Remembering the Pink Triangle

In the Netherlands, today is Dodenherdenking. It is the day of Remembrance of the Dead, the day and evening before our Bevrijdingsdag (Liberation Day) on May 5th. On this day we remember those who lost their lives in war, from the second world war until today.

This year I will remember Willem Arondeus. Artist, freedom fighter, and proud homosexual who forged documents to protect the Jews. When the forgery was discovered, he and his fellow resisitance members bombed the Amsterdam city records, erasing hundreds of names and saving hundreds of people. He was arrested and executed in 1943. His last words to were “Tell the people that homosexuals are not by definition weak”.

This year I will remember all those who wore the pink triangle, the Nazi concentration camp badge which identified them as homosexual, bisexual or trans. I will remember all those who were saved from the concentration camps, only to be thrown into prison because of paragraph 175. All those who were freed but never knew freedom.

Tonight at 20:00, two minutes of silence will be observed in the entire country. At that time I will light a candle and place it on the sigil above. The pink triangle with my sigil to honour the beloved dead. In those two minutes I will be silent, and I will remember.

And tomorrow, the flame of freedom will burn and I will celebrate the freedom that our LGBTQIA+ community has in our country and be grateful to those who made that happen.

Unearthing your True Needs

Photo by Ksenia Yakovleva on Unsplash

When preparing for a spell, we ask ourselves what do we want to accomplish? What will the theme of this spell and ritual be? But what I realized is that I need to ask myself more often: what needs to happen before I can work this spell?

I’m struggling right now, physically and mentally, with a new chronic illness. What I want is help in accepting this, accepting the reality of my situation and accepting that things will never be the same again, no matter how much improvement I’ll make. So this was the theme I had in my head: acceptance. I’m having trouble accepting, so I will make a spell and ritual to aid in this. Simple, right? Except it didn’t feel right. I realized there were things holding me back from my acceptance, things that a ritual with me chanting “I accept” while focusing on a sigil that I made would not take away. Things that would block that magical work before it even began. So there are things I need to do before I can do the spell that I want to do.

I needed to unearth my true needs. What do I really need to get to a place where I can start working on acceptance? I’m a journaling kinda witch, so I grabbed my journal and started braindumping. No thoughts, just write it out. Start with what I am feeling about the subject and use that as a kickoff point for the rest. For me this often starts with “I feel…” because this gets me to the root of the problem. The things I have to address before I can go on. And through this work I realized that underneath that need for acceptance, there were a lot of other things:

Anger
Grief
Betrayal
A sense of injustice
A need to be understood
Feeling lost
A need for tranquillity, wholeness and calmness
Self-esteem issues
People pleasing
Toxic bonds with certain people
PTSD

I cannot gain acceptance until I deal with these underlying issues. I can make the most beautiful and powerful ritual for acceptance there has ever been, but it will crumble if it doesn’t have the right foundation. Because I looked deeper and tried to unearth my true needs, I have a list of eight magical workings that I need to do before I can do one for acceptance.

So when you are dealing with something big in your life, something you want to do spellwork or other magical workings for, ask yourself: is there something else I need to do first? Is this what I truly need or is there something deeper that needs to be dealt with? Unearth your true needs, then work towards what you want.

Change

Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

Witchcraft is a path of change. Usually we practice magic to bring about a change in our lives, or the lives of those around us. In the years that I have been a practicing witch and pagan, my path has gone through a lot of changes. From a wiccan based one to a more nature and pagan based one. From only doing spells for myself to doing spells for social change on a global level. From practicing in my bedroom with an altar on top of a dresser, to having an entire room dedicated to my craft. Live is a river, ever moving and winding, and witchcraft is no different. It’s the reason I made the Write your Witchcraft challenge, to document those changes for yourself.

But no matter how much things changed, there were a few things that were a constant. A few small things that have been so ingrained into my practice since the beginning. And now that has to change as well, and I find myself adrift. I’ve mentioned before that in May of last year I got ill with Covid. On top of me still not being anywhere near recovered, it also damaged my lungs in such a way that I have to rethink much of my life, including my witchcraft and pagan path.

