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Magical Dogs Tarot

ISBN:  978-0738750057

Publisher:  Llewellyn Publications (September 8, 2018)

Authors:  Mickie Mueller and Daniel Mueller

Artist:  Mickie Mueller

Card Size:  4.5" X 2.75"

Companion Book Pages:  206

 

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Jewel

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The Magical Dogs Tarot

By Jewel – March 11, 2020

 

The Magical Dogs Tarot, by husband and wife team Mickie and Daniel Mueller, was published by Llewellyn in September of 2018 as a deck/book set. In addition to this deck, Ms. Mueller has also illustrated The Mystical Cats Tarot, The Well Worn Path and Hidden Path oracles, authored the Voice of Trees: A Celtic Divination Oracle, as well as a couple of books for Llewellyn.  There are no humans in this deck.  Overall, we are seeing the Tarot from a dog perspective, which is great being that there are very few dog Tarot decks as compared to the plethora of cat decks.  I purchased this deck because I love dogs and did not own a dog themed deck, but this deck has really blown me away.  It is so much more than I ever thought it would be.  I usually have to work with a deck for a month or so to get a good enough feel for it to write a review, but this deck in many ways was like coming home to my pups.  There is an emotional honesty and warmth to this deck that is very hard to describe, the simplest way to say it is that it is pure dog magic.

 

The art of this deck is simply beautiful and purposeful.  Every detail contributes to the meaning of each card, from what the dog is doing, to each element in its surroundings.  Every part of the card supports the meaning and can be used in the interpretation.  It is very easy to become the dog as you gaze into the card and understand what it is feeling and/or experiencing.  The watercolor paintings are rich yet soft and easily transport you into the scene.  A few of my favorite aspects of this deck are that the dogs are not anthropomorphized, it is borderless, and that the same attention to detail and quality were given to the Major and Minor Arcana.  The card titles are contained in a small gold metallic ink scroll with black italic lettering at the bottom each card which blends in nicely without detracting from the imagery.  It is evident that a lot of thought and care went into the creation of this deck, and that Mickie and Daniel love and understand dogs and their magic.

 

The suits are divided into four different types of dog packs, based on “the more primitive realm of the arcane canine, with its emphasis on a deep connection to nature…” Elemental pack or suit correspondences are your traditional Sea/Water, Fire/Fire, Sky/Air, and Earth/Earth.  Here is what the companion book says about the suits or packs:

 

Fire Pack (traditional suit of Wands):Fire pack watchwords are expansion and energy.  These canines are associated with primal forces, spirituality, and inspiration.  Ever seeking to expand the borders of spiritual knowledge, they are great wonderers and explorers, not just of the physical realm but of the mind and the depths of the soul.”

 

Sea Pack (traditional suit of Cups):Emotions and instincts are the domain of the sea pack.  They can be wise counselors, as they are gifted in intuiting of feelings and in navigating the complexities of relationships.”

 

Sky Pack (traditional suit of Swords): Power, force, and conflict embody the sky pack’s world.  They are generally nomads, dogs of the wild places, who are perfectly at home under the open sky and do not shy away from danger.  Independent creatures, these dogs often forge only temporary alliances to meet their immediate goals.”

 

Earth Pack (traditional suit of Pentacles): The earth pack primarily concerns themselves with matters of the physical world.  They are a practical pack, wise in the ways of business and trade, in the knowledge of growing things, and in determining the times of sowing and harvesting.  They are lovers of hearth and home and the material possessions that adorn life.”

 

The imagery of the Major Arcana is quite different from the RWS but very reflective of it.  Some of the Majors names have been changed: The Magician becomes The Mage, The Hierophant becomes The Shaman, The Hanged Man becomes The Seer, The Devil becomes The Trickster, The Star becomes The Dog Star, and Judgement becomes The Call.  Strength is at position VIII and Justice at XI.  The Trickster card in this deck focuses on the Coyote and freedom which is a deviation from the Traditional Devil card, but works really well in this deck.

 

Though a significant amount of the imagery is quite different in the Minor Arcana cards 1-10, because we are dealing with dogs and what dogs do, they do follow the Raider-Wait-Smith (RWS) system and connections can be easily made.  The Court cards elude to pack structure and their leadership role within the pack.  Kings are Alpha Males, Queens are Alpha Females, Knights are Guardians, and Pages are Puppies and are the cutest things ever!  The Alpha Males are the top dogs or leaders of the pack, the Alpha Females fulfill a similar role but in a more nurturing way, the Guardians are action oriented, and Puppies are symbols of inexperience and/or youth.  Similar roles to your traditional Tarot Court cards so not a stretch to understand.  In a sense I think this pack structure actually makes the Court Cards quite easy to understand and follow, so a beginner would not have any problem with these.

