When I meditated on the various cards with the "Tarot of the Animal Lords", I would enter the landscape of each card. Sometimes the characters would speak to me. At other times, I would join them in their activity. What I learnt from doing this exercise was the shadow side of the cards.
To see The Fool (opens in new window)
Standing in the snow, I asked The Fool if he was freezing, as the Magpie, perched in the nearby tree, laughed. After walking to a nearby small cave in a hill, we made a cozy fire inside, Sitting in the warmth, The Fool told me that he was taking his friend, Puffin, home to his family in the Arctic. He was ready for this adventure, but was unsure if he made the right decision. However, he was with his friend and that was what mattered to him. This made me see The Fool as someone who did things, without much thought. But this Fool did know what was important.
To see The Emperor (opens in new window)
IV. The Emperor.
As I was walking on the African veldt, The Emperor stopped and challenged me. He roared at me that I was trespassing in his kingdom. This was his land as far as the falcon flew, and the source of his power. Startled, I asked for permission to enter his kingdom. He allowed me in as long as I understood that the trappings of power did not matter, only the wielding of power itself. His savageness made me pause about the nature of power and its uses.
To see The Hierophant (opens in new window)
V. The Hierophant
The Hierophant greeted me with a traditional greeting of peace. Also, he noticed that I kept staring at the cardinal perched on his antlers. Laughing, The Hierophant told me that whimsy in life is important or everything will become stagnant and hidebound. What he taught me was that play was as necessary to the Spirit as was discipline.
(This card depicts a bat hanging upside down, whilst the full moon shines down on him. Below the bat are two mice, with skulls, sitting around a pool of water.)
I stepped into the pool, accidentally splashing The Hanged Man, and woke him up. Amused, he saw how confused I seemed. The Hanged Man told me that he liked hanging upside down in the full moon, since it gave him a sense of peace and quiet. Then as I tried to leave, I got stuck in the pool, and the Mice had to pull me out. The Hanged Man taught me that it is good to pause and wait, but not too long, or one will get stuck in the mire.