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Category: Tarot and Oracles

A Lenormand Oracle in project

A Lenormand Oracle in project

A few years ago, I wanted to create a wooden Ogham set for myself (erm, wait a minute, wasn’t the title about a Lenormand?), my very first set actually. Many of you have probably already seen it because I already posted some pictures of it. It’s my favorite Ogham set, proudly made by me from A to Z. However, I never talked much about the process of its creation, and why the sets that I offer in my shop are so different.

Casting Ogham

I was a literature student at the time, so as expected, definitely broken. But I still was admiring the craft of Sarah Anne Lawless, who had just finished a wonderful Ogham set, each piece of wood illustrated with a representation of its associated tree or bush. Entirely handmade, from the first cut to the wax finish, all beautifully and carefully engraved and painted… This, guys, this made me dream a lot, especially since I wasn’t able to afford such an amazing piece of art like this 😛

But an idea popped into my head, and soon enough I was starting to consider making one set myself. I had a nice woodburning pen already available, and to be honest I was quite good at it. So one day, I just started this project, knowing that it would take me a lot of time to make the full set, but quickly realizing that I had underestimated the impact of my schedule as a student. Creating this Ogham set has been the case of whole months, and it was all accompanied by a lot of scratches and blisters on my hands, due to my lack of knowledge of woodwork, and certainly a lack of good tools for it too.

After the excitement of beginning a new project, there’s been a few moments of total discouragement, where I found myself not wanting to touch a piece of wood ever again. I was desperate to see the end of it, and I was constantly asking myself why I started this in the first place. But I kept going. I clung to the idea of this beautiful and entire set of Oghams, imagining the well hoped result before each new session of work. I kept piling sawdust on one side, pieces of used sandpaper on the other, and I kept spilling watercolor on my desk while trying not to burn my arm on the pyrography pen left still hot just beside me (another inconvenient of a student apartment: the cruel lack of space).

For someone who enjoyed to begin all sorts of projects but was struggling to finish them, let me assure you that this one in particular was a huge challenge for me. Plus, I’m a perfectionist, which doesn’t really help in this case. But throughout this process of creation, I found myself able to push the limits of my perseverance despite fatigue, lassitude, self-criticism and painful hands.

As an additional motivation, I often repeated myself that what really matters wasn’t the destination, only the way, but guess what? Once I’ve finished this Ogham set, I almost swore to myself that I would never do this kind of thing again. I was really proud of the result, but the path had been so long and difficult that I couldn’t even consider taking it again. 

WiP Lenormand

Almost.

A few weeks ago, a new idea popped into my head, one that I really wasn’t expecting. A new project, just as big as the one I just talked about. One that will with no doubt consume my time and energy for a while (at least, I have better tools now, yay!). Encouraged by a few people to whom I had vaguely evoked the idea, here I am, beginning to work on a set of Lenormand on slices of wood again.

I came to be seriously interested in Lenormand in the first part of the year. It’s a divination system that one can learn relatively easily in my opinion, and the more I work with it, the more it keeps getting more interesting and rich. I can now relate each symbol to my personal experience, I continue to find new meanings along the way, I expand my vocabulary… And now I wish I just had a deck that’s just right for me, that’s speaks to me in my own language and understanding. So here I am, drawing a few ideas on the corner of a notebook, to finally have them burned on wood, my favorite material, my daily companion.

As I’m writing this article, I already worked a lot on this new project, since I managed to finish the 12 pieces that you can see in the picture just above (I know, you can only see 11 of them, but let’s keep an element of surprise here). It means I’ve actually done a third of the 36 traditional symbols of the Lenormand. I haven’t done all the illustrations on paper yet, but I have a pretty good idea of what the missing ones will look like. And even if it is a personal work, not directly related to the shop, I still want to share my progress with you 🙂

I obviously have a great number of hours to spend before seeing this new set completely done, I’m not kidding myself with it this time. Between the preparation of the slices of wood, the drawings and their reproductions, the actual engraving and the dying with walnut ink, the acrylic painting (and I could have add some gilding too if it wasn’t complicated enough), I have some stuff to be busy for quite a while! But the thing is, I’m moving in a more peaceful way this time, less pressure on myself, less perfectionism stress… and the best, I have no blister to declare yet :p

My collection of oracles #2

My collection of oracles #2

Hi everyone!

