Focusing on Australian animals, Ann Williams-Fitzgerald presents a variety of them as New Age “animal guides” in her book and card set. On her website, she explains that “the Australian Animals vibrate to their own particular crystal, rune, astrology sign, numerology numbers, and have their own symbology.” Karen Osborn, the illustrator, said that the animals themselves chose how they wanted to be presented.
For example, the card for Echidna is a blue one with Echidna inside a sliver circle of stars. In the corners of the card are Echidna’s rune, Zodiac sign, and special number. At the bottom is listed Echidna’s stone, aventurine. Along the card’s border are Echidna’s teachings of “New Growth, Expand, Personal Boundaries, Comfort Zone, Brick Walls, and Sticky Nose.” Echidna’s teachings are further explained in the book, Wisdom of the Australian Animals.
According to the authors, each animal has two types of teachings. A “shadow teaching” is the negative aspects of the animal. The “animal’s medicine” are the positive aspects. One of Echidna’s shadow teachings is “Stop sticking your nose where it does not belong.” Hence, the teaching on Echidna's card, “Sticky Nose”, refers to one of Echidna’s character defects. The “Affirmation” or lesson to be learned from Echidna is “I move forward and welcome growth.” (For further explanation of Animal Card Systems, go to A Brief Note on Tarot and Animal Cards.)
One of the drawbacks to this card set is that the authors assume that the reader is familiar with New Age concepts. They do not explain why the rune, crystal, or other symbols are associated with a particular animal or what their meanings are.
However, lack of knowledge of various New Age symbols does not detract from learning about these animals. The cards are warm and inviting, and encourage learning from the animals. They and the affirmations are worth the price of the book and card set.
A companion to this book and card set is Australian Animal Tarot Deck. Ann Williams-Fitzgerald also published auz astrology – the australian animal zodiac, which corresponds several Australian animals of the Southern Hemisphere to signs of the Zodiac of the Northern Hemisphere. These Australian “animal wisdom” books and cards complement each other. Use them together as a set for learning from Australian animals.
The teachings of The Wisdom of Australian Animals and Australian Animal Tarot for many of the animals are different. Echidna's teachings in Australian Animal Tarot is “Soul Searching, Solitude, Comfort Zone, and Boundaries.” Moreover, Echidna, in the Tarot deck, is pictured with a large symbol for Virgo, and another Echidna in the background. This adds to learning about Echidna since an animal's teaching can vary from person to person.