_About My Reviews_
by Dawn Brunke
Illustrated by Ola Liola
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TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)
Those of you who know me, know that I love animal decks, whether they be true Tarot decks or oracles. I could tell from sample cards I saw on a web site that this deck belonged in my collection.
From a numerological standpoint, I appreciate the Quick Guide provided in the accompanying book, as well as the symbols Brunke used to tie the suited cards linked with each number together (even though in at least a couple of instances, the symbol is missing from a specific card).
From an animal-knowledge standpoint, I appreciate the associations, parallels, and insights Brunke provides when describing how a particular animal exhibits characteristics linked with its associated Tarot card. I love that Brunke included such a wide variety of animals. Creatures in the suit of Air (Feathers) are birds; creatures who are at home in the Water populate the suit of Shells; land-dwelling animals are shown on the Earth (Fossils) cards. Fire (Branches), always presents a bit of a challenge in animal-themed decks. Brunke includes the expected reptiles and insects, but appearances are also made -- and justified -- by the Hummingbird, Lynx, Fox, Camel, Leopard, and Tiger.
I find the illustrations delightful -- realistic with a touch of fantasy and just enough whimsy to bring a smile to my face.
THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY
"Using tarot cards is a time-honoured way to see the patterns of the past, explore the potential of what is to come and predict your future. The Animal Wisdom Tarot contains an inspirational book and a complete deck of 78 tarot cards. Every card in the deck has been assigned its own animal from the major arcana cards to all the cards in the four suits. In the accompanying book Dawn Brunke gives an interpretation for each card, both on its own and in combination with others. For more inspiration, there are messages and guidance on how to read and interpret the cards. The cards and the book feature specially commissioned illustrations by Ola Liola."
In the introductory material of the accompanying guidebook, Dawn Brunke provides separate pages called:
- "What is Tarot?"
- "The Animal Wisdom Tarot"
- "The Major Arcana"
- "The Minor Arcana"
- "The Four Suits"
- "The Court Cards"
- A Quick Guide to Numbers
- How to Read Tarot Cards (The Basics, Suggestions)
- Tarot Spreads (Past-Present-Future, Bear Pause, Honeybee: Lovers Spread, Celtic Cross)
- Sample Reading
The suits in this deck are as follows:
- Branches (Wands / Fire)
- Shells (Cups / Water)
- Fossils (Pentacles / Earth)
- Feathers (Swords / Air)
The Courts consist of the Seer (Page), Seeker (Knight), Nurturer (Queen), and Guardian (King).
Brunke tells us that she used her intuition and imagination to pair an animal spirit with each Tarot card, and that some these pairings surprised her. Here are her choices for the Major Arcana:
1 Raven - Messenger of Magic
2 Cat - Knower of Secrets
3 Cow - Earth Mother
4 Ram - Earth Father
5 Bull - Keeper of Sacred Tradition
6 Honeybee - Heart Awakener
7 Horse - Spirit of Freedom
8 Lion - Ruler of the Open Heart
9 Owl - Keeper of the Light
10 Spider - Sacred Spinner
11 Elephant - Bearer of Justice
12 Bat - Master of Suspension
13 Moth - Omen of Death
14 Swan - Angel of Alchemy
15 Goat - Shadow God of Liberation
16 Serpent - The Quickener
17 Peacock - The Illuminator
18 Rabbit - Moon Dreamer
19 Rooster - Call to Awakening
20 Crocodile and Butterfly - Masters of Discernment
21 Whale - The All-Encompassing
Among the pairings that Brunke found surprising were "the friendly, inquisitive Goat" with The Devil and the "delicate Moth" with Death.
Printed on glossy, standard-weight stock, these cards measure 3-1/8 inches by 5-1/8 inches. Corners are rounded. There are no borders. Card backs are reversible.
The 96-page paperback guide measures 6-1/4 inches by 5-1/4 inches and contains color illustrations of cards. A descriptive page is devoted to each of the 78 cards. All of these include the name of the animal, card title, card number (and suit if applicable), title of the corresponding traditional card, and a Message. For the Majors we are also given a "Keynote" (keywords). For the Pips we are given the Element and a Theme. Court Cards are given two Elements each and a Quality (actually several qualities).
Pages have color-coded borders: purple for Majors, red for Branches, blue for Shells, green for Fossils, and yellow for Feathers.
This set is contained in an attractive, high-quality, heavy cardboard box with a removable end piece.
To describe the art style, I turn to illustrator Ola Liola herself: "Due to obsession to a tiny details and complex patterns I have developed my own unique and modern illustration style. My illustrations are hand drawn. I use water colours and ink with an occasional pencil and Rapidograph lines which give finished and precise look to my work."
Liola notes that her animals are realistic but their colors and textures are often surprising. She writes: "My goal is to create a strong experience that spark the curiosity to explore the world around us and a dream. In my work can be found a constant dialogue between two worlds: urban life and nature. My inspirations coming from fashion design, mythology, microscopic world, flora and fauna."
Not being a professional art critic, all I can tell you is that I LOVE Liola's art. I encourage you to visit her web page and blog (links above), where you can swoon or drool or any number of things that make me glad no one can see me through my computer...