I’m going to need to find a way to practice without incense, burning candles, perfumed spell oils, strong scenting herbs or flowers, and smoke of any kind. Which might not seem like such a big deal, but for the past twenty-one years all of those things have been such a big part of my path. A cornerstone of sorts. My daily offering to the Gods is burning a candle and praying to them. I use incense and smoke to cleanse my magical tools. I use incense as a representation of the element of air, both in circle when creating sacred space and when charging something with the elements. In our coven we use spell oils to anoint ourselves before stepping into sacred space. I use candles to create a warm and intimate mood for my ritual workings. I burn certain herb mixtures for protection and cleansing when preparing for ritual.

I know I’m not alone in this, that there are many witches out there with asthma or other lung problems who also can’t use these things. So that helps, knowing I’m not alone, as well as reading a lot of tips and ideas for alternatives. But it’s difficult right now to try these alternatives. I don’t know what I would respond well to or not, and with the lockdown and the virus still going strong, I can’t go around to shops and try things out. It also doesn’t help that I have this gorgeous altar room which is now mostly finished (as finished as it will be during a lockdown) and I can’t be in there for more than five minutes before my lungs seize up because of something in there. It’s making me feel a bit lost and desperate. Witchcraft is a path of change, and this is another change that I can and will work through. I will find new ways to cleanse, to create sacred space and a sense of peace and intimacy. I will work around obstacles and make new traditions. I know all this. But right now, I’m mourning the loss of the path I had.

Pagan festival pages

You might have noticed that I added a subject “witchcraft” on top of this blog. And if you’ve looked you might have noticed that I like sharing some of my art grimoire pages! Besides a bunch of information that I keep digitally, or printed out in a binder, I wanted to make a book of shadows that was part artbook, part reference book, part whatever else I wanted it to be. Today I wanted to share my Wheel of the Year pages with you!

All these pages where inspired by Dominee from BlessingManifesting. I loved the watercolour effect and tried to copy that with coloured pencil.

Below the name of the festival I added some other common, or less common, names the festival is known by. Or festivals that were inspired by the pagan feast, like easter.

I really wanted the pages to make sense for me and what I’m most likely to use it for. For me that’s planning celebrations for our Circle, decorating the altar and the potluck that has become festival tradition. So for me that meant: decoration and symbols (correspondences), inspirtion for the types of spells and rituals associated with the festival (spellwork), creative ideas and the spirit of the feast (activities), and foods for the potluck (or on my own!).

Before I started on these pages, I really took the time to think about my associations with the different festivals. The things that were important to me, and that fit my path and practice. With this book it’s so important that it’s personal, so I really took my time to gather resources, look at old spells and rituals, and use a lot of intuition.

I really love how they turned out. Even with a few flaws here and there ;). Join me next time when I share my pages on the elements!

Birthday Witchcraft

Today, the 28th of October is my birthday! So I thought this was the perfect time to share with you all some magical things to do for your birtday. Here are some ideas to add a little bit of witchcraft to your already magical day.

Candle Magic: Light a (birthday) candle, make a wish, blow it out. Simple, yet effective. Traditional birtday magic!

Glamour Magic: Choose your clothes and make up in such a way that they make you feel empowered, happy and confident. Choose happy colours and patterns, draw sigils with your foundation, or wear jewellery enchanted to make this a happy day.

Food Blessing: Get a cookie/cupcake/cake/donut and bless it with happiness and love for the coming year. Think about your flavours: which do I associate with happiness, or love? Will it be a confetti cake, or is a white chocolate and rosewater cupcake better? You could also draw sigils, runes or bindrunes in the icing or frosting for added oomph.

Hot Drink Blessing: get your favourite flavor of coffee/tea/hot chocolate and charge it with warmth and self love. Stir the drink clockwise while concentrating on what you wish to imbue your potion with. Add edible glitter or shimmer (like luster dust) to make it even more magical!

