Saturday, 31 January 2015

The Professor's Monthly Homework Assignment - What's on Your Cutting Table



For January, the Professor asked us to talk about the celts and art projects we have on the go. I don't have any craft projects, but I do paint, as I am an artist. Lately I've been focusing most of my time on starting up my tarot card reading business, so have had to put some of my art on hold for a while. I have made some religious icons this year, and plan to make and sell more in my Etsy shop






Horus Icon

My icons are on either canvass or wood, and I use acrylic, ink and gold leaf to make them. I paint both pagan ones, and Christian ones of angels and saints. I recently made a commissioned one for a family member, of St Anthony of Padua. I also gave a couple as gifts for Christmas.
I do have one left in my shop, of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.




As I said above, I plan on making more paintings this year. I find art making to be a relaxing and essential to my well being, so I know I need to do more of it.

I can't wait to see the other posts of the participants. I love seeing what other creative people are up to!

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Happy Imbolc

February second (or first in some traditions), is Imbolc, otherwise known as Groundhog Day. Below is my video post about this pagan holiday and what it means to me.


Do you celebrate Imbolc? If so, what do you do? And what does it mean to you?

Monday, 26 January 2015

January Haul

Today I thought I'd show you a few things I got in January. The journals I already showed in my Journaling post earlier this month. Hope you like it. :)


Ridiculous Victorians - The Alexandra Limp

Silly fashion trends are not just a modern trend. If you think beard cozies and toques in the summer, are silly trends, imagine pretending you have a limp just to be hip! This is what happened in 1869 when young ladies would limp around high streets just to keep up with their trend setting peers. So why were they doing this?



During the Victorian era one of the leading fashion icons was Queen Victoria's daughter in law the Princess Alexandra. She was born a princess of Denmark, and later married the Prince of Wales. as future queen, she was the Kate Middleton of her day, so lots of ladies copied her style. One of her better known signature items was the pearl choker which became immensely popular.



In 1869 the Princess was struck with rheumatic fever leaving her with a stiff knee. She walked with a bit of a limp and the help of a walking stick until she recovered. Young ladies, first in London, then in other cities and the countryside began to fake a limp to be fashionable. They would wear mismatched or too small shoes and hobble about with a stick. Shoe salesman took advantage of the trend and sold shoes with different length heels to enhance your fetching hobble! Writers of the day called the trend idiotic and ludicrous.
The North British Mail reported ""Taking my customary walk the other day, observant of men, women and things, I met three ladies. They were all three young, all three good-looking, and all three lame! At least, such was my impression, seeing as they all carried handsome sticks and limped; but, on looking back, as everyone else did, I could discover no reason why they should do so.
"Indeed, one decent woman expressed her pity in an audible 'Puir things!' as she passed, but I was enlightened by hearing a pretty girl explain to her companion, 'Why that's the Alexandra limp! How ugly!'"



Luckily the trend didn't last long, but the next trend was skirts with such a tight hemline that one had to shuffle as you walked!

What do you think is the most ridiculous fashion trend?

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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Review - Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot

In November I ordered the Nicoletta Ceccoli tarot deck, which just came out a few months ago. I am a fan of her art, so it was a no brainer ordering this fantastical deck.








Artwork and Design
I think this is the sort of art you either like or you don't. The deck definitely does not follow the Rider Smith system, so I would not recommend it for beginners. If you are more experienced and you want a deck that challenges you, then go for it. The art features Ceccoli's typical surreal art of adorable and yet disturbing young females. I think the only card that features a male figure is the Emperor. Even the Knights and Kings are female in this deck. The artwork really asks that you look at the many things going on in the picture and open yourself up to your intuition as it seems to me that so much is going on in each card. Above is the image the three of swords is taken from (featuring just the fairy pinned to the wheel). It is beautiful and disturbing at the same time. Like this one, many of the pictures appear adorable on the surface, but then have an undercurrent of violence or sexuality in them, such as the 10 of swords, which shows a girl who's body is a cake, being cut into, with red filling spilling out. Personally I love this cute/macabre type imagery, but I know it isn't for everyone.
Another reason I wouldn't recommend this deck for beginners is that the cards are not clearly labelled. The suits are indicated by a small symbol at the top and a number at the bottom. Major arcana are denoted by Roman numerals, so you have to be more familiar with those. Even more confusing are the court cards. The pages are denoted by a symbol of a helmet and the Knights by horse heads, but the Kings and queens are shown with slightly different crowns. This can lead to confusion.





Companion Book
Typical of Los Scarabio decks, there is no true guidebook accompanying it. A small white booklet written in several languages is in the box, but it is not very useful. Again, another reason this deck I would not recommend to beginners.







Size and Weight
The card stock might be a little thin for some but I thought it was alright overall. The size of the cards are longer than wide, making them slightly narrower than most tarot cards. For those that don't like their cards too large, this deck size may be just right for you.

Packaging
The box is a small, and not very sturdy, so I would recommend storing this one in a bag or other box.







Overall
I've probably hit people over the head with my opinion that this is not a good beginners deck. That being said, if you are a more experienced reader, and you don't mind the lack of proper companion book or box for storage, and you adore the artwork as I do, I would recommend this for your collection. It is a challenging and sweet, but disturbing deck, which only adds to its charm.
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Sunday, 18 January 2015

January Giveaways!

