A few weeks ago, I posted about receiving the beautiful Animal Totem Tarot Deck from a friend, and because I wanted to get to know it a little better, I went ahead and did the deck interview spread by Beth Maiden over at Little Red Tarot.

It’s true that our Tarot decks and oracle cards each have a different lesson to teach us, and they each have their strengths and weaknesses, which is one of the reasons I recommend getting more than one deck to work with as you’re learning Tarot. I was especially interested in what this deck had to say to me, since I felt such a strong connection with it from the very beginning. I wasn’t disappointed.

Card 1: What is your most important quality? 5 of Pentacles


When my 9-year-old son looked at this card, he just blinked at me and said, “Mommy, that card is BRUTAL.” Yeah, it is kinda brutal. A bunch of dead coy dogs in a cold wagon, uncovered, in the snow. Yikes. But this most important quality of the Animal Totem Tarot deck for me is going to be in its unflinching interpretation of the energies around me. There’s no getting around it, there’s no sugar-coating it. Because, you know, there’s nothing quite like getting called out on your shit by a deck of cards.

Going a little deeper than that, I think the other message from this card is that the most important characteristic of this deck is the way it pushes boundaries between conventional and alternative Tarot. This deck definitely digs a little deeper into the energy of the cards and their meanings.

Card 2: What are your strengths as a deck? 8 of Pentacles


The mountain goat here has to step lightly and with care if he’s going to make it all the way up that mountain. Where other goats (or Tarot decks) might go, huh, this is really tricky, the Animal Totem Tarot goes, “Here, hold my beer and watch this.” When it comes to the strengths of this deck, the 8 of Pentacles tells me that this is a carefully crafted deck that combines the best of traditional Tarot with the spirit of animal medicine. This deck encourages you to practice and work at deepening your intuition, and in the long run, will help build your confidence as a Tarot reader. Sign me up!

Card 3: What are your weaknesses as a deck? 5 of Swords


Unexpected messages is the theme of the 5 of Swords here. The number 5 is about instability, and keeping you on your toes – so the weakness of this deck is that it’s going to require me to practice the hell out of non-attachment here. While many of the images and symbols are the same, there are going to be times when I’m going to see something completely different than I expect in these readings.

Really, that’s okay. It’s good for me to see these alternative meanings (not alternative facts, *ahem*) in the cards, because in the long run, it’s going to stretch my abilities as a Tarot reader. I really felt like this card related strongly back to that 8 of Pentacles – strengthening my abilities as a Tarot reader by showing me the unexpected.

Card 4: What are you here to teach me? 2 of Pentacles


Oh, I love this. This Animal Totem Tarot deck is here to teach me how to balance between staying grounded and flying high. It’s here to teach me perspective, how to protect my interests, and how to keep an eye out for disruptions in my work/life balance. Those Harrier hawks build their nests on the ground to keep their eggs safe, so that they can watch from above – this deck is here to bring me new perspectives while keeping me grounded. (Not an easy thing to do for this space monkey, but hey, let’s give it a try, shall we?)

Card 5: How can I best learn and collaborate with you? 7 of Swords


If I had pulled the 7 of Swords in pretty much any other deck, I’d be cussing like a sailor right about now. But instead, what I now understand from this deck (new perspectives, right?) is that the best way for me to collaborate and learn from it is to be totally honest with myself about what I see and do not see in the cards. That little ferret there can’t hide from the swords sticking into his little hidey-hole, nor can I be anything less than completely honest with myself and others when I’m reading with this deck. The number 7 is about potential and ambition here, and I really felt that this relates to my potential for doing more intuitive work with Tarot by using this deck. Heavy stuff, people.

Card 6: What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? 8 of Swords


Again, one of those cards that if it had come up in any other deck, I would have been like, you have GOT to be fucking kidding me… But in this case, it was actually okay for the message from this deck. If I continue to work with this deck, I’ll find myself pushing through to uncharted territory with my readings – forcing me out of my comfort zone and feeling my way into new territory. Which, from the looks of the card on the surface, can be pretty terrifying if you can’t see where you’re going like Mr. Mole here.

But pushing ourselves into new experiences is what keeps us alive, isn’t it? It keeps us fresh and flexible and prevents us from stagnating and getting bo-ring.

Interested in getting a reading from me using this soulful and meaningful deck? Check out my Tarot services page and book a reading! You might be in for a great surprise.