creator

Worth the Witch

April, 2019

SHA MAMA’S little helper

Shamanic Self-Care Support for Mama

This month’s Subscription Box is from SHA MAMA’s little helper and it is filled with products that have significant features. They are all plant based, from woman owned companies, and contained in eco-friendly packaging. Right off the bat, you know SHA MAMA’s little helper has not come to play!

SHA MAMA’s little helper’s boxes have a few options. There are the Quarter Day Sabbat Boxes. They correspond to and are themed with the seasons. These start at $77.77 each, a quarter. There are Quarter Day ½ Sabbat Boxes. These start at $38.88 each, a quarter. Next they offer a Monthly ritual with a supportive Product. This box starts at $19.99 a month, but if you prepay for a few month’s in advance it becomes cheaper. Lastly, you can order a Monthly ritual, with no products. This cost only $12.99 a month and like the previous subscription if you purchase a few months in advance it is cheaper.

If you look through all the pictures on SHA MAMA’s little helper site you see a punk rock, witchy, woman promising A “self-care box … mindfully curated each quarter for your enjoyment of, and exposure to, rare and helpful plant-based & Woman-made products that support and pamper Mama. As well as High-Vibe Manifestation, Magick and High-Holiday Celebration tools!” Her smile is infectious and that sounds so awesome!!! I want this in my life. I am sooo stoked to open this box!

Box Arrival!!

I was assuming that since it was coming in a recycled, earth friendly package that it was going to look dull. Boy was I wrong! Though it looks like my mailman had a nice time of trying to get in to it himself, you can still see the adorable detail of the zipper on the topsides of the box where you are to cut the paper tape in order to open it… And can we talk about that fuschia?!?! The perfect color pop. The tape around the sides states that it was “thoughtfully packaged with eco-friendly shipping supplies,” and “Please reuse, repurpose, recycle me!” This packaging is anything but dull.

First Peek

After finally convincing myself to cut into the cute zippers, I get my first peek inside the box and am equally transfixed by the contrast of colors on the inside. So far, this box has been in, 2 different ways, a feast for the eyes.

Let’s see what we have here…

The Information Card

The first thing you should look for is this glossy postcard in your box. It gives you a link to visit that has a written piece from the owner about her ideas behind The Box all the information on the products in your box, as well as a video from Miré Molnar, the owner, discussing the box! She unboxes the box herself for you and discusses each item with you. Very impressive!!

That was the pink side of the postcard. On the other side you will find information about SHA MAMA RISING, which is the main site that offers these Subscription Boxes. Here you will find information on all the services they offer: childbirth education classes, birth talismans, & crystals+breastmilk jewelry.

Now to the contents…are they as impressive?

2 Items from Zen and Meow

I was sooooo excited to see these two items from Zen and Meow. If you said Zen and Who then you better go back and read this – Wood Crystal Grid Review & Interview with Kelly Matthews from Zen and Meow, where Retha Lent wrote, and I quote “If you are looking for top quality wooden grids check out Zen and Meow!” Oh, and as Miré Molnar mentions, Zen and Meow is Woman Owned.

Wooden Crystal Grid

Just shy of 3”, top to bottom, left to right, this is the best little grid I have seen. The quality of this tiny grid is amazing. I wish I had a good enough camera or video equipment to show you the detailing of the pentacle or the beautiful burnishing on the side. If you could feel the smoothness of it. Not a single little wood bit sticking up to splinter. The depth of the carving is perfection. The interlocking arms and extra point tips give it that extra touch. You can take this tiny treasure anywhere or use it at home. Good on any size altar. In any size home or small apartment. Even, to hide!

Engraved Seed of Life Palo Santo Stick

Also, from Zen and Meow, included in the SHA MAMA’s little helper’s box was an Engraved Seed of Life Palo Santo Stick. When burned Palo Santo acts as a smudging agent to cleanse an area or person. It keeps energies grounded and clear. Its scent provides upliftment that raises your vibration in preparation for meditation. Palo Santo is traditionally used for relieving common colds, flu symptoms, stress, asthma, headaches, anxiety, depression, inflammation, emotional pain and more. It is a very useful wood. It smells very fresh with hints of mint & citrus. It’s native to the coast of South America and it’s name translates to Holy Wood. It’s used by everyone from Shamans to saints. The one included in our box is gorgeous! I am just going to keep it as is.

