Animal Totems

horror-tarot-morbid-10-wandsBesides the metaphysical, you may have picked up that I have a keen interest in nature and animals. This interest inspired the inclusion of a lot of animals in the Twisted Tarot Tales. All in all there is about 25 different insects, animals, birds and marine life in Twisted Tarot Tales (The shark was an exclusive to the Indiegogo campaign, but 24 are still available)

In the deck I consider these totem animals. A totem ( A word thought to come from the Ojibwe word dodaem) is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, lineage, or tribe. While the idea of having animal spirits that represent groups of people exist all over the world, the idea is probably more popularly associated with Native Americans through the word totem.

On the right we see a totem pole from the Tlingit people in Alaska. In aboriginal totem-animals-tarot-new-age-meaningsCanada and the United States, the practice of creating totem poles seems to be uniquely found in the western part of the continent, particularly Washington State, British Columbia and Alaska.

All kinds of animals were carved into the poles and often the top features birds like ravens or eagles and sometimes the mythical Thunderbird.

According to the site, the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian tribes, found in Alaska and British Columbia, included animals like frogs, geese, sea lions,beaver, mountain goats, wolf, bear and Thunderbird on their totem poles.


(ABOVE: an excerpt from the Twisted Tarot Tales companion book. The rat and seagull are just a few of many of the animals and birds found in the deck)

3f5e57d2-81b1-4dcb-abaa-7d75776fed0aOne of my fondest memories visiting the United States was seeing the animals in their natural habitat. Whether that be possums in Ohio, or armadillos in Florida, it’s always nice to see them in the wild (when back home you’d only ever see these kinds of animals in a zoo, although even at that we don’t actually have them there either!)

While normal tourists to Florida, and specially Orlando, will visit Universal Studios and Disney World, my brother and I decided to veer off the tested and true path. Admittedly I would have liked to take a trip into the Everglades with a guide but we had run out of money (this was near the end of our trip) Still we did manage to see one alligator lol


Here’s a picture i took of the alligator which was below a bridge near Orlando. f819eae9-7ad8-4554-a6df-cb7ee0dc3797There’s something nice about seeing these creatures out in nature but of course with the likes of an alligator…it’s nicer when they are at a distance!

There’s something special about animals. With pets we sense it more easily due to the fact that, for the most part, they trust us enough to get close to us.

Below: Another portion of the animal totem section of our Twisted Tarot Tales companion book.


We had a cat that came to us one winter and he was very hungry and sick. It was almost ten years ago now, and my parents took him in. He has a growth on his nose, and so his nose appears a bit longer than regular cats but it never seemed to bother the cat, and therefore it never bothered us. We named him smokey. He’s still living over at my parents place.

62f87f75-5e79-43dd-8c7e-c1cb3722d796I laugh at this picture because smokey is as old as my boots. I still have those boots but they are a lot rougher now…steel toed working boots…Italian made, so maybe there is something to be said for the Italian craftmanship lol

I realise I never talk much about pets, in fact I seemto remain quiet about a lot of the things in my life, because sometimes I figure that no one would care to hear about the things important to me. However since this section of the newsletter is about animals, I figure why not?

7d014cc1-7f8c-4a69-ba98-f2d85cc5dccfTo the left is Russell, our pet dog. He passed away about two years ago now but he’s still “my dog” if you get what you mean. Even though he’s gone I still feel he is not “gone”, but just on a different plane. That probably sounds crazy on the surface, but I’m sure pet owners will understand.

I believe animals have spirits and in my crazier moments, have toyed with the idea that animals have souls like humans. Maybe that is not so crazy? I don’t know.

Sometimes my brothers and I would joke that he was like a wise Yoda, especially in his older years. He had that old man “knowing” look, you know the one where the eyes have seen a lot of things through life. There used to be this show called School Around the Corner on Sundays and it featured school kids around Northern Ireland competing in choirs. Russell would always sing along with them in a strange dog like singing voice.

It’s a certain pitch of voice when the children sing that sets him off in song. Amazing dog and we miss him. I imagine my dad misses him especially since he used to sit on my dads lap in the evenings while my parents watched TV.

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