Bohemian Animal Tarot (Rockpool Publishing, 2014) is the creation of Scott Alexander King and Sharon McLeod. It is an interesting mix, with very standard RWS Minors, and largely renamed and reimagined Majors. And of course, all the cards feature anthropomorphised animals (real and mythical) in human clothes.
An example of these Majors can be
seen here in Judgement. This card hasn't been renamed, yet the image it
shows is a strange medley far from the traditional. In the foreground,
we see a jackal-headed Anubis in Egyptian garb, Lord of Death. To one side, a Phoenix
rises from an egg, another symbol of endings and renewal. To the other side, we have a fox in a box (the Innocent/Fool rising up from a coffin, the book informs us). Further
back is an angel-winged black cat, the Angel Malachi offering intuition, creativity and protection. And finally, on the pillars between
a set of arches we see creatures representative of the four elements (a
winged fairy, a mermaid, a dragon and a green woman - yeah, I couldn't tell it was a woman, either), with a human figure in
the centre. Certainly, the RWS concept of being called to a new way of
life, of releasing the old, can be seen here. Yet, there is more
available, if you want it. The notions of spiritual balance and
integrity also spring to mind.
As I mentioned, twelve of
the Majors have been renamed. For instance, the Empress and Emperor
become the Goddess and the God, represented by a bee dressed like Marie-Antoinette (to represent Aphrodite and Demeter) and the Horned One. And the deck also
adds in two extra cards. The World is replaced by the Earth Mother, and
is followed by the Universe and the Afterlife. Whether or not you
choose to use these cards, though, is up to you.
at the Courts, in many ways these seem traditional. The Queen of Fire, while a dragon, still has a black cat beside her. And not only does this
Page of Water hold a fish in a cup, his being a dolphin on a
lily pad gets the message across, too. However, there are some
choices which rather surprised me. For example, the King of Earth shows
a winged creature (an emu, according to the book), and the Knight of Earth is a rooster - two birds for the Earth Court!
theme which perplexed me in many of the cards is the choice of animals.
For example, having a goat for the Ten of the Air is not an obvious
call. And there are birds on three of the ten Water cards. The love-doves on the
Two of Water make a lot of sense, though I am less impressed by the theory behind the songbird
on this Eight of Water. The book connects it to Navajo ideas about new beginnings...
These strange choices do encourage me to stop and think, which can't be a bad thing! And the RWS nature of the Minors, and concepts in the Majors, do make the deck easy to read out of the box.