Animal Spirit – Telesco and Hall

Animal Spirit: Spells, Sorcery and Symbols from the Wild
Patricia Telesco and Rowan Hall
New Page Books, 2002
221 pages

It’s nice to see a book on animal magic that actually goes into new territory.

The authors start with some biology, a definite nice touch. They discuss how habitat, behaviors and physiological adaptations all contribute to an animal’s “medicine,” which is largely formulated from human interpretation of biological observations.

I did like the variety of areas of study and practice that were discussed. While totems and spirit guides were covered, so were such topics as animal-based feng shui and working with animal parts in magic, as well as the legalities thereof. This makes it a good 101 intro to the subject of animal magic.

I do have a few complaints. There are NO in text citations, and only a select bibliography. I want to know where they get evidence for “Shamans do this” or “The Ancients did that”–how about some qualifying citations? Or at least references to which culture(s) they’re talking about?

I also got tired of the usual lists of animal qualities in each section–that hits my Too Many Totem Animal Dictionaries button.

For the most part, though, it’s a good starter’s book, and unique in the field.

Four pawprints out of five.

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