Since the last article where I showed you my collection of Tarot and Oracles, a bunch of decks has been added to it. I guess it’s time for me to do a little update while talking a bit about my new sweeties!

? Wild Unknown Tarot, Kim Krans

Ahhhh this one… It’s a long story, but let’s keep it short! The Wild Unknown is one of those decks that I kept putting on my wishlist one day, but then I pulled it out, and next thing I know, it’s on it again, and so on. This Tarot has always attracted me in a way, but with some kind of bittersweet taste, like “meh, you know it won’t work with this one”, or “nope, won’t be a match anyway”. Plus I had mixed feelings with a great number of its cards after seeing them online, which always made me hesitate about purchasing it, despite the great hype and success this Tarot had since its release.

In the end, my husband gave it to me as a birthday gift, totally ignoring what I thought about it. And ohhh, such a great idea he had! Once I had this Tarot in hands, it just clicked with me immediately. No more dilemma today: have it, keep it 😛

Wild Unknown Tarot, Kim Krans

? The Golden Tarot: the Visconti-Sforza deck, Mary Packard

This is a pip deck, non scenic minors, and more of a collection deck if you ask me, considering the gigantic size of the cards. I love huge cards, they really magnify the illustrations and allow to dive deep into the details. But with these ones, well, you have to prepare a really substantial space if you expect to draw more than four or five cards at the same time. Aside from this little (haha) detail, this reconstruction of an old Tarot is magnificent, and the companion book is pretty nice too.

On a personal level, it’s also a sentimental deck, just because it reminds me of some summer holidays spent in Italy, where I was able to visit the Sforza castle in the city of Milan.

? Deviant Moon Tarot, Patrick Valenza

Unlike the Wild Unknown, there wasn’t any hesitation at all for this Tarot. I knew it more or less, seen it here and there, but I didn’t pay attention to it until a particular moment. When I randomly found the borderless edition, I really saw it (seriously, most of the decks should be borderless). It’s hard to explain but this deck came to me just at the right moment, even if I didn’t know precisely why at the moment I purchased it. I only realized how much I needed it when I received it.

As you probably know, it’s an excellent Tarot for shadow work. It already helped me to confront my own fears, anxiety, and doubts, to work on past wounds and traumas, to get myself familiar and aware of my own darkness. Despite its tendency to dive deep into your feelings and to take you on a path that will without any doubt hurt you and make yourself uncomfortable, he does this with a strong sense of humor (black obviously).

? Trionfi della Luna, Patrick Valenza

Different Tarot, same author. This one is a pip deck that I adore, with gorgeous vintage-ish watercolor illustrations, surely as disturbing and sarcastic as its cousin just above. Considering how much the Deviant Moon suited me, no need to tell you that I felt an obligation to purchase this one too. And I don’t regret it, it’s such an amazing Tarot deck!

I’ll just quickly add some info on this deck before I can make a full review: the first edition was a 22 major arcana only, which I think would have made me hesitate a bit, but Patrick Valenza completed it since. Only available in Italian for now (a French version was released, limited to 100 decks, but I didn’t get a chance to have one before it went sold out, unfortunately), this Tarot exists in several other versions: one in negative colors and two others, named paradoxical blue and purple, made to reveal themselves under a black light. Pretty cool, right?

Trionfi della Luna, Patrick Valenza

? Rumi Oracle, Alana Fairchild & Rassouli

Let’s continue this list with the Oracles now, beginning with an adorable-surprise-birthday-gift from a lovely friend who knows my wishlist even better than I do ♥

Of all the decks currently in my possession, this is probably the most complex to use and interpret. On the one hand, because it is entirely related to the concept of the great loving divine – which is really not the easiest to apprehend for me – and on the other hand, because the poems of Rumi on which this Oracle is based are themselves so rich, that in the end, each card has a multitude of facets and interpretation possibilities.

But this is also one of the most beautiful decks I currently possess: Rassouli’s artwork on the illustrations is really stunning, and the intensity of its colors leaves me speechless every time I look at a card. It’s the kind of Oracle that speaks directly to the heart, without the need for words. He’s elusive, deep, and at the same time incredibly sweet and kind.

? Pythia Botanica, Leila + Olive

As you could tell by its name, this is a botanical-based deck, totally different from my Druid Plant Oracle though. The illustrations are less detailed, with a vintage scent that I like so, so much. I found it on Instagram and I immediately fell in love with the author’s floral universe, a mix of elegance, enchantment, and magic.

