Australian Animal Tarot
by Ann Williams-Fitzgerald
With a few exceptions (earwig, centipede, giant rat ...!), I love animals and love watching them.
I'm fascinated by the praying mantis in my grandmother's garden, the dragonflies and hummingbirds
in my own yard, the beavers and great blue herons in the pond near my house, the myriad birds singing outside
the windows, whales I have seen off the coast of Cape Cod ... I appreciate their uniqueness and special beauties.
I also find animals in my dreams, and give them credit for teaching us in their own way. Animal tarots or divination decks
have been among my favorites, and the Australian Animal Tarot has quickly become another.
This deck takes the outdoors in. It offers a wonderful selection of Australian animals, each lovingly painted in beautiful colors. The deck includes animals from every group - the soft and cuddly (Koala as the Chariot),
the magnificent (Orca as the Ten of Fire), the mysterious (Blue Ring Octopus as the Five of Water), the elegant (Peacock as the Sun),
the dangerous (Green Tree Python as the Nine of Earth), the playful (Australian Cattle Dog as the Knight of Earth), the shy (Rabbit as the Eight of Fire),
the stinging (Scorpion as the King of Fire), and the simply extraordinary (Sea Dragon as the King of Water). There are bugs, furry four-leggeds,
snakes, lizards, birds, rodents, large sea mammals, herd animals, and cats and dogs. Each card effectively expresses the spirit of an animal, is bordered
by lavendar (the Major Arcana cards are bordered by a slightly lighter mauve), and is labeled with title and number, keywords, and gemstone. Many of the cards also have
astrological glyphs as part of the artwork. These elements combine well to create fully understandable and complete cards.
There is an interesting difference with the setup of this deck, that has been a little difficult to get used to.
The suit of Earth corresponds to Wands, or to Clubs, and represents, "the essence of Enterprise, Inspiration, Distinction." The suit of Water corresponds to Cups or Hearts, and represents "the essence of
Emotions, Happiness, Abundance." The suit of Fire corresponds to Swords or Spades, and represents "the essence of Strength, Struggle, Animosity." And the suit of Air corresponds to Pentacles or Diamonds, and represents "the essence of Finances,
Money, Business Interests." The suit of Water needs no further explanation, but the others had me a little perplexed at first. The more I worked with the cards, in readings for myself as well as for others, I learned that these cards truly do speak
for themselves, if you let them. This change may be too difficult or irritating for some people, though I feel it does not detract from the deck's unusual power and enjoyment.
The accompanying booklet offers an explanation of the suit changes, some introductory information on the layout of the tarot, and a brief interpretation of every card.
I do feel that the booklet is lacking a bit; for example, I'd like to see more information on each gemstone and how it relates to the animal on the card, or to the card meaning itself. Interpretations could be longer - beginners
will likely need a little more to get started.
Readings I have done with these cards have been compellingly honest and direct, as well as surprisingly on target. As I learn about these unique Australian animals, I also learn about myself. If you are an animal lover, you will likely
feel a strong affinity for these cards, and will find much wisdom in them. They are truly lovely and sincere, and very much deserve the time it takes to get to know them.
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Card artwork by Ann Williams-Fitzgerald
All writing and photography © N Levine - Illumination Tarot, unless otherwise noted. 1999-2019