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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.

Masculine and Feminine in Wildera Lenormand

Masculine and Feminine in Wildera Lenormand

Traditionally in the Lenormand system, there are at least two cards that stand a little bit apart from the others, and are not really used or read in the same way. I’m talking about cards 28 and 29, also called the Significators, the Man and the Woman.

The thing is, I’ve chosen to rename this couple of cards in my own Wildera Lenormand and went for a different imagery. Let’s talk about that.

The first reason that brought me to make this choice, is that I wanted to be as inclusive as I could be regarding to the gender issues you may find in a classic Lenormand Oracle. Having a binary system of Man and Woman only, just like in the traditional imagery, seems restrictive and somewhat outdated to me.

That’s why I decided to go with the concepts of Masculine and Feminine instead, highlighting different qualities that can be found in everyone, regardless of their biological sex. My hope is that this gives an opportunity to anyone to be able to recognize themselves in one or the other at any time in their life journey.

It can be a challenge to include all sorts of people in only two cards, but it is expected in our modern society, with good reasons. There are solutions available though, and it may just take a little bit of creative thinking to do so. The first step in this direction is to have an open mind and be willing to move away from the old paths carved by tradition.

As I was working on my own Lenormand deck, I was reminded of a very short but powerful affirmation. It came to my mind at several occasions, repeating itself like a mantra, refusing to leave my mind and thoughts: “All is one”.

Regarding this deck, this statement is true at a macrocosmic level, where the different personalities of the cards are all bound together, revealing harmony and unity to create one whole piece. And it is also true at a microcosmic level with these two particular cards: one couple encompassing as many possibilities as you’d allow.

“All is One”. Three simple words, forming the precious Silver Thread that weaved itself throughout the entire creation of this Oracle deck, linking it to myself and – hopefully – to the rest of this beautiful and sacred Living World.

This thread actually leads me to the second reason for my choice of word and imagery: since the beginning of this project, I knew I was going to create a Lenormand deck without any human pictured in it. I wanted to be reminded of this mantra every time I had to search for my Significator Card – or any card at all for that matter.

To be able to find my own soul in the eyes of other creatures, to recognize and blend myself into the shape of their silhouette, that was the goal here. I wanted to have the possibility of Shape Shifting while working with my Lenormand deck, and I realized pretty quickly that I wanted you to be able to do the same.

To do so, I ended up choosing a couple of animals and pictured the two Significator Cards as a Deer and a Doe. There’s some personal symbolism behind this choice. I tend to associate the idea of Sovereignty with the Stag Archetype, so obviously, I wanted him to be one that stands proudly apart from the rest of the deck, like the Forest Emperor that he is.

Following up with this idea, I made a pretty similar modification to the Child Card of my Lenormand Oracle. As you can see, there’s no human pictured here either. Instead it is an adorable little fawn lying on the grass, sheltered under the shade of trees, enjoying the sweet and fresh breeze of the wind rustling the leaves.

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


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

Tarot & Oracle collection #2

Tarot & Oracle collection #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
My collection of oracles (tarot cards and decks)

My collection of oracles (tarot cards and decks)

Divination has been part of my practices since the very beginning. To tell you the truth, it was one of the main gateways that led me to spirituality and witchcraft. Tarot, oracles, runes, oghams… I have created and accumulated a pretty little collection of different tools, mainly card decks. I usually read them for myself and a few close friends, but once in a blue moon, I also read tarot to other people when they ask me.

A good reason that brought me to collect oracle cards is that they allow me to keep with me some works of artists that I particularly appreciate. I use them to decorate a seasonal altar or a corner of my studio, as a way to inspire me while I’m working on new creations to list in the shop. So today, I’d like to share my collection with you, hoping that maybe these tarot and oracle decks will inspire you too 🙂

🌿 The Celtic Tree Oracle, Liz & Collin Murray

My very first deck! Well, almost. Actually, my first deck was a classic Tarot de Marseille from Grimaud, but I’ve lost it a long time ago, and we weren’t having a great relationship anyway 😛 This deck, however, has remained with me from the beginning, and I still appreciate it after all these years. One reason is that it’s the deck that led me to the sacred universe of celtic Ogham.

‘Tis my good ol’ friend – even though it still looks brand new after all these years. The edition that I own is the first one; at the time, it was sold in a wooden box and was still called “Tarot”.

Read my review of the Celtic Tree Oracle here (only available in French for now, please be patient)

🌿 The Druid Animal Oracle & The Druid Plant Oracle, Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm

The Animal oracle is my second oldest deck, and surely the one I brought literally everywhere. It’s my companion, and I’ve used it almost everywhere: at college, in parks and woods, by the sea, in bars, and with many people… So many experiences have used it, so recently, I decided to trim its borders to refresh it a bit.

As for his vegetal companion, I bought it a few years later, but I love it just as much. They obviously work wonderfully together, and I tend to mix the two decks most of the time, without any distinction except the color of the back card (forest green for one, dark blue for the other).