Dance it Out: Have a little party (even just by yourself) and get rid of those things that no longer serve you. Put on some fitting music and think of the things you wish to let go of. Match your music to your intent: releasing anger? Headbang it out to some heavy metal. Releasing lethargy? Jump and bounce to some high-energy pop music. Releasing loneliness? Put on some Bohemean Rhapsody and sing along at the top of your lungs. Do it with friends or do it alone, but know that someone, somewhere, is belting right along with you.

Make a Toast: Make a toast to the year that has gone by. List the highlights for yourself. What are you proud of? What happened that made you laugh the loudest, that made you dance with joy or cry with happiness. Make a toast to the wonderful things that happened the last year.

Kitchen Magic: Cook your favourite food. Think about why it is your favourite? What memories or feelings does it draw up within you? Then think of ways you can enhance that with magic, for example by drawing symbols into piecrust or adding spices with intent.

Practice Divination: Do a tarot or oracle spread to reflect on the past year and see how it rings true. Do a spread for the coming year as well, then next year you can reflect on how accurate it was!

Give Yourself a Gift: Buy or make yourself something pretty. It is your birthday after all and gifts are part of that. Is there something that you’ve wanted but kept finding excuses not to buy it? Now is the time!
Make yourself a gift for next year! Make a little box filled with happy thoughts, herbs, poetry, crystals and all else you want to surprise yourself with next year. Tell future you how proud you are of them. Then next year, either burn or bury them and begin anew!

A Gift for Someone Else: Perhaps you’re not really one for gifts. That’s okay! Perhaps you’d like to give to someone else on your day. Make a donation to a charity that is important to you. Volunteer. Pick up trash in the local park. Share your sparkly tea and confetti cake with your neighbour. Share the love.

Make Plans: Make some plans for the coming year. Is there something you want to study? Break it into steps and write it down. Some practice you want to dive deeper into? Do the same.

Express Gratitude: Thank your ancestors for being here. Their loves and lives made it possible for you to be born. What better day to thank them than on your birthday? Remember that they are proud of you.
Thank your deities for the same thing and for the love and guidance they have shown on the way. (If you honour deities of course)

Practice Self Care: This is your day after all. Take good care of yourself. Protect your boundaries. Surround yourself with people and things that will make you happy. Don’t feel like having certain people over? Don’t! Or at least reschedule to a different day. Birthday celebrations can be stressful and hectic, make sure you use this day to take care of you.

Pamper yourself!: Take a luxuriously long, hot shower. Dress in soft and comfortable clothes. Make only your favourite foods and drinks all day (or order in!). Have a mini spa day. Meditate. Snuggle with your cat and watch something wholesome. Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. You deserve it.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to make your birthday a bit more magical! What do you do to incorporate some witchcraft into your celebrations?

Gender in Witchcraft, pt. 2

In my last post I dove (or well, dipped my toes) into the history of gender in witchcraft, to see where our thoughts and visions on gender come from. When I was thinking and journaling about gender and witchcraft came the question: does it matter? Does it matter in our magic whether we focus on gender?

For witchcraft and paganism in general I would say yes and no. Yes because we are a path that stands up for the marginalized, and being yourself and being true to yourself is something we value a lot. To know yourself, to truly and fully know who you are as a person, can hold great power. Exploring gender and what this means to you can be a (big) part of that. It can also reveal shadows; suppressed parts of ourselves that often have to do with trauma or pain, that we often have to work through. Standing in your own power with confidence and pride can spring powerful magic. Acknowledging and owning your truths can be super empowering!
So therefore I do think it’s important for women (and I mean all women) to have a space where they can be themselves without the pressure of what society expects from them. A space to talk about the things that concern us, as women. The problems that we run in to and the worries and sorrows that we have. To find the strength and power of being a woman without the weight of the patriarchy on our shoulders.
I also think it’s important that men (and I mean all men) have a space where they can be themselves without the pressure of what society expects from them. A space to talk about the things they run into, in this society that portrays them as “the bad guy”. To explore a version of masculinity that isn’t toxic. A place to connect to others in an emotional and deep, meaningful way. To form a brotherhood that is not about being a warrior and being aggressive, but instead is gentle and soft in the same way we feminists see our sisterhood. That is what I wish for them.
And for all of us who fall outside of that binary, I wish the same thing. A space to explore what gender means, what falling outside of the norm entails and the troubles that we face because of that. To explore how that influences spirituality, connection, life in general. To find power and strength in being who we are, openly.
So yes, it can be very important to focus on gender, even (or perhaps especially) in spirituality.

