The Wild Green Chagallian Tarot is the very latest manifestation of a fascination with tarot that that began with The Mystic Rubáiyát and deepened with The Pen Tarot, both of which may be seen by clicking on the links in the sidebar.

The paintings of Marc Chagall and the plants we find growing wild in the woods and fields, by streams and rivers, on waste land and grass verges, as well as turning up as often unwelcome visitors in our parks and gardens, may seem an odd combination to take as the staring point for a tarot. My only excuse is that both have been separate sources of inspiration to me for a long time – the work of Marc Chagall for the poetry in paint that I can never hope to equal, and wild green things for the precious resources contained within their cell walls and so easily overlooked. I’ve linked the tarot archetypes to the wild plants (nearly all of which I use myself) that seemed to me most similar in their characteristics, and in doing so fully realize that I’ve gone against previously created herbal tarots. The most obvious example of this is Death, which I’ve linked to hemlock. Interpret the card’s meaning however you will, but unlike the other wild plants chosen for The Wild Green Chagallian Tarot, hemlock is deadly poisonous and a small amount will kill.

I do hope The Wild Green Chagallian Tarot proves an inspiration, as Chagall’s love, wife and muse Bella was to him. For Bella’s presence is somehow suggested in every painting created after they met, and for this reason she appears as the Muse in the extra card. Perhaps you’ll explore the life and work of Marc Chagall, or study, appreciate and use some of the precious wild plants often unnoticed and trodden underfoot – if you don’t already do so. But please remember that this tarot cannot take the place of a good field guide and experience and confidence in identification of the plant/s during the course of a year. These aids are advised before you begin to prepare and use wild green things. And don’t forget that a weed is only a plant out of place.

Penelope Cline

The images for The Wild Green Chagallian Tarot were created using the whimsical figures of Marc Chagall as inspiration. They were painted in gouache on heavy watercolour paper. The titles were handwritten and added digitally later, and the cards are un-numbered. In addition to the twenty-two cards of the major arcana and the title card, there is one extra card - The Muse. The Muse represents Bella, and can be interpreted as 'Inspiration'.


The images are professionally printed on 350gsm silk card, 9cm x 14cm, gloss laminated with a reversable pattern of leaves on the backs, and are borderless with rounded corners. There are 24 cards in each set - the 22 archetypes of the major arcana plus the title card, which is signed and numbered on the back underneath a poem the artist wrote about Marc and Bella many years ago. There is one extra card - The Muse.

Each set comes in a black box, the lid of which has been covered by the artist with leafy green hand-made paper and decorated with the help of 100 snails, each of which has had his/her potrait painted on the box in recognition of their services. Each box (and snail) is truly unique and individual. A sheet of the same hand-made paper sealed with a leaf sticker (these may vary) ensures that the cards are safely tucked in.

The 50 page booklet that accompanies each set has also been professionally printed, and is intended as a guide for those interested in learning a little about the precious wild green plants that grow all around us (and are so often ignored or despised as despoilers of our parks and gardens), as well as showing how the images and wild green things link to the traditional card meanings.

This unique signed and numbered edition is limited to 100 sets. Each set costs £40 including postage/shipping and insurance worldwide, and is available only from the Fig Tree Press website.



After studying at what was then Brighton Polytechnic, Pen lived and worked in Southern Africa, where she specialized in studies of tribal Africans and the indigenous wildlife, as well as teaching pottery. Returning overland to Sussex via India, Afghanistan and Europe, a journey lasting six months, she resumed her study of art, etching, lithography and silk screen printing at the University of Brighton whilst exhibiting regularly both locally and in London and Birmingham. She was a member of the National Acrylic Painters Association and the Association of Sussex Artists for many years, and has exhibited with the Society of Women Artists and in various open exhibitions. Her work is in private collections in America, Southern Africa and Great Britain, and her paintings have been published as limited edition fine art prints. Penelope works in a variety of media including oil, acrylic, watercolour and pastel, as well as etching and silk screen. Most of her work is figurative, a continuing concern being to convey the brilliance, colour, luminosity and magic of light. She is drawn to locations and occasions rich in life in all its kaleidoscopic diversity and is fascinated by those places where myth and legend, magic and arcane knowledge cross and mingle. This is her third set of meditation and tarot cards in what promises to be a lifelong journey, and an experiment with a more whimsical mood and style than usual. In her other incarnation as Nell Grey she has published short stories, poetry and the odd review as well as three novels: Solitary Pleasures and the magical The Golden Web and its sequel, Three Magic Women. One day her set of tarot trumps based on The Golden Web may be finished, or she may, yet again, be led astray on a completely different tarot adventure.