WILD UNKNOWN: HOW TO WORK WITH THE ANIMAL SPIRIT ORACLE

It’s the deck everybody’s talking about. Gabriela Herstik has the low-down on how to work with the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle…

Wild Unknown creator Kim Krans

It’s “Animal Spirit” and not “Spirit Animal” for a reason! For Kim Krans, head honcho/Goddess of The Wild Unknown, her latest oracle deck is an exploration of all the divine animal energies that encompass aspects of human existence and spirit.

Instead of focusing on your “spirit animal,” Krans invites us to focus on the elemental energies of each creature in a way that speaks to our relationships and to deeper parts of ourselves—once again, inviting exploration of the wild unknown of the soul.

This new deck allows for introspection in a radical and untamed way. This deck says it’s okay to be feral and wild, or tame and controlled, because it’s important to wander through it all. And by including Spirit as an element, Krans takes it one step further, inviting creativity and intuition to be a part of the journey. Whether you’re a unicorn or bumblebee, all is welcome in The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle.

Below, we explore each element, as well as an animal card from each, gaining a little more insight into the fantastic world of the Animal Spirit Oracle. And in learning about the animals in the deck, Krans hopes to inspire a more connected relationship to this world and all her creatures.

:: Earth ::

Animals of the Earth represent our basic needs, like home, money and work. These animals are grounded in the present and approach their routines with ease, but can get stuck without freedom from what they know. Animals of the Earth ask us to listen and shift perspectives—are we looking too much to the ground, or too much at the sky? These creatures are asking us to soften and surrender to the changes we may be facing, and they remind us to water our own soil, since self-compassion is necessary for growth.

The Deer – The Deer suggests a feminine softness and a graceful, maternal take on what can be a very stoic energy. How can steady and grounded Earth energy help you to bask in everything new? Don’t be afraid to reap the rewards of your harvest. By finding tenderness in yourself, you’re able to walk this life with more grace and intention—no matter how bumpy the ground is. Tap into your intuition and listen from your heart. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself in your situation, your inner deer will thank you.

:: The Air ::

With freedom comes wisdom. Creatures of the Air are able to see what others may miss, observing quietly, powerfully and deeply. When a creature of this suite comes up in a reading it can be a reminder to find some grounding, to slow down and to reconnect to the physical realms. Life is complex and we seek to move as effortlessly as possible, like the wind. By tapping into Air energy at its most expansive, we are invited to see and feel the subtler realm of existence.

The Crow – Through the eyes of The Crow, the world becomes something magical—something mysterious and precious and exciting. The Crow is a drawn to the unseen, to the supernatural and the occult. She has a fascination with the deeper, all-encompassing experience of the past, present and future. Use this energy when your mind is ready. To be present. Be open. Be patient. Sometimes the wind tells us secrets that we must be ready to hear.

:: Fire ::

By working with animals that speak of our passion and what lights our spark, we’re able to tap into the fiery aspect of ourselves for the ultimate transformation. These most powerful, and sometimes destructive, aspects of ourselves, pave the way for transmutation and rebirth—as the creatures of the Fire elment attest to. These cards represent growth, they represent the death of ego, and they ask us to sit in the fire until it’s too hot. Invite these beings in to help burn the way to a new you.

The Lion – BE the Lion. You have it in you to be the king of the jungle, after all. Don’t stop feeding your flame simply because others are not ready for it. The Lion’s energy may intimidate those who aren’t ready, but his energy is available to all who are willing. By tapping into this card, transformation is completely possible—with a keen sense of your personal strengths, you’re able to accomplish anything. The Lion simply asks you to open up to this sort of revolution. Once you do you’ll see how easy it is to roar.

:: Water ::

In the name of balance, creatures of the Water are asking us to jump into the messy, wonderful, beautiful world of our emotions, loves and passions. These are creatures that speak of our ability to express ourselves and to love and create. These animals ask us to open ourselves up and to surrender—to be a conduit for the flow of the Universe. Allow the current to take you where it may—what can you learn from floating down a different stream?

