Meeting a Guide

Having a tour guide by your side during your trip can enhance your experience when traveling. A good guide will be able to explain the local culture and traditions and give you other local insights about the places you visit.

A good guide will know the best hours to visit the attractions to avoid big crowds, how to avoid rush hour, and tricks to let you experience the most out of major tourist destinations even with big crowds

They can also bring you to off-the-beaten-path spots you wouldn’t have known otherwise and offer personal suggestions on how to get the most out of your trip.

Weasel on the Watch Tower

Having been as spontaneous as the children who climbed the Magic Faraway Tree, as Yule draws closer, I find myself in a new land. It is a world full of magic where shunks ride mooses on sunny days, crows carry swords and raccoons become magicians!  It is the Northern Animal Tarot which hails from Canada and the Wild Heart Studio.

This Northern Hemisphere environment is alien to me. I come from the Southern Hemisphere and I am more accustomed to gum trees, browned landscapes and sweeping plains. Moreover, the wildlife that shares this land are very different to the ones featured in this Northern deck.

As the sun goes down and the sky fills with stars in a constellation I am unfamiliar with I come upon a Weasel relaxing by the edge of a small pond. One of his jugs is spilling water back into the pond.

According to Ted Andrews, author of Animal Speak, when a Weasel shows up it is time to examine your life and to develop your observation skills. As a big picture person I cannot deny that I often miss the detail

Andrews poses some questions that I consider as I watch this industrious creature and he suggests that Weasel may be just the adviser one needs at a time like this. Weasel may be able to help me squeeze into small places in this world or through a narrow exit if a hungry bear shows up.

Despite seeing me the Weasel goes on pouring water. I pull out the spreads that come with this deck and ask if we can get to know one another better by doing these spreads together.

Who Shows Up to Guide You?

Alice followed the White Rabbit. The White Rabbit is the spark of curiosity that activates Alice’s spiritual awakening.It is the White Rabbit which Alice runs after and searches for endlessly in Wonderland, a symbol of her quest for knowledge. Just when things seem rather desperate the rabbit appears yet again, and Alice drives on through. Because Alice follows him, he gets things moving whenever he appears during the story. In a way, he was unintentionally some kind of a guide through Wonderland.

There are a range of guided imagery videos online to help you identify your guide or someone to follow. I have always enjoyed working with imagery to be found in books by Ted Andrews such as Animal Speak and Follow the Shamans Call by Mike Williams.

To identify your guide as you travel in a new and unfamiliar world you might turn to a Goddess deck or one of your treasured Animal Decks. Centre and take your time shuffling your deck!

But hey! If you are here and work with cards you know what to do.

Once you have identified your guide spend some time getting acquainted and seeking counsel.

A Message from the Creator of the Northern Animal Tarot

Hello Dear Lovely Soul,

Although we might never meet face to face, I welcome you to meet me. And hope we can share a friendship through my art work.

I’ve been in love with visual storytelling and fairytale for as long as I can remember! Fairytales awoke my imagination and love for learning about how we share our journeys in life and how we connect to each other and the worlds around us. Tarot cards are full of the magic of storytelling. And it can be used for self refection or storytelling as well. Creating a colourful image rich narrative around situations we might need help navigating. 

I also love animals and I believe they can take us deeper into story because we can see to map of the story. Rather than being distracted by the humans that might not match yourself you are able to focus on tarot when using animals in the cards.

I’m Mexican/Dutch so I had a mix of many stories growing up. In my case I didn’t have TV so I turned to books. And when I found tarot and all the amazing art work I was hooked! Ive been painting and print making for over 20 years.

Handcrafted items, locally made is my passion. Working locally and ethically is close and dear to my heart. So I’m excited to bring you heavy line art, print making style with the softness of old fairytales.

I’m excited to bring you creative animal styled art to add to your life. Thank you so much for supporting this art project here for storytellers and self healers.

Much Love Linda

Drink in the Vista

Unhurt, Alice gets up and catches sight of the White Rabbit as he vanishes around a corner. Alice approaches a long corridor lined by doors. The doors are all locked, so Alice tests them with a key that she finds on a glass table. After searching around, Alice discovers a small door behind a curtain”.