Photo by Anna Shvets through Pexels

However, there is another side of this coin. Discrimination is, unfortunately, also found in our community and has been there since the very beginning. Gardner was a misogynist and a homophobe. He created a “sacred” rite which hinged on him, and other High Priests, to have sexual intercourse with young women. Gay and lesbian people were not allowed into Wiccan covens for many years under the guise of the Wiccan Laws.
In 2011 on PantheaCon a group of Dianic Wiccans refused entrance to Transwomen who wished to participate in a women’s only ritual, stating that only women born with a womb were allowed to enter. Budapest, the founder of Dianic Wicca, came out with a statement which was, frankly, hurtful and outrageous. Claiming that “transies” (her word, not mine) were just men trying to encroach on women’s spaces again. This incident, which was in no way the first, sparked a lot of (trans)people speaking out against gender discrimination in our traditions.
Then there are those who take the “divine feminine” and “divine masculine” so far that it becomes toxic. An example of this is the phenomenon of the “twin flame”. Like many spiritual beliefs, it has been ripped out of context and is now to many an idea where every woman, a.k.a. the Divine Feminine, has a perfect soulmate somewhere out there, their man, a.k.a. the Divine Masculine. They claim it is our divine duty as women to heal men, so they can step into their power as true divine masculine. With lovely ripped-out-of-context poetry like: “If you want to change the world, love a man; really love him” and “Because you have a womb, a sweet, deep gateway to wash and renew old wounds.” That last one is because we (supposedly) should see the “ancestral burden” of all the confused, angry warrior-men who came before him and we, as women, can heal that with the magical power of our wombs. Right.
The idea that “feminine” means that you have to heal others, that you have to be “of service” to those in need (not just men), that you have to use your “divine gifts” of gentleness, and patience, and true love to better the world is extremely toxic! Just like the idea that all men (yes, all men, apparently) are these wounded little boys stuck in a violent rampage of fear and ancestral aggression is. Does that sound healthy to you?
Then there are the women’s movements who believe, like the Dianics mentioned above, that you can only truly connect with the inner feminine goddess if you have a womb. After all, life is created from the womb, it is the source of all living things (or so they believe). So if you don’t have one, either because you weren’t born biologically female or because of medical procedures like a hysterectomy, because of, say, cancer, you aren’t a woman (anymore). And some take it even further. Since life comes from the womb, you are only truly a woman if you’ve given birth. So anyone who can’t, for whatever reason, or anyone who doesn’t want children, is no longer a woman. Which is of course insane, hurtful and extremely toxic.
Also, I don’t know about you, but I find it extremely offensive to be reduced to a single body part. The only value I have, according to some of these feminist fringe “goddess” movements, is a womb. And sometimes a vagina. Aren’t we always accusing men of reducing us to that? Now we’re doing it to ourselves as well, but it’s in the name of spirituality so it’s okay? Hell no! I am more than a womb. You are more than a womb, or a penis, or boobs, or a vagina. We’re people! Our body parts don’t define us.

Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

Does it matter in our magic whether we focus on gender? No, because gender is something earthly, something of our societal world, and witchcraft is from the fringes, from outside polite society. We work in the liminal, in the in-between. In both the realm of spirit and the mundane. We work in the shadows. With a lot of our workings, we go beyond the physical.
I spoke about the Gods in my first post. There are a lot of Gods who are shapeshifters, some of whom can also change between genders: Zeus, Loki, Dionysus. There are also Gods who are neither man nor woman, or a combination of both: Hermaphroditus, Hapi, the Christian God. There are Gods who were known to have both a male and female form: Fosta, Aphrodite, Shiva. There are Gods who could upon request change the sex of mortals: Inanna, Isis. In myth gender is a very fluid thing. Sometimes it matters a lot, usually in stories about humiliation or love, but mostly it doesn’t matter at all. We, as pagans and sometimes as witches, take a lot of inspiration from our Gods. We see (part of) ourselves reflected in what they stand for, or in their stories. So if for them gender is something fluid, something that could change one way or another, or glide along something of a spectrum, then why would ours be one or the other? If we work with them in our space, in our world between worlds, then wouldn’t we then also be granted  to be something else? To rise above the expectations that modern society holds for us? Not to mention the many cultures whose shamans, spirit helpers, guides, witch doctors, clergy and magical practitioners were not man ór woman.
To become rigid in your magical focus, on any subject, is to limit yourself. It’s important to keep an open mind. To keep yourself acceptive of change, or you’ll grow stagnant. This is true for any part of witchcraft and paganism, so also with gender. It’s okay, and perhaps sometimes good, to focus on what it means to you. But don’t let this focus limit yourself and your magic.

Up next: let’s get personal!

Drawing myself

I’ve been on a self love journey for over a year now. One of the parts I am focussing on is learning to love my body. When I was younger I’ve been bullied because of my weight. When I became older I was still often judged for it. It came to the point where I wouldn’t wear the clothes that I loved anymore (vintage ’50s dresses) out of fear of being too fat or too old. I got over that, but there was still a lot of work to do about accepting my body. Accepting myself as I am.

I came across a wonderful artist Sara Tisdale (Sergle Art) who has soft and wonderful art of full figured women. Adorable and gently coloured, just very cozy looking. And I fell in love with her style and with the ladies that she shares. So this inspired me to make a self portrait of sorts. Drawing myself as I am, full figured, wearing the clothing that I love, in a soft and loving way.

As I made this drawing I focussed on that feeling of self acceptance and -love. I truly went about it as if it was a ritual for myself. Art magic!

After I finished this self portrait I made another one, this time nude, which was a very confronting and intense magical working. She will become part of a self love altar that I am planning to set up. My work around self love and -acceptance is not done yet, but I am loving the progress I am making.

Gender in Witchcraft, pt. 1

Last year I read a post (which I can’t find anymore) about devotional tips to Frigg. The writer wrote a note at the top of the post stating that they would be referring to Frigg as “They”, since the Gods don’t adhere to our human binary of “male” and “female”. It was such a simple sentence, but it was such an impactful thing for me. I’d never thought of it that way. But to me, it made perfect sense. So I accepted it, and then never looked any deeper into it. Never thought further about what that would mean for me, or my craft.

That changed earlier this year. I was feeling a call to deepen the relation I have with the deities I am devoted to. Which led to me researching and redefining my bond with whom I then still called Horned One. As I wrote in an earlier post, I still very much saw Him as an archetype of the divine masculine. The God to complement the Goddess, which was a paradigm left over from my earlier wiccan-adjacent roots. It didn’t mesh with my earlier found beliefs that Gods are outside of our human gender structures. I couldn’t wrap my hear around it. Which meant one thing: research.

Because why does everything in western witchcraft practices have to adhere to a binary gender system? Why do we have a “divine feminine” and a “divine masculine” when it comes to our inner worlds? And further than that, why does seemingly everything in western witchcraft need to be gendered? Open any book on modern witchcraft and you’ll see gender assigned to everything. To the elements, to the days of the week, to crystals, to herbs, to planets, to runes, everything has a gender or gendered “energy” attached to it. I’ve found, especially in witchcraft and paganism, that when we want to figure out “why?” we need to ask: “where does it come from?”

