The Badgers Forest Tarot by Nakisha Elsje VanderHoeven, who is also the creatrix of The Rabbit Tarot, The TaRat (Tarot of the Rat), The BlueDogRose Tarot featuring domestic animals, and The Riderless Tarot, a horse-themed deck. I think she is an animal lover, but I’m not sure. You’ve got to check out all her tarot decks, which are self-published and listed through Etsy.
This is my favorite animal spirit deck, for sure. When I read with this deck, it’s less tarot and more oracle deck, and more specifically, I’m checking out the animal spirit depicted on the cards drawn. Typical tarot card meanings come secondary. And if you’re looking for an animal spirit oracle deck, even though this is tarot–and it does fit what I consider to be the parameters for a tarot deck–this is really a great one.
It comes with a fold-out sheet of keywords for each of the cards. The primary purpose for that fold-out, if you’re a seasoned tarot reader, is just to check which suit in this deck corresponds with which suit in the standard decks. Oh by the way–packaging gripe–I am not a big fan of the box. It’s flimsy, but I think it’s homemade, so if it’s homemade, then I’m totally cool with the box.
The artwork on this deck is magnificent. It does the animals justice and each card is evocative of the animal spirit depicted on the card, and further, a great animal spirit representation of its corresponding tarot archetype.
The card backs are non-reversible and feature the tree that you see on The World card. It’s not my favorite, but there’s an earthiness to it that I appreciate. I’m not a fan of the thick brown border for the card backs.
The Rabbits correspond with the suit of Wands, for the element Fire. I like how The Tower card from the Majors featured a rabbit (where Tower = Fire element; Wands suit here = Fire; all contain rabbits).
Every single card in this deck causes me to squeal with delight. It’s so cute! But not overly fluffy-love-and-light sparkles and bubbles cute. It’s got like an earthy, grounded cuteness to it.
Foxes are the suit of Cups. I didn’t immediately make that connection myself, but love so much every card in this suit. I’m particularly drawn to foxes.
Badgers are the suit of Swords. Again, cuteness overload.
So here’s where I got a bit confused. Crows are the suit of Pentacles. Before checking out the fold-out guide that came with the deck, I presumed the Crows were Swords for Air, and then since I am an idiot I confused badgers with sea otters, so I thought the “sea otters” (aka badgers) were the suit of Cups for Water. I thought Red Foxes were Fire and I was so sure that Rabbits would be Earth, so I was all kinds of confused before checking out the fold-out guide.
I adore this deck to pieces. For me, working with the intended suit correspondences caused me more confusion than clarity, so that’s why I personally work with the deck like oracle cards, and as one for tapping into animal spirit energies, you can’t find a better one than the Badgers Forest Tarot. And with autumn setting in, this is one of those amazing decks to work with in the fall.