Why I love the Frouds

Clambering the ladder to my attic bedroom, a teenager clutching a box of mystery, I slipped out of the grey day and into a space away from everything. The night was drawing in as I laid the cards upon my bedspread.

 

The Journeyman, The Friends, The Green Woman, Himself.

 

Faery Oracle BoxFinally I’d found a reflection of the world of Faery that I knew. They gathered round, peering over my shoulder, laughter just beyond the edge of hearing. My room felt crowded, full of wild spirits and playful mischief, old wisdom and sacred irreverence. I could feel them there. I could hear them. I was not alone. And I’d come home.

I adore the sweet, sparkly flower fairies. I love the wings and the wands and the sparklefluff that inspires lighthearted smiles.But I’d spent every single one of my (few) years up until then searching the wilder corners of my world for the beings I knew were there… and only sometimes were they sweet and giggling. In these slips of card and ink, in the paintings of Brian Froud I discovered that I wasn’t the only one that encountered both the Sweetlings and the Wild Ones without fear.

As I lay out those cards they spoke to me, just as Wendy Froud’s sculptures and puppetry in The Dark Crystal spoke to my heart and reminded me that there was magic and wonders just beyond the everyday, but even more so. The spirits here were real, they danced around me, sat solemnly in the corners, poked the card patterns I’d made thoughtfully. The Fae Ones, both Wild and Sweet, ancient and ever-young, spoke to me that night, as they do often, and, pointing to those cards, reminded me that I’m not alone.

In the work of the Frouds I saw the magic I have always felt manifested in a way that can touch so many hearts, in a way that can bring a kiss of wonder and delight into lives that need it so. Our world is a hard one, even for those of us lucky ones. We all struggle with a system that is devoid of humanity, let alone magic. We all battle with day-to-day existence that steers us away from our roots in the wild world. But the magic of the Frouds and the artists like them is such that they can open those gateways which the stories tell us are always closing.

The secret is, truly, those gates can never close because they live in each heart touched by magic, touched by wonder."Your Faery Magic" Book cover

The work of the Frouds inspire me, every day, to continue trying to share my
love of the Faery realm, my passion for the Fae magic which we each hold, and my belief that every act of wonder and every moment we choose to move into a good relationship with the spirits of the wild is a step closer to re-enchanting our own worlds. They are part of the reason I wrote my book, “Your Faery Magic,” I want to inspire people in the way they inspired me.

Thank you, dear Frouds, and thank you, Fae ones, for leading me to their work!

 

Moon Books Author

 

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UPDATE – Healing Hearts: Y Mabinogi

If you’ve been with me for a while you’ll know I’m in the process of developing a multi-cultural, multi-gendered deity Oracle Deck called ‘Healing Hearts‘. I’ve been wrestling with how to start such a huge project. The crowdfunding fundraiser brought in enough for me to get started with materials, so that’s great, but wasn’t quite enough to support me in the time it will take to make this happen so, sadly, I’ve not been able to do what I’d hoped to and dedicate a day or more each week to working on it exclusively. Cue the combination of gratitude and disappointment that is so familiar in life.

Ready to Paint! At the studio...
Ready to Paint! At the studio…

As a result of the longer stewing time, however, something more fascinating has grown… my many passions are combining in a delicious, bubbling pot and a vast, sprawling, beautiful creation is emerging. And I find myself looking at something so huge and wondering how I can approach it and allow it to support me whilst I bring it into reality… which has lead me to break down Healing Hearts into several projects, starting with a focus on the Welsh stories woven into the land I live upon.

I suppose I should share what I’m talking about!

I have a list of deities that are likely to be included in the final deck, ranging across many cultures, and each culture’s tales are an entire world of magic and meaning, connection and crisis, divinity and drama. To do them justice is a vast work! So whilst I paint the deities that arise, I shall be focussing on specific cultures for several months at a time, weaving through their stories and unravelling the threads so they can be spun into new tales and perhaps shared as theatrical performances. As I live in Wales, I’ve begun with the tales of Y Mabinogi, the mythology of the land. The stories speak to me of our relationship to the land and the environment – important topics right now, given the impending doom that is climate change – and so the four branches of Y Mabinogi and transforming themselves into tales of our connection and disconnection to the land and the wild within our hearts.

As I paint and explore the stories they are weaving themselves into a performance piece… so I’m looking for a venue to share it in next year!

Works in progress rarely look like they'll be any good... raw and unedited, a foundation to be worked upon, not really meant to be shared... but seedlings only grow when given enough light.
Works in progress rarely look like they’ll be any good… raw and unedited, a foundation to be worked upon, not really meant to be shared… but seedlings only grow when given enough light.

I’ve resisted sharing about this because it feels like I’m taking on something far bigger than I should and I worry folk will judge me for being so easily tempted. I’m worried it *is* simply too big and it will fail. I’m worried that I don’t have time and I’m putting myself under vast amounts of pressure if I commit to it.

And I find myself scrawling notes at bedtime, being inspired by conversations, facing open doors. Who am I to deny the magic that leads me forwards? Who am I to turn down the demands of a tale? Who am I to say no to the Muse?

It will all work out. I have faith…

How to Make Your Own Oracle Deck part 2 – Structure!

