Toerien has created a deck of 55 cards to use bird energy as a self-help and self-discovery tool. Each bird represents a different focus for an individual to work with. This is a gentle book filled with positive energy and an earnest desire to help the reader. 

In her information leading up to the description of each bird, Toerien selects the term God to represent the divine or spiritual force. Her description allows the reader to use their own interpretation of who or what God is.  his makes the cards usable by anyone regardless of their beliefs. 

Toerien discusses using her cards to draw a daily card which is typical of any deck. She also offers seven other spreads for the reader to utilize.  She says that two of the spreads should only be done once to find the energy of “special bird” and finding your own energy spread.  These are meant to define who the reader is. The problem with doing these spreads only once in a life time is that the people tend to grow and change. The bird energy which exemplifies one at a particular stage may not be the same as is needed later on in life. Aside from this slight downfall, the spreads she offers are simple and easy to follow. The spreads offer unique insight into the inner core for the reader.  In addition, she has clear directions by offering first a general description of the process and then step by step directions. She also has good and descriptive illustrations to demonstrate how to lay out the spreads.  The remainder of her spreads is different from the typical spreads you find as they incorporate the bird energy in the spread themselves. 

The illustrations are simple pencil drawings used to illustrate what Toerien is expresses with words. Van Dobben has created beautiful birds with significant symbolism on each card. In addition to the pictures, she offers Artist notes at the end of the book to help the reader understand more clearly why symbols were used and what they represent. 

This book is easy to follow; however, the birds are in random order for the descriptions.  This makes it sort of hard to find them, although each illustration has a number which coordinates with the order in the book. There is an index in the back which is in alphabetical order which helps the reader to locate the birds. Take note though the Finch got left out of the index so the reader will need find it in sequence rather than rely on the index.  This could have been an oversight by either the author or publisher. 

The types of birds used in the book seem to be a good cross section of birds from popular ones like the eagle and hawk to extinct ones like the dodo. Additionally not all of the birds represent positive energy, the vulture is included and meant to help the reader reveal the hidden or negative traits. 

Overall Toerien offers a positive book and deck of cards to utilize bird energy for the reader. She has created a tool for the reader who is drawn to birds to incorporate in their daily life or to assist with specific issues. Van Dobben has produced beautiful pictures to supplement the text in helping the reader to work with these cards.

~review by Eileen Troemel

Author: Jane Toerien, Illustrated by Joyce Van Dobben
Red Wheel/Weiser, 2007
pp. 159, $24.95