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Mildred Payne’s Secret Treasure Box

Mildred Payne’s Secret Treasure Box

As you probably know by now, I’m an avid Tarot and Oracle consumer, always looking for the next Artistic Gem to add to my collection of decks. I’m also very mindful about the new ones that I want to bring home with me as once they are here, I tend to care for them passionately.

I mean it, each one of them end up being nested comfortably in some sort of Personal Home, be it a bag, a box, or a dedicated shelf / altar of their own. As for today, most of them have their own beautiful unique custom made little bags, swapped with a skilled friend of mine who – unlike me – knows her way around a sewing machine. And some others have their own personalized Wooden Box.

Today I’d like to share one of these with you, partly because I’m quite proud of the work I’ve done on it, but also as a sort of tribute to the Artist who inspired it in the first place. Deviant Moon Tarot, Trionfi della Luna, Mildred Payne’s Pocket and Black Enchantment Oracles… Patrick Valenza’s decks hold a special place in my collection, so I had to create something really special, at least for two of them.

Mildred Payne's Oracles - Wooden Box

A few months ago, inspired by the thrilling storytelling built around the character of Mildred Payne, I started to imagine a Secret Treasure Box in which her decks of cards could rest. A precious wooden box, that could have been smuggled by little Mildred herself on her way to the Asylum. A box that would keep her Dark Secrets safe, hidden from the insanity of the world outside.

So I just started on a whim, as I usually do when an idea of mine becomes quite obsessive, and I ended up spending a lot of hours on this project. A lot more than I first expected… as I usually do when an idea becomes really obsessive! Because of the gold. Lots and lots of gold.

Mildred Payne's Oracles - Custom Wood Box

As you can see here on the top of the box, a good portion of the Eye Symbol – aka the back design of Mildred Payne’s Oracle of Black Enchantment, which I love so very much – is filled with gold leaf. Technically speaking, and only for this part of the work, I am talking about 6 or 7 hours bent on my table.

Absorbed by my creative journey with this box, I completely forgot to count how long I spent on the pyrography, the walnut ink staining, and the black and white painting besides the gilding. I bet it easily doubles the count of hours though.

But oh boy, was it worth it!

Oracle of Black Enchantment - Gilded Wooden Box

In the daylight, you probably won’t really notice the gold if you just pass by and don’t consciously pay attention. But when the Dark Veil of the night falls and you light a couple of candles beside it, you will find a whole different story there.

The gold starts to glow, becomes brighter, unveiling its secret magnificence in the shadows, reflecting the Dance of the Flames in its core, silently revealing what’s hidden in the layers of darkness.

Having to find out what is waiting for you underneath, you can’t resist to open the lid and you suddenly find yourself facing this Devil figure flying in the Night Sky. A reminder that even in the Realm of Shadows, forgotten gems are lying there, waiting to be revealed by the soft light of the Moon to burst like the Stars.

Oracle of Black Enchantment - Custom Wood Box

Creativity is born and can only arises from the deep black soil of the unconscious mind, and in her own twisted way, poor little Mildred probably knows it better than anyone else. And I bet his Creator knows it to, because he did a fantastic job with these decks, giving a voice and a staring eye to the darkest layers of the human psyche.

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 😉