Handmade Beeswax Black Candle with Handmade Tree-branch Candle Holder

The first thought is how perfect the size is for after the beeswax candle when I use my chimes. Then, how beautiful the tree branch will look in time when wax has melted down it. How powerful this little branch will be. How it will resonate with all my intentions. Then I think, wow, I have taken these simple, beautiful objects and turned them into this massive magickal object before I have even found out what it is for! Let’s look…

Oh Ms. Miré you have put your full self and intention into what you have created and put in your box because it has come through loud and clear! WOW, now that is powerful magick!

Coarse Himalayan Salt & Frankincense with Coal

Himalayan Salt, also, know as Pink Halite, is a crystal and is edible. Salt is used for protection and protection from evil. It is often used in & around homes. It is also used for purification, cleansing, and dispelling negativity in many religions rituals throughout the world. Himalayan Salt has many more attributes, as well, making it a great resource to have.

Frankincense resin is burned to create scared, purified spaces. It is very powerful and many use it mixed in with their other herbs to boost their magick. It is also associated with good fortune business wise. Frankincense is great to burn while doing energy work, meditating, or working with your chakras.

They are tall, 4” approx., glass vials, of nice chunks of each. Plus the charcoal to burn the frankincense on. I think a generous amount is given of each. Beautiful in the bottles and came wrapped nicely in beautiful tissue paper. I’m a sucker for cork topped bottles.

New Moon & Full Moon Aromatherapy Oils

Made by Binford’s Natural Remedies, which is a woman owned company that handcrafts all its merchandise and “follows the cycles and rhythms of nature to create all of its products.” They are from their Sacred Altar collection. The ingredients are not written on the bottle and I can not find them on the site, however, you can CLEARLY see the flowers and crystals in the bottle.

Each bottle states what each is intended for. The New Moon oil says it is to be used to cleanse & make your intentions clear. The Full Moon oil if for release so you can receive.

Each bottle also has the web address on it. The type on the bottles needs to be bolder. It already is fading and I will need to use a marker to write what they are on them. That is not important enough though. Let’s see how they smell.

New Moon is a gorgeous flowery scent. Not the over powering scent of flowers that is overbearing and makes you sneeze and bites your nose. But a deep, maybe heady flower, you can feel it’s petals. Don’t mistake this for a smell that is too powerful. It blends in and fades to just the right amount of aroma on the skin.

Full Moon is a sweeter smell. Hints of a powdery scent. A lighter smell you may think, but if you put each on a wrist and take turns smelling them, you will find it is not, it is just different. They are each very powerful! Gorgeous!! I have not smelled blends like these before. Usually you smell the regular lavenders & sages, but not here!

Each comes in a glass, roll on vial. Easy to use. You should rub the oil in for better effect. A little goes a long way. You really don’t need to roll on a lot. You can dab a bit and blend that in.

Resin Magick Skull

At first when I saw the skull I was intrigued. I wasn’t sure what it was. I like skulls though. Plus, it had glitter! I have been seeing them or something like them for sale on Instagram. So I was very curious. It’s a handmade resin skull cast by SHA MAMA RISING owner Miré Molnar. Inside she has placed items, such as; human bones, ashes, blood, placenta, crystals, flowers, and glitter then magickally charged it. How is that for something unique for your altar! I can see a ton of stuff in mine, but I am not sure what it all is. I see herbs, maybe a bone? What would placenta look like? Gosh it’s lovely. Mine came with purple glitter, and purple is my favorite color! Blessed.

Witch Elixir

Created by the website: The Jess Rose. One of her Flower & Gem collection she doesn’t even carry on her site. Created during the 2017 Lion’s Gate, Full moon eclipse, matured over 13 moons. It comes with a card from the owner explaining how to use the elixir, it’s ingredients, and how to store.

What this elixir has in it is a mixture of Flowers: morning glory, iris; Gems: unakite, labradorite; and many more then I just mentioned than the two for each. And they are in a solution of spring water, organic vegetable glycerine and organic vodka less than 4%. You can not see any of the flowers or gems in the bottle. It is all liquid. It comes in the glass bottle with a dropper you are to keep clean and clear from any touching as per instructions on how to keep the bottle from contamination.

What the elixir is for is that the “essences nourish the subtle bodies, auric fields and energy systems.” It is supposedly gentle.

