Ted Andrews, the author, is the acknowledged “animal wisdom” expert among New Age shamamistic circles. He gained his impressive store of knowledge from being a wildlife rehabilitator. Mr. Andrews’ specialty is birds of prey, but he has worked with small mammals as well. Because of his experiences, Mr. Andrews understands that the Crawling Ones and Cold-Blooded Ones also have teachings to impart.
Ted Andrews designed a Tarot deck to go with his book, Animal-Wise, and explains this Tarot in the companion book Animal-Wise Tarot. In his deck, Mr. Andrews has various animals symbolize the concepts of the Major and Minor Arcana cards, and explains how the Major and Minor Arcana cards are to be interpreted. Major life experiences are represented in Major Arcana cards such as “Strength”, “The Hermit”, and “The Tower”. The Minor Arcana cards are suits called “Wands”, “Cups”, “Swords”, “Pentacles”, which are associated with daily life events. The author uses Cold-Blooded Ones, which he calls “The Ancients” for “Wands”, Crawling Ones (“The Shapeshifters) for “Cups”, Winged Ones (“The Winged Ones”) for “Swords”, and Warm-Blooded Ones (“The Four Leggeds”) for “Pentacles”. (For further explanation of the Tarot, go to A Brief Note on Tarot and Animal Cards.)
A sample card is “Dragonfly, King of Shapeshifters”. At the top of the card is “water – cups” to explain the equivalent in that Tarot suit. At the bottom, Dragonfly’s teaching is listed: “Trusting in the Power of Light.” In the companion book, Ted Andrews tells an assortment of Dragonfly lore. In addition, he gives the reversed (negative) meanings of Dragonfly’s teachings. Furthermore, Mr. Andrews lists several questions pertaining to Dragonfly for the reader to ponder.
Animal-Wise Tarot has several minuses and pluses. For one thing, this companion book is poorly edited. Also, Mr. Andrews’ paragraphs are repetitive and boring. On the other hand, he does presents a wide variety of Crawling Ones and Cold-Blooded Ones, which few other books do. Also, unlike other “animal wisdom” authors, Ted Andrews uses photographs of the animal. He explains that seeing the actual animal helps the reader understand that animal’s particular teachings. Furthermore, Mr. Andrews strongly cautions against working with the Tarot too much.
Pictures of "Blue Dragonfly", "Swan", and "Green Frog" copyrighted by Mary Ann Sterling