The Oyster – We all have special gifts – and the Oyster reminds us to share these gifts with the world. When we see the sensitive, watery side of ourselves as a treasure instead of a burden, we’re able to use our intuition and deep-rooted wisdom in a more authentic way. The Oyster works hard to create her pearl—a beautiful gift that no one else can give. By revealing this part of yourself, by showing your more vulnerable side, you’re allowing space for growth and reflection, all while giving others permission to do the same.

:: Spirit ::

The nature of the Spirit cards is steeped in mystery. These creatures exist on realms parallel to our own— asking us to shift our gaze so we can embody the messages they’re trying to teach us. By working with our subtle body and energies, like the chakras, these cards help us view situations in a new, more inviting and profound light. Even for Krans, these cards are mysterious, inviting one to delve into the deeper, unknown waters to see what lies beneath the surface. Krans explains that it’s okay to not completely understand the Spirit cards. Invite the energies in, work with them and let them take you on their journey.

Sea Serpent – Ruling over the second chakra, the Sea Serpent gives us permission to bask in creativity and sensuality without shame. This card is like Kundalini energy personified, allowing us to live with our desires in a way that feeds our soul. Like a mother giving her child a loving embrace, this Spirit card asks us to step into pleasure in its purest form. What do you have to let go of to let the energy of this card flow through you? Where is there drought, and what is flooded? Allow the energy of the Sea Serpent, allow the energy of Spirit, to cradle you. Do less. Open yourself up, there is nothing to be ashamed of.

Shop The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle

STARCHILD TAROT INTERVIEW: PLUS 5 DECKS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Tarot is having a moment. And with more artists than ever bringing forth new versions of the classic Tarot, it’s never been easier to unleash your inner reader and find a deck that sings to you! Whether you’re a witchy mama looking for something a little more macabre, or a Kundalini goddess in search of some high vibes, there is a deck out there with your name on it.

To aid your search, we’ve rounded up five hot off the press tarot obsessions, kicking things off with an interview with the goddess behind The Starchild Tarot, Danielle Noel, about her special edition Akashic Records deck. By Gabriela Herstik.

Starchild Tarot creator Danielle Noel

The Numinous: First off, we love that you’re including the Akashic Records as a card in the major arcana of your new deck. What will the card represent?
Starchild Tarot: Thank you! I have always thought of the Akashic records as a source of mystery and divine information. At first, it was a somewhat abstract concept to grasp. When I was younger and just beginning to understand its significance, I imagined ancient manuscripts containing hidden and sacred knowledge, and thought, “how can I access this?” Now I understand the ‘Akashic Records’ as an energetic source which contains various frameworks of spiritual truths, with information pertaining to yourself, your life paths, incarnations, and the Universe at large. When you work with the cards, you have access to this information too, and are essentially connecting with the endless possibilities available to you.

The Akashic Records card of this special edition comes after the traditional 21st card (The World/The Universe), as a bridge beyond this holistic key, which I think connects well with how we are evolving at this time on our planet. I truly believe that a shift is currently taking place – energies are being enhanced and polarized, insights and sacred knowledge are rising to the surface like never before, and we are being forced to really think about our own enlightenment, mortality, and collective consciousness. This card taps into the acknowledgement of yourself as more than a physical being. It encourages you to take note of your own karmic imprints, and to consider the sacred knowledge that is being offered to us all at this time.

TN: Your imagery is super feminine and dreamy. Do you think that sort of energy in a deck makes it easier for the reader to access the Akashic Records?
ST: Certain sacred spaces and forms of sacred geometry are very activating, which is why I incorporate particular sites, colours, and symbols throughout this deck. This one also has a lot of pastel hues (pink and corals in particular) which connect with the heart chakra. My intention with each image is to inspire your imagination and intuition, through the layering of various visual triggers and healing modalities.