The note that comes with the bottle is wonderfully done. The artwork on it so nice you want to save it and frame it. On the backside it is sealed with wax. Fancy touch! The bottle itself is adorned with a key charm tied around the neck with some black cording. You can keep this and use it as a necklace. Adorable. As for the taste it was yummy to me. I did have a bit of coffee before. I could still taste it. Sweet. I followed the instructions and didn’t let the dropper touch my mouth or tongue. I have stored it properly in a cool area this entire time. It is supposed to work on the support and growth of our inner witch. Grow little witch GROW!!!

I don’t know if a product like this is necessary, but it doesn’t hurt. I can not tell you if it helps yet or what it does, if anything.

The shop is woman owned!

My Over All Impression…

WOW, SHA MAMA’s little helper is dead serious about her Subscription Box, it’s contents, and it’s packaging. Her packaging is wonderful and %100 recycled materials. The products inside are not inexpensive & are not junk! SHA MAMA’s little helper is serious about giving you a true magickal experience when pampering you. The Bindfords All Natural is amazing stuff. Maybe my favorite items in this box. I can say one of the top best smelling oils of all times. You do need to remember a little goes a long way and that you have to rub the oil in, but it is worth it. A definite must have. My second favorite from SHA MAMA’s little helper is the Black Bee’s Wax Candle & Candle Holder. Genius. Handmade by Miré Molnar the boxes creator. It sparked my imagination. I could see it in the future. I saw what her intentions were for us! The magick in those objects is so powerful. It is just so simple, yet so stunning. Let’s not forget the Crystal Grid for Zen and Meow!!!! Such a quality company. I almost forgot, everything is by women owned companies, as well. Inspiring!

This box just screams magickal inspiration! It’s a MUST HAVE!! I can not express it enough!

The Interview

Miré Molnar creator of SHA MAMA’s little helper subscription boxes was nice enough to grant us a wonderful interview.

PaganPagesOrg (PP): What brought the idea of your box to you?

Miré Molnar (MM): I started thinking a lot about the importance of self care after my baby was born. So much of my energy was flowing out to my child – but that energy came from somewhere… It came from inside of me. So I thought a lot about what fueled my life-force energy and what I needed to do to keep my cup full given that I didn’t have the same freedom I’d had pre-baby (to say, go to the Korean spa or get body work etc.). I began to find and use really cool products that became part my daily self care ritual. Products that supported my body, subtle body, my hormones and my bliss. I began using CBD often and jokingly called it Mama’s Little Helper (I’m also a Stone’s fan). I started to call all my little herbal/witchy/beauty products Mama’s Little Helpers because they really helped me feel balanced through any given day of motherhood. Women and mothers in US culture typically seem very comfortable with giving but then are not that great at receiving. Motherhood will knock you on your ass if you don’t take care of yourself but supporting women is just not where our culture likes to point it’s attention. I see a lot of moms really struggle with this. I decided I needed to offer a subscription box to support other women/mamas self care practices and be a voice to help flood the conversation with the message that self-care is not just ok but that it is imperative.

PP: How did you begin them?

MM:I first started last January with a monthly Crystal Creator box on my jewelry shop www.talismama.life that focused a lot on manifestation. It was expensive and it included a really high grade CBD oil, a Law of Attraction planner and various tinctures, body oils and hand-made witchy goodies etc. and each month I would post a ritual or something similar that connected with what was happening energetically with the cosmos and the planet.

PP: How do you choose what to include inside your boxes?

MM:I find a lot of great woman/mama owned brands on Instagram and Etsy. But also people and products find me.

PP: Is yours a recurring monthly box?

MM:I stopped doing a full monthly self care box because the price point was high and I think the amount of products became overwhelming too. So now I offer a Quarterly full and half self-care box and then I offer a monthly ritual that can be purchased with one supportive product or not.

PP: Are you Pagan?

MM:I think that that’s the best word to describe my spiritual beliefs. I find a lot of spiritual paths interesting and I participate in all kinds of things from Thelema to Wicca to Yoga. I like to have the freedom to make my own shit up so Paganism feels the least constricting. I like being in rhythm with the earth and find that ultimately that that is where my spiritual focus feels most comfortable – with mother nature

PP: What types of interests do you have?

MM: I’m a graphic designer, I work at a Sudbury Valley style Democratic Free school, I am an environmentalist, a feminist, civil rights activist and an artist. I love to dance, smoke Mary Jane and be creative. I was very involved in the indie rock music scene of the 90’s and early 00’s, have been in many bands and love Rock N’ Roll! I love getting high on my third eye and I love witchy, hippy, cosmic shit!

