The Ancestors Speak: In Conversation With Kelly Harcus

Kelly Harcus is an artist who has created the most wonderful deck of oracle cards. After using them a few times, I really wanted to talk to her about their creation and she very kindly agreed to answers a few questions.  
You can read a review of the cards here

Oracle

Tell me a bit about yourself and your creative life
 Sometimes I say I’m a recovering teacher. I loved it, but I burned out a few years ago and it would have been foolish to continue. I’ve always been a maker, but I didn’t feel like an artist until I discovered art journalling in 2005. It gave me permission to pull in all sorts of techniques and influences. I could express all the feelings that I had no words for. Within the pages of a journal, I didn’t have to please anyone but myself and didn’t have to worry about “good” or “pretty’.
In 2007, I discovered artist books and fell hard. They are still my main practice, at least in what can be called fine art. When I need validation, as we all do sometimes, I can remind myself that my books are in artist book collections and one of them even won a prize. 18 months ago, I took the plunge and started renting a studio, about 20 minutes away from my house. It is a refuge and a joy. I think of everything now in terms of studio rent. Sure, I could have that new dress, but it costs a week of studio rent – no thanks!

What inspires you to create?
 The material itself is often my inspiration, especially with clay, yarn or fabric. Exhibitions often inspire me, not to create how like the artist shown, but just to get my hands into paint and clay again. If you saw me, you’d know how inspired I am by a show, by how tightly I’m clenching my hands behind my back. If you hear I’ve been arrested, it will be at a Henry Moore exhibit for touching everything! Otherwise, it’s usually nature, especially my home province of Nova Scotia in Canada. The curve of a beach rock, a bit off drift wood, a bright leaf tucked into green moss. Another big theme for me is the wabi sabi beauty of human creation returning to nature in peeling paint, dripping rust or sea glass. Even typing this, I’m wiggling my fingers the way I do when I can’t wait to get stuck in – my husband calls them my happy paws.

I absolutely love your oracle deck; can you tell me a bit about what inspired this?
 I was fortunate enough to be at a retreat in Glastonbury held by Erin Faith Allen. It was over Halloween, and we were working with intuition. Polly Pring led us in some powerful ancestor meditation and ritual. Erin’s teaching is very process driven rather than result, so everyone’s work turns out differently. We weren’t “supposed” to be making pictures, or to ascribe meaning to our cards, trusting that this would become clear in the future as we used them. On the contrary though, I awoke early one morning, when my cards were just bits of collage on plain cards. In the liminal space of early morning, I suddenly saw all those faces, nearly human, but nearly spirit too. When I went back to the studio, the faces made themselves even more clear and meanings came through strongly from what had just been random collage the day before. They aren’t like anything anyone else created that weekend, or even like anything I’ve created before. They just really wanted to exist.

Why did you choose to create an oracle deck in particular?
 I’ve craved it since I went back to the cards in 2013 after a long absence. I still want to make a tarot deck, but it seems like such a massive undertaking – I’m sneaking up on it. I was lucky enough to be a teacher in Mindy Tsonas’s Wishcraft Tarot course this year and worked with The Hanged Man for that. I never intended to make these public. They were just for my own use. After a year of reliably powerful guidance, and enquiries from a few friends, I looked into how to have them printed. When I am looking after myself properly, oracle cards, meditation and my journal are part of my best morning routine. There’s something extra powerful in using cards you’ve made yourself. Having said that, please don’t stop me buying more decks!

What are your thoughts on the subject of magic? Do you incorporate it in your daily life? If so, how?
Oh, it varies. I believe in a lot, and then my skeptical side comes in. Often with the cards, when I’m doing a reading, I offer this disclaimer, especially if it’s for someone new to cards: “Maybe this is just a bit of fun. Maybe it’s a way for us to access the wisdom of our subconscious. Maybe it is a message from spirit or the universe.” It’s like I need to give myself permission. The thing is, they’ve been spot on too many times to count. What I really believe is that there is a lot beyond what we know, and maybe a hundred years from now we’ll understand it all better. I have a main altar at home, and several small ones. I take part in a Women’s Full Moon dance – such an amazing experience! I arm myself with crystals suitable for whatever situation I need support in. So I can’t really say I don’t believe, can I?

