Review by Sally Ann
Ted Andrews has created another way of looking at the animals. The tarot deck and book set is published by Andrews own Dragonhawk Publishing. The concept is somewhat Shamanistic in nature, but this is a true tarot deck. The photographic images of animals in their real life setting grace each card. It must have taken a long time to get 78 photos of all the animals.
This Tarot deck comes in a deck set with 78 cards and book. Which I recommend one to get the set. The design is simple, all 78 cards are a pale lilac color with a darker reddish purple ink design on them. Each photograph is centered with in oval shaped cameo of an animal in its natural setting. Titles appear in black in the tops and bottom borders of the cards with the animal names in the side borders on both sides of the photo. Each card contains keynotes of several words that describe the basic lesson and meaning of that animal and its tarot significance. The design is simple but excellent. Which makes it easier to concentrate on what the card is really about. The back design bears the logo for DragonHawk Publishing, in an attractive three-layer effect. It is a solid light lavender with on the lower left corner is three superimposed griffins facing right, in various shades of lavender and size.
The Suits have been renamed to Ancients/Wands (turtles, amphibians, reptiles), Winged Ones/Swords (birds), Four-Legged/Pentacles (bison, cats, rodents, moose etc) and Shapeshifters/Cups (insects, worms, butterflies) which corresponds to the elements: earth, air, fire and water.
A deck I find that is mainly for ones self study although it follows the traditional tarot, and can be used to read others who need to touch base with nature.
The book has 246 pages with illustrations. I know the back of the book says 256, this is the table of contents etc. The book describes each card in detail, and does include reversed readings but I do not use this in a reading. There are suggested layouts, the single card a daily indicator, the three card Yes/No and the traditional Celtic Cross layout also the five card layout Four Directions. There is a round 14 card Yearly Forecast layout also. And a chapter on becoming a Psychic counselor as well as what to look for in a psychic counselor, a quick reference appendix to the 78 cards.
Reading with this deck I find it is very positive. Even some of the cards which are regarded by the layperson as bad cards. The Devil, the Tower, 10 of Swords, all have a positive outlook. The pictures of the animals do not appear fierce or frightening looking. Why the Turkey Vulture which represents the Death card is seems fitting as it feeds off carrion, transforming dead meat into living tissue for sustenance and cleaning up the environment in the process.
In the Major Arcana the title of the cards and the Arabic numerals appear in the top border. Traditional titles and order of the cards are the same except Strength is 8 and Justice is 11. The bee is shown pollinating a flower cluster, this represent Fertility and Spiritual Choice which are the keywords at the bottom of the card.
The cards themselves are standard in size and handle easily, the card stock is thin and flexible. The edges are kind of sharp but rounded off at the corners.
I know many do not care for the set's boxing. The outer box for the set is attractively done but made of flimsy stock. Inside is a second box that holds the book and deck it is simply a brown corrugated shipping container type box and taped together much like a shipping container as well. Collectors will find the box disappointing but the set is well worth it.
Ted Andrews has a books out called Animal Wise and Animal Speak which describes the animal in more detail.
I would recommend this for the beginner it can be used with out any prior experience. And the seasonal reader will enjoy discovering the relevance of the animal kingdom to the meanings behind the tarot. Anyone involved in Shamanistic practice will find this set invaluable.
Sally Ann is a Professional Tarot Reader and Clairvoyant, who has been doing readings for the past 20 years.