Below is my Q&A video and winner announcement. Congratulations to Crazy Cat for winning the 500 subscriber giveaway! It was very exciting for me to be able to do this. When I reach 1000, I'll do another.


I also posted my monthly free giveaway tarot reading. the winner this month is Catherine Beastly. If you are interested in your own free card reading, you must be a subscriber to my blog or YouTube channel. All you have to do is leave a comment saying you are interested. If you are interested in a longer reading you can go to My Etsy shop .


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Book Review - Archangels 101

If you watched my November haul video, I mentioned picking up two small books about Angels written by Doreen Virtue - Archangels 101 was one of them, so I thought I would write about it for this month's book review.



Published in 2010, it's a 150 page book with some basic info about fifteen of the archangels. The first four are probably the best known - Gabriel, Raphael, Michael and Uriel, but she also covers some lesser known ones like Azrael (the Angel of death), Metatron and Ariel etc. There is a chapter for each angel, covering who they are, what they can best help with, and stories about people who had success working with them. There are also reference tables at the back with colour and astrological correspondences.
The book is very colourful and laid out well, with different coloured sections for each angel. It is easy to read, but quite short, and I thought it could be a little more in depth. If you are looking for a short and sweet read with just some basic info, then this book would work well for you. If you are looking for something more informative and detailed I would suggest some of her other works.


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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Journaling

I was inspired by The Curious Professor Z, in her BatFit 2015 kickoff the week, to write about journaling. I've kept journals for years, since I was nine actually. While I haven't kept many of them, as I do purge them every so often, they are an essential part of my spiritual, personal and creative practice. And I don't just keep one journal. No,no,no - just one would never do! I usually keep several for different things. Below is a list of the journals and notebooks I am currently keeping.

Morning Pages Journal
For those of you who have never heard of morning pages - they are an essential exercise recommended by Julia Cameron in her fabulous book "The Artist's Way". If you have not heard of this book, I implore you to check it out. I found it when I was 20, and I can honestly say it changed my life. It gets you to claim back your inner artist and creative side. The two essential exercises are artist dates and morning pages. The morning pages are three pages you write daily, each morning, of whatever is in your head - the stuff you have to do, your worries and fears, hopes and dreams - basically take what's in your head and dump it on the page. By doing this you have a safe place to process things and complain, and you really get to know yourself better. I can't say I do them everyday, but I do make an effort to, which means it does get done most days. For this practice I like to keep a 300 - 500 page scribbler of standard 8 x 10 pages. This means it'll last a good while.

Exercise Notebook
No, not for push-ups and jumping jacks, but for any self improvement books I may be working on like "The Artists Way" or Louise L Hay's "You Can Heal Your Life" etc. it's good to have a place to make notes in. I prefer the above kind, a hard bound spiral notebook. I also like collaging on the inside cover as a sort of vision board for the book.
        



Day Planner
This is an essential for me. I don't know how anyone can keep all their activities straight without one. I had been using "The Official Student Calendar" for years - since I started Uni really, but this year I wanted to change it up. I got the "Tools 4 Wisdom" day planner which has loads of space for writing daily, weekly and monthly tasks and space to write your goals and the steps you are going to take to reach them. I'm going to try it out this year and see if it works as well, or better than the other one for me.

Grimoire
Also known as a Book of Shadows, I have been pretty sporadic about keeping one of these for years. I tried separate books for rituals, card readings, dreams etc. but that didn't really work for me. I also tried a binder with seperate tabs for these different things, but it was a bit unwieldy and cumbersome to carry around. I must admit my record keeping skills were a bit dodgy in this area because of this,as it discouraged me from pulling out the binder and writing things down.
I then thought - why not just keep a journal and write it a down together? After all, they are all part of
my spiritual practice and they all inform each other. So I picked up this lovely journal at Coles the other day and have found it a much more portable and enjoyable companion for my book bag.

Sketch/Ideas Book
As an artist I of course also keep a sketchbook. I also like to write down any creative writing ideas that come into my head. That way it becomes more of a creative journal that I can draw from. I like a
 good hard cover one that isn't so big that it doesn't easily fit into my book bag, but not so small I
can't properly draw in it. My latest one is this moleskin, which I also picked up at Coles.

Lenornand Notebook
One of my goals this year is to become proficient with reading Lenormand cards, as they are very different from tarot and oracle cards, which I am used to. I have two books I'm working with that give you exercises for learning the cards. To that end, I am using the above journal to help me in my Lenormand studies, and to be a reference book to look back on hopefully. It's a new thing for me having a book just for this, but I thought I would try it out.

So dear reader, do you keep a journal or journals? Do you prefer the physical kind like me? Or are you more of an online journal type?
I'd love to hear!
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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

December Haul and. 2015 Intentions

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season. Below are two videos I filmed recently. The first is a small December haul of books, including the Leonie Dawson Vreate Your Shining 2015 Workbook which is amazing. I also did a little video about my intentions for the year. What are your goals for 2015?



Thursday, 1 January 2015

Subscriber Giveaway!

To celebrate reaching 500 subscribers on YouTube I am holding a giveaway contest and it's open to my blog subscribers as well. All you have to do is be a subscriber to my Yourube channel or this blog and put in the comments below that you are interested in winning. You also must put a question for my Q&A upcoming video. That's it! The draw will be on January 15, and the prize is a copy of Tarot of the Eternal Night. I will send it anywhere in the world so it's open to you no matter where you live.
Happy New a Year!