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.
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.
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.
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.
Isn’t October the most magical month of all? With all of the Fall delicacies, the yummy pumpkins and squash everywhere, the earthly scents of fallen leaves released by the touch of a light rain, the misty mornings that are getting chillier as the Sun rises later and, of course – of course! – the delightful perspective of Samhain and Halloween festivities at the end of the month.
But there’s another event that adds to the overall enchantment and magic, at least for me and, I suppose, for a whole lot of artists that participate all around the world. Yep, you got it, it’s the #Inktober challenge!
In case you don’t know already about the concept of it, it’s really simple: pick your favorite ink-related medium (or anything else really) and draw something each day for the entire month of October. There’s a list of prompts provided to get you started and inspire you with some ideas. I must admit though that I don’t usually follow it, and this edition won’t make the exception.
For this year’s Inktober, I want to include some of my favorite Tarot and Oracle decks to the challenge. I possess quite a number of them now and, if you didn’t know, I already use them regularly as a source of inspiration in my Creative Work. So I figured, I might as well do the same for this particular exercise, right?
Anyway, as I’m writing and posting this, it’s October 3rd, and the Inktober challenge has already begun on my Instagram, so feel free to join me there at any time to see what is up. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll be posting a new walnut ink drawing each day, plus a few surprises along the way – because I honestly don’t think I can stay away from my wood-burning tools for that long.
Wooden Amulets are one of my favorite things to create, which is probably why they make the majority of what I have in the shop right now. They really are a pleasure to craft, from the sketch of a new design to the final stroke of walnut ink. I like their roundness, the feeling of the raw bark still on the side… And they are quite versatile too, with different variations in their diameter.
Here, let me talk you through some of the various ways I use them in my day to day life and Spiritual Practice. Maybe a couple of these ideas will end up inspiring you in some ways!
🌿 Witchcraft Practices
Use them in your spellwork. I know, I know, it probably seems obvious given that I intentionally name these ornaments “Amulets” or “Talismans”, but I have to mention it somewhere anyway, so I might as well start with this. It’s a huge part of how I witchcraft myself, when the Wooden Piece is the spell itself, and the creation of it a Magical Act.
For me in this particular case, it’s all about intention and focusing the will while burning the symbols and animals on the Amulet. That’s part of the reason why I chant when I’m crafting my Ogham and Rune Sets. With a little creativity, I bet you can use them in your Craft in many different kinds of way, even if you are not the one who craft the support. Maybe used as a charge, a receptacle of the work you’re doing.
Bonus tip: when you consider the spell done, you can release your Amulets and give them away as offerings to the spirits you work with.
🌿 Nature Offerings
This one seems obvious too now, isn’t it? Use them as an offering, a mark of your devotion and respect. On your Altar, in the Wild Wood you visit regularly, on a Sacred Place or, as a customer of mine used to do, maybe hang them on a branch and leave them to the care of a Beloved Tree…
A bit of a disclaimer here. I’m not telling you to trash a Sacred Site, especially if it is clearly indicated not to leave anything somewhere. You can leave your Amulet for a determined cycle, a Season or whatever time frame seems right to you, and then go back and pick it up. Be sure to ask yourself the right questions and don’t forget to ask the place where you intend to leave your offerings beforehand.
Whatever you end up doing, note that I don’t treat my Wooden Amulets with any chemical product whatsoever. The cotton cord I use is organic, and the wood slices are left raw, except for the parts where there is gold leaf, as I need to apply a thin coat of a water-based varnish to protect it.
🌿 Daily Contemplation
Just like the Meditation Beads I offer in the Spirituality section of my shop, you could use Wooden Amulets as a support to pause and appreciate the Living World around you. There is much to say about Meditation Beads uses and I think they would require a blog post of their own, but as far as Amulets are concerned, I also see many different ways to meditate with this type of support.
Maybe you want to work with the symbolism of an Animal Archetype, and having it materialized in the form of a talisman that you can hold and gaze upon will help you to do so. Or maybe just having a little Piece of Nature in your hands awakening your senses will help you focus on the Present Moment. Maybe you are simply more of a visual type of person, just like me, and having an image to focus on is what works best for you.
🌿 Divination Tools
Since we still are in the Spiritual Realm, here’s another idea: bring them into your Oracle and Tarot Readings. I once crafted 8 small Amulets for myself, representing the different Sabbat Celebrations, and apart for having them on one of my Altars when the time has come, I also use them in my Year Ahead spread.
This is a well-known tarot reading that I personally do during Samhain to have an overview of the year to come based on the Seasonal Markers. Including these Amulets in the process just brings a little more magic to it. If you are interested in having these kind of pieces for yourself, let me know in the comments below or send me a message. I’d be happy to create some for you.
Oh, I also happen to have a whole Lenormand Oracle that I made on wood slices, so as far as Divination goes, this collection of little Amulets is quite a big deal to me.
🌿 Arts & Crafts
Personalize them! Once, a friend of mine picked several Wooden Amulets that I made for her, and created this beautiful wall hanging decor, interlacing branches she gathered on her walks, hanging the wooden pieces to it along some Natural Treasures she collected through the years.
This is something I would love to see more, so if you’re up to it, tell me all about the modifications you made on the Wooden Amulets you got from me. Send me pictures, tag me somewhere I can see it… No seriously, I don’t mind at all to see the Amulets I crafted being modified in any way. Just don’t forget to show me how it turned out. I want to know the Creative Soul that you are!