Within moments of deciding to join this Yule Expedition, seeking the creative grail or elixir of creativity, you pass through a special portal and enter an imaginary world.

Back in 2006 pilgrims who joined me on an Advent Calendar Grand Tour, documented their first impressions of the world beyond the portal.

The door opens and a vista spreads before you.

As you step into this new world you are greeted by a figure who gives you a special bag filled with talismans for your journey. In your bag you will find a packet of dream seeds, spectacles, a candlestick, a tiny anchor, a medallion with the imprint of the Unicorn and a set of wings. Each bag contains something that has been chosen specifically for each recipient.

Do not misplace this bag or let anyone take it from you. Keep it with you at all times.

Establishing Your Personal Setting

Most of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe takes place in the fantastic land of Narnia, which Lucy and her siblings reach through—you got it—a magical wardrobe.

Narnia is everything we’ve come to expect from a fantasy novel. It’s a vaguely medieval place in which people live close to the land, fight using bows and arrows and swords, and are ruled by kings and queens who live in palaces. Mythical creatures populate it – not only the stock characters of today’s fantasy world like centaurs and dwarves, but more Greco-Roman-feeling characters too, like minotaurs and dryads.

A master class writing website explains that as a writer, you might be tempted to dive right into your plot and start giving detailed character description of the figure who gave you the bag of talismans. Such a character and this story “needs a space in which to exist—that space is the setting. Taking the time to properly describe your setting will give your book more vibrancy and keep your readers engaged”.

So many of the tarot and oracle decks that we love provide us with rich setting. I look at the pile I have bought with me and I know that I can apply path working, meditation or guided imagery techniques with either the exquisite Arboridium Oracle or Tarot of the Sweet Twilight. I know that these decks will ignite my imagination and help me describe the world I have entered.

Choose a pictorial deck to spend some quality time with. You literally wander inside the image and drink in as much detail as possible.

Using scrap paper get down as many ideas about the environment you find you in as possible. Keep it simple, don’t set unrealistic expectations, include sketches and experiment with using all your senses.

Make this world come alive through writing or your favorite artistic medium. Share with us what you see, hear, smell, sense, taste, feel or simply make a card depicting the world you are entering.

You have permission to do whatever you like.

What Others See

When I stepped through the portal I found myself in a Gypsy encampment (Gypsy Palace Tarot) and was greeted by some very colorful characters.

I stopped to listen to a poets reading.

Like you, I can remember other days,
The early morning air so fresh and clean,
Caravans as bright as popinjays,
Moving through a world forever green.
They called us vagrants in those days, my friend,
And what were we but entertainers,
Travellers on a road that has no end.

Like you, from crossroad dance to county fair,
I followed the road wherever it might lead,
From country byways to the city square,
From lake to shore, and always we were free.
They called us vagabonds and rogues, my friend,
And what were we but entertainers,
Drifting in an ocean without end.

That’s why we thought we knew each other well,
Even though we’ve never met before;
What you and I know only we can tell,
Of days of freedom lost in gypsy lore.
The world may change, but we do not, my friend,
For what are we but entertainers,
Voices in a song that has no end.

In the distance you hear the sound of their laughter,
Of tales told and of drink and of dance,
It lures, entices and enchants you
In to the heart of the gypsy’s night camp.

Far away from the crowd are hung blankets
a small fire burns bright on its own
Shadows of a woman are seen clear in the night
As she holds herself and she dances alone

She steps toward the light of the fire,
To reveal such a haunting, pained face
How sad is this woman called Sadie
Dancing alone in her black satin and lace

In her tent she reads cards for the strangers
As the candles burn dim on the shelf
Black Sadie sees into their futures,
She helps others but can’t save herself

The pain buried so deeply inside her
Makes her live in a world all her own
Where she feeds it and nurtures it lovingly,
She can heal it, but won’t leave it alone

She falls to the ground crying into the night
For the girl who once danced not alone,
For what she once was, before pain touched her heart
For the man, and the life she had known

Her silenced soul screams at the tools of her trade
Telling fortunes, for her, hold no place
The crystals and tarot are just symbols of fate,
Not the real, not the pain she must face

She backs once again into the shadows
Where no one can reach her dark place
She hides in the folds of her dresses
And tears soak her black satin and lace.

by Bobbi Fetterly
© 2005

Packing 10 Decks

Any Creative Medicine back pack will inevitably have some decks stashed in the pockets. There is a hastag currently going around the internet since Katey Flowers presented her #onlytendecks YouTube Video which you will find on this page. Spend some time with your collection and determine which ten decks, comprising of Oracle, Tarot and Lenormand that you will take. These may not be the ten I finally decide to take but it gives you a feel of how I am thinking.

