The back is atrocious. There, I got that out of my chest. I feel a tinge of guilt, having started this first impression blog post with a negative comment–but it had to be said. Now tie that tiled High Priestess in red filter x 4 to a jet-pack and return it back to whence it came.
Sorry. I was honestly horrified by that back cover–it just didn’t appeal to me. But my oh my, this is such a wonderful and interesting deck.
Now let’s get to the good part!!
I have always been a big fan of animal symbolism and how different animals can represent particular parts of the human psyche. Connecting with animals and animal totems helps us connect with nature, reminding us that we are ultimately part of earth’s rotation and rhythm.
The interesting with animal symbolism is that gender or sex is usually more distant and removed. Most of the time you can’t immediately identify the gender aspect of a particular animal. Of course, some animals like the male lion or foxes will scream masculine energy while butterflies and lovebirds will appear more feminine. But yeah, like other animal-themed decks, the animal humanoid figures in this deck are less gender-specific.
Except for the gender specific ones. For example, the 9 of Pentacles is represented by a female panda nursing her child…a female panda humanoid wearing a low-cut dress, with a distinct cleavage and well, boobs. I am still taking my time to stomach that image. Somehow animal heads and female bodies don’t really work together. They are not disturbing per se, but at the moment I was unsure how to process it. I find this fascinating and will definitely look into it as I study more into this deck.
One card I had trouble with when I was checking out the cards was The Devil. Not-surprisingly it is represented by a he-goat. I found that disturbingly…religious? As far as I know, isn’t the horned devil figure a misappropriation of the Pagan Horned God? Almost like how the snake, the symbol of the Great Goddess, becomes (unfortunately) the token manifestation of Big Daddy D in Christian and Catholic mythology. The symbolic associations for the he-goat is pure masculine vitality, which makes sense because it is associated with the Horned God. I mean, I am going to study deeper into animal symbolism, and right now I am just really not sure about The Devil card.
In addition, the he-goat is accompanied by a gargantuan frog!? I remember writing a short story that utilizes the symbol of a frog, and I vaguely recall that it is normally associated with transformation and change. I wonder what it’s doing by the devil’s side? But come to think of it, an encounter with The Devil often requires a leap of faith, an experience that can trigger a change or spark the process of transformation.
Some of the animal symbolism are quite apparent, and some call for further study. I love studying tarot cards, so I am really excited to be working with so many animal imageries. Woot!!