 

The cards are your typical Llewellyn size (4.65” x 2.3/4”) and card stock, though they do feel a little more “buttery” when I riffle shuffle them than other Llewellyn decks.  Maybe it’s the card stock, or just the warm and fuzzies this deck gives me.  Who knows?  I am not fussy about card stock so I like them, but some people feel the card stock is a bit thin.  Personally, I like it.  The card backs remind me of an Ocean Jasper crystal with its blues, rust, and gray banding, and has two mirror image leather shields with a paw print in the center.  Overall the backs have a Native American vibe to them.  The shields have four charms hanging from the bottom of them that correspond to the four elements or suits.  The backs are reversible, and this deck was designed with reversals in mind.  The shield motif with the paw print in the center is repeated in the Aces of each suit, but with charms corresponding to the pack it is representing.

 

 

The deck comes with a 206-page companion book, titled The Magical Dogs Companion, written by Mickie and Daniel.  The writing is clear, engaging, and you can tell these authors love and understand canines and Tarot.  Unfortunately, the book is not full color.  I would have loved to have had full page, full color, glossy pictures of these cards along with their corresponding text as Llewellyn has been doing with their companion books, but alas one cannot have everything.  The Introduction really sets the tone of the deck, from the prehistorical bond between humans and canines to the structure of the deck, and how to use and care for it.  I really love how the Introduction was laid out and presented.  It made me want to jump right in and join these packs.  The next section of the book is the Major Arcana “Dogs Deep Wisdom” and covers each Major Arcana card providing a description of everything you see in the card and its symbolism or meaning.  The description is followed by “Paws for Thought” which ties in the description to traditional tarot meanings and some keywords.  Lastly there is a “Reversed” section for each card and some keywords for the reversals.  The third section of the book is the Minor Arcana or “Dog Packs.”  Each pack or suit section starts with its Call of the Pack which describes the pack, who they are, the dynamics within the pack, what drives them, and ties these nicely into tarot suit correspondences.  The same format used in the Majors is used with the Minors.  The Fourth section is on Spreads and includes three canine themed spreads:  The Paw Print Spread (5 cards) which is good to get the lay of the land; The Guardian Spread (7 cards) good to watch your borders and protect your territory; and The Hunt Spread (3 cards) to get a quick overview of a situation.  At the end of the book there is an Appendix in which they share some of Mickie’s sketches and give a short explanation of the sketch.  This book does not delve into Tarot History, numerology, or go in depth on how to perform Tarot readings, but it does give a nice overview in the Introduction and it is focused on using this particular deck and companion book.  I actually really like this companion book.   Like a dog it is friendly and unassuming but a great companion.

 

This deck has the heart of a dog.  In readings it is honest, and understands harshness and tenderness.  The readings just brought out so much emotion in me.  I have laughed and had tears well up in my eyes.  I did not expect that.  I would start reading and my heart would just flow.  The imagery is powerful and will take you deep inside your heart and pull out things you did not even know were there.  I released things in readings that I have held back from writing in my journal when reading with other decks, I just could not help myself.  This deck brings out so much honesty and compassion at the same time.  It brought out in me those feelings I have when I am hugging my Shih-Tzu, true raw and real emotion.   The Magical Dogs is not “fluffy” by any means, and does not sugar coat anything either, but there is that empathy and sense of unconditional love that you can only get from a dog.  It fosters courage and resilience, playfulness, and gratitude for the simple things in life.  It is a reliable and trustworthy companion that you can count no matter what.  This is a deck I will treasure and one I will turn to often, particularly in difficult or troubled times.

 

This deck is a true delight.  It is deep and oozes with canine spirit and magic.  It is so easy to understand and relate to.  If you are a dog lover, and like Rider-Waite-Smith based decks then do not pass this one up.  I would recommend The Magical Dogs Tarot to all levels of experience with the Tarot despite that it is dogs and has changes to suits and Majors.  The book provides any guidance needed to successfully use the deck.  The tie into the Rider-Waite-Smith is there, just stripped of esoteric symbolism.  The archetypes remain clear.  I would recommend this deck to intuitive readers, empaths, and those that take a psychological approach to Tarot.  If you are looking for a racially diverse and/or gender balanced deck, there are dogs of all sizes and kinds.  If you are looking for esoteric symbolism this is not a deck for you.  Would I read for my dear aunt Fifi with this deck?  Absolutely, she loves dogs and will, without any Tarot knowledge, be able to pick up a lot from the cards and participate in the reading.  I would be comfortable using it in readings for persons of any age.  There is nothing offensive in this deck, and it is a great deck for squeamish querents, especially if they love or can relate to dogs.

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