Are you a Witch, or do you like the idea of being a Witch?

Are you a Witch, or do you like the idea of being a Witch?

With the explosion of the Witch Aesthetics on Instagram, I’ve often found myself pondering this question as I scrolled and browsed through the overwhelming amount of altars standing in a well-curated dim light, contemplating the various reclaimed skulls adorned with puzzling sigils as well as the glittery unicorn pink polished fake nails holding an equally perplexing pentacle cupcake.

Some pictures inspired me in the greatest way, others definitely did not. To each his own I suppose. Whatever floats your boat, I’m not pointing fingers here. All of them had something in common though, they made me reflect on my own relationship with Witchcraft and all the glamour around it.

I’ve always considered myself a Witch. I’ve been labeled one by several people even before I claimed the title, starting in my childhood. Really not a surprising thing: I was that lonely little kid that, best-case scenario, others prefer to avoid. I used to spend recess at school collecting rocks to secretly fill my top desk drawer once back home. A treasure of my own with a meaning that couldn’t be understood by anyone else but me and the dirt I brought back along.

You know that kid. Come on, you clicked on that article title, I bet you were that kid. The one who doesn’t fit. The square peg. Too quiet, too young, too different, too weird. Yet never enough, and somewhat frightening.

Hopefully, I’ve learned to own that power since then. I enjoy having different interests and views about the world, I’m highly pleased with my own company, and I still collect random rocks. And feathers, fallen leaves, twisted twigs, samaras, and hemlock cones (the cutest of all). The only difference being that I don’t hide them in an obscure drawer anymore. Now I display them beautifully on various Sacred Places in my Home.

Sacred Altars that I don’t usually feel the urge to show on social media.

Grimoire & Sigil Crafting

Last Samhain, I reacquainted myself with my Craft. I rearranged my Main Altar, I sat every day in front of it, and I realized as much as I decided it that I remained stuck in the mud long enough. Stuck in ideas that wouldn’t work on this particular ground, beliefs that actually prevented me to grow, try new things, expand.

I had to find new ways of expressing my Magic, since most of my old tools and habits are still packed in a box somewhere in France. I quietly watched and listened to the different Tokens and Amulets collected here, from this corner of the Living World where I laid my roots with a renewed sense of awe and a head full of possibilities.

This Samhain, I reinvented myself and my Craft, working out new foundations for the year to come. I proudly hold the Witch title again, knowing what’s in it and what it means for me.

Damn, I even started a whole new Book of Spells for myself, illustrated and all, to keep track of the different rituals I’ve been experimenting with in the last few months. One of the several Witchy Books that I made for myself and don’t usually display on social media either.

Book of Spells

I don’t know what’s my point here, really. I guess I just wanted to ramble for a minute, and share a bit of my thoughts as I keep carving my path through the Wild Woods while questioning my witchiness. Defining what makes a Witch is already hard in itself. The word has this magical ability to shift and morph over time, but I find it especially complex now that it is used for so many things that aren’t directly related to… well, some sort of witchcraft practice?

All right, let’s just say this chatty post is an excuse for me to open a new category on the blog. This way I’ll encourage myself to talk a bit more about this subject in the future. Witchcraft deeply matters to me. It’s always been, it’s part of my roots. And it’s one of the main things that influence my other Craft, you know, wood burning, painting and such. So I guess it’s only legit that it should have a place here too.

Wooden Wildera Lenormand finally complete

Wooden Wildera Lenormand finally complete

You may already know this, but it is actually the second version of my Wooden Wildera Lenormand. Unfortunately, the first one had to stay back in France at my parents’ house because I couldn’t take it with me when we were moving to the USA. But I’m okay with it, it wasn’t a complete set anyway.

I don’t really remember which pieces I had the time to finish before I took off. Well, I suppose I could easily find out, since I probably have a couple of pictures saved somewhere on my computer files. I am pretty sure that the Bear was one of the pieces done. If you know me, you know Bear Spirit is pretty much always involved, and always comes first.

Bear Spirit Devotion

What I do know however, is that there are many differences between the two versions. First there’s my choice of wood. I went for birch slices this time, instead of… oh my, what was it? I can’t even remember that either. Ash maybe? Alder? Beech? It definitely wasn’t birch though.