It seems to start with the Greek philosopher Empedocles. He is the one who gave us the four elements that make up all matter: earth, air, fire and water. The elements are a big part of modern witchcraft, especially the wiccan traditions, or the traditions which have their roots in wicca. We call upon the elements to protect us when we cast a circle. We use the elements to bless and consecrate items. Just to name a few. Empedocles not only posited that all matter was made up out of these four elements, but he also linked them to the Gods Zeus, Hera, Nestis (Persephone) and Aidoneus (Hades). So we have two elements tied to a God, and two to a Goddess. This is where the belief that the elements are either “feminine” or “masculine” probably originates. It’s not a strange thought that this could have easily been stretched: if the elements are “feminine” or “masculine”, and things like crystals or herbs are associated with the elements, then they are also “feminine” or “masculine”.

Of course the influence of monotheistic religions can not be ignored. Our western society gets a lot of its views from Christianity. In the Christian bible God created Adam and Eve, one man and one woman. A strong binary where there is no room for deviation. It is also seen as an ideal to strive towards: a husband and wife, standing in the light of God, who together can create new life. This monotheistic view has been part of our western culture for millennia, which has influenced a lot of scholars, philosophers, artist, etc. Which in turn influences the information that we have access to now. Everything we know about our ancestors is written later, often by Christian scholars or even monks, who wrote from their (gender-binary and patriarchal) worldview.

Then of course we have the beginnings of our contemporary witchcraft: wicca and Gerald Gardner. In the wiccan faith a God and a Goddess are worshipped. Some believe them to be source of all life, others believe they are facets or avatars of a bigger force (Spirit, the All, etc.). The Triple Goddess stands for the phases of a woman’s life: the maiden, the mother and the crone. She also embodies the “feminine energies” such as nurturing, giving, sensual, loving, and wise. The Horned God is the masculine aspects, such as providing, protecting, strengthening, sexual, and also wise.
Covens are led by a High Priest (HP) and a High Priestess (HPs), where in Gardner’s days they took part in a ritual called “the Hieros Gamos” or “the Great Rite”, where the HP and HPs engaged in sexual intercourse to raise power, or as part of an initiation rite. Because, as our tradition’s wiccan inspired ritual states:  “where the masculine and feminine are joined, spirit is born.” Nowadays this is mostly done symbolically with a chalice and an athame, luckily, since Gardner is known to have “asked” High Priestesses to step aside when they were no longer young and beautiful in his eyes, which… ew.
The God and Goddess also complete a life cycle in the Wheel of the Year. The God impregnates the Goddess, after which he travels to the underworld and is born again from Her womb. Because of this, life will begin anew and nature will grow once more. Heterosexual procreation and that bond between man and woman is very important in the wiccan faith. The duality of male and female; and together they create life, is very ingrained into our modern, contemporary paganism because of this.

Then, we need to talk about Jung. In the first big wiccan revival in the ‘70s many prominent witches, like Janet and Steward Farrar, stepped back a bit from the ideas that the Gods were indeed outside of us, but instead incorporated Jungian philosophy into their faith. The Gods are then archetypes living deep in our subconsciousness, which we contact through prayer, spells and ritual. In that first revival this was a pretty common view of the world, which in turn, influenced a lot of books that were written in that time.
One of Jung’s theories is about the Anima and the Animus. Jung stated that, much like the yin-yang symbol, every woman had a bit of masculinity in her unconscious, called the Animus. And that the man had a bit of femininity in his unconscious, called the Anima. If the Animus or Anima was not recognized properly, it could have negative repercussions for the person in question. That part of the subconscious would then dictate the way the person would react in certain situations. For example, a woman acting in a way we would normally “expect” (back then) from a man, so through means of violence and aggression. So an integration, a joining from both the feminine and the masculine inside us is needed to become whole and to become a complete, spiritual being (sounds familiar, no?)