TN: Do you have a favorite card in this new deck? Why? (We won’t tell the others!)
ST: I have to say I really love the “Akashic Records” card. The image seems like one of the strongest visual portals that come up, and I’m curious to see how people will respond to it. Each symbol, colour, and portion of that card plays significant role in its interpretation. I have a deep fascination and love for Thoth and the emerald tablets, as well as the history of Atlantis, so those keys are also embedded in the image.

TN: What else is different about the new deck?
ST: There are a lot of new cards, which came from the desire to keep making new “gateways,” and the style for this deck is also slightly different than its predecessor. I added a lot of hand painted layers and watercolour textures, and it is much less “collage” based and more illustrative. Some of the cards from the original Starchild Tarot have remained in the Akashic edition, however, they have each been modified with painted overlays and new details.

Throughout the Major Arcana I have also added “Spiritual Keys” to help each reader along their journey into the Akashic records. These categories (Chakras, Gemstones, Guides, Symbols, Astrological/Planetary) can be used to expand your knowledge when working with a specific card, or to apply meditative and/or magical practices throughout the use of the Starchild Tarot. I have also added two new spreads in the guidebook (The Akashic Spread & Metatron Spread).

TN: Is creating collages on the cards a meditative experience for you? How does it aid your own journey with the Tarot?
ST: Meditation and energy work has been a huge part of my life over these past few years, and creating the cards has gone hand in hand with these explorations. I always start with the backgrounds which are ALL familiar to me in some way or another. Many of them come from photographs from my own travels, or of sacred sites from around the globe.

Our planet has so many activation points, with many of the great monuments working as chakras within the energy grid of Gaia. To acknowledge and respect these points honors the interconnectedness of us all, as they illustrate our history and spiritual evolution. The Tarot is a simple yet complex visual representation of ancient stories and concepts, and I think about this when I am creating the images. Somehow, they act as smaller pieces to a much larger cosmic puzzle.

The Hoodwitch, a.k.a. Bri Luna, as The High Priestess

TN: How do you choose the incredible real-life women featured in your decks?
ST: I’ve been lucky to have crossed paths with some amazing women and light workers, and when I began creating the decks, I thought that by integrating these guides, the energy of the cards would be enhanced through the powerful intention and co-creation that was put into the imagery. They are mediums, tarot readers, energy healers and others, who all share a common love for the Tarot and Magick overall.

TN: Which deck did you learn on, and what other decks are in your practice today?
ST: The first deck I ever purchased was a second-hand copy of ‘The Aquarian Tarot’ – I found it at a local flea market, and strangely, it had two Ace of Swords! After that, I learned on the ‘Tarot of a Moongarden’ and the ‘Thoth’ Tarot, but there are so many decks that I now love and appreciate. I also love that more and more people are tapping into the Tarot as a tool for self-healing and learning, and it doesn’t surprise me that it’s become so popular.

I think this comes from the “waking up” process that’s happening – there is a need for more spiritual outlets, as people are recognizing the importance of introspection, and the existence of more than what we see “on the surface”. Currently, the decks I use the most are my own, The Aquarian Tarot, The Klimt Tarot, Spiritspeak Tarot, The Goddess Tarot, and the Thoth Tarot.

TN: What’s the one thing that you want people reading your cards to know?
ST: There are many hidden layers and symbols in this deck. These were added as activation tools, so I am curious to see how they will be received. I have put a lot of love into this project, and hope that each person who reads the cards will be able to build their own relationship with the images and interpretations. That is my intention: I hope you feel supported and cared for when using these cards.

I would also like to point out that this new deck is not a replacement of the first, rather a special edition that opens up new insights. I am going to be re-releasing the “first edition” in the new year, so both decks will be available for sale, along with my future Moonchild Tarot, which is the shadow companion to The Starchild decks. I’m also working with a writer, and together we are creating a very special Oracle deck that I can’t wait to share in the not so distant future!