Do you have any projects coming up you would like to share with the readers?
 Early this year, I got a lot of clarity that as well as my own creative work, part of my purpose in the world is to support others with their creative work. So I’ve been supporting other creatives with tech and admin; so many people have so much to offer, but are stopped because making a website or an ebook feels hard. I’m making aprons, journals and sketchbook wraps to sell on Etsy. I’m running art journal playdates in my studio, and a small story-telling group. In my personal work, I’m just diving deep into my own art journals.

The cards available to buy from her Etsy shop

“The Ancestors Speak” Oracle Deck

Oracle

Created in Glastonbury on Samhain in 2016, these are a wonderful deck of cards that are unusual in the most glorious arty way. “The Ancestors Speak” oracle deck has been created using a mix-media collage technique and they are so unique.

Created by artist Kelly Harcus, these cards can be used for daily guidance or can be used in a more comprehensive spread. They are the same size as tarot cards and comprise of 22 cards which matches the number of the Major Arcana in Tarot. They are very handy to pop in your bag if you fancied doing a reading for someone or maybe just a contemplative moment in the woods. There is no complicated explanation for these cards, or symbology that leaves you baffled; they speak to you through the practical use of text on the cards and most importantly; using your intuition. The images are very thought provoking so that will certainly get you inspired for your reading.

For those of you who undertake ancestral work then these cards are something you should look into owning.

You can buy them right here

Flowers from the Dead: The Animal Bones Divination Deck

 

20170409_193954

This is a rather pleasing looking pack of divination cards, their black and white images are rather primal and they are beautifully illustrated. There are 27 cards in the pack (it is now 37 with an extension pack available). On each card is a different animal and each animal represents a specific quality, so for example the wolf is known for its loyalty and family traits.

Like most oracle cards, there aren’t any lengthy meanings, in other words you won’t be left thumbing through a book. The cards not only show an illustrated representation but they have two words on each card that will help you to interpret them. The wonderful thing about any set of oracle cards is their ability for you to use your intuition whether you are reading for yourself or another person. There are a lot of wild stories to be told when using the Flowers From The Dead cards and I certainly love the natural world and how it is represented in this pack. If you are a wild woman/man then these come highly recommended.

You can buy them via the American Obscura Etsy Store

Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards – Doreen Virtue

 

20170328_193833.jpg

I have been buying oracle decks from independent artists recently as I have never really been a fan of the mass market cards, I don’t always feel right with them but I stand corrected.

On the evening of the new moon I was part of a very special Wild Woman circle in London. The evening was spent meditating, journaling and setting our intentions for the coming months. Our group leader had set out a circle of oracle cards for us to choose as and when we felt drawn to them. The first card I pulled kind of made some sense to me and then I picked a second and the two interlocked. It was giving me a message – it was plain what I had to do. In this moment I knew I had stumbled on a fantastic deck of cards.

The Goddess Guidance Oracle cards are lovely. The back of the cards are a very sunny yellow in colour decorated with Celtic knotwork and a golden crown motif; a symbol of the priestess no less. There are 44 cards in a deck and each card is beautifully illustrated with goddesses from across all traditions from Celtic to Greek to Buddhist.

There is a guidebook but I am quite intuitive when it comes to oracle cards and to be fair; the meanings are stated on each card which makes it easier for the reader.

You can read up more on them via this link here and you can also find out about the other magical goodies that Hay house have on offer.