PP: Did you feel the pagan world was missing something to make you create your Box?

MM:That’s a great question. Actually I’ve been pretty impressed with what’s available out on Instagram especially when it comes to other woman-made, legit magickal offerings. I do notice a lot of made-in-china Witchy/Pagan boxes and wanted to be another offering (of the small but growing handful) that really focuses on women’s magick (such as: herbalism, potion-making, candle-making, soap-making, kitchen-witching) and includes products made with a lot of high-vibe juju. If we’re really out to make magick then intention is a huge part of that and every component that goes into a product is incredibly important. Making sure that the products I feature use natural ingredients, are made with consciousness and support other women entrepreneurs is very important to me and I hope it’s what makes my boxes stand out in the long run. 

PP: Tell us about you, your life, what we may not know!

MM: I am the daughter of Chantal Molnar, the amazing priestess behind The Milky Way Movie, and feel that my calling is aligned with my mother’s and that I am here to support the empowerment of all women. I make crystal power-jewelry with my father and have created the brand Sha Mama Rising that includes our TalisMama jewelry shop and my Little Helper subscription boxes. I have a 3year old daughter and a wonderful partner and we live in Southern California.

PP: May we have links to your sites that sell other types of products?

MM: Yes a few… You can go direct to the subscription boxes here: http://sha-mama-rising.cratejoy.com or you can find the boxes through my other sites: www.shamamarising.com and www.talismama.life

Thank you so much Miré Molnar for creating such a wonderful Product & for taking the time to talk with us and our readers. I can definitely say that I totally stand behind this Subscription Box and it is totally Worth the Witch!!

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving those a platform to share and learn without judgment. There are too many important things to her and not enough room to mention them. You are one of them.

Review: 2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary (Northern Hemisphere) by Stacey DeMarco

December, 2018

Review:

2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary (Northern Hemisphere) by Stacey DeMarco

Rockpool Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-925682-13-7

List Price: $21.95 USD / £16.99 GBP

The 2019 Lunar and Seasonal Diary is a beautiful, spiral-bound calendar, richly illustrated with pleasing sepia color pages. As one would expect, it tracks the waxing and waning of the moon and the lunar eclipses of the coming year. It also provides the astrological house of each new and full moon and features the eight annual festivals of the wheel of the year.

I reviewed the Northern Hemisphere edition of the Seasonal Diary. Both Stacey DeMarco and Rockpool Publishing are based in Australia, which is why special care is made to tie the festivals to the seasons themselves instead of calendar dates. After all, our calendars follow the reality of the Earth and her seasons, not the other way around.

Especially well fitted to the new pagan, the diary has a well written introduction the hows and whys of spellcraft and the basics of working with crystals. The moon phases are introduced, as well as the elements, directions and the wheel of the year – not enough to complicate things, but enough guidance to use the daily and monthly prompts that follow. Each month features a specific deity, as well as an appropriate ritual or spell, drawing inspiration from traditions as varied as Slavic, Celtic, Hindu, Norse, Egyptian, Greek, and Shinto. I think the selection is broad enough to be interesting for almost any pagan.

I found the Lunar & Seasonal Diary a beautiful resource to keep me connected to the monthly rhythms of the earth. Each month begins with a page questioning “What am I devoted to?” – asking us to simultaneously reflect on what we have been wrapped up in the month just past as well as what we would aspire towards in the month ahead. Prompts are given for important dates and goals to focus on and manifest in the month ahead.

This monthly return to focus seems a positively recharging reset to our frame of reference, especially during those stressful times when we’re just happy to it through one calendar page to the next. It reminds us to recall what we are working for in the first place, reminding us that the daily grind is a process and not an end in itself. This monthly taking-stock can allow you to stay open to the living world around you, to stay fast with what is truly important to you, or to shift your focus and goals each month, working on different aspects of your life just as the energy of the earth changes through different phases around you.

With the space for taking notes, prompts for both reflective and aspirational record keeping, I think this is a great notebook for any pagan who sees the value of the occasional ritual to keep one in tune with the seasons, and it especially shines for those new to the pagan path.

