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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeking the Divine Through Animal Guides, 14 Aug. 2005
By 
Margaret A. Foster (Quakertown, PA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Animals Divine Tarot (Paperback)
I am a big fan of Lisa Hunt's artwork, so it seemed natural to review her new deck. I received the box set which contains the deck, a companion book, a bag to store the cards in and comes in a nice, attractive box featuring her artwork.
The deck itself is a breath of fresh air. First, the reverse color of the deck is a pale yellow with a gold stamped design of three flying birds and a triple spiral, reminiscent of Celtic designs. Very attractive and a much needed relief from the dark or black reverses on many decks. It sets the theme for the rest of the deck. Bright, colorful and airy is the description to give to the overall look of the deck.
The deck size is 2 ¾" by a little over 4 ½". Nice hand size, the deck shuffles agreeably and fits well. There are 78 cards in the deck, plus two cards which illustrate "spreads" suggested for use with the deck.
There are 22 "Major Arcana" cards, numbered 0 to 21. Each illustration is bordered by a gold and white border, with the name of the card and number at the bottom, and the subject of the card at the top, to make correspondence easier for folks used to using the traditional tarot deck. The similarities stop here. This deck now progresses off on the path that Ms. Hunt wants to proceed on, which is the influences of animals and various Deities. The Coyote is depicted as the Fool, Cerridwen as the Magician, Bast as the High Priestess. Except for the Wheel, which is labeled "All Animals" the Major Arcana's focus is upon Deity and it's animal association.
The artwork itself is stunning; very detailed and lifelike. If you take the focus the artist has for the deck, you can see the stories, as outlined in the book, and reflection upon these does give you insight into the meanings of the cards.
The "Court Cards" consist of 4 cards, starting with the Queen, King, Knight and Page. They are themed, with Cups representing Water, and using water Deities and animals. The Swords represents Air and uses birds and Deities with bird symbols. Wands is Fire, and uses reptiles and insects and Deities with these symbols and Pentacles is Earth, with mammals and Deities with mammals.
Every spiritual path is represented here: Celtic, Hindu, Phoenician, Green, Native American and more. Everyone will find something to identify with in this deck, and there will be plenty of fresh, new material for you to learn.
The Minor Arcana is split up the same way the Court Cards are, and each card has an animal representation, in addition to the usual suit assignment.
Working with the cards themselves was easier than I expected, though I needed to work with the book a bit. The meanings are not really all that far off from the traditional meanings; you are just looking at the meanings in a different way.
This would be a great deck for those who are working closely with animal guides or with the animal aspects of Deity. It is an excellent deck for anyone who enjoys variations on the Tarot. And it is a wonderful deck for someone who is very shamanistic in their spiritual path.
This is a lovely deck, from it's concept to the artwork. Presentation is everything, and this deck presents us with some new ways of seeing the Tarot. The artwork is outstanding, a perfect effort from Ms. Hunt, and a deck that I will be working with again and again. boudica
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome deck- This speaks to me on a very deep spiritual level, 3 Aug. 2009
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This review is from: Animals Divine Tarot (Paperback)
I absolutely love this deck. I love animals and the art work is amazing. The deck is great for intuative work. I've done readings for others and been spot on. There is something subtle about this deck rather than dynamic. It holds a quaint charm and the cards are perfect for my hand size, unlike some other decks which are larger.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, though takes some time to learn, 3 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Animals Divine Tarot (Paperback)
As soon as I read about this deck, I loved the idea. From the back of the book: "They appear to us as guides, totems, familiars...glimpsed on quiet hikes, in vivid dreams, or even on your windowsill, the wild world of animals is a vast source of spiritual wisdom and primal power. The potent symbols and intricate images of the Animals Divine Tarot help you connect with that power through divination, meditation, and dream work."

For those who have seen images from any of Lisa Hunt's decks, the Shapeshifter Tarot, the Celtic Dragon Tarot, or the most recent, the Fantastical Creatures Tarot, it will come as no surprise that the deck is full of beautiful, nature-based imagery, with plenty of celtic and other traditional symbolism thrown in. And this is certainly the strongest point of the deck, the animals are really life-like, in context, and lovingly portrayed.

Why do an animal-based deck? Lisa Hunt discusses the importance of animals in many mythological and spiritual systems throughout the world and throughout history, mentions the link between animals and our own more primitive, animalistic and unconscious aspects, suggests animals are also a source of inspiration and creativity, and highlights the links which we still regularly form with animals for well-being and companionship. She writes: "It is my goal to help inspire you to look at animals in a different light by gazing upon the art in Animals Divine and seeing the variety of ways animals can be portrayed, rendered and celebrated. And in doing so, perhaps this will enable you to see yourself in new and refreshing ways. Animals have something to tell us and the more we open ourselves up to their divine essence, the more we can learn to live more fully and passionately in the moment." Noble sentiments, indeed.

So, what of the structure of the Animals Divine Tarot? The Major Arcana generally follow traditional RWS numbers and names, though X (The Wheel of Fortune) is simplified to just The Wheel, XII (The Hanged Man) becomes the Hanged Woman, and XV (The Devil) becomes Challenge. Each Major is also attributed to a deity from around the world, and there is generally a strong link to traditional RWS meanings for the cards.

