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Animal Totem Tarot - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

Price: US $14.43

ProductID: alt593

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Each additional item:    US $0.00

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About this item
  • The Animal Totem Tarot features animals from around the world in their natural (and sometimes not so natural) habitats.
  • The 78 borderless cards naturally incorporate tarot symbolism into each animal's scene. The deck also comes with a
  • substantial 347-page companion book.

Name Animal Totem Tarot
Creators Eugene Smith, Leeza Robertson
Publisher Llewellyn 2016
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 78
Major Arcana 22
Minor Arcana 56
Suits Cups, Swords, Wands, Pentacles
Court Cards Page, Knight, Queen, King
Card Language English
Card Back Non-reversible
Back Design Circular patterns of pink flowers and different animals on a radiating blue background.
Companion Material 347-page guidebook by Leeza Robertson is packaged with the deck.


This is a standard tarot deck of 78 cards. It has 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana. There are no renamed cards in the Major Arcana, and they follow the Rider-Waite ordering: the suits are Swords, Pentacles, Cups, and Wands, with ten number cards and the Court being Page, Knight, Queen, and King.

The card stock is very good, substantial and 'solid’ yet reasonably flexible. The cards have a smooth face with a low gloss finish, the backs have a faintly textured feel and the same low gloss finish. They sit solidly but not heavily in the hands, and they are very easy to shuffle and handle. The print quality is excellent. The lines are crisp and clear, and the colours and fine detail are subtle.

The artwork is highly stylised – with heavy outlines and beautifully textured dimensions to the images. The animals are depicted accurately and with genuine sensitivity. There is very little anthropomorphism in the cards – the imposition or reading of human emotions into the actions of an animal. Instead, in a clever reversal, the actions of animals are related to the experiences of humans. The images are quite affecting – the tragedy of humanity's encroachment into wild places, and the painful end results of actions motivated by greed, or without thought for the consequences occasionally appear here. So too does the majesty of animals living as they should in their natural habitat, and the cunning of those animals who have adapted to our urban encroachments.

The instruments of the suits – Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles actually appear in the cards and the animals are shown interacting with them. In the Court cards Knights are featured with shields, and the King and Queen have crowns situated nearby or within their grasp.

The artist, Eugene Smith, uses a natural palette – greens, browns, blues, greys, with an occasional splash of colour from flowers or from human constructions such as vehicles and buildings. Additionally, the instruments of the suits are clearly man-made: the Wands have scarlet ribbons flying from them, the golden chalices are studded with jewels, the pentacles and swords are wrought from metal and decorated with with gold.

The images have no borders – the illustrations reach to the edge of the cards. Numbers and titles are given on a grey plaque at the bottom of the illustration. The image on the back of the card – a spiral of animals and flowers on a blue background – is not reversible.

The cards come packaged in a large box set, complete with the guidebook. The cards are sealed in plastic so presumably their new owner will furnish a more suitable storage bag or box, since the box set is quite bulky and will not fit easily into a bag or backpack. Additionally the cardboard box is quite lightweight and not intended as permanent storage; it will crush and/or tear if it is handled roughly.

The guidebook by Leeza Robinson is a substantial 347 pages. The author addresses the reader in relaxed and friendly language, which is not to suggest her approach is lax or sloppy. Her direct and open terminology actually circumvents some of the more indirect and obfuscating language used in more rigid and traditional tarot books – it gets straight to the point.

In spite of the author's assurances that these totems can physically show up in the querent’s life as guides, this tarot is top heavy with North American animals so unless you live there this seems rather unlikely. However fauna from Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, and South America put in appearances, so too do some species of marine and insect life that are found the world over.

The animals are divided into three categories, and all three types of animals appear in the querent’s life. Power Animals arrive in your life to help, heal, or deliver a message – once this is achieved the animal moves on. They may appear physically or in token (such as a recurring images, tarot cards etc). Animal Guides or Totems are animals which choose you and are with you for the duration of your life. They serve many functions such as mentor, friend, companion, and protector. Animal Archetypes are connected to our inner sense of self and represent an essential part of our own nature.

The animals depicted in the Animal Totem Tarot are also connected to elemental energies. Fire represents ambition, creativity and passion; Water is associated with emotions, clarity, and purity; Air represents thought, Divine connections, and inspiration; Earth is practical, grounded, with strong connections to our physical reality.

The guidebook features an Introduction which briefly outlines the structure of the guidebook. This is followed by Chapter 1 which introduces a novice reader to the tarot. Chapter 2 describes the function of animals in this tarot deck; followed by further instruction on how to understand the structure of each chapter, and beginners tips for interpreting cards.

Each animal, both Major and Minor Arcana has its own short chapter. A channelled message from the animal in question addresses the seeker directly. This is followed by a lengthy description or divinatory meaning. There are 3 additional specific divinatory meanings which address Business and Career, Family and Relationships, and Health and Well-Being questions. Also included are 3 Card-of-the-Day Journal Prompts. In essence these are questions that encourage self reflection and meditation on the qualities represented by the totem animal. Each chapter has a lined page for the querent’s notes.

No reversed meanings are given for the cards. The divinatory meanings outlined in this guidebook fall well inside the boundaries of 'standard tarot definitions’. They are clear and sharply observed; they easily connect the qualities of the animals with the interpretations. Three layouts are described (no diagrams are given) – the 8-card Inner Totem Pole, the 3-card Archetype Spread, and the 3-card Situation Spread.

This is a beautiful deck. It has superb production values, and functions exceptionally well. It is extremely well thought out and the artwork is touching and original. While it is not a good deck for a beginner, those with a bit of tarot experience will find it very easy to use. If you are looking for a tarot that features animals in natural (and sometimes man-made) habitats, or a tarot which eschews the cutesy factor in its animal artwork then this is the deck you've been looking for. If you are looking for a *natural* tarot with its feet on the earth, so to speak, then this deck is definitely worth looking at. All round this is a beautifully illustrated and well conceived deck.

Combine shipping is possible.

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