The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle

The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit
Oracle Deck
Review By Allan Ritchie


Published by The Wild Unknown

Retail:  U.S. $40.00

Last month I reviewed the Wild Unknown Tarot Deck. With my success and growing admiration of the deck I was interested when I heard that Karns was releasing a follow-up deck that was explicitly an animal oracle. I held off but not long before I got the deck after hearing some feedback by people I trusted.

The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck is physically similar to the Tarot deck. The card stock, the nice box and the guide that has the handwritten script. Most of the cards are black and white with emphasis coloring. There are only two cards that are solely black and white and they are the Raccoon and the Hyena. Even the Zebra card, which one might expect to be black and white has a multicolored triangle in-between her eyes. One of my favorite uses of color in the deck is the Shark card which is black and white with the exception of the blood red gums just under his pointed teeth.

Oracle decks tend to rely on a guide book as a gateway into the system. Karns has provided a wonderful guide to the deck. The deck can be bought by itself or with the companion guide. Each of the Wild Unknown decks come with a folded sheet of card information that can serve as a little white book for the deck. The Guide is a deeper unfolding of the elemental system that she used to order her deck. With insightful considerations about that natural world, she does not shy away from considering the food cycle of animals and a contemplation of apex predators. I recommend the guide book if you consider purchasing the deck as it is a great supplement to it.

The guide book is great but not essential. Those who use animal oracle decks regularly will surely take to the oracle easily. For those of us who don't use animal oracles much may not need the book as the evocative images and the intrinsic symbolic value of the animals communicates volumes. Vulture, Spider, Bear, Turtle are all loaded symbols and with thoughtful personal awareness each of us has a reaction and understanding of the what each animal represents.

The Wild Unknown decks both seem to work in a similar manner. The Animal Spirit deck requires that the reader takes some time to hear each of the animal's voice. As with the Wild Unknown Tarot this deck set the reading in a different intellectual space and this does take some intentional time to get everything out of the reading.


With some oracle decks, there seems little thought to the order and structure of the deck. Karns inspired by the Tarot as essentially set up a suit system. She has used a five element system for classification. The four basic elements, Water, Fire, Earth and Air are set into suits of fourteen cards. Then there is a Spirit element suit of six cards. The Water suit is filled as expected with animals of oceans, rivers, and lakes such as Beaver, Whale, Starfish. The Air suit is filled with animals that fly such as Bee, Owl, and Bat. The Fire suit is represented by animals of deserts and grasslands such as Elephant, Gazelle, Cobra, and Tarantula. The Earth suit is animals of field and forest which are Elk, Lamb, Earthworm, and Wolf. The Spirit Suit works as a type of Major Arcana, are creatures such as Unicorn, Dragon, Sea Serpent and Golden Egg.

The deck has structure and pulls on the intuition allowing for elemental dignities to enforce or weaken each other to give a complexity to the message. This deck works both on the systematic reading style and an open intuitive method. The Animal Spirit deck is a complement to the Wild Unknown Tarot. There is a similar symbolic vocabulary between the decks made it easier for me to make the transition. Even more, there is a chance with the deck being used in concert with each other almost seamlessly. For the fans of the Wild Unknown Tarot and of animal oracles then this deck is one to add to the collection and see what it can bring to your readings.

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