Last but not least, we have feminism. Contemporary witchcraft and paganism gained a lot of popularity in those same ‘70s, as well as the ‘60s, by being more Goddess oriented. Many of us, even now, come from the monotheistic religions which heavily centre on the divine masculine, without giving a female counterpart in that. Many of those religions are also often oppressive and discriminatory when it comes to the treatment of women. For many women witchcraft and paganism gives therefore a sense of freedom and equality not experienced before.
Witchcraft is also the craft of the marginalized, protects those who aren’t in a position to protect themselves and are an enormous source of empowerment for many.
With the arrival of Dianic wicca, a branch of wicca focussed solely on the Goddess, the Goddess movement within wicca and later witchcraft grew. Many were drawn to a path that celebrated women, and all that this entailed. This meant that the “divine feminine” became more and more important. The womb being the source of all creative power in the universe. The yoni being something not to be ashamed of, but instead something to be proud of and to take pride in. (I will talk about my views on all of this in a later post) An emphasis on sisterhood and the sacred bond we all share through the ancient mothers.

I believe all of this influenced and shaped the way we see gender when it comes to witchcraft and paganism. This all contributed in gender having the heavy influence that we see now. So now we know where it comes from… now what? Well, join me next time as I try to figure that out.

DIY Oracle: step 2, play and experiment

So in step 1 we brainstormed and thought about what our oracle would look like and what type of oracle we want. Which brings us to the next part: gathering resources and experimenting! This is of course the time to go all out. Try different things, use unusual materials, just play and see what works for you!

First I went through the stacks of magazines that we still had laying around. I was lucky, I had gotten an entire stack of photography magazines from my sister, which gave me a whole bunch of beautiful nature photos. As well as old photoshop magazines for a few more modern or artsy pieces. I now have a bunch of images to work with, but I still have a folder on my phone and computer as well, that if I come across something that might work, I can save the images.

For me I already knew I wanted black cardstock and minimalistic images. So first I grabbed two scraps of black cardstock, some inks and a masking stencil.

So first I tried Distress Oxide Black Soot. White very pretty, this was in no way glossy, so not what I had envisioned. Next!

Test nr. 2: Distress Shimmer Spray in black. Shimmer! Yay! However, I wasn’t a fan of the droplets and grungy effect. At least, not for this project. So… Next!

For the next one I didn’t have any scraps left, so I needed to cut a bigger sheet into smaller pieces. A perfect time to decide how big I wanted the cards to be! I dove into my oracle decks and pulled out different cards. I held them in my hand and tried to find the size that worked best for me to hold and shuffle, but was also big enough to show larger photographs. I decided on my Messenger Oracle by Ravynne Phelan for a base, but then just slightly wider. For me that was four inch by three inch, which also made it easy to cut with my paper cutter. I have a corner punch, but was afraid it was too small, but as you can see it works perfectly!

I spoke to my craft guru (my mother) and told her about the effect of what I wanted to achieve. She said clear embossing powder and I slapped my own forehead because why didn’t I think of that?! So this is stamped with the Penny Black Butterfly Charmer and then embossed with clear embossing powder. Love it! The only “problem” is that this stamp is not clear, and quite bulky so I always have some issues to get the full image stamped, as can be seen at the top of the card. Still, I do like it. But, we’re experimenting, so… Next!

Same technique, different stamp. This is the Prima Marketing Wave Background. However in black it’s more tigerstripes than waves. And since I have a strong dislike for animal prints…. Next!

I don’t even have a photo of this next one. I stamped the Kaisercraft Hexagon, which I normally love, it’s one of my favourites. However, on this size card, it looked like someone had run then over with a car… yeah, no… Next!

This is Viva Decor Brick&Wood (the wood part, obviously). I kind of like this, but felt it didn’t look enough like bark for me to love it.

So the butterflies are by far my favourite! so that is the one it’s going to be! I’ll have to figure something out (read, probably buy a thing) to make sure that the stamp will cover everywhere and will be in the same place on every card. But, I love it! So, next up: the front!

This actually went pretty quickly. I had a magazine from our time in the zoo last year and it had a bit about the windmill parks at see. So I took a bit with the least windmill (since it’s a test anyway) and went through my paperstash for a matching paper for the bottom. Black glitter tape and a small piece of scrap paper for the word, hastily written in paint pen.

So now I know what materials I need, what the end result will look like (at least a little) and how it will all come together! Join me next time when I show you the way to (hopefully) get all the cards cut in the same size!