Working With The Wild Unknown - Animal Spirit Oracle
This post was originally published in November of 2018, nearly 1 year ago. It’s only focus was to highlight the way in which I associated each card back to a tarot card, based on my understanding of it at the time. That chart is still visible at the end, but I’ve decided to go back and include other methods of working with this deck now that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know it that much better. I will also say that this deck quickly became one of my favourite oracles, despite my resistance to it at first. For those of you who have also come to love it, I hope that the contents of this post will compliment your current practice and maybe even give you some additional ideas to get the most of these cards.
Because there is quite a bit of information, I will outline the topics in their order below so you can skim/scroll to your liking.
Spreads That Work Well
Dealing With Reversals
Working With The Spirit Cards Specifically (and their associated chakras)
Working With The Cards Intentionally
Tarot Card Association Chart
Below are a handful of spreads or questions to ask which I feel work well with this particular deck.
What animal energy would I be wise to embody?
What animal energy would best aid me with...?
What animal energy best represents me at this time?
What animal energy could I learn from most in this moment?
Energy to let go of
Energy to embrace
Illuminated aspect of self (what is known/visible/obvious)
Shadow aspect of self (what is hidden/suppressed/feared)
Attributes/energy of person A
Attributes/energy of person B
How they come together/energy of the union
Where I am now
Where I am headed
How to bridge the divide
Earth (energy occupying the Earthly realm i.e. resources, career, money, assets)
Air (energy occupying the mental realm i.e. communication, ideas, thoughts)
Fire (energy occupying the creative realm i.e. expression, sexuality, creativity)
Water (energy occupying the emotional realm i.e. relationships, love, feelings)
Dealing With Reversals:
I didn’t regard reversals with tarot for a very long time. Even still with oracle I sometimes do and sometimes don’t - it depends on the deck and the mood. With the Animal Spirit deck, I do regard reversals, though maybe not in the traditional sense. When a card presents upside down, here is what it’s come to mean for me.
The energy of that animal is being resisted on some level
The aspects listed under “when out of balance” are of particular importance and should be minded as well as counteracted with the ways to “bring into balance”
Working With the Spirit Cards:
The cards represented by the spirit element offer an interesting angle, being connected to the Chakras (root-crown). Below are two methods to work with these 7 cards to specifically address balances/imbalances within our own energy centres.
Isolate the 7 spirit cards from the rest of the deck because we will only be working with those for the purpose of this method.
Ask the question: What chakra is most out of balance or needs the most attention at this time?
Shuffle the 7 cards in whatever manner makes the most sense and draw 1 card to answer the question. The card that comes forward is meant to represent the one area that may require some extra attention. Read the guidebook for more information on what it may mean and suggestions to bring into alignment.
Isolate the 7 spirit cards from the rest of the deck and lay them out in front of you in the following order. We will use them symbolically, to anchor the other 7 cards we will then go on to draw.
Phoenix (root), Sea Serpent (sacral), Dragon (solar plexus), Golden Egg (heart), Black Egg (throat), Unicorn (third eye), Cosmic Egg (crown)
Using the rest of the deck, shuffle in whatever manner feels right and then draw 7 cards, laying them each one by one over top of the 7 spirit cards that are already visible.
So, the first card you draw will rest on the Phoenix, the second card will rest on the Sea Serpent and so on.
When you have your 7 cards drawn, you will then interpret each one to indicate what is happening in its respective chakra. If you regard and pull a reversal, that may further indicate an imbalance (either under or over active, depending on how you interpret).
For example, seeing Mouse in the Root centre may indicate a lack of security. The Mouse is pretty scattered and hyper aware of predators. When living in the root space, it can speak to concerns over lack or losing or even being out of control where finances and physical security is concerned. I would interpret this as indicating an imbalance in this centre.
On the other hand, seeing Deer in the Sacral space carries a lot of that Empress energy and could indicate a healthy connection to one’s ability to nurture themselves and others, as well as create (either artistically or otherwise). I would interpret this as indicating balance in this centre.
For any chakra with an imbalance, you could then go on to read the portion of the guidebook that lists suggestions for “bringing into balance”. You could also use the main description for each animal, do additional research or even mind the element associated with the card as a key to understanding its message for you.
The animal spirit Oracle is a perfect tool for magick and ritual. Like with tarot, you can decide at any point what energy you’d like to embody/invoke/invite in at anytime. Let’s say you’re struggling with confidence - then Lion may be an appropriate aid. Whatever energy you wish to invite in, simply remove it from your deck and place on your altar or sacred space. You can be as simple or elaborate as you like for the purpose of ritual. When I am pulling cards intentionally, I usually just place it in a spot where it will be visible and add a couple other elements that compliment such as crystals, flowers or candles. Below is an example altar dedicated to the Snake, and following that you will find the original association chart I made last year.
|Animal Spirit||Tarot||Animal Spirit||Tarot|
|Bear||5 of Pentacles||Earthworm||Page of Pentacles|
|Mouse||2 of Pentacles||Rabbit||9 of Swords|
|Racoon||6 of Coins||Fox||Magician|
|Snake||Ace of Wands||Buffalo||Fool|
|Lamb||Page of Cups||Elk||Emperor|
|Spider||10 of Pentacles||Horse||Chariot|
|Crocodile||4 of Swords||Stingray||Strength|
|Fish||7 of Cups||Starfish||Lovers|
|Octopus||9 of Cups||Beaver||8 of Pentacles|
|Oyster||4 of Pentacles||Turtle||4 of Wands|
|Frog||10 of Wands||Otter||6 of Cups|
|Dolphin||Ace of Cups||Whale||Queen of Cups|
|Fire Ant||5 of Wands||Hyena||Knight of Wands|
|Scorpion||5 of Swords||Lizard||Knight of Cups|
|Panther||Tower||Tarantula||2 of Swords|
|Camel||Temperance||Gazelle||9 of Pentacles|
|Cobra||Hanged Man||Zebra||3 of Wands|
|Lion||King of Wands||Elephant||Hermit|
|Moth||Page of Wands||Butterfly||3 of Swords|
|Bat||Death||Firefly||8 of Wands|
|Bee||3 of Pentacles||Hummingbird||Page of Swords|
|Vulture||10 of Swords||Crow||High Priestess|
|Owl||10 of Cups||Dragonfly||Ace of Swords|
|Nightingale||Queen of Swords||Peacock||King of Cups|
|Hawk||2 of Wands||Eagle||Wheel of Fortune|
|Pheonix||6 of Swords||Sea Serpent||Queen of Wands|
|Dragon||Justice||Golden Egg||2 of Cups|
|Black Egg||King of Swords||Unicorn||Judgment|
And that's my take! Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below and if you're new to the deck, feel free to save/use the above chart to your liking.