Starseedtravels.com

:: 5 MORE DECKS YOU NEED TO KNOW ::

The Wild Unknown Second Edition 
The Wild Unknown has quickly become a cult classic and with good reason. The wilderness inspired deck speaks to our innermost existence with its beautiful imagery, so it comes as no surprise that the Universe seems to be vibin’ at a higher frequency (read major excitement) at the release of the Second Edition deck. Although most cards remain the same as in the first edition, the cards illustrator Kim Krans has chosen to revisit are absolutely stunning – and help infuse readings with a colorful new energy.

The Four of Swords is bathed in a radiant blue green aura, Temperance is complimented with a sweet rainbow background and The Lovers scream “relationship goals” now more than ever, with cotton candy colors woven behind the two geese. The icing on the cake? A new, more in depth, fold out guide to each card. Although the old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” reads true most of the time, we’re happy The Wild Unknown chose to ignore it on this occasion.

Thewildunknown.com

The Fountain Tarot

The Fountain Tarot
Deeply cosmic, The Fountain Tarot speaks to our unyielding need to find a deeper connection to the Universe we inhabit, and the souls who walk alongside us. The journey to this fountain of bliss starts as soon as you open the silver holographic fantasy of a box the cards reside in. From here, a greeting stating “you are the breath and voice of Universes” on the inside cover, sets the tone.

Designed and written by Jason Gruhl, Jonathan Saiz and Andi Todaro, the surreal imagery of each card allows an exploration of the sacred point where inner purpose meets outer expression. Perhaps most notably in The Fountain card itself, number “infinity,” which invites us to “surrender to that which you are, whole and perfect.” An invitation to remember that at our core, our true self is so much greater than we recognize.

Fountaintarot.com

The Serpentfire Tarot sixth edition

Serpentfire Tarot Sixth Edition
The colorful, dreamlike landscape of the Serpentfire deck by Devany Wolfe is unparalleled – and so totally Numinous. This deck is a beautiful tribute to the Goddess in us all, with an exploration of Kundalini energy woven throughout. These cards are for the dreamers, the seekers, the weavers, and those who feel an affinity to the Universe around them, even (especially) when it seems almost too big for their grasp.

Collages appear in some capacity in almost every card, from The Lovers personified as two wolves howling at a cosmic pyramid exploding with jewel-toned bliss, to The World being held over a Goddesses head with the Moon phases interlaced on top. This is no mundane magick. From the exquisite sacred geometry collage on the back of each card, to the brightly colorful, vibrantly infused and completely otherworldly art created by Wolf, this deck is truly spectacular.

Serpentfire.ca

The Spirit Speak Tarot

Spirit Speak Tarot Deck
If you’re into the more macabre, DIY, gothic look, the Spirit Speak tarot by Mary Bean Evans is right up your ally. With an alluring, sketchy quality, the illustrations for this deck resonate at their own slightly darker frequency – inviting you with a wink and a dripping dagger to step into that which is unknown. But feminist imagery, a clear love for the occult, and a really beautiful take on the Universe and the Cosmos also appears throughout.

So whether you pulling a bone hanging precariously atop a dagger to form a scale for “Justice” or a long-haired queen cradling a rune and her wand as “The Empress,” the Spirit Speak will quite literally…speak to your spirit. Let’s just say if the friendly monsters under your bed were into divination, they would have this deck on lock.

Spiritspeaktarot.com

BEACH TAROT: AN ELEMENTAL SHIFT

Artist and island dweller Monica Ruiz shares why she finds a deeper connection to her Tarot practise at the beach, where the elements conspire to create soul connection, serenity and focus. Will you follow her lead this summer?

