Monday, March 30, 2015

Assemble an oracle deck

When I decided to create an oracle deck in 1992, and all during the time I painted the images and learned how to use the Journey Oracle cards, it never occurred to me that I would have to assemble an oracle deck.  The design of the box, the fit of the books and the cards into the box, the sturdiness of the sleeve so the box could be mailed--the research was interesting and the decisions fun.  

But this is what the project looks like on my office table. Many separate parts that each require remembering how things fit. Lots of folding and counting. Finally the assembling.

47 oracle cards in 4 suits become 250 sets of oracle cards from walking around and around a table.

And then more walking around and around a table again because all four suits will not fit at once on any table I have.

All the other parts--the sleeves and tray liners and books and boxes and download cards--have to find an organized place to wait their turn for assembly.

Yet finally the decks are collated, the boxes filled, the sleeves fitted, and the 2nd edition of the Journey Oracle is ready to be out in the world.

When you see a Journey Oracle deck in your favorite Metaphysical book store, or order one online from my web store, remember that every card, and every part to hold and help you read the cards, has been personally touched by me.  And this is just as it should be.  Every part, and every part between the part, is whole.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Do drum images come alive?

The paintings on my drums come from gazing into the newly dried hide and seeing forms appear in the mottled surface.  When I make a shamanic rattle, it is as if the drum images come alive in the three dimensional forms of dried skin.

The basic form is made by sewing wet rawhide into a shape, and then packing the interior with wet, clean, coarse-grained sand.  The rawhide shape is allowed to dry for several days until the sand can be knocked out, leaving a hard hollow form.

This Fancy Dancer is made of such complex twists and turns that its not really possible to understand  its overall form, which seems to match my experience of watching the fancy dancers at tribal pow wows.  In the rattle all the color and detail is on the inside, made of the seeds, stones and other sacred objects filling the rawhide shells.

Sometimes the shaman rattle takes a shape that was not planned or intended.  It just happens in the curls of leftover hide scraps from making a drum, and suddenly, an Octopus spirit is born.

This rattle of Eagle spirit had a powerful beginning story.  We live on a northern island, known for its wild places and eagles.  Many years ago, when I first moved to Cortes, I asked at the beginning of a canoe trip, "May I please be honored to find an eagle feather."  Someone had given me the breast bone of a large bird and I understood that if I received an eagle feather this would confirm that the bone was from an eagle.  The 28 feathers that I found on that weekend became this shamanic rattle, used for eating from the body energy that is out of phase.

Sometimes a drum fails--the wood warps or the hide develops cracks.  When this happens the image comes alive as neither a drum nor a rattle.  This drum face was cut away from a twisted frame and became a dimensional painting of birth: the beaded blood lines becoming black headed sperm seeds swimming through turkey feathers to contact the egg that will be the mother and child.  

I understand that everything is alive, and yearning to find its true form.  As an artist, one of my best skills is to let the form itself say how it wants to come alive. 

Now that I am returned from holiday, and the 2nd edition of the Journey Oracle divination deck is ready to pick up from the printer--I will be focusing on creating an online oracle reading.