The Wild Unknown -- Wildlife (animals, insects, etc.)


more from me on this deck. While I do like the trees depicted in the Empress and Emperor cards, I have to say I'm surprised they didn't have bears for these two cards. I mean, what better portrayal of a mother then a momma bear? And, no one would dare to cross a bear--so papa bear would also be perfect for the Emperor.


I posted in the study group about the daughter of cups and how I believe the choice of the swan makes a great "totem" for the suit of cups. Here's the link to that thread

I find Kim's use of swans for the suit of cups perfectly appropriate, besides the fact that they are waterfowl! When specifically speaking about swans as totem animals, they represent beauty, the energy of the realms of magic, and matters of the heart. In Ted Andrew's Dictionary of Bird Totems [a section in his comprehensive book of totems, Animal Speak] his keynotes say Awakening the true beauty and power of the self I think this fits very well here with this daughter/page.

People with swan as their totem are emotionally sensitive already and this card to me says it's the beginning of finding this energy in yourSelf and perhaps you're beginning to sense other people's feelings too. It's a perfect fit, this young swan energy with the emotional cups. Also fitting with the Page/daughter of cups is that people with swan's totem energy are generally dreamers, poets, mystics...


I'm wondering about the Big Cats, particularly the lion - it has been many a century since lions roamed northern forests - this leads me to think this is definately a forest of the mind, the soul - at first, I thought it was a mistake, but now I feel its a perfect choice!

My only disappointment is that there are no bears :(
I felt this way too -
- and decided to change that fact:


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I felt this way too -
- and decided to change that fact:

That is fantastic.

Normally I like to take each creator's vision on its own merits, but damned if I don't strongly feel the lack of bears in this deck.

flying black kat

Mi-Shell - Chiriku

I also wondered about the lack of bears. I thought bears were left out because they hibernate part of the year. I like to think of bear’s guarding the dreamtime.

I really like the addition of the bear to the Star Card. Very nice.



How does the book describe the 5 cups (horse) and the 10 swords (buffalo)? The dead buffalo is kind of obvious, and the horse makes me think of the current round ups and slaughter of the American West's wild mustangs ....was curious as to what the artist had in mind, considering the environmental leanings of the deck.


How does the book describe the 5 cups (horse) and the 10 swords (buffalo)? The dead buffalo is kind of obvious, and the horse makes me think of the current round ups and slaughter of the American West's wild mustangs ....was curious as to what the artist had in mind, considering the environmental leanings of the deck.

In the book, Kim Krans doesn't specifically address the animals portrayed in the deck. However, I see the horse in the 5 cups as being supremely sensitive, as horses are wont to be. His hanging head seems to embody such need, sadness, and dejection. Horses have always struck me as being led by their hearts and spirits, and they seem so in tune with the energies around and within them.

For the X Swords, I posted my views in that area of the study group. Here is an excerpt of some of what I wrote: "This isn't an actual bullfight. The bull (representing toughness, ferocity, strength, and dominance) was taken down by thoughts, ideas, and words. He was attacked and blinded by truth, or ignorance, or envy, or prejudice, or simply a difference of opinion.

This bull was an innocent. He was just being a bull. He wasn't looking for trouble, but trouble found him anyway. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is free now, but the swords are not. They will rust in the rain (and reign of tears) that falls on them and be haunted by their actions for the rest of their lives.

This card exposes the darkest side of human nature, and that's what I think makes it so very painful to look at. It shows how we can take the life and spirit of others when we allow the lowest, basest part of ourselves [represented by the gang of swords] to control us, and when we encourage others (or join forces with others) to do the same."

I see the bull as being "different" in a variety of ways. There are no other bulls in the deck. He looks strong on the surface, but he was easily taken down. As such a big, tough-looking animal, he appears to be invincible, but that's not who he was inside. He's a good representation of "don't judge a book by its cover." This image is painful and heart-wrenching. It's a shame there aren't any other bulls pictured on other cards, but perhaps that was done intentionally to emphasize how we can so easily destroy something (and rationalize that destruction) just because it's "different."


The Deer as a Guardian/ guide

This is a post from my blog about Deer Medicine Powers as seen by different cultures:

The Deer is called Wa-wa-shkesh’-shi in Ojibway and A-tik in Cree .
The Deer is seen as having keen sense of smell, a pleasant scent, grace, swiftness,
using other methods than force to reach your goals .Albino doe with Fawn

Deer is also associated with gentleness, caring love, sensitivity, graceful beauty, innocence and keen observation. Because of their well developed senses, it is said Deer can see through illusions and guide through chaotic situations. People with deer medicine can also learn to detect subtle movements, hear things unspoken and to use their intuition to avoid dangers.

