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 🙂
Soooo… New blog, new presentation, right? This time I’ve decided to give you a glimpse of who am I by answering a few questions that I’ve been asked over time, questions that might not have a direct link with my activity or my workshop, but instead are concerning my spiritual path.
? Do you consider yourself a Witch, a Wiccan, Pagan, Medium..?
I think this is the worst question you could possibly ask me; it’s so difficult to define yourself in only one word! I guess I’m a witch, yes. Mostly an animist, that’s probably the best term to define my practices and beliefs. I call myself a Pagan because of my reverence for Nature, which is at the core of my spirituality and my path. I don’t work with any kind of deities, since I don’t believe they really exist, but I appreciate much of the mythological texts in which gods and goddesses appear, essentially because I like symbolism, but I must say it’s also a great source to learn some lessons. My favorite myths are Celtic and Scandinavian. Did I really answer the original question?
? What brought you into paganism / into witchcraft?
Spiritism, a magazine, a lot of questions, an attic, a few meetings, a book or two… A lot of things actually.
? Are you practicing alone or in coven / group?
Alone. I’m a solitary animal. Picture me as a hermit bear who cares deeply for solitude, tranquility, and quietness. I’ve already had occasion to practice some group rituals, but I tend to expect too much from other participants and it doesn’t work very well.
? Does your family and friends know about your practices?
Not necessarily in details, but yes, they do know. I don’t proselytize, but I don’t hide it either. Anyway, you just need to take a quick look at the content of my shop or at the books in my library to guess that I am into this kind of stuff.
? How long have you been practicing?
Over 15 years now. With ups and downs, and a damn big difference between the very beginning and now (fortunately).
?Do you have any altar?
I don’t have one altar, but several spaces scattered in my house. You probably wouldn’t even give them the name of altars. Their role, their layout, and their location vary according to my needs, my desires, the time of the month or the seasons…
? Do you have a Book of Shadows?
Well, even if I adore the idea of a great grimoire with old illuminated pages and a leather cover that cracks under its weight, no, I don’t own one. Instead, I got plenty of notebooks in which I report my cards readings, excerpts of texts that I want to keep, reflections on my journey, my experiences or those of others when they touch me… Put all of these writings together and you’ll already get plenty of reading!
? What is your favorite book on the subject?
The very first book that allowed me to put words on what I felt and what I experienced, I found it completely by chance in my parents’ library (and I still wonder what it was doing here). Letters to Vanessa: on Love, Science, and Awareness in an Enchanted World by Jeremy Hayward. There have not been many books since that can claim to have had the same impact on me. Nevertheless, I have to mention two of my readings among the most worthwhile: The Art of Conversation with the Genius Loci by Barry Patterson, and Ogam: Weaving Words Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie (really a must have if you’re interested in Ogham and ready to go beyond the theories and not-so-good influence of Robert Graves).
? Do you practice divination? What tools do you use?
Yes, divination has always been a part of my practices. I started with a good old Marseille deck from Grimaud, but this system didn’t work for me at the time. The first decCeltically used was the Celtic Oracle (actually, it was still called “Tarot” even if it wasn’t one). This one was a favorite of mine, and a good way to begin the exploration of the Celtic Ogham. Later I bought a few other oracles cards, and I finally came back to Tarot (but in Rider-Waite style this time) with the Wildwood.
Meanwhile, I have (re)discovered the Runes of Old Futhark, but I don’t use them very much in divination, much more in daily magical practices. I have a little experience with the pendulum as well, but it’s not my favorite tool. More recently, I returned to Marseille style with Le Tarot Noir, an amazing deck that I love. Oh, and I’m currently learning the Petit Lenormand!
? What is your favorite tarot card?
Strength, with no hesitation. It’s one of the cards (with Hermit and Death) that I absolutely have to see before I can buy a new deck.
? Do you meditate? How?
I do meditate, but not in a passive way, sitting on a cushion or laying in my bed. Actually, the method that works best for me is to do a repetitive gesture, like weaving threads (mostly dreamcatchers – don’t imagine anything else, I’m not even capable of sewing correctly). The constant flow of thoughts that get through my mind is slowly appeased, knot after knot, and since I keep my fingers active (almost in automatic mode), I can go easily into a modified state of mind without falling asleep. It works also very well when I’m drawing Celtic knots, and this is probably the main reason why I already drew kilometers of them.
Another method that I’d like to try is the walking meditation, but I can get so easily distracted by a plant, a mushroom or an unknown insect nearby, that generally, I tend to stop every 30 seconds!
? Do you have an totem animal?
Yes… No. Not in the sense that it’s usually understood. But I’ll talk more about this in another blog post.
? Do you celebrate the eight Sabbats?
Yes, but don’t expect too much of it, I’m not so fond of big ceremonies with a lot of stuff to recite. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t like fixed dates either; they serve well as a landmark and are convenient for group rituals, but as a solitary witch, I prefer to take a look outside and see what’s going on. I mean, what’s the point in honoring the cycles of Nature if don’t even notice the awakening of buds or the first leaves falling from the trees? My celebrations are then as simple as this: a candle lit in the dark, a chant or a charm, a tarot reading, and some yummy seasonal recipes.
? Which one is your favorite?
Samhain (sooooo original, right?). The fall equinox also. I love fall so much!
? Do you celebrate the Esbats? How?
No big celebrations either, and to be honest, I don’t stop especially at the full moon (as if the rest of its cycle was non-existent). I like to take a minute at the window after sunset, before going to bed, to share a brief meditation with the cat. Sometimes I just listen to owls with him, sometimes I prefer to hum in the silence and darkness, but I always look for the Moon before greeting her.
? What is your zodiac sign?
Leo, Leo rising, and Moon in Leo! *ROAARRR!*
? What is your favorite element?
Fire, but is this really a surprise considering the previous question? I also really like Earth (I guess I got to balance it at some point). My least favorite is Air.
? What is your favorite gemstone?
There are so much of them… but let’s start with garnet, which really is the one. I also like citrine, peridot, celestite, and amethyst. And tiger’s eye! I just love to lose myself in its shimmering reflections and its shades of golden brown. Besides that, I have a special attachment for some quartz (crystal and smoky) picked up with a good friend near an old silver-lead mine in Auvergne (a region in the center of France). They are so precious to me! Apart from gemstones, I also tend to collect more common stones, picked up here and there in places that I had occasions to visit. They usually end up with painted motives on them.
? Do you work with plants? Which ones are your favorites?
Instead of work, I’d rather say communicate. Wild and outdoor ladies first: ivy (♥), wormwood, blackberry, fern, hellebore, heather, lavender, St John’s wort, celandine, wheat, poppy, digitalis, borage, officinal sage, mint, verbena (lemon and officinal)… I can go on and on, so I’ll just stop here for now. The aromatics in general; these plants have a very particular way of expressing themselves, and I appreciate it very much. Indoors, I’m fond of cacti and succulents (especially Echeveria). Let’s look into trees another time, okay? :p
? What is your favorite incense?
Sandalwood. I’m completely addicted to it.
? Any advice you often give but does not always apply?
Concerning spiritual practice? Constancy. As for many other areas, I am convinced that regularity ends up bearing fruits. Unfortunately, I’m as changing as the Moon and its tides, and I often find myself struggling to be able to keep going with something regularly (and it’s even worse when unexpected events come by). This has already led me to periods of spiritual dryness.