A couple of years ago I wrote my first post on this blog and it was a general introduction to the Animal Medicine Cards that I do readings with. It’s a pretty basic overview of the cards and their purpose, but over time I’ve gotten a lot more questions about reading with them. I’m often asked things like – What is an Animal card reading? How is this kind of reading different from other types of card readings? What kinds of questions can I ask? What kind of information will you tell me from an Animal card reading? So, I would like to describe in more detail how I read with my Animal cards, what they mean to me and in what ways they can help you.
Using my Animal cards is just like using any other form of divination. A reader of any kind uses a divination tool that they connect with – it could be tea leaves, a crystal ball, scrying into a bowl of water, or some kind of cards. The reader then interprets what they see or intuit from the symbols they work with. You, as the client, do not necessarily have to have a connection with the tool of the diviner; it’s what they use to gain insight into your situation.
For me, I connect most strongly with the forces and influence of Animal spirits and what they represent. Interpreting their meanings and messages comes more easily to me than other methods of divination. I can relate to the vitality and soul of their energy and it speaks to me in ways that other techniques just don’t.
I believe that the Animals of this world have lessons to teach us and messages to share with us. Since they are real, actual creatures, there is a more tangible feel to their messages. An Animal that shows up in a card reading can be observed, read and learned about in the real world. Discovering their individual significance allows you to uncover powerful hidden aspects of yourself that you can integrate into the way you move through the world. This can have compelling and formidable effects on your life!
The cards I use have a Native American slant to them, but my interpretations are not limited to the Native American culture. I consider the natural behaviors and characteristics of Animals, as well as the mythology and folklore around them. My studies and research on Animals cross many traditions, cultures and belief systems. I use the cards as a tool to draw out the Animal influences at work in your situation and interpret how you can incorporate their attributes to assist your particular circumstances.
Before I continue on to how a reading works, let me define “Animals” in this context. In my own view and with these particular cards “Animals” includes, mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects – all kinds of living creatures.
On to the actual readings…
As I describe a reading here please keep in mind that I’m talking about the way I do it, the way I use and read the cards. There are many types of Animals cards and many ways to give a reading with Animal cards, but this how I work with them.
For most readings I use a five card spread that represents a medicine wheel. You can read more about the medicine wheel here, but essentially the first four cards denote the four cardinal directions (north, south, east and west) with the fifth card in the center representing the culmination of all the other cards. In these readings, each direction has its own significance and corresponds to a particular aspect of your inner self. This spread and my readings are not intended to determine your Animal totems or power Animals – that is a completely different process.
The Animal cards are not used to “tell your fortune” in the way tarot cards or other methods of divination are often used. The messages in the cards speak to you, your personality and other aspects of yourself, as opposed to referencing other people in your life.
The information gleaned from these readings typically speaks to the present, versus focusing on the future. Information about the future comes in the form of behaviors you can adopt or look out for to create the path you desire in your situation.
You can ask for a general reading about your life that would speak to big picture type issues and the overall progression of your life path. You can also most definitely ask about a specific area of your life, like love, career or money. But rather than asking “will my boss give me a raise,” a better question for these cards would be “what path is my career taking.” This reading and the messages of these cards look more at the deeper issues and influences that are behind what’s going on or what you want rather than the particulars and minutia that we often get overly caught up in.
If you’re already interested in or feel a calling to work with Animal spirits, an Animal card reading can help you find an opening to connect with them on a deeper level. If you’re purely interested in an earth/nature-based approach to divination, an Animal card reading can give you a grounded sense of what’s going on in your life and ways you may need to change or adapt.
As you can probably tell, I absolutely love reading with my Animal cards. They have changed my life and my perspective of the world. They have opened me up to the secret language of the creatures that dwell around me. To share the lessons and messages of Animals is one my greatest loves and I encourage you to consider how their revelations and guidance can help you move through your life path with strength and confidence.
~ Sara Magnuson