2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary: Northern Hemisphere on Amazon

Book Review – Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down Advice by Janet Boyer

November, 2018

Book Review

Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice

by Janet Boyer

 

 

I am so excited to share Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice by Janet Boyer with you all. Naked Tarot is published by Dodona , Winchester, UK and Washington, USA, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing LTD., NO 3 East Street, Alresford, Hampshire S024 9EE, UK. It is available in paperback and digitally, and since I am reviewing a digital version, I can’t describe the physical book. But no worries, Naked Tarot has 451 pages chock-full of valuable insights into the Tarot cards, all presented in an easy-on-the-eye typeface in a style that is irreverent and fun!

I read the Forward, written by Craig Conley, author and creator of the Tarot Of Portmeirion, and instantly smiled. Eight Implications of Nakedness lets us know what we are in for, and it’s all good, even if you are squeamish about getting nekkid. The Introduction, written by Boyer, gives the framework of the book and some biographical information. Boyer, who also has an incredible amount of Tarot knowledge and experience, holds true to the title of this book and presents herself and her life experiences without shields, and with naked honesty. The book continues with an overview of the Tarot and of divination. Boyer also talks about ways to use the Tarot, methods for reading the Tarot, reversals, correspondences, Tarot suits/elements, and even things to consider when choosing a deck. I love her description of the Tarot as offering Who (the Court Cards), What/How (the Minor Arcana), and Why (the Major Arcana) with regard to our readings and the messages of the cards. All of this information without a single image, just lots of easy-to-read and understand text.

The section devoted to each card contains a Stripped Down Overview (describing the personality of the card), a whole paragraph of Keywords, several Personifications and Embodiments (OMG, one suggested personification for the Page of Wands is Tigger; how perfect is that?!), as well as a Quote, a Challenge, a Gift, suggested Occupations/Vocations, a list of correspondences, a Writing Prompt, and on and on. Then there is the Naked section, which contains Career, Romance, Parenting and Spirituality interpretations, as well as a list of Recommended Resources, and a suggested spread. In her card descriptions and extensive correspondence lists, Boyer uses current and up-to-date movie and book references and people, both real-life and imagined, who we all know well.

I particularly like Boyer’s treatment of the Court Cards. She treats each of the 16 Court Cards like individual persons, and even offers Nicknames for each, and the way to His/Her Hearts and MBTI/Keirsey personality descriptions.

At the end of over 400 pages of useful and fun information about each of the 78 cards of the Tarot, Boyer offers six sample spreads with interpretations, as well input and comments from some of the seekers. The book ends with an extensive bibliography, and a list of recent bestsellers from Donona .

Naked Tarot is a must-have, whether you are a new reader just dipping your toe into the Tarot ocean, or an experienced reader with a lot of esoteric information and reading experience in your tool box, or if you fall somewhere in between those extremes. This is not a dry list of correspondences and brief descriptions of interpretations that don’t seem to relate to current life. There is nothing stuffy or intimidating about this book; it is accessible to all and full of lots and lots and lots of useful information offered in a manner that is easy to connect with and remember, even though there are no card images.

I never expected to recommend a digital book on the Tarot, but this is one that you absolutely must have on your e-reader. Get the paperback too if you need to work with paper; you won’t be sorry. You will use this book, again and again, and the thoughtful insights and reader-friendly card descriptions and information will bring a new spark to your work with the Tarot, whether professionally or personally.

Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

Interview with Author & Artist Lupa

March, 2018

Lupa is an author, artist, ecopsychologist, and naturalist in the Pacific Northwest.  She creates ritual tools and other sacred art from hides and bones, and is a prolific author of pagan nonfiction books.

The Tarot of Bones is a tarot deck that is inspired by natural history, and combines Lupa’s art and writing skills with her knowledge and appreciation of the natural world, adding the traits and habits of animals to the symbolism of the tarot.  

After reviewing Tarot of Bones last month, I was excited to catch up with Lupa and find out a bit more about this tarot deck and its companion book.

 

Raushanna: I know the natural world and the life and death of the creatures living within it have been a large focus for you for many years.   Your creative connection to the natural world has evolved in wonderful ways.  I admit to reading your Therioshamanism blog years ago, and was amazed at that time at the depth and breadth of your focus on the natural world, and your creativity within your field has blossomed since then. What circumstance made you first aware of this visceral connection between yourself and the natural world and its inhabitants?