🌿 Home Protection
How do you feel about a Home Amulet? Just like your usual Samhain or Halloween wreath, hang one in your entrance as a Welcoming Blessing or an Evil Repellent, based on your personal preferences. I personally have one at my front door that says “Cat Inside” and can do both: it attracts the cat-lovers and warns the dog-fanatics to keep a low profile if they dare to knock.
Just joking, I don’t mind dogs, or their owners for what it’s worth. But still. This is feline territory. Bewaaaarrrre!
🌿 Car Air Freshener
Well… You can’t really smell the Earthy Scent of the Tree unless you have your nose less than one inch from your Wooden Amulet – which can be dangerous if you are driving at the same time. But still, hang one on the rear view mirror of your car.
With this simple trick, you could either let the Muggles know about your spiritual preferences and witchy tendencies with a bold Pentagram Amulet, or you could be discreet with a way-less-alarming illustration of your favorite animal, aka your Totem.
Either way, it’s just a sweet little thing to offer to the trusty Motorized Companion that transports you every day to your job and waits for you there, whatever the weather. Just think about it.
🌿 Wall Gallery
Another one? I guess that’d make 8 instead of 7 but who’s counting really. Collect them and make a whole wall decor out of them, where Wild Wolves race with Spring Hares, and the Great Bear meets the Shimmering Stars, where Dreams can be born, and Imagination have space to run Wild and Free.
Wait a minute… that’s actually what I’ve done on a wall of my Atelier!
Are you aware of the Inktober challenge that will soon take place on the Internet? No? Well, it’s as simple as this: one drawing per day during all the month of October, without any restriction except maybe the medium used, ink.
Every year, several artists are gathering together around the #inktober hashtag and this event is the perfect occasion for me to discover new talents that I”m happy to follow for the rest of the year. Needless to say, 2017 won’t make an exception, and I can’t wait for the challenge to begin, so I can lose myself in the social media searching for new illustrations that will bring me light and joy (and with the days growing shorter and shorter, I can use this sort of medication).
Ok fisrt, little highlight here on three artists that I love, and that I hope to see participate this year: Sieskja, Miss Nettle and Movezerb. You can follow them by clicking on the links. Some of them are French-speaking, but you don’t need to understand it to be amazed by their gorgeous illustrations. Now go! Pictures of the 2016 Inktober Challenge are waiting for you there.
Now how about me? I’ve never set myself to the challenge, not because I don’t feel like it, but mostly because I’m not an ink person. Now this got me thinking… a lot. And I guess I’ve found the perfect solution, just as I was waking up the other day. Not really sure ’bout the ink? No worry, just go for what you like the most. So this year, I will take some wood pieces from my stash, let my ever-favorite-companion-tool warm up a bit, and rename the challenge just for the occasion…
Say hi to the brand new “Pyroctober”! 😀
The idea is as simple as the original challenge: I’ll make a daily pyrography, which I’ll present you in the form of a natural wooden talisman. I already have many ideas of drawings to fill this month of October of wild treasures of all kinds. But I’m also going to allow myself to just follow the daily inspiration and what will come to my mind when the time comes. Fall season is always so full of surprises and inspiration that it’d be a foolish mistake to deprive myself of it, isn’t it?
The wooden talismans I’m going to create will be listed on the shop throughout the month, so you can purchase them if one does resonate with you. I’ll also add a special photo album on the Facebook page to regroup the 31 pyrography made during the challenge. Don’t hesitate to follow the #pyroctober hashtag on Instagram too if you want to see daily pictures of them.
I have a couple more ideas that I’ll probably develop while I’m progressing on the challenge, but I won’t talk about it right now. I just got my mind into this thing, and I’m kind of late considering that the challenge will begin in a few days. So I didn’t have the chance so far to really gather my thoughts and really plan for it to happen. It’s kind of messy, but hey, let’s say spontaneity will be the word for this one.
Anyway, I hope that you are as excited as I am by this little creative challenge (actually not so little in the end), and that you’ll enjoy to follow it with me and maybe encourage me to go to the end of it 🙂
If you’re amongst the few people that knew the previous one, you must have noticed my absence there these last months. The usual frenzy of December played a big part, making my program much heavier and my routines more complicated with the arrival of new orders in the shop. And obviously, the fact that I spent the last weeks of the year away from my studio didn’t help. But since?
Since the new year has settled. I didn’t see January passing, and I barely opened a page of this old blog, constantly postponing the next article, the next seasonal selection… Even though time is back on my side again, and I could devote the necessary hours to add some stuff to it, nothing really changed. A few ideas scribbled in a corner of my notebooks (this at least doesn’t change, there’s always a notebook next to me), some pictures taken, drafts written here and there… But in the end, nothing has come out, except silence.
I guess I just needed to begin again, but with better foundations. So I walked through this blog one last time and I realized that it never suited me anyway. Too tedious, too complicated, too heavy. Too much.
Sometimes you better stop persevering and go for a change. Simplify things, even if it means accepting to sacrifice the way in which you were accustomed. Despite its disadvantages, its tortuous paths and its roots that go beyond and persist in slowing you down. Lesson learned last year. The good thing is, I was already wanting to move on another platform since a long time, I just needed the first step to start working on it.
So, welcome here! See it as a place obviously linked to my workshop, but a bit more personal this time. The creation feeds my spirituality and vice-versa; that’s something that I always kept affirming.
But if you don’t know me personally, or if you’ve never had a chat with me on social networks or anywhere else, I doubt you have more than a vague idea of what it looks like, in practice. The things that inspire me, the way these two parts of my life truly interweave one another. The lands here that nourish me and speaks to me, permeates more and more into my work and my creations.
A new lesson to learn for me too. Widen the horizon, share more, go out of silence. I just hope that you’ll enjoy following me on this new journey… 🙂