Mystic Sister: An Interview With Jordyn Schwersky

I discovered Mystic Sister a couple of months back and fell in love with it. A site run by the magical Jordyn Schwersky, I decided to reach out and say hello. Whether you want a tarot card reading, buy healing balms and teas or you want to invite some magic into your life via her blog and guidance – Mystic Sister is the place to go. I was really happy when Jordyn agreed to answer a few questions for the blog because I know you will love her.
Mystic Sister
When did you first discover you had an interest in reading cards? (both oracle and tarot)
My mom got me into tarot when I was younger, maybe middle-school aged, and she’d read for me and take me to other readers to get my cards read and teach me about the cards. I didn’t start reading myself until I was about 18, though. My interest in oracle cards is fairly recent. I only got my first oracle deck a year or two ago.
Do you have a preference at all? If so, why?
It depends on the question I’m asking. If I want to get more specific I’ll go to the tarot. If I want a more general idea of what’s going on I’ll break out the oracle cards. I also might read with an oracle deck if I’m wondering about something an oracle deck is based on, like the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck or the Black and the Moon Arcana of Astrology. So I don’t really have a preference in regards to tarot vs oracle. I go with what energy feels right.
Why do you think people have such a fear of any sort of card, be it oracle or tarot?
This is a great question, and it has a pretty simple answer. I think it really comes down to not actually understanding what the cards mean. Let’s take the Death card, because that’s one a lot of people are afraid of. This is actually one of my favorite cards in the deck. Often people think it means someone’s literally going to die, or they’re really afraid of losing something. What they don’t see is that this card is also really indicative of rebirth and new growth. So I think the fear just comes from misunderstanding.
Tell me what inspired you to create your amazing site – Mystic Sister.
First of all, thank you! That’s so kind of you to call it amazing. Mystic Sister actually began as a small WordPress blog called Jordyn Myah’s Misadventures. When I was in college getting my Journalism degree, one class I was in actually required us to keep a blog. I focused mine on film and television (I’m a major pop culture junkie). After that class I turned it into a general blog about my life. It slowly grew, and at a certain point I dropped the word Misadventures from the site name so it was just Jordyn Myah, and I began writing more about mental health. It was both a way to cope with my own depression and anxiety as well as a way to educate and reach out to others dealing with mental illness. After a while I decided to start offering tarot readings for money, and shortly after that decided to open the apothecary. (My love of herbalism stemmed from my acne. Homemade herbal skincare products were the first things to actually help my acne, and it grew from there.) When I decided to open the apothecary, I decided to move to more of a brand that went beyond my name, and after months (literally) of agonizing over what to call it, I came up with Mystic Sister. With the name change came a website redesign, and that’s how I got to what you see today!
Is your site your full-time job or do you do other things?
I work part-time for my dad, who is also a small business owner, so that I have a bit of a stable income while I build up Mystic Sister. The goal, though, is to eventually live solely off the income from Mystic Sister.
feel that society has lost its magic in some ways, people are more concerned about material goods so I try and bring as much meaning and magic into my life everyday. In what ways do you make sure you are connected to your calling as a wild woman everyday?
I totally agree with you. As a society we’ve become so disconnected from the Earth and the spirit realm and the magic that used to be a part of everyday life. The good thing is that more and more people are beginning to reconnect to magic, and there are so many ways you can do this. Obviously one thing I try to do is read my cards daily, which is a more overt action. There are also a lot of subtle ways I connect to magic. One thing I do is take greens powder every day. It’s a great way to connect to plants, and I make the action of stirring the powder into orange juice and drinking it a ritual. I also regularly water my plants and see how they’re doing and make that a ritual too rather than a chore. I also light a ton of candles at night and spend time in their light and scent. I also set up an altar in my studio, which is a great way to connect to ritual while making the altar but also to stop and connect to the altar itself whenever I see it without having to do anything. I also read a ton and do a lot of research. I’m really interested in both the magic of the past and in the scientific ways (in terms of herbs) that we’ve come to understand magic today. I also walk my dog everyday and use that time to meditate. I take herbal baths too. I’m also doing ancestral work right now and discovering where my ancestors came from and the magic of their areas. A lot of people think you need to do spells to invite magic into your life, and while spells are fun and often effective, I think the best way to stay magical is to create rituals out of things you do everyday. Just constantly be present and aware of what you’re doing.
You can visit her site right here

The Earthbound Oracle

Earthbound Oracle

Source: Skull Garden – Al Swartz

I first fell in love with these whilst browsing on the Little Red Tarot website. They were so beautiful and really spoke to me. I bought them and I have to say I use them… a lot.

They have been created by A.L. Swartz from Skull Garden and contain 48 cards all with individual earth based illustrations.

The symbolism is very straightforward and can be interpreted easily from normal everyday things to more complex problems. A very flexible but easy deck to use. The beauty of these cards is their nature-based theme; something that lives very close to my heart and I am the same goes for many readers.

This deck is to be used intuitively. It doesn’t contain any complicated guidebooks, suits or difficult to fold instruction leaflets. It is up to you to interpret as you pull each card. This deck will inspire you and bring you back down to earth with each card you pick. Just beautiful.