Druid Animal & Druid Plant Oracles, Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm

🌿 The Wildwood Tarot, John Matthews & Mark Ryan

The deck that accompanies me everywhere, all the time. The Wildwood is kind of my essential tarot, the one I’d take to a desert island the day I find myself in exile (don’t ask me why). Like the previous two, it is illustrated by Will Worthington, and if we forget about the poor quality of the cards, I adore it.

I trimmed its borders a few months ago (39 grams less!), and the pictures look much better. Actually, it’s just after trimming this one that I’ve chosen to go through the same treatment for the two druidic oracles. The edition I own is the very first, featuring a solid green card back, without the interlaced trees that have been added to later versions.

🌿 Clow Cards

Let’s go with a complete change of style with the next one! Let me present you the Clow Cards, from the universe of Card Captor Sakura, an anime that I used to watch as a kid with my younger sister while eating junk food and enjoying each other’s company. This particular deck possesses a big sentimental value because it reminds me of such good times!

This is a deck that I wanted in its Japanese version because I’ve heard of its excellent quality of cards, illustrated with the original work of CLAMP. Unfortunately, the edition I was looking for was sold out for a very long time, you could only find second-hand decks at very, very high prices. So I just gave up, until a re-edition came out a few years ago, to celebrate the anniversary of the anime. I literally jumped on the occasion, waiting impatiently to get it in my mailbox, and finally, the Book of Clow was in my hands … (I rejuvenated at least 12 years that day :D)

Clow Cards, Japanese edition

🌿 Les Cartes Divinatoires d’Algariel, Alcide Nathanaël

This one just called me, and I quickly bought it (trust me, this is unusual, as I’m not a compulsive buyer at all). I immediately fell in love with its deep atmosphere and its amazing illustrations, carrying a note of sweOracletalgia (ohh and I almost forgot the wonderful back of the cards ♥). The day I received the deck, I did a little modification, by edging the cards in black

It is an excellent oracle to work with your intuition (there’s no keyword to influence your interpretation of the cards, and the LWB won’t give you such clues about their signification), and it leaves plenty of room for imagination, dreams, contemplation, but also memory.

🌿 Le Tarot Noir, Justine Ternel & Matthieu Hackière

The deck that finally reconciled me with the Tarot de Marseille after hum… 15 years? It’s incredible to see the way I fought with my first Marseille deck when with this one, it was so easy. I mean, the symbols are more or less the same, right? Of course, the Tarot Noir is a reinterpretation of the classic Marseille, but in the end, it doesn’t get so far from the original, and the pips who have caused me so much trouble at the time aren’t more illustrated here. But I don’t know, there’s this particular and puzzling feeling that makes me love this one tremendously. Plus, it has these huge, beautiful golden edged cards ♥

The Tarot Noir really is my precious one. That’s why I don’t use it for anyone other than myself.

Le Tarot Noir - A French Tarot deck

🌿 The Vision Cards

If the name doesn’t speak to you, don’t worry, it’s totally normal. This deck isn’t really an oracle in the first place, but a part of a nice board game named Mysterium. A mix between Cluedo and Dixit, with a murder victim who became a ghost seeking justice. The game takes place during the night of Samhain, with medium players gathered for a session of spiritism, and the ghost needs to make them guess the identity of the murderer only by suggesting ideas with the Vision Cards.

Before I even play this game for the first time, I knew I could use those cards as a support for divination, and I wasn’t disappointed at all. The illustrations are rich in symbols and allow an immense freedom for the interpretation. Since then, I even bought the card extension to open even more possibilities!

Vision Cards, from the Mysterium boardgame

🌿 The Middia Lenormand, Klara Spalińska

The Petit Lenormand has been experiencing a renewed interest for some time, and I willingly admit that I’ve succumbed to the temptation. I’m still in the early stages of learning this system, and the Middia Lenormand is my first deck of this type.

I hesitated a long time with the Celtic Lenormand (Will Worthington, obviously) but considering the changes and additions of cards that this deck includes, I’d rather keep it aside for later. For now, I prefer to learn the Petit Lenormand with a deck whose symbols are clear at first glance, and not tinted with a particular culture. The Middia Lenormand is perfect for this, very nice to look at and manipulate. What more could you ask for?

🌿 L’Oracle d’Ishsaar, Yuna Minhaï Dekebat

The latest addition to my collection, a self-edited oracle that I’m still in the process of “testing” and studying right now since I received it at the very beginning of the month. So I’m not going to speak so much about it today, I’ll just show you what it looks like (note that I edged the cards in black).

Read my review of the Ishsaar Oracle here

The Ishsaar Oracle, by Yuna Minhaï

And with this one comes the end of this list of tarot and oracles deck currently in my possession, a relatively short one finally. If my wishlist seems to have no end, I remain pretty selective in my choices. I prefer to take my time before deciding to add a new companion to my collection. As I said earlier, I also use other divination materials such as runes or oghams, most of which I created from myself, but I’ll keep those for another article 😉