Long ago all humans had totemic connections to wild animals.
According to mythologist Joseph Campbell, these relationships became attenuated during the medieval era when the Roman Church replaced animistic, positive attitudes toward animals with fear and superstition, as a way of re-focusing spiritual beliefs on a Christian God who dwelled in heaven, and away from things of this Earth.
A thousand years later, we are coming around full circle after this fall from grace. Linda Hunt’s evocative Animals Divine Tarot is a marvelous vehicle for reclaiming these relationships. In this deck’s companion booklet she writes, “Animals have something to tell us and the more we open ourselves to their divine essence, the more in tune we can become with ourselves and our environment.”
Based on traditional Tarot themes, The Animals Divine deck offers the user the added gift of animal guides in response to inquiries. The beautifully rendered animal images act as a bridge between the conscious mind and the “animalistic” unconscious, each card providing a window into this wild terrain. Years of painstaking animal observation inform Hunt’s work. The resulting watercolors are true to life and refreshingly free of the stereotypes so commonly found in animal art.
For the major arcana, Hunt begins with the premise that goddesses and gods from all over the world have often traditionally been personified as animals. She presents them here with their animal familiars, such as Freya and Lynx for the Chariot; the Navajo Goddess Spider Woman for the Hanged Woman; the Egyptian Goddess Maat and Ostrich for Justice, and of course, Coyote for The Fool, each card showcasing a different myth. Gaia, the World, is depicted as part tree, part fecund woman, with winged and four-footed and scaled beings spiraling through her hair in a rich celebration of life.
The minor arcana depict a menagerie that includes Caterpillar, Rabbit, Turtle, Heron, Bear, Seal, and Salmon, each the bearer of primal life lessons.
Animals Divine Tarot reflects our human interdependence with the natural world and our profound connection to Gaia. It makes animal energy easily accessible for the purpose of self-knowledge, divination, and healing, while hewing close to the traditional Tarot. It invites seekers back to a simpler, more grace-filled time when we lived in harmony with other living beings. I highly recommend this deck. Cristina Eisenberg.