  • Guardian Tarot
  • The White Numen Tarot
  • Carolyn Myss Archetypes
  • The Wandering Moon Soul Oracle
  • The Arboridium
  • Dark Goddess Tarot
  • Sakki Sakki Tarot
  • The Northern Animal Tarot
  • Tarot of the Sweet Twilight
  • Morgans Tarot

Consider watching a few video responses to Katey’s video and show off the decks you will you.

Setting Out: Yule AdvenTURE

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, `and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice `without pictures or conversation?’

So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.

There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, `Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!’ (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoatpocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.

In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again. Chapter 1 Alice in Wonderland

The door may appear locked but if you say the right words it will magically open and you can join a Yule Adventure.

It is recommended that, unlike Alice, you spend a little time thinking about what you are going to need. Think about what you would pack in a creative medicine bag to carry, to protect you as you wander in strange new worlds.

A Native American medicine bag or medicine bundle, upon which this idea is based, is a container for items believed to protect or give spiritual powers to its owner. Varying in size, it could be small enough to wear around the neck, or it could be a large bag with a long strap called a “bandolier.” The size of the bag is determined by how many items need to be carried.

In historical times, medicine men and shamans generally carried a large medicine bundle that could hold numerous items such as seeds, herbs, pine cones, grass, animal teeth or claws, horsehair, rocks, tobacco, beads, arrowheads, bones, or anything else of relatively small size that possessed spiritual value to the bundle’s owner. Warriors also carried bundles that included important items, such as rattles, animal furs, special stones, or anything that meant something to the owner.

Packing to Go.

Check out some comments by people who Packed to Go back in 2005.
Share an image of the bag you pack to come on this Yule Adventure.
What will you pack? Tell us what you are putting in it and how you feel about heading out during this festive season.

Some Creative Medicine Bags

How Lenora Carrington Used Tarot

Leonora was a restless voyager through deep journeys, always in quest of mythic revelations. Her aim was to repair a shattered world and a means to live in it, unearthing the many images that came her way. Guided by her intuitive meanderings she came upon the I Ching or Book of Changes, carving beautiful wooden tokens and dwelling on the secret language of hexagrams to reach her own patterns of change. She also took other paths like divination, magic and meditation, since all developed into components for a complex mental vehicle that became articulated into her own navigational devices, launching her towards a wilderness of mind. However, she chose the tarot and all the exotic legends surrounding the Bohemians or gypsies; close companions to her imaginal self
from an article by Lenora’s son, Gabriel Weisz Carrington.

Like Leonora, I have fantasized living and traveling in a gypsy caravan pulled by Vanner horses through the roads of the Irish countryside. Indeed, such fantasy has informed so much of my work. Unable to actually travel in a gypsy caravan in Ireland I have slipped through portals and traveled within fantasy worlds of my own creation.

This article by Lenora’s son is a moving account of her relationship with Tarot which resonates on a very deep level.

Bonnie’s Skool of Tarot

Bonnie is a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo who befriended an old Crone (the Tarot Midwife) and set out on a Fools Journey with her and her other companions, Duncan an old Donkey and Cora, a mysterious Raven.

You can follow their adventures and learn how Bonnie was inspired to set up a Skool of Tarot to help Australia wildlife learn about Tarot, an Apothecary and a unique Travelling Medicine Show.

You will meet lots of distinctly Australian wildlife and even encounter Rosie, the Red Back Spider, a High Priestess who offers readings for members of the travelling troupe.

Trick for LearningTarot

Far too many people worry about reading tarot cards the “right” way. There are actually far more helpful reading techniques, depending on the situation. It is also believed that when reading for others the reader must do what the client expects. This all too often means to predict the future and tell people how to obtain their desires. Is the job of a foot doctor to cure lung cancer? As readers we have a right, even an obligation, to discover what we do best and to offer that in readings both for ourselves and for others. The task becomes learning what we do best and offering that with clarity and confidence.

