This book and card set is one of the most popular systems and it's no wonder. In Native American tradition, medicine is "anything that improves one's connection to the Great Mystery and to all life." Using teachings from the Choctaw, Lakota, Seneca, Aztec, Yaqui, Cheyenne, Cherokee, Iroquois, and Mayan traditions, the authors have identified the medicine of 44 animals that have traditionally been considered as guides. Each of the beautifully illustrated cards depicts the animal in a medicine shield. Nine blank medicine shield cards are included in the deck so that you can add other animals with whom you feel a special kinship.

The companion book identifies the lesson to be learned from each animal's behavior. Elk teaches about stamina; bear, introspection; rabbit, fear; frog, cleansing; snake, transmutation; armadillo, boundaries; horse, power; bat, rebirth, etc. Both upright and contrary (when the card is drawn upside down) applications are given for each card. These are explained by delightful retellings of Native American legends, sayings, and observations.

The authors assert that every person has nine power or totem animals that "emulate each person's abilities, talents, and challenges" during his or her Earth Walk. They provide instructions for a one-time selection of cards to identify these totems and explain the particular medicine of each position. Other creative spreads use familiar Native American images such as the medicine wheel, the sun lodge, and Father Sky/Mother Earth.

The Medicine Cards helps us get back in touch with the spiritual wisdom that abounds in nature. They are fun and easily understood — making them a good choice for a first experience with cards, especially for children.