In the first few pages, I was enchanted by Hearth Moon Rising’s tale of her feline encounters in the wild. The book Divining with Animal Guides was not what I expected, but pleasantly so. I admit I thought the book would be mostly a list of animals with a brief explanation and meaning of what they represent magickally. I was delighted to find this was much more than that. The animals discussed in the book are given a great amount of detail in the history, behaviors and scientific as well as spiritual explanations.
We begin with cat tales. While I know most folks that follow a magickal or nature path usually have a cat that resides in their home. I am allergic and have no feline energies that grace our home. Instead, we have two dogs and an ornery Quaker parrot. For me personally, I can say I learned a lot from this chapter alone. I didn’t realize how complex the wild and house cats truly are. Learning about the behaviors and biology that makes up the feline gave me a better view of the spiritual side of the cat. I have always heard how magickal cats were and why they are such a common familiar for witches. Now I can say I have a much better grasp on why these animals are so revered and the lessons they can teach us. One thing I appreciate about the book is the way it is delivered to the reader.
Part of the writing will be sharing the author’s own personal encounters mixed with history and the science of the creature. The information is written in a way that we can understand and digest the material that kept me reading without wanting to put the book down. In my personal studies, I work with animals and totems and I look for signs in nature and animals. Diving with Animal Guides helps you more than a catalog book of meanings by teaching you to understand what the world around you and is saying. Taking such an in-depth view of the animal, and the history teaches us a new way to look around at what the animals are telling us. Nature is our best teacher, and the book tells us we just need to stop and pay attention.
The author sets up the chapters with a personal account, history, meanings and then thought-provoking questions. While you could skip around a bit, I recommend you read the book cover to cover. The information is insightful, fun and helped provide me with a different view of interpreting the world and animals around me. While some of the animals given attention in the book were familiar to me such as the Raven, the Bee, and horse, a few were not such as Scorpion, Crocodile and more. I was pleasantly surprised with the book and glad it was more than I had expected.
If you are looking for a simple animal dictionary for meanings keep going. This book will show some examples but focuses more on how you can experience and find your own meanings and journey in the world around you and the beings you live with and around. For anyone practicing a nature-based craft, this book deserves a spot on your bookshelf.
~review by Amber Barnes
Author: Hearth Moon Rising
Moon Books, Feb 23, 2018
pp. 352, $25.95