In what is nowadays called the Celtic tradition the hunting of a Stag was symbolic for the pursuit of wisdom.
In Celtic mythology, the Deer is a magical creature, able to move between the worlds. In many tales humans are transformed into deer. For example, St. Patrick was said to have transformed himself and his companions into deer in order to escape a trap laid by a pagan king. In the Welsh tale of Culhwch and Olwen, the Stag is one of the oldest Animals in the world, along with the Blackbird, the Owl, the Eagle and the Salmon.
The antlers of the Stag are compared to Tree-branches and thus may represent fertility. Since they are shed and regrown every year, they may also symbolize rejuvenation and rebirth. Cernunnos, the Celtic Horned God, was depicted with the antlers of a Stag. He is said to be a god of fertility and plenty, and to be the Lord of the Beasts. According to some, his antlers symbolize a radiation of heavenly light. Images of Stags were supposedly used to symbolize Cernunnos in non-human form.
The hunting of a Hind was symbolic for the pursuit of sensuality and intuition, especially when done around full Moon. But this motive is also found in Greek mythology, where one of the tasks of Hercules is to capture the Hind of Mount Ceryneia. This Hind has golden “horns” and hooves of bronze and it took Hercules a full year to capture her alive. This he accomplished by shooting an arrow in the front legs, between bone and tendon, so that no blood was spilled.
Another Greek myth tells of how Actaeon followed a Stag during the hunt and came upon a valley where the goddess Artemis happened to be bathing. Artemis was furious when she discovered the mortal Actaeon watching her naked and turned him into a Stag. Then, she set his own Hounds upon him and they tore him apart.
Another tale recounts how Artemis killed two giants who had tried to violate her. She turned herself into a white Hind and walked between the giants; when they tried to strike her with their javelins, they killed each other instead.
To the Pawnee, the Deer is a guide to the light of the Sun.

The Panche Indians of Colombia believe that human souls pass into the bodies of Deer after death and therefore eating the flesh of Deer was forbidden to them. In ancient Mexico, Deer were sometimes depicted carrying the Sun.
In Cambodia and ancient China the Stag was also associated with the Sun, though in a negative way, since was thought to bring drought. The Chinese god of Salaries, Lu-shing, was often depicted riding on a Deer. In China the Deer still symbolizes immortality and nobility.
Ancient Norse mythology tells how 4 Stags browse the foliage of the World-Tree Yggdrasil, in this manner eating away the buds (hours), blossoms (days) and branches (seasons).

Marija Gimbutas tells us, that the Deer is the primeval Mother in pre -Christian time in Europe.
Even up to this century in northern Asia a pregnant Deer is the symbol of Mother the Life-Giver.
This is also the reason, why Reindeer are so highly revered in pre-Christian Europe: Here you have a female Deer that has antlers which are synonymous with the branches of the Tree of Life! So the Live Giving Mother Creature carries the Tree of Life!!
Saulee, the Slavic Goddess of light and family went across the heavens in a sleigh pulled by female Reindeer and she threw pebbles of Amber into the chimneys of the people. Amber being the representative of the tears of the sun. Now guess what: This happened on the Winter Solstice!!! Thousands of years before Christianity!
And nowadays Saulee is replaced by a jolly old guy in a red and black smith’s uniform and a bunch of male Reindeer…. Oh and by the way:the black, silver and gold colors of the traditional garb of the smith and smith craft – which stands for the transformation of metal into liquid and into another shape – was and still is synonymous with the power of the shaman in Northern Europe, the Baltics, Russia and Siberia.

Our Maral in the Altai is a subspecies of Cervus canadensis (named “Elk” or “Wapiti” in North America) found in the forest hills of SouthernSiberia, NorthwesternMongolia, and Northern China. It is sometimes referred to as “Siberian Elk”, but this is misleading, as in Eurasia the name “Elk” is mostly used for Alces alces (known as “Moose” in America)

The word for a Maral doe in Uryanchai is Ulug khülbüs = Mighty Deer Spirit

Maral Stag

It is this Maral that is/ was depicted again and again in Scythian art, on tapestries, as sculptures, as gold ornaments and as tattoos. Spectacular finds have been unearthed when the Scythian burial mounds = kurgans were excavated. Somehow, from the time when I was little and listened to my father’s stories of the mighty warrior lords of the Eastern plains and their gold laden graves.(First systematic excarvations of kurgans took place in the 1920ties )

Scythian gold Deer

From his tales I always has the impression, that the Scythians were ‘our neighbors to the west… Somehow, I still can not quite shake that deeply ingrained idea.

I also remember well, how exited my father was, when news spread about finds at the outskirts of Gorno Ataysk in 1961 and proved, that people had lived there during the time of the Mammoth hunters.

I wanted to write extensively about the beautiful Deer tapestries and the gold finds, flying, running and kneeling Deer , often female with huuuuuge flowing antlers that carried Yölle, the Sun through the night…..

Before doing so however, I checked the net to see, what is already there and found a flood of websites and magnificently written blogs about this subject soooo dear to my heart.

I feel, I just can not compete- or do a better job in telling the tale; so,here are my favourite sites:

Stone Shamans and Flying Deer of Northern Mongolia: Deer …


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