“…treat them kindly. Build a relationship with them that is respectful. Spend time with them, especially at first. Look through the imagery and handle the cards daily…Be sensitive to how you feel when you handle the cards…Allow the ritual of using them to be positive, exploratory, & even fun…” ~ Kim Krans

I’m in love with my practise of Beach Tarot: besides breathing and meditating with my cats (of course), it’s one of my favorite ways to center my energy and bring much needed clarity to my dream endeavors, my emotions and the daily happenings in my life.

At first I was hesitant about bringing my deck to the beach with me, thinking the sand, spray or a random raindrop may “ruin” them. But when I thought about it, I remembered how much I love the elements of the beach with all of my heart: the sand (earth, grounding); the ocean (water, flow); the clouds and mists (air, breath); and of course the SUN (fire, heart).

Breathing, reading, thinking and writing, as well as watching the love of my life surf in the swirl of these elements, as represented in the Tarot, brings me pure joy – so why wouldn’t my beloved cards benefit from the same energies and vibrations that I treasure so much?

 

When I use my cards it’s about listening to my heart, inspired by intuitive visual imagery that vibes with me and my mind’s eye, which is why I gifted myself with The Wild Unknown Tarot deck by Kim Krans at the beginning of this year. From the first time I came across Kim’s magical illustrations, I felt like my spirit became entwined with the secrets of the Universe and the soul of Mother Nature when I gazed at them. That’s the thing with art: when it makes your heart tick, you FEEL it.

I pull a card at least every other day at home, when I’m setting intentions, looking for some guidance or just in need of a friendly reminder to listen to my gut. I LOVE to cover my art projects in my Tarot cards as well, to infuse them with the same beautiful and natural gifts I get from the sun at the beach. Gifts of light and energy.

But I breathe deeper and slower at the beach, and because of the love and respect I have for this environment I believe it creates a stronger more authentic connection with my deck, and so the guidance the cards provide feels more loving and natural. The beach allows me to tap into a “Be Here Now” experience, where pretty much all nonsense dissipates. When I gaze at the horizon, I immediately start to feel calmer and am able to rationalize my thoughts and keep my intentions solid without the innocent distractions I may find at home. The voice in my head sounds loving and knowing, while the elements contribute to an overall feeling of serenity, and I can focus.

 

 

Mother Nature provides the best environment to heal, meditate, ponder and celebrate your existence – wherever that may be. Forests, the mountains, a meadow, park, your backyard or even a favorite garden, are all amazing places for sole/soul attunement. Even just sitting with your houseplants helps. I take advantage of this as a form of self-love, so it makes sense that my Beach Tarot practice brings me a sense of true connection to my core being.

 

Once settled on the sand, I shuffle my cards for a few minutes and just focus on the ocean and my breath, to help center my mind on what is truest in my heart at that moment. When I draw my card, (or, as actually happens quite often at the beach, the wind chooses a card for me during my shuffle) I sit with it for a couple of minutes. During this pause I absorb and contemplate the image, along with my thoughts, paying attention to my heartbeat, before looking up its meaning.

 

After reading about the card and meditating for a moment, I set my card in the sand and allow it to “re-charge” while I stretch and usually do some writing. I will journal about my connection to my card, about its meaning and usually write out a set of affirmations that pour out of me, inspired by the card. If it feels like an extra potent card, like the message couldn’t be more perfect, I’ll usually carry it with me for a few days afterwards, in my journal or whatever book I’m reading.

In this way, bringing my cards to the beach with me has become a fun, sacred practice, combining heartfelt intuition and magical imagery with energetic pulse of the majestic sea. This is my Beach Tarot.

