backs that fit the feel of the deck. The reversible diamond pattern in alternating black and white lines carry the organic and natural feel of the deck. Though angular they have a feel of the rings of a tree.

The card stock is sturdy. I am a rabid riffle shuffler. I have decks that I have forced to submit to my enjoyment of the sound and feel of the cards riffling in my hands but with the stock and feel of this deck I just don’t do it. There is a firmness to the cards that I worry may bend or crease if I were to riffle shuffle. Therefore I exclusively shuffle overhand with this deck.

The companion book is a handwritten guide to the Tarot, how to read and the cards that it feels like reading a personal journal.  It is a nice volume that completes the set and when I initially got it I was happy with how nicely they would look sitting on my bookshelf together. The sturdy box that holds the deck is functional with a ribbon in the box to assist in taking out the cards. I like putting decks in bags or pouches but this one does great in my backpack.

Okay, all fine and good. I knew I was getting a good looking deck. I was curious if I would be actually using the deck. I had heard from other readers and even an acquaintance that didn't know I read tarot about how meaningful the readings were from the deck. I got the deck out and shuffled and sat with it a bit while looking over the images. The images are nontraditional but have a hint of Waite-Smith symbolism in some cards but are not technically scenic pips. I was beginning to be skeptical that I would be able to use it much.

Then I started to read with it. The Wild Unknown Tarot is a quiet deck. It whispers. Often when I am out on a hike in nature I have to be silent and calmly move to experience the fullness of nature. When I am silent and still I can hear the small trickling creek. It is with this same peaceful and listening ear I hear the whispers of this deck. The reading experience that this deck creates is singular to any other deck. I feel transported into an emotional and mental space that is similar to a clearing in a forest. Very different to the dynamic and loud decks I am normally using.

The Wild Unknown Tarot with a mix of coloring on black and white images provide a that in a layout it is great to look at areas that are colorful and others that are void. The readings from the deck are personal and insightful. I have found that this is becoming one of the decks I grab as a go-to deck for e-mail readings. It seems to have the ability to capture the nature of the clients environment and while giving answers it provides a bit of an idea of the emotional state that there are in as well. I am able to leverage the information in how I present the information I get from the readings. In person, the images still have that mystical feel that hints to the client that something is going on but also not traditional enough that when I have them in my local coffee shop I don't get too many stares.

With a structure of a Tarot, the hint of a Waite-Smith system and dynamic natural symbolism the deck is versatile for those who are systematic in their interpretation and those that are more intuitive the Wild Unknown Tarot is a tool that is effective I would give my recommendation. If you are like me and are curious about it and have an attraction to the deck I would encourage you to get a copy.

The images here are found on The Wild Unknown Tarot’s Facebook page.

All submissions remain the property of their respective authors. All images are used with permission. Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - 2016  Questions? Comments? Contact us at