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Author Archives: Spencer Indigo

About Spencer Indigo

Name’s Spencer. I use he/they. I’m just a queer disabled bookworm who’s been given a wonderful opportunity here! I love cats, nature, and spiritual stuff. Also, I’ve an unrivaled sweet tooth.

Animal Spirit Wisdom, by Philip Kansa and Elke Kirchner-Young

Animal Spirit Wisdom: A Pocket Reference to 45 Power Animals, by Philip Kansa and Elke Kirchner-Young
Earthdancer Books, 1644111154, 112 pages, May 2021

The lovely little paperback, called Animal Spirit Wisdom: A Pocket Reference to 45 Power Animals, by two shamans named Philip Kansa and Elke Kirchner-Young is a nice encouragement to open one’s mind to accepting the wisdom and assistance of animal spirits “energy from other dimensions,” as they write on page 8. Philip and Elke have been on a journey, for over 21 years between them, to share the wisdoms of this native tradition, known as Power Animals, or Animal Totems. I personally took their encouragement to heart as I read through this book, because I already have a love for animals in the world of mundane biology. I was quite interested in what the spiritual plane had to offer from animals too!

This book brought me a feeling of warmth and friendliness. I could really grasp the concept of calling a power animal to one’s side as a companion. This was my first true introduction to animal spirits, so I will need to gain more knowledge on the practice, before I might incorporate it into my own spiritual practices. That said though, I look forward to trying out the exercises written in this book, because unlike many other references I’ve seen, Animal Spirit Wisdom seems to take a gentle, guiding approach, rather than a strict format that stresses a lot on technique. That’s not to say the strict approach is wrong, however the easy going nature of this book seemed to match the writer’s intentions perfectly.

Reading through Animal Spirit Wisdom feels like you’re taking a spiritual walk on a path of nature with two friendly tour guides showing you the way. There is a schedule, for Philip and Elke shall also guide those next in line to be lead, but you must also stroll and allow the power animals to come along the path when you’re both ready to learn and grow from the experience.

Animal Spirit Wisdom is written in a succinct, organized style, and it features a clear and precise connection exercise with which to call on each of the 45 spirit animals referenced. Phillip and Elke also include a brief list of keywords and helpful descriptions for ideas on how calling forth any of the power animals may aid and protect you. Each spirit animal page contains adequately sourced and vivid images, which allow for the perfect visual aids for beginners.

I was only slightly confused by one part of this book, but I think that’s because I was taking things literally. I’ll only include my bamboozlement here, because I’m still not completely sure about it. On page 9 of Animal Spirit Wisdom, our shamans state “in order to discover your animal, make a spirit animal journey (see p. 12) with a shaman or another spiritual teacher.” As shown in the quote, there is another page number listed to see. On page 12 there is a whole exercise titled “A Spirit Animal Journey.”

Now, since our authors are shamans themselves, I’m inclined to believe they are indeed the “shamans with us,” so to say, on this particular journey. I don’t know if this might seem nit-picky, but I honestly wasn’t sure if that’s how I’m supposed to read these particular sections, or if I should actually contact either shaman directly and seek their counsel, as it were. Either way, don’t let the confused mutterings of a beginner sway you. The aforementioned curiosity didn’t take anything away from the book’s experience at all. I simply wish to remain transparent and forthcoming with my review.

Overall, Animal Spirit Wisdom by Phillip Kansa and Elke Kirchner-Young was a truly impactful and enlightening reading experience. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone, of any level, who is interested in acquiring an introduction to the tradition of spirit animals. I genuinely believe the two beautiful shamans who put this book together delight in sharing this very knowledge with you. After my journey through these pages, I am moved to see the animals around me in a much more spiritual light. I wonder if the power animals will know my awe for them. Yeah, they probably will, as they’re the ones with the wisdom, after all.

