The Animal tarot (German: Tiertarock) is a subgenre of tarot card. The earliest examples are from 18th century Germany, probably designed by Göbl of Munich, and a theme of animals replaces the traditional trump scenes of the Tarot de Marseilles and Visconti Sforza Tarocchi. Patterns with full-figured courts, prominent during the 18th–20th centuries, included the Bavarian and the Belgium styles. Later designs are the Upper Austria Animal Tarot and Adler Cego cards.
Where a traditional deck contains cups, pedicles, wands and swords, the animal tarot cards have shells, branches, feathers and fossils. This variation is how the animal personalities are portrayed in the cards, but can be used the same as a traditional deck. The purpose of the animals is to represent a different message and therefore different result for the person performing tarot.
The Animal tarot variation was created to represent the spirituality and symbolism of animals in the tarot practice. The animals are believed to have powers specific to their species, Totem animals are emphasized in Animal tarot because of the strong symbolism behind them. However there are other spirit animals in Animal tarot that are not included in Totem, and their representation varies. The animals represent more than just spiritual guidance, as it offers positive and negative interpretations, dream interpretation, and so much more.
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