|About this item
- The Magical Menagerie has 42 cards featuring real and mythical animals from Greek and Celtic legend. A deck for self-
- exploration, problem-solving, magic and divination.
In his preface, Leslie states that each beast included in this book epitomizes a specific spiritual quality, a quality that may be operating in the Seekers life at the time of the reading. In many ways, this book is an extension of Leslie's previous book, The Magical Personality). In The Magical Personality, Leslie works with the description of magic as being largely a psychological event. Here he describes personality in terms of the five elements: Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Quintessence (Spirit). Two of the four physical elements (Fire, Water, Air and Earth) are seen as well developed and conscious, two are seen as undeveloped and unconscious.
In The Magical Personality, the conscious pairs are described by mythological beasts that illustrate the positive qualities of a given type. The unconscious pairs are described by these same beasts, using the negative, or shadow qualities of a given type. Leslie has placed the focus of this work on a readership of magicians and wizards. His thought was to place at the wizards disposal a means of discerning Otherworld influences. In this way, depending on the timeline of where these influences are from, time and place can then be determined in a reading.
This 42 card deck includes elemental representations (Earth/Gnomes, Water/Undines, Fire/Salamanders, Air/Sylphs, Spirit/Quintessence), and a Fetch, or artificial elemental. There are twelve mythical beasts, and twenty-four animal spirits derived from the Celtic tradition. Leslie uses the following attribution system for the elementals:
* North - Earth, Sensation, Body, Wealth
* East - Air, Thinking, Mind, Conscious
* South - Fire, Intuition, Spirit, Drive
* Water, Feeling, Dreams, Unconscious
In addition to the system above, Leslie presents a section on how the elements interact with each other - whether they weaken each other, support/enhance each other, or may be basically viewed as having a neutral relationship. This system (which in the field of Tarot is termed Elemental Dignities), adds a great deal of depth to any reading.
The cards themselves are approximately 3" by 4 /12", in high quality, glossy cardstock. The backs have a 1/4" white border, surrounding a thinner black border. The middle section of the card is a light green open weave pattern, through which a lighter greenish-yellow background color is seen. It would not be possible to determine whether the cards were upright or reversed before they were turned over.
The faces of the cards carry the same white, followed by black border. The illustrations themselves are in the style of a line drawing which is then colored in. In the accompanying 153 page book, Leslie groups the cards by their attributes, and presents them with a black and white scan, upright and reversed meanings, direction, time, pace of change, and a short paragraph talking about the nature of the card.
There is a section on doing readings, which includes several different spreads: the Single Card spread; a linear Three Card spread (based on past/present/future); a Four-Card spread used for guidance, with one card placed in each of the four directions; and a Five-Card spread, with one card above, and two lines of two cards each below it (also used for guidance).
One of my favorite spirit animals is the Bear. In Native American tradition, the Bear is the symbol for the West, and intuition. It is Bear who often acts as a guide when journeying. In this card, we see a brown Bear standing on all four legs in the middle of a stream, facing us. In the background we see a mountain and blue sky. Leslie defines the upright meaning of Bear as "protection, strength and introspection". He defines the reversed meaning as "aggression, cowardice and anger". The direction is "1-15 degrees", the time is "late December, 12-1 am," and the pace of change is "very slow to start, becoming active suddenly; vigilance leading to protection". Bear upright means protection, while in the reversed position it indicates danger.
One of my favorite elementals is the Gnome, the elemental of Earth. Here we see an older Gnome, with a long white beard, red jacket and cap, standing in a field of daisies, holding on to the stem of a daisy (which is taller than he is!). The upright meaning of the Gnome is "the physical, pleasure of the senses, the natural world, riches". The reversed meaning is "materialism, skepticism, overindulgence, physical neglect". The direction is North, the time is "winter, midnight", and the pace of change is "very slow". In a reading, the Gnome indicates manifestation on the physical plane. A reversed Gnome may indicate over-reliance on the physical aspects of the world.
Quintessence is a marvelous card - a bright yellow circle in the center, surrounded by outgoing orange-red rays on a background of bright yellow. The background color of the four corners is dark blue. Upright , it stands for "harmony and balance". There is no reversed meaning. The direction is "the center", the time is "eternity", and the pace of change indicates that: "either a state of balance has been attained, or that this state will be reached suddenly in the very near future". In a reading, Quintessence refers to spirituality and mystical union.
Wodewose is a prototypical "Green Man": appearing on this card as a face made up of leaves in shades of green, red and gray. This is a stunning card! Upright, it means "manifestation, gradual development and tenacity". Reversed, it means "inertia, failure, selfishness". The direction is "North", the time "December, Winter, Solstice, midnight", the pace of change "slowly over a long period of time, changing suddenly". In a reading, Wodewose, the spirit of the woods, combines the practical qualities of Earth with the fiery energy of Fire, leading to manifestation. Wodwose reversed refers to a state of inertia.
I found it easy to connect with the images on these cards, and can see several ways to use them not only in divination, but in meditation, ritual and ceremony. Those in the magical fields will find these cards a great reference, while those not having studied magic, but who are drawn to the cards, have a "safe" venue for exploration and personal transformation. This deck/book set are powerful tools of transformation, able to be used by anyone and everyone. I highly recommend them!