Island dweller Monica Ruiz is a collage artist, hardcore daydreamer, HayHouse book reviewer, bloggess, burrito lover, cat enthusiast, librarian assistant and wanderluster who is obsessed with good hip-hop beats, Lana Del Rey and Paris, France. She owns way too many black clothes, swoons over Sofia Coppola films and loves the concept of protecting your magic with an open heart.

www.lechat808.com

@LeChat808

THE WILD UNKNOWN: TALKING TAROT WITH KIM KRANS

Illustrator Kim Krans has gained a cult following as creator of The Wild Unknown Tarot deck. Launched in 2008, her mystical vision has since expanded to include zodiac prints, jewelry and even a kids’ alphabet book. As she launches her latest project, a collection of one-off paintings based on the cards, she explains her connection to the Tarot an invites us to take a trip into the wilderness within. Words: Ruby Warrington. Portraits: Daniel Arnold.

What was your first introduction to the Tarot and why did it resonate with you?
One night when my band was on tour we crashed at our friend’s house in Boston and I slept in a bed that had a beautiful woodcut print of the Magician hanging over it. I remember starting at it before I fell asleep and saying to myself; “someday I will draw the Tarot deck.” I was introduced to the Tarot well before then but I swear something happened that night…The Magician crept right into my bones.

The Wild Unknown Tarot deck

The Magician: When the Magician appears in a spread, it points to the talents, capabilities and resources at the querent’s disposal. Depending on the card’s placement in relation to other cards, the message is to tap into one’s full potential rather than holding back, especially when there is a need to transform something. There are choices and directions to take. Guidance can arrive through one’s own intuition or in the form of someone who brings about change or transformation.

What makes the Tarot so relevant in post 2012 life on planet Earth?
We all want a little guidance, right? We have lots of voices within us – some come from places of fear, doubt, low self-esteem, bummer things that happened in the past, etc. These voices get all tangled up and lead us to believe we are less amazing then we are. But underneath all that, waiting for us to hear it, is one super clear, resonant, calm voice that knows exactly what to do. It’s tough to hear it if we don’t consciously listen for it, but Tarot helps us get there… in that it helps us see ourselves and our patterns. If you wonder why after a good reading you feel “relieved” or “more yourself” (even if it’s a dark-ish reading) it’s because you made contact with that inner voice. Keep finding ways to connect with it, listen to it, and soon your path becomes golden.

Images from the new Wild Unknown “One of a Kind” series

What’s your favorite card in the Wild Unknown deck, and why?
The Moon card, for sure. The most important reading of my life had The Moon as the central card…that reading was a real turning point. It was just months before the deck came out. So I am ever-loyal to that card. The Hermit is a close runner-up fave.

The Moon: The Moon is the card of intuition, dreams and the unconscious. The Moon provides light as a reflection of the Sun, yet this light is dim, uncertain, and only vaguely illuminates our path as we journey toward higher consciousness. When a path leads between two towers into the distance, it is showing the way to the unconsciousness. The astrological sign associated with this card is Pisces – psychic, receptive and mysterious.

Jewelry designer Pamela Love shows off her favorite card in the Wild Unknown deck. Image: Frommoontomoon.blogspot.com

We discovered your Zodiac project on Pinterest. Will we see more of this? (Obsessed!)
Yes! The Zodiac series I drew just came out as a blank notecard set. All twelve drawings in one box…no more stressing to find your far-out friend a birthday card!

How do you connect to the Wild Unknown inside you in your daily life?
The best access point for me is meditation, yoga, and mantra. I also take walks on Zuma beach a lot. Singing also helps me.

Sagittarius
Aquarius

Is that “Wilderness” the same thing as the guru they say lives inside us all?
I’m going to take a bold stab at this big question and say – the “wilderness” is not the guru but instead it is the place within where the guru can be found. It is the realm of the guru. But the wilderness is fluid, changing, wild, magical, creative and mysterious…while so far…the moments I have glimpsed the guru it is perfectly still. Perfectly, perfectly still.

And if it were an actual place on Earth, what’s the closest you’ve come to finding it?
In a small shrine in the Poconos.

“So I cut off my hair and I rode straight away, to the wild unknown country,
where I could not go wrong…” – Bob Dylan

www.thewildunknown.com
@thewildunknown