Super Tarot, by Sasha Fenton

Super Tarot: Interpret the Cards Like a Pro, by Sasha Fenton
Hampton Roads Publishing, 164970197, 176 pages, February 2021

Sasha Fenton’s Super Tarot: Interpret the Cards Like a Pro is an instructive paperback that seems to be gaining popularity as I write this! It features a rather encouraging forward, written by Theresa “the Tarot Lady” Reed. There’s not much else to add about the forward, as it is only 2 ½ pages long, but it does complement the rest of the book nicely. I found myself excited to turn the page toward the book’s 1st chapter, even though I already comfortably involve tarot reading in my own personal practices!

Of course, we all can always learn more, and improve our skills for everything we do, but honing my own skills in tarot specifically is why I picked up Super Tarot, and boy, did Sasha Fenton deliver! Fenton, a professional astrologer, palmist, and tarot card reader since 1974,  is also a well established instructive writer on divination, and Super Tarot adds another to the over 100 books in her already massive repertoire. I’m only focusing on one of her books for now, though, and that’s Super Tarot

The very first (honestly refreshing might I add) thing I noticed about this book is the feeling of almost casual friendliness that shone through page after page. Fenton seems more like a friend giving advice than an author telling you what to do. I liked the overall positivity of finding several examples of what you should do as well, rather than seeing the negative counterpart of  teaching what you shouldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I understand and value the importance of warning beginners of the potential downsides one may face, but as someone with mental disabilities, having more than one different example helps me to better understand the abstract concepts I can struggle with.

Speaking of several examples of things to do, I learned an interesting spread from this book that I somehow hadn’t come across before. I know I’m no expert on tarot reading myself, but I had already gotten comfortable enough with the Past, Present, and Future spread to not really have many questions of how to advance it, but this book sure did give me an answer that turned out to be something I found Incredibly useful! I was nearly complacent in drawing just one card for each of the elements in the title of the Past, Present, and Future tarot reading, all totaling a count of three cards. From Super Tarot, on page 112, I found a spread that actually involves drawing two cards for each of the past, present, and future elements, totaling in a 6 card spread.

Right then, I put the book down for a few minutes, and picked up my tarot cards! The 6-card spread resulted in a far more accurate, and informative reading than I had ever gotten from pulling just 3 cards, and that might seem obvious, but remember, I was already comfortable with the amount of information I’d gotten with the way I was already doing the Past, Present, and Future spread, so to have even more to work with was amazing to me. I already feel more confident in my own reading abilities by just practicing one exercise from Super Tarot.

Simple as my own discovery may seem, Super Tarot is not geared towards beginners. Fenton forgoes the usual “what is,” and history chapters for only a few beginner tips, and a brief review of the Major Arcana, Minor Arcana, and card suits, before jumping right into her more advanced instructions on interpretation and skill building. If one would like to gain a more comprehensive beginning look at tarot from this author, Fenton herself directs the readers of Super Tarot to a different book of her works: “My book, Fortune Telling By Tarot Cards, is designed for beginners.”1

That doesn’t stop Fenton from continuing her reputation for writing in a clear style that’s easy to understand with Super Tarot, however. This book is filled with comprehensible, useful infographics that depict clear examples as well. While it’s not a new idea, there is still a bit of book mechanics information to note: In the suit’s description of Super Tarot, Fenton uses Pages, and Coins to describe the cards of those ranks. Respectively, other common names used to refer to those cards are Princes/Princesses, and Pentacles.

Overall, and as a person with disabilities that cause me to struggle with the abstract symbolism and emotional concepts that make up the very essence of tarot card reading, Super Tarot has helped me immeasurably. Author Sasha Fenton’s down to earth tone, and clear instructions with different examples to follow them from will stay with me, as I feel more confident than ever in my understanding of the interpretation of tarot card readings.

I enthusiastically recommend Super Tarot to any who might struggle with the same issues I do, or those who simply want to strengthen their grasp on tarot reading for any reason. You might even close the book with the inspiration to offer your own readings as a service for some extra cash! As for me though, the knowledge and confidence I’ve gained by reading this book, has allowed me the motivation to broaden, and personalize  my personal tarot divination practice by creating my own unique card spreads. If you need me, I’ll be shuffling my cards!