I chose birch for technical reasons as well as spiritual ones. I love the tenderness and the particular grain of this essence of wood. It’s one of my favorite to do pyrography on. And since this tree represents new beginnings – at least for me and a whole lot of Pagan-related People out there – I found it appropriate for this whole “I-got-to-start-over” thing I was experiencing.

There are also several original drawings that changed organically when I started painting the cards of Wildera Lenormand. I wasn’t satisfied with the first version of the Bouquet for example, so I redesigned it completely. And I’ve done the same for the Tree and the Clover too. And now that I think of it, I find it fascinating the way the two projects ended up nourishing and transforming each other. From the wood to the paper, and vice-versa. It’s like a never-ending cycle between two different shapes of the very same Living Material, if you know what I mean.

Wildera Lenormand - Grand Tableau

So, why bother making a wooden version in the first place? Well, before I even thought about creating an actual deck of cards, that was actually the plan. Making a Lenormand Oracle just for myself, that I could use everywhere without worrying too much about damaging the paper, scratching the lamination, accidentally bending a corner or, worst of all, sitting down on it (don’t laugh, that’s how I ruined the 4 of Cups from my first copy of Wildwood Tarot).

Anyway, I needed it to be sturdy, because the item I had in mind was meant to come along with me into the forest. Its purpose is to accompany me in my Wood Walks, so I can toss it on the mossy wet floor and have a conversation with it under the shadow of the trees, all the while listening to the Song of Wind and Whispers of Birds.

So here it is now, ready to come with me on my next hike (perfect timing with the Sweet Spring coming, am I right?). It has already found its own little spot in my backpack, beside my Forest Beads, the lovely Whispering Woods Oracle deck, and a well-loved French copy of Thoreau’s Walking.

A Month of Drawings – #Inktober 2019

A Month of Drawings – #Inktober 2019

Inktober is now finished, and I almost made it to the end of the month.

I say “almost”, because I kind of fell off the wagon during the last week, having a lot of things to deal with at home beside enjoying Samhain Tide as much as I could. I planned and did so much magic and rituals and cooking and fun pumpkin carving this year that I don’t mind having ended Inktober a little bit sooner. This Witch feels that it was worth it.

I can’t really complain anyway, since I managed to respect the end-of-challenge goal that I set for myself: finishing up with a huge piece of pine wood featuring a Flock of Ravens, silently fluttering in the moonlight sky like an Ancient Omen.

Raven Wood Ornament

I can tell you that this piece actually means a great deal to me, and I can tell you why. It’s kind of a secret still, but hidden things are unveiled at Samhain, and I feel ready to whisper this one. This illustration is meant to play a part in a future Oracle Deck that I have in mind and have the desire to create in the future.

Don’t jump on conclusions too quickly though. This is still a vague project. I mean, I already pictured about 50 cards that will make their way into the deck, but that’s it for now. Most of it is only living in my head, I haven’t start any drawings, except for a couple of drafts here and there. So this won’t happen soon.

Also, may I remind you that I have a Lenormand Deck to publish first! 😉

All right, back to Inktober. If you’ve been with me on Instagram, then you know that I used the opportunity to introduce and highlight several tarot and oracle creators. And there was even more that I wish I had featured on my account, but I genuinely couldn’t manage to fit them all in such a short length of time.

Basically, I picked one card from a different deck of my collection each day to inspire me and create a little square card myself. One small walnut ink painting every day – plus a few extras wooden amulets – and soon it turned out to be a very pleasing collection of earthly monochrome designs.

#Inktober2019

And now I got to do something with it! So I figured, regarding the original drawings themselves, I’m going to add them to the next orders placed on the shop, as a cute little token of gratitude before the closing day. I might add a couple of Wooden Amulets as well. Who knows, maybe you will be the lucky one to get one of those.

Besides these improvised gifts, I’m thinking of burning a few of these designs on wood in the future. I already have my favorites that I absolutely want to create, but please, let me know what are yours so I can be able to make them too.

Hibernation mode

Hibernation mode

Winter is coming, and with it, the hibernation of my sweet little shop.

I already told you about the unfortunate change of visa that I’m going to experience next month and the consequences that come with it – aka an extended period of forced vacations for me and my husband. So far, no other changes to declare, all that I said last week is still valid.

So, first things first, I will close the shop on November 17, and the last orders will be sent the following Monday.

