Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet     Review by Diane Wilkes

Like the Goddess Knowledge Cards by the same artist, the Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards were published posthumously.  They also follow the same organizational structure: the image, sans title or keyword, is on one side; the other lists the title, symbology keywords, and a short description of the animal in myth and nature. 

The art is, of course, beautiful.  Anyone familiar with Susan Seddon Boulet's work knows that it combines eloquent and mystical imagery with a soulful quality that is as powerful as it is intangible.  Our present culture yearns for the spirituality of Shamanism, and this deck, far from being solely informational, is an excellent tool to work with your power animals.  It's evocative and intense...but not particularly scary.  That is probably a good thing for beginners in this work.

The animals have mythical qualities, but are not mythic beasts; they can all be found in nature.  Well, there are two that don't really follow that description: Totem , which is a very uplifting and comforting image of a huge winged animal totem, large and protective, embracing a Native American, and Animal Deities, which shows a pantheon of animal spirits.  And some of the images remind one of shapeshifting: the Sea Horse fuses with a pregnant sylph to form a lovely image of water magic.  Bull, Horse, and Butterfly, among others, are similarly merged. 

As in the Goddess Knowledge Cards, Boulet culls myths and gods from myriad cultures to ornament her images.  Cat 's history goes from the obvious Egyptian Goddess Bast to Greek Artemis and Roman Diana.  Ganesha, a Hindu God, is attributed to Elephant .  The majority of animals are, however, looked at from a Native American purview.

Eagle, Wolf, Bear, Coyote, Spider, and all the "big name" Native American totem animals are in evidence, as well as the adorable Monkey and the Maurice Sendak-like Crocodile.

A list of the 48 animal cards:

Animal Deities
Bear
Birds
Bull
Butterfly
Caribou
Cat
Cow
Coyote
Crocodile
Crow
Deer
Dog
Dolphin
Dove
Eagle
Elephant
Fish
Fox
Frog
Goat
Gull
Hawk
Heron
Horse
Insect
Jaguar
Kingfisher
Leopard
Lion
Monkey
Owl
Panther
Parrot
Peacock
Polar Bear
Puma
Rabbit
Ram
Raven
Sea Horse
Scarab
Snake
Spider
Swan
Tiger
Totem
Wolf

Sadly, you don't see these cards very often in new age emporiums, even those who carry the Goddess Knowledge Cards.  I suspect that, as Native American spirituality and Shamanism grow in popularity, we will see these cards more and more.  Until then, I really recommend searching them out, if animal totems have any appeal for you at all.  These cards are lovely, powerful, and evocative--and, again like the Goddess Knowledge Cards, a bargain at $10.

Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards
Susan Seddon Boulet (Text: unknown)
Publisher: Pomegranate Press
ISBN#: 0-7649-1117-1

Art 2001 Susan Eleanor Boulet Trust
Review and page 2001 Diane Wilkes