Some plants you can expect to find in this beautiful Oracle: mugwort, hawthorn, periwinkle, comfrey, rose, celandine, bindweed, valerian, hyssop, hyacinth, Dahlia… A few well-known witchy plants too, such as henbane, foxglove, aconite, Mandrake or belladonna.

Note that a Tarot with similar style has been created too, named Ophidia Rosa, one that is already on my wishlist and that I definitely will purchase some day.

Pythia Botanica, by Leila + Olive

? Spirit Cats Oracle, Nicole Piar

Warning: cute cats coming here! I got to tell you, I just fell in love with this awesome deck the first time I saw it on Instagram too. I love the art, the watercolor use, the squared format, the feeling of the cardstock… I loved it even more the day I received it, accompanied by a bunch of little treasures like postcards, a wooden coin, a lovely chevron amethyst, and I probably forgot some other things.

I know, it’s an Oracle that can seem a bit fluffy when you look at it, or maybe over-positive, but make no mistake, not only is it cute, but it’s also extremely accurate. The messages written on the back of each card are pretty well thought and written, very encouraging without being simplistic. I personally see it as a hug-deck, one that makes you feel good simply by giving you a huge dose of sweetness and benevolence while helping you to go back on track. Purrs come as a bonus ♥

? Shamanic Healing Oracle, Michelle A. Motuzas

Again, an Oracle that wishes you well! With some kind of primitive accents in the imagery that allows the intuition to flow freely, perhaps guided by the different keywords on the bottom of each card. It’s been a while since I wanted a deck like this, an Oracle evoking something primal, ancestral, rooting, calling the instinct instead of rational thinking.

I’ve kept my eyes on John Matthew’s Shaman’s Oracle for a while, but I don’t know, there’s something in the imagery that didn’t resonate with me. Not to mention the way it works which looks very complicated. In the end, I was right to wait a little bit longer, for the Shamanic Healing Oracle happened to came into my life, perfectly filling my wishes and expectations.

? Celtic Lenormand, Chloe McCraken, Will Worthington

I already talked about this one last time, while presenting the Middia Lenormand, the very first deck of this type I bought. Well, it has not been long before I finally got the Celtic Lenormand too. Illustrated by Will Worthington, this oh so talented artist that I admire (just in case you didn’t know already), this deck is a bit different from the traditional Lenormand, with a nice Celtic twist, and a few alternatives cards.

Since I was just beginning to explore the Lenormand system when I purchased it, I was a little bit afraid that I wouldn’t be able to use it right away. Because, you know, the differences and modifications made are quite significant. But in the end, it wasn’t the case, and today I’m pleased to look at this enhanced Lenormand as a great companion for my Wilwood Tarot and my Carr-Gomm’s Druidic Oracles.

Celtic Lenormand, by Chloe McCracken and Will Worthington

? Harvest Moon Oracle, Kelly Isara

I can honestly say that till this day, this is the only deck that disappointed me a little when it arrived, but I’ll probably talk about it later, in a review or else. With that being said, it’s a cute little deck, with a sweet Halloween flavor. Skeletons, bats, spiders and witches, all those traditional characters made their way to the party here, along with a few tombstones, coffins and an absolutely adorable scarecrow (the very one that makes me buy the deck if you want to know).

I like Halloween time, I like Halloween stuff 😛 Actually, it makes me think about another Oracle on my wishlist based on this theme, and hey, look at the date! Halloween’s coming soon…

? Mildred Payne’s Secret Pocket Oracle, Patrick Valenza

Did I already mentioned that I like Patrick Valenza’s artistic work? 😀 I kept this deck for the end of this post, just because it’s kind of an alien, a Lenormand-like divinatory system wrapped in a thick aura of mystery and madness. Picture an old asylum burned to its ashes, a creepy doll found in the remainings, and an old blouse hidden in a wall with a bunch of mysterious hand-drawn cards in its pocket… Is this a real story, you ask? It doesn’t really matter, the tone is set and it’s spooky as hell, with a pinch of Burtonian spice that makes it perfect for Halloween too!

Actually, the author tells this narrative way better than me so I can only encourage you to go see for yourself here and read the strange story of poor Mildred Payne. As for the Oracle itself, I’ll talk more about it as soon as I get the time to become familiar with it since I only have it for a very short period of time.

Mildred Payne's Secret Pocket Oracle, by Patrick Valenza