The Animal Dreaming Oracle cards are a beautiful deck from Scott Alexander King which feature Australian animals. Scott explains that the Animal Dreaming approach “simply asks that we live an interconnected life with the world around us – to ‘walk gently’, if you like. Following a more ‘animist’ approach, its message is simple: Look to the animals for guidance, interpret their medicine or Dreaming messages, and incorporate the acumen obtained into your life and give thanks.”
Australia is a vast and diverse place with huge variety of habitats and thus wildlife and is home to a number of quite unique animals. This diversity is echoed in Australia’s people, so do keep this in mind as we move through the cards. I will probably refer to aboriginal myths and whilst there are some similarities across groups, there are differences and I am in no way suggesting that all aboriginal Australian’s will have this myth in their history.
With so many distinct Aboriginal groups, languages, beliefs and practices, scholars cannot attempt to characterise, under a single heading, the full range and diversity of all myths being variously and continuously told, developed, elaborated, performed, and experienced by group members across the entire continent.
Interestingly, in aboriginal mythology, the sun is seen as female and the moon male which is not what we are used to in the western tradition. The sun creates life and is symbolised with water, fire, earth and red ochre. The moon controls the tides and seasons and is symbolised by snakes, dogs, frogs and also water. I feel it is important to keep this in mind when moving between one deck and another, for example the wild unknown animal cards and this deck. We cannot assume that meanings remain the same across cultures, you simply have to look at beliefs and associations with colours to get an idea of this.
To get a snapshot of the extent of wildlife in Australia, there are an estimated 250,000 types of fungi. Australia has 755 species of reptiles, more than any other country. And it’s not just the numbers, it’s the uniqueness. 85% of flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds, and 89% of in-shore, temperate-zone fish are indigenous to Australia. Australia is considered to be one of the megadiverse countries.
One of the first things I discovered when I was given my deck of Animal Dreaming cards is that I do not know a lot of Australian animals. It was this which set me off on my animal spirit adventure. I started with the wild unknown cards because I knew at least a little about each one so it was a good way to ease myself into it.