Lupa: Honestly, it was early childhood when I first started exploring our yard and the various tiny beings in it. My love affair with nature has been a lifelong pursuit, and has taken many forms over the years. I discovered paganism in my teens, and the idea that there were other people who saw nature as sacred had me hooked from the start. Over the past two decades I’ve been a Wicca-flavored neopagan, a Chaos magician, and a neoshaman, though these days I refer to myself as a naturalist pagan. I don’t believe in supernatural things any more, and my path is firmly rooted in the physical world and ecology. I find my inspiration in the wonder and awe I feel at being privileged enough to be a part of this amazing universe for a few short years.

 

Raushanna: Tarot of Bones is a unique deck.  What were you hoping to offer to those using your deck for personal exploration?  What message or method were you trying to bring to a reader? 

Lupa: Honestly, I wanted to help people get out of the very human-centered approach we have to the tarot. Most decks, including the Rider-Waite-Smith, are almost entirely made of human figures and pursuits. Any animals, plants and other beings are there primarily as symbols for human meanings. The Tarot of Bones, on the other hand, has no humans whatsoever. The Major Arcana and Court cards all have very specific animal species associated with them, and while these have meaning to us, they are based on the animals’ behavior, not the values we associate with them as “good” or “bad”. It is especially important for those who claim to follow nature-based pagan paths to get their heads out of the human sphere and away from human priorities, and to see ourselves as just one of many equal species on a complex, life-supporting planet. The Tarot of Bones is one gentle nudge in that direction.

 

Raushanna: As a follow-up to the previous question, I would like to share how your Tarot of Bones affected my own Tarot practice.  These days, I tend to use the Tarot only for my own personal growth, and I only do readings through word-of-mouth requests.  I usually work with the Tree of Life, astrology and elemental dignities when working with the Tarot and its messages to me.  You have opened a new awareness within me of energy flows and entanglements occurring all around me that I knew existed, but never included in my divination interpretations before reading your companion book.  Because of your deck and book, I’m looking around at my surroundings and my Tarot cards with a new awareness, an awareness that is based on a combination of pure intuition and of “listening” to the plants, animals, people, and non-physical entities around me.  Thank you for that!

Lupa: That’s really cool—thank you for sharing your story! I hope you are able to continue deepening those relationships and understandings.

 

Raushanna: Your deck approaches the Tarot in a non-traditional way, particularly in the card images, and the companion book includes lots of useful information not usually found in a “LWB,” including your lists of inspirations for the assemblages.  The deck and the companion book in many ways reveal your inner self to the public (you state, rightly so, in the Introduction that this is a very personal deck) perhaps in some ways more so than your art because you explain to us all in writing why you chose the items in the images of the cards.  You created and self-published all this in a little over two years, not long at all!  Did you ever feel overwhelmed during the process of creating this unique deck and the companion book?  What kept you motivated to continue?

Lupa: Oh, so many times I asked myself “What have I gotten myself into?” It’s a hell of a lot of work, and I’m grateful that so many people hung in there with me, both in person and online. Being able to post the assemblages the deck was based on as I completed them helped me to stay connected with everyone, and motivated to keep going. Sometimes it seems absolutely unreal that I did all that, but I can look at the pieces hanging up in my home, and the boxes of decks and books, and think “Wow, I really did do all that!”

I have always been good at keeping myself on a task, even if things don’t always go according to schedule, and I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older. Now instead of one single project that I struggle to complete, I have a huge list of books and other projects I want to work on, and it’s just a matter of pacing myself as I work through each one.

 

Raushanna: You shared which card was created first, the card that led you into the process of creating and self-publishing the Tarot of Bones deck and its companion book.  Which card image was the easiest to create?  Which was the most challenging to get right?

Lupa: Honestly, they were all easy to some extent, because I was deeply in a creative flow for that year of 2015 when I actually made all the assemblages. The ones that were the most challenging were those that required more structural creativity; for example, trying to attach a full-sized bison skull to a small wooden door as its backboard took some manual labor that I wasn’t expecting. But in working with the spirits of the skulls and bones, and the tarot itself, I found it surprisingly easy to weave those threads of spirit and my own creativity together.

 

Raushanna: You have mentioned you worked with the Tarot before.  You offer some detailed card meanings in the companion book.  Has the process of creating the card image and/or writing the entry in the companion book that describes the meaning of the assemblage and the card itself caused you to re-write your own understanding of a particular card?