The Minors are made up of the traditional suits of Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles, and these are linked to the most common elemental attributes, for the most part. So, Cups feature water-based animals (though the Three is a swimming polar bear). Swords are air-based, mainly birds apart from the Five, which shows bats. Pentacles show a variety of earth-based mammals, while Wands are the most eclectic, featuring six insects, an amphibian and three reptiles.

As for the Court Cards, while following the traditional names of King, Queen, Knight and Page, each one represents a deity. The Knights contain three goddesses and a god, while the Pages have three gods and a goddess. And here we hit on one of my issues with this deck. I can understand wanting to bring some balance to gender stereotypes, and fully accept that Ms Hunt puts the Court Cards in the order of Queen, King, Knight and Page. In this sense, I can see the logic of more of the Knights being female than male, though then why not just make all the Knights women? However, Hanuman is the Page of Pentacles, and is a monkey so I'm not sure whether "he" really counts for gender balance on the male side. Furthermore, I'd have thought Hanuman a more appropriate Knight - he charges off trying to rescue his friend's wife, not letting anything stop him, which doesn't strike me as a good expression of Page of Pentacles energy, though I guess his loyalty and inquisitiveness do fit better. And I don't feel that female deities necessarily best represent the generally dynamic energies of the Knights. We find an aboriginal creation goddess (Yhi) as the Knight of Wands, which certainly doesn't fulfill my ideas of what this card represents. Perhaps I'm getting too stuck in traditional interpretations of the cards, but I feel that you should either follow tradition, or clearly walk your own path, but while these Court Cards claim to do the former, I'm unconvinced. The images don't clearly express the traditional concepts of the cards, and the deities often seem rather a reach, too.

This issue becomes critical, in my eyes, in the Major Arcana. The traditional Majors are very well-balanced in terms of gender, surprisingly so given their medieval roots. However, in the hands of Lisa Hunt we end up with three purely animal Majors, six "male" Majors (though two of these have animal heads), one couple (the Lovers, duh!), and twelve goddesses (admittedly one also has an animal head). So, twice as many obviously female images as male ones. Where is the justification for this in animal pantheons, or in the animal kingdom? There isn't even a justification in Lisa Hunt's own writing and descriptions. Now, as a woman and avid Goddess/empowered feminine deck collector I'm certainly not against bringing the female into focus. I just don't see the rationale here.

Even accepting a female imbalance, there are some choices which seem distinctly peculiar. For example, the Animals Divine Moon isn't a female deity!! Instead we see Odin, accompanied by a wolf. The explanation? He followed his intuition and drove warriors berserk. The fact that the text tells the story of Odin hanging from Yggdrasil, the world tree, begs the question: why not have Odin as the Hanged Man, and have a female deity for the Moon? There are plenty of goddesses that would fit the bill!

I don't want to imply with this little rant that I don't like the deck. For me, the best part of the Animals Divine Tarot is precisely the animals. So, my favourite element is the pip cards. Most of the images on the pips are, at first glance, unrelated to traditional meanings of any school. There are a few exceptions, for example the Six of Cups shows carp heading up-stream to their spawning grounds. The Five of Pentacles shows a fox making it's way through a snowy landscape, with the shadow of some birds overhead (vultures?) Two otters swim together in the Two of Cups, while a vulture sits in a tree pierced by Three Swords in the card of that name. Somewhat more subtly, the quick, industrious ant is shown on the Eight of Wands, while the Six of Wands shows a caterpillar successfully transforming into a bright and beautiful butterfly.

However, when you read the companion book the author does actually try to link each pip to quite traditional RWS meanings. This isn't obvious in the images, and isn't always entirely convincing, but it does mean that the deck could be used for general readings. While it will never be a "beginner's" deck, if someone is drawn to animals they could certainly use the deck for readings of any kind. And the fact that the images are so apparently non-traditional allows for some out-of-the-box thinking, while still being usable for very normative understandings.

In any case, the imagery is always beautiful and really draws you in. I've had some truly moving experiences meditating on these cards, connecting with the earth's creatures both great and small. This is definitely one of the greatest strengths of the deck, the balance it achieves in looking at different kinds of animal, and finding their beauty, strength, creativity, playfulness, majesty, and subtlety. I love that we can commune through this deck with everything from a lady bug (Four of Wands) to a whale (Ten of Cups), from a duckling (Ace of Swords) to a panda (Two of Pentacles). The companion book encourages us to think about how it would be to live life as these various creatures, and thus to tap into a completely new perspective. For this alone I would applaud the deck, and recommend it to anyone who wants to get more in touch with the amazing beings we share the planet with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice link between animal guides and tarot, 21 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Animals Divine Tarot (Paperback)
I found the reviews of these cards to be accurate. Very easy in the hand and being new to the tarot I was a bit worried I had taken on too much with a non traditional deck. But the book is easy to use and many of the representations are similar to the aminal guide meanings. I love the animals represented on the minor arcana and the majors are all accompanied by animals. This deck is a great mix of animal and the tarot
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarot, 25 July 2013
By 
Miss Newbon (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Animals Divine Tarot (Paperback)
I am a tarot reader and this was my first deck, very lovely pretty deck and all the cards tell their own story - after awhile the cards stopped talking to me and chose another person. Good product easy to learn and read from (DON'T READ THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL, read the cards and feel what they are telling you!)

Quick delivery, well packaged and very smart and good to work with.
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Animals Divine Tarot
Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt (Paperback - 5 Sept. 2005)
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