One of the tricks I have found to be very successful is to regularly complete challenges and by using the cards to kick start story telling.

Recently I have been working on a project helping Aussie Wildlife learn about tarot and I have found that drawing Australian wildlife in tarot settings has helped refine my knowledge of the cards

Big Red is the King of Wands

For example, in response to the Tarot Storytelling Spread I drew the Big Red Kangaroo as the King of Wands.

Kangaroo’s are herbivorous. They reside throughout Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. Kangaroos have powerful, long hind legs and feet for leaping and jumping with. Their long tails thicken at the base to help them balance. Each of their hind feet has 4 toes, this number represents foundations.

This big Red Kangaroo, proudly wearing his crown of authority, has the power to create a safe and secure environment for his mob. The Red Kangaroo has an innate capacity to adapt to new situations and environments. Kangaroos are extremely focused beings, with their energy fields tightly woven around them with no room for distractions. 

If hunted by a Dingo, human or a rare Tasmanian tiger, the Big Reds are very fast and hop effortlessly to safety without a moments thought about where they are going. They use their strong instincts to guide them.

For us humans, there is a great lesson to be learned from this – instead of thinking about every single, most minute step we take we must let our instincts guide us.

Pandemic Free Writing Zone

When Victoria went into its fifth lockdown last week, classes that I had offered in a couple of Library settings were cancelled. This is disappointing for everyone and adds to the cocktail of negative noise that we have all been dealing with. 

As Nitchke explains “the human brain has the capacity to imagine all the worst things that could happen. And the more uncertainty there is — especially if that uncertainty is coupled with gloomy hypotheticals — the more likely the brain is to conjure up and fixate on the worst-case scenarios.

I wish it were otherwise but we are going to be faced with uncertainty for quite some time! So I decided that one way of providing a tiny bit of certainty is to offer regular writing/art sessions in a Zoom setting. 

Participants will have a regular meeting time and projects (lockdown friendly if the need arises) to occupy themselves before meeting again.

The cost is $15 per a one and a half hour session.

If you are interested in joining a group of a maximum of 5 participants, for a block of 6 weeks, on a Tuesday evening at 8 pm AET simply email heatherblakey at fastmail dot fm. Other times can be made available depending on interest.

Writing for Wellness

Pens, crayons, pencils and IV tubes may not seem to have much in common but the arts are increasingly touted as a form of healing that can be as relevant to a patients wellbeing as medication. A developing body of research shows that expressive writing helps calm the mind and emotions, and increases feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

In this course we will use guided writing activities as a gentle approach to personal wellbeing. You will be offered tools which you can take away and use in your daily writing and art practice.

The enjoyable and easy-to-do activities will help you:

  • reunite with your most creative self
  • dip into Mnemosynes Well of Memory using simple lists as stepping stones
  • apply guided imageries and visual imagery as a kick starter to daily writing
  • alter your perspective by communicating with fragments of nature
  • experience the catharsis that comes with writing letters to past and future selves
  • create detailed portraitures
  • explore a range of emotions

About Heather Blakey

Heather Blakey has had over thirty years experience as a secondary school teacher in Melbourne’s Northern suburbs and she has recently graduated as a Master of Social Work at Monash University.

Between 2000 and 2010 she built and managed the critically acclaimed Soul Food Cafe a site which was acknowledged by Writers Digest and authors such as Sark and Jean Houston. While she no longer runs this labyrinthine website Soul Food informs how she works and has influenced writing courses that she runs regularly.

​Heather describes herself as a purveyor of stimuli and an artistic midwife. She has worked as a specialist teacher of writing with people of all ages and believes that the expressive arts, and writing in particular, not only promotes wellness in those who trust the process and engage but helps people identify and value their unique voice.

Pausing to Listen

I pause to talk to the spirit of the Wattle. She is feeling joyful as she dresses in a golden ballgown that she will wear for her coming out again this season. She tells me that her yellow gown will swirl when she dances on the Spring winds. As she talks a pleasing memory of youthful days, wearing my yellow taffeta ballgown, dancing with my father at the local ball drifts by.