Lupa: Absolutely. My understanding of the tarot when I first started using it in the 90s was very much “by the book”. I revisited all that when I began the Tarot of Bones, combining traditional tarot meanings with more nature-based interpretations of the archetypes and concepts in the cards. So really I had to re-learn each card individually, especially as I hadn’t used a proper tarot deck in over a decade when I started the project. But that’s also why I wrote each card’s book entry as soon as I completed its assemblage, because the meaning was still fresh and raw in my mind.

 

Raushanna: Creating a Tarot deck is, I am sure, a transformative process.  What unexpected and surprising result(s) did you experience as you worked with both the natural world and the symbolism attached to the Tarot?

Lupa: I think I was surprised at how much of myself was still in the deck as I created it. I wanted to allow nature to speak for itself as much as possible, but it’s necessarily biased because I am the person communicating those messages. We all have to experience the world through a human filter because each of us is working in a brain formed by millions of years of primate evolution, and a mind that is influenced by the society and culture each of us comes from. So there’s probably a lot that gets lost in the translation when I try to speak what I learned from nature, and that’s why it’s so important to experience nature firsthand, without an agenda, for yourself. Don’t go into the woods expecting to find fairies and spirits or to have a vision quest or other journey. Instead, just quiet your mind and open yourself to the land itself, without overlaying it with human meaning. It will tell you what’s most important.

 

Raushanna: What role, if any, does this deck play in your life now that it is completed?  Do you have any other favorite decks?  Are there other divination tools or systems that resonate for you?

Lupa: Well, it’s the deck I do daily one-card draws for the public with, as well as one of my main decks for professional readings. The only other one I use on a regular basis is the Ted Andrews Animal-Wise deck, which I got when it first came out in 1999 and which I’ve been using for totem readings ever since then. I, also, like bone-casting, and there’s a simple set I’m working on getting ready for release, hopefully this spring. Really, any divination system is just a tool to help me focus my thoughts and intuition, and since I created the Tarot of Bones it’s a pretty tight fit.

 

Raushanna: You have a recommended reading list in the Tarot of Bones companion book that is Tarot-focused, and you mentioned that, at least in part, through your creation process for this deck you have reinitiated your connection to Tarot as a divination tool.  What processes and/or exercises do you recommend for a novice reader who is drawn to your deck?

Lupa: I like the idea of working with each card individually to really get to understand your relationship to it and understanding of it. That’s basically what I did as I created each assemblage. Study each card, both my version of it and other artists’; read the book, and other tarot books; study the animals that I profile in each of the cards, and the meanings and roles of each bone I use for the Minor Arcana suits; and create your own meaning and understanding of each card based on those things.

 

Raushanna: Your website, thegreenwolf.com, lists your own books; which of your book(s) would you recommend to a Tarot enthusiast who has become enamored with your natural world inspirations shared in the Tarot of Bones companion book, and who wishes to learn more about combining divination and nature?

Lupa: Well, right now the only other book I have specifically on divination is Skull Scrying: Animal Skulls in Divinatory Trance, which is a booklet on using a real animal skull for scrying. Beyond that, I recommend my book Nature Spirituality From the Ground Up: Connect With Totems in Your Ecosystem as a book for helping you deepen your connection with nature itself. I really feel that a lot of people are lacking in their nature literacy, even those who know a lot about tarot and other divination, and so boosting your experiences and knowledge of nature is important. And I don’t just mean things like “I know the four Wiccan elements”. I’m talking about knowing your bioregion in detail, where your watershed is, where your drinking water comes from, what sorts of fungi are in mycorrhizal relationships with the trees in your area, etc. Take away the supernatural and symbolic, and just get your nose in the dirt.

 

Raushanna: What is next for you?  Any plans for an Oracle of Bones as a companion to the Tarot of Bones?

Lupa: Again, I have a bone-casting set I need to put the finishing details on. I’d also love to do a Lenormand of Bones someday, maybe as a limited run since it’s not as popular as tarot. But right now my big project is Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things. It’s a book about collecting hides, bones and other animal remains, including how-tos, advice, and other resources. I’m currently in the middle of the IndieGoGo to crowdfund printing and other costs, looking at a Summer 2018 release. That IndieGoGo can be backed at http://igg.me/at/vultureculture101.

 

I’d like to thank Lupa, very much, for this interview; it was nice to be able chat in more depth about her work!

For more about Lupa you can visit her site at: http://www.thegreenwolf.com/

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About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot reader and teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journey To Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

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