Sunday, June 19, 2016

Testing, Testing: Animal Totem Tarot

The book! Cracked it open for the first time today, and was blown away! Each card description page begins with a "quote" from the pictured creature. Some of the critters are crazy unusual, like a dung beetle and a blue-footed booby.
Here's a sample from the book: advice from the egg-laying, spiny, hedgehog-y mammal Echidna.
"Although I am hardly afraid of sharp pointy things, I do find it bothersome when they show up where I least expect to encounter them. I have to admit, it does throw a girl off her game. But in this world you have to see what is really there and then change direction accordingly."

Let's get to it, then.
Questions for Llewellyn's Animal Totem Tarot by Leeza Robertson, illustrated by Eugene Smith.

1. Have you used a single species (like birds as Air, for instance) to represent each suit? Many other animal decks choose to do this.
Five of Wands and Ace of Wands

As you can see from these two Wands, one of us is a land-dwelling badass honey-badger, and the other a harmless flying beetle, the firefly.
Our deck's creator has thought and thought until she was able to find the unique set of attributes that would convey the essence of each card in each suit. We are not a matched set; we are individuals with our own characteristics and strengths. Just like you humans are.

2. How can something like a zombie toad or a chicken have useful advice for me?
Nine of Pentacles

Well now, let's just have a nice long slow look 'round, shall we? (You humans, always jumping to hasty conclusions.)
I am a tortoise. I live a very long time; sometimes longer than you do, if I am left to my own devices and not hunted for my interesting shell.
I am peaceful - now there's something that humankind can surely learn from me.
My life is simple; I am satisfied with the possessions that I can carry with me. There are no packrat, overspending, deeply-in-debt, materialistic tortoises.
We don't get ulcers and high blood pressure from trying to live in the fast lane.
Are you getting the idea yet?

3. Are the characteristics attributed to the creature on each card scientifically accurate?
The Tower XVI

We are real creatures living in the real world, going about our daily lives (as you are).
I am a tower built by termites in the desert of Australia. Here in this inhospitable landscape the ants thrive in huge communal cooperative colonies. They dare to build high; it takes time and the work of many to achieve such an edifice.
And when the rains come, these termite structures will crumble. All that work - for nought. Or not?
Like human-built towers, they are bold. They climb skyward and dare to tempt fate, the elements, the gods. And when they collapse, work will begin anew. Lessons will be learned. Egos will be humbled. And life will continue, but not exactly the same as before. 

I think I'm going to love working with this deck/ book combo!