The Animal Wise Tarot

Designed by Ted Andrews, photos by Corel Corporation
Published by Dragonhawk Publishing
ISBN 1-888-767-35-9
Deck Size: 2 3/4″ x 4 3/4″

As a long time fan of Ted Andrews wonderful book “Animal Speak” I was excited when I learned about the Animal Wise Tarot, just published this year (1999). For the most part I was not disappointed.

Artwork– These cards contain photographs of the animals depicted for each card inside an elaborate oval border. Traditional names are given for the card, as well as the animal name and group and a key phrase. There is writing on all four border areas of each card and two different font type are used. It is this border and the different type fonts that are my big complaint with the appearance of this deck. The card backs show a triple Griffon like design that has a definite top and bottom, making it known if the card is upright or reversed before turning it over. The animal photos are really good, but I think the overall graphic design of the cards could have been much better.

The Text – The accompanying book to this deck on the other hand is really well done. It is easy to understand and well laid out. Mr. Andrews writes a wonderful introduction on the hidden wisdom of animals and how to combine being out in nature and experiencing animal power first hand with using the Animal Wise Tarot. He also makes a good case for matching each and every animal to it’s Tarot card. A delight to read! I recommend reading the text just to expand your perceptions of each Tarot card, even if you never plan on using the cards.

Structure – This deck is a true deck in its structure. It has 78 cards, 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana, arranged 10 in each of 4 Suits and and 16 Court/People cards, 4 for each suit. * is Strength and 11 is Justice. The Major Arcana have been assigned to various animals from mammals, insects, reptiles and birds. While each is suit is devoted to one of the specific groups of animals. Wands are the Ancients(reptiles), Cups are the Shapeshifters(Insects and Arachnids), Swords are The Winged Ones(Birds) and Coins are The Four Legged Ones (Mammals). I found the Court/People card assignments particularly interesting. Mr. Andrews writes “Although there is no specific correlation between animal types and the four elements, correspondences can be made. For the purposes of this divination deck, the alignment provides a starting point of relating to and understanding the animals and their meanings.”

The Major Arcana have been assigned the following animals:
Fool – Coyote – Wisdom
Magician – Fox – Blessings and Magic Afoot
High Priestess – Spider – Intuition and Weaving of Fate
Empress – Dolphin – Creativity, Fertility and New Promise
Emperor – Eagle – Vision, Power and Healing
Hierophant – White Crane – Longevity, Honour and Spiritual Justice
Lovers – Bee – Fertility and Spiritual Choice
Chariot – Horse – Movement and Balance
Strength – Lion – Strength of Will from the Inner Sun
Hermit – Owl – Silent Wisdom, Vision and Guidance
Wheel of Fortune – Bear – Heeding the Inner Voice and Inner Rhythms
Justice – Elephant – Ancient Powers of Justice at Work
Hanged One – Bat – New Truths and Perceptions
Death – Snake – Shedding the Old and Resurrection
Temperance – Swan – New Dreams and New Realms
Devil – Raven – Light into Dark and Shapeshifters
Tower – Vulture – Life, Death and Rebirth, New Vision
Star – Firefly – Spiritual Inspiration and Hope
Moon – Wolf – Intuitive Guidance and Guardianship
Sun – Humming Bird – Joy, Dreams and Accomplishments
Judgement – Whale – New Depths of Creativity
World – Turtle/Mother Earth – New Opportunities

The Court/People cards have been assigned the following animals:
Page of Ancients (Wands) – Chameleon – News of Changing Environment
Knight of Ancients (Wands) – Komodo Dragon – Strong Survival Instincts and Impulses
Queen of Ancients (Wands) – Crocodile – Primal Strength and Creation
King of Ancients (Wands) – Cobra- Swift, Sudden Decisions and Action
Page of Shapeshifters (Cups) – Caterpillar- Good Luck and New Birth
Knight of Shapeshifters (Cups) – Praying Mantis- Insights and Protection Through Stillness
Queen of Shapeshifters (Cups) – Cricket- Sensitive Intuition and Power of Belief
King of Shapeshifters (Cups) – Dragonfly- Trusting in the power of Light
Page of Winged Ones (Swords) – Crow- Unexpected Magic and Energy
Knight of Winged Ones (Swords) – Hawk- Guardianship in Ventures
Queen of Winged Ones (Swords) – Scarlet Macaw- Sharp Vision and Spiritual Perception
King of Winged Ones (Swords) – Great Blue Heron- Assertive Authority and Counsel
Page of Four-Leggeds (Coins) – Deer- Lure to New Studies and Pursuits
Knight of Four-Leggeds (Coins) – Cougar- Coming into Our Own Power
Queen of Four-Leggeds (Coins) – Lynx- Hidden Knowledge and Creativity
King of Four-Leggeds (Coins) – Gorilla- Strength, Nobility and Generosity

Readability – This deck is easy to read because all cards are labelled with the traditional name, the animal name and group and a key phrase: even a beginner could read with this deck by depending on the key phrase and thinking about the animal. If you read very intuitively, drawing on the pictures and symbols on a card, and don’t have a lot of animal lore knowledge it might be a little more difficult a transition. It is fun to read it just from the animal point of view presented in the text. The real fun is adding and combining the animal meanings to ones base knowledge of more traditional meanings for a card during a reading.

Additional Comments to the original article, Feb/2000 – I have to add that after using this deck for many months, it is a joy to read with, proving to me that the best looking design and artwork is not what makes a deck work as a reading tool. Children especially like it and relate to the animals. (Although I have been asked: Where are the puppies and kitties?) If you do readings and/or teachings for youngsters, I highly recommending using this deck. If you offer clients a choice of decks at reading sessions, this would be a good one to include for the animal lovers seeking readings.

© copy right 2011 by Bella Lori Gagnon
all rights reserved

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