I hear a lot of people say they’d like to make their own Oracle deck, and I’m in the process of making my second so I thought I’d share and hopefully inspire you to get making! Check out Part one on choosing a theme and other related posts here.

There are several ways of working out a structure.

You Can: Brainstorm the cards you want in your deck and then look at how they fit together and who is missing…

Or: Write up a list of the areas/archetypes you want your cards to cover and then decide how each archetype will be expressed.

Or: Just start making cards and then play with them to find out what feels like it is still required.

Or: base it on an already recognised structure, such as Tarot, the Sephiroth, Elemental correspondences and so on…

For example:

For the FeyHearted Deck I knew I wanted the Queen and King first, then the stages on the journey to Faeryland, then archetypes and other beings, and then action cards. So I started with The Queen, then the King, then the gateway opening the journey, then a card for each major change along the path to Faery and so on. Starting with a structure works well for decks with a clear overall theme.

For Healing Hearts I have some deities who have told me they must be included, so they get top priority. I’ve then negotiated a keyword and archetype for each one and looked at what energies are missing. Those are in the process of being listed so Pawl and I can find deities that fit AND want to be included. Starting with individual cards is good if you are working with individual beings and could also be used for decks based on a story as you already have set characters and events to make the cards from.

For my personal SoulCollage™ deck I began with making cards that expressed aspects of myself, my life and archetypes I relate to and the deck evolved naturally. This is especially good for affirmation type decks and personal decks.

Once you have a good selection of cards listed (or made) look to see what energies or archetypes are missing. This will firstly show you what is less conscious for you (or what you’re avoiding in your life) which is a helpful bit of divination in its own right, and secondly allow you to expand the deck before it is finish to make sure it is balanced enough to be useful for a longer period of time. For my FeyHearted Deck I initially had no challenge cards but I knew something was missing. I printed a copy and some blank cards and played with the deck until it hit me: I had no challengers! I’d forgotten the Thirteenth Faery! Three challenge cards were all that were needed to balance the lighter side and make the deck whole.

 

Your Tasks:

Decide how you want to structure your deck. Is it free-form? Is it based on a system or story? Do you have clear ideas for some or all of the cards, or do you know what the journey and them of the deck is but not what the individual steps are?

Begin brainstorming cards within this structure.

Once you have a list of card names (which can change as you go!) have a look at the mood and archetype of each one and see if your deck leans towards one direction, or if it is balanced. If it leans – do you want it to? If not, what might you include to balance the scales?

Ponder on this list. Maybe label up some blank cards just with the names and have a go at using the deck and see how the cards fall. Make notes as you discover things!

To support the making of Healing Hearts you can check out the project and contribute to the fundraiser here!

Comment below and let me know how you’re getting on with making your own deck! What would you like to hear more about?

How to Make your Own Oracle Deck – part 1

Healing Hearts will be the second oracle deck I’ve published, the third deck I’ve made for myself and the seventh oracle system I’ve created!

When I mention that I make oracles to people they often say “I’ve always wanted to make a deck of my own!” So this time I thought I could share the process I go through and give anyone who has been thinking about making one themselves a peak into how easy it can be!

My first step is one you’ve probably already done, as I had – use as many different kinds of decks as you can. This way I had a good idea of the range of possibilities and knew for sure I love cards.

The juiciest part of making your own deck is choosing a theme!

You could make an oracle deck with any theme that calls to you. The possibilities are endless! Maybe you have an idea already or maybe you just wish you could hold a deck you’ve made in your hands. Either way, now is the time to crystalise and clarify your idea. Here are a few questions to get you started:

What are your favourite things?

Do you have a pantheon or deity you love who you’d like to honour?

What is most important to you in your life? (Home, family, environment, animals?)

Is there a story you adore that has a lot of symbolism in it? (Eg Alice in Wonderland is now being made into a tarot deck)

What do you want the deck to do? (Healing, inspiring, messages from specific spirits like angels?)

Why are you making this deck? Is it just for fun? Do you want to sell copies? If you want to sell copies it is a good idea to check out what is already available to buy, both so you’re not stepping on toes and so your deck is unique. If you find a deck on your theme then you can still make it, just see if you can emphasise the uniqueness of your particular deck. So maybe there are several dragon decks out there, but yours is specifically Dragons of Britain, or Dragons of the water, or Healing Dragons… sit with your ideas and feel which one sparkles the most. And then listen to your heart – what uniqueness can you bring to this theme?

And remember, it doesn’t need to be serious! Humour really helps people to relax into a receptive state – a few years ago I co-taught a series of mini-workshops using Buffy and co (as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as archetypes. There was much giggling and much magic happened because everyone was relaxed!!!

Your Task:

Write down all the ideas you have for a theme. Sit quietly in contemplation and feel which one you are most drawn to right now.

Holding that theme in your heart, allow your intuition and inspiration to tell you how you can bring your own uniqueness to bear on this theme.

Now, what do you have? Add a comment below and let me know, I’d love to hear from you!!!

(PS: The Healing Hearts Oracle fundraiser is still live, you can donate to make it happen here: Healing Hearts through IndieGoGo! Or share the link and get other people involved 🙂