Closing the shop at this time means that there won’t be any end-of-the-year sales. So, just as I was saying in my last post, if you’re planning to get some Yule or Christmas presents from my shop, the sooner the better. The same goes for custom orders: you still have a few weeks to work with me, then I won’t be able to create anything more for you until the reopening (which annoys me deeply, despite it not being my call).

Now for those of you who asked me about the publishing of my Wildera Lenormand, don’t worry, I still have it in my mind. My initial schedule obviously doesn’t stand anymore, but I still intend to have it printed and released as soon as I can. I had planned to get pre-orders on the shop by mid November; instead we are going to have a Spring Launch – sounds exciting to me!

I’ll keep posting news about my very first deck here and on my social media platforms, but I’m also aware that some of you don’t use them and would like something else instead. As a solution, I will get back on creating and writing regular Newsletters in the future. This way, you’re going to be able to know where and how to order Wildera Lenormand when the time comes.

So if you’re inclined to it, please go and subscribe here, and I will take care of the rest 🙂

Having the shop in hibernation during the Cold Months doesn’t necessary mean that I will be dormant too (even if my Hermit Bear side finds it really tempting some days).

There’s a few weeks in December / January where I’m going to go back to France and enjoy the holidays with family while waiting for the new visa to be approved. Then, back to our home in Washington State, I’m going to use the rest of my free time to work on different Personal Projects that I kept pushing aside during last Summer.

I’ve got a long list for this, plenty of choice to keep me busy and share different facets of my spiritual and creative life with you. For instance, I still need to organize the inside of Mildred Payne’s Secret Treasure Box to be able to find the Magic Trinkets that I keep in there more easily.

I also want to work on the wood storage chests that I use in the Atelier. The idea came to me right in the beginning of my installation here, that they needed to be decorated to reflect the creations that I keep in. I have this picture in my head of what it’s going to look like; now I just have to make it happen. Besides of all this, I need to finish some wall decor for my Atelier too, and a couple of my Witchy Books and Grimoires are waiting for some updates and new pages.

I’m starting to find the positive side of these forced vacations. So many things to create, and plenty of time to focus on it!

Expatriate update: changing visa and the consequences

Expatriate update: changing visa and the consequences

It’s funny how it’s easy to forget about the technicalities of your residential status when you’ve settled in a foreign country for a while. Once you’ve dealt with all the challenges of the beginning, you start to build your new life and your routines, and soon you forget that you’re here on a visa that is meant to be temporary. At least I did.

But things always end up changing, right? The wind turns, the moon disappears from view, the ocean tides withdraw, the trees let go of their dying leaves… and I happened to learn that my visa will have to go too in a few weeks.

I so easily forgot about me being an expatriate, and it’s now hitting me right in the face. As home as I feel here in this magical spot in the Pacific Northwest, I’m still bound by a piece of paper on my passport and my life here is only permitted by the US immigration laws.

I’ll spare you the boring details about why and how my status will have to be adjusted, but here’s what you need to know, because – of course – this unfortunate news will affect the shop.

Should everything go according to plan (let’s have a bit of hope here), I will get a new type of visa and be allowed to stay in this country. No big international move at the horizon for now, which is really great! But getting the new visa will take some time and (let’s go for the bad bits now) it won’t be one that allows me to work. At least not by its own. I’ll have to get an additional work authorization, and that too, won’t be done in a day.

At this point you’ve probably already understood what it means for the shop. Since I won’t be allowed to work here for a certain length of time, I’ll have no other choice but to close it, and take advantage of these forced vacations to “work” on something else (like getting to the point where patience is my best quality) (or maybe a new Oracle? hmh, just saying).

Last but not least, let’s talk timing and delays. How long will this whole process take?

Please be aware that I cannot guaranty anything, that this is just an estimation, and that… yeah, things change. But for now, here’s what I’m being told: my current visa will be canceled the last day of November, then there’s approximately a two months wait to get the new visa, and after that, another couple of months for me to have a work authorization.

What do you need to remember from all this? Essentially, that the shop will be closed by the end of November (I will be able to confirm the date soon), so if you had the intention to get Christmas presents from my shop this year, I can only apologize and suggest that you place your orders sooner than later. I’ll still be happy to have them ready for you and your loved ones ♥

TL;DR: My current visa is being canceled, I will get a new one and be allowed to stay in the US, but I will have to wait before having the authorization to work here again. As a consequence, I unfortunately will have to close the shop for an extended period of time (approx. 4 months), beginning at the end of November.