Creator: Devin Strickler
Illustrator: Brittany Burkard
Deck: Tarot Fauna
Includes: 2 part box; 78 +2 cards; 218 page Guidebook – b/w illus.
Tarot Tradition: Rider-Waite-Smith
Type: independent; animal themed;
Available from creator at: www.lovelightandlegacy.com
Review by Mystiqua @TouTarot
Whether real or avatars, animals somehow find me. So this “fund me project”, followed my “virtual” trail and finally….Yes!
Oh, how lovingly it was packed in a sturdy brown “leafy” box, cradling the 218 page guidebook and durable 2 part box hiding 80 cards in black and gold “straw”. This little box – even more enchanting – images inside and out. The care and detail in making it!
Taking these standard sized cards out, I am drawn to the rich brown back and can almost smell that forest floor covered with animal tracks and leaves. My hands cradle the cards comfortably and my fingers love the feel of the solid quality stock and the fine linen finish. The animals and scenes on these colourful and vibrant borderless cards exude warmth and empathy.
The pips are numbered and the Court cards follow tradition. But the suits have been renamed. So Wands are now Torches with Foxes to emphasize the need to “master” that Trickster Fire energy. Cups become Shells for, they too, have a “holding space”. And who better to remind us to “go with the flow” but river otters? Pentacles are Rocks because they are the solid foundational building blocks of Nature. And bears are the perfect representatives of security and deliberate action. Finally the problematic Swords. Feathers were chosen since they evoke Air and shaped like a sword. The Barn Owl, traveling between worlds, is the “observer” and guide.
The major arcana cards are labelled but not numbered so sequencing Strength and Justice is flexible. Almost all the animals chosen make sense: the Fool as a Fawn just learning to stand on his legs; the Magician as a Flying squirrel leaping out of the tree; or Moose as Strength. There were some surprises that work: the ant pushing a flower up a slope as The Chariot; or the huge spider on its web ready to pounce on the tiny trapped moth. But several cards don’t quite work for me, even after referring to the Guidebook. I am not convinced that the Racoon is a Hierophant, nor the Rabbit a Hermit. And the Justice Big Cat half in and half out of the Dark does play on indecision but, seems to be a long stretch to justice. On the other hand, how the Sun and Moon cards reflect the same scene in a different light is brilliant. Let’s not forget the timely messages of the2 “bonus cards”: Mindfulness and Wild – reminding us to take time to peacefully and mindfully smell the “pansies” like the turtle and dare do “one’s own thing” like wild horses.
The Guidebook, slightly larger than a paperback, written in a friendly chatty style, tells us who the creators are; their vision and their rationale. Here we find their interpretations of the suits, the elements, and the animals; several sample spreads – from a one card pull to a modified 6 card Celtic Cross; and how to “read” every card featured in a double page spread with a black and white picture on the left and text on the right. Scattered throughout are animal sketches, giving us an intimate look at the creative process. But the “centred text” page layout doesn’t work. Call me old-fashioned, but I found it distracting especially since there were sections that were “traditionally” aligned and much easier to follow. After so much attention to details, this seems like a “missed step”.
Does Tarot Fauna deliver as a working deck? One needs to remember that, even though it speaks “classical tarot”, it has its own “regional idioms” that need to be taken into account. So I took it out for a “test run”. Everyone loved its warmth and caring “vibes” and commented that it is a great deck for young readers starting out. Yes, this is definitely the most “connected” animal deck that I have played with and it has become my new “go to”. Thank you for birthing this labour of love Devin Strickler and Brittany Burkard.