Saturday, 1 February 2014

Imbolc Blog Hop: The Making of the Songbirds

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Our wrangler on this blog hop is the delightful Christiana Gaudet.  As someone inspired by the Goddess Brigid, whose festival this is, she suggested we talk about divination, healing and creativity, and that fits just perfectly with the card I chose to represent this spoke on the Wheel of the Year.

The card is one variant on the Birds: there are three in this deck (including the Owls, which you can see here).  You can use all three, or pick the one you prefer to stick to the traditional number of Lenormand cards.  This one is the Songbirds, and shows three songbirds sitting on a branch, looking out over a frosty winter's morning.

When thinking about timing for the Celtic Lenormand, I considered nature-based ways of connecting with the seasons.  The old saying "one swallow does not make a spring" emphasises the idea that when songbirds migrate back to more northerly climes, it does not mean that the warmer weather has actually arrived.  So, while it is still chilly, we may yet see some of these lovely, colourful creatures.

Original "Cliodna" birds
Another association I had with the Birds was a connection to the Goddess.  And researching Celtic Goddesses, I found Cliodna.  As one source describes, she had three birds, one blue with a crimson head, one crimson with a green head, and one golden with a speckled head.  However, when Will painted the card that way, the contrast between the songbirds and the misty morning landscape just didn't work.  We tried a couple of variants, before agreeing to the finished card, which no longer respects the myth, but is more true to real-life birds you might see in the British Isles.

Another facet of the Cliodna story is that the birds could heal the sick with their song, a theme often found in myth and fairytale.  And of course, with the connection to Brigid and her power of healing, that also seemed to fit well with this sabbat.

Birds are also often associated with being messengers.  We see this in ideas around divination, be it watching the flight patterns of birds or looking at their entrails.  And we also find it in traditional Lenormand meanings for the Birds card, which include conversations and telephone calls.  The Birds can also represent nervous energy and anxiety, which would then call for the healing these Songbirds offer - finding the solution in the issue that the darker side of the card portrays.

Now, onwards to more thoughts and ideas around divination, healing and creativity...

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24 comments:

  1. Oh I much prefer the native birds to the tropical ones. It just works a lot better. :D

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    1. Yep, for me, ultimately, a deck is more about the images than the ideas. You need both, but the look is more important, as if that's off nothing else works quite right :)

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  2. I prefer the native ones too....they're lovely!

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    1. Glad you like them, and that I followed Will's artistic advice!

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  3. I love the birds healing with their song!

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    1. Yes, it's a lovely idea, isn't it? So many fairytales/myths that include this idea, it's very multi-cultural.

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  4. Love it! and the bonus field trip to see the owls :)

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  5. oh Chloe..what a beautiful card...its so meaningful. The re-drawing by Will was soooo much better.

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    1. Yes, I'm so grateful to have been able to work with such an experienced and knowledgeable artist! :)

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  6. Beautiful story about your process with this card, as well as the myth! Can't wait til publication!

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  7. So nice to see a Lenormand based blog on this topic...thanks!!!

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    1. You're welcome, Bonnie. I can imagine lots of ways that a Lenormand deck could be used on this topic, so plenty of room for future posts, too :)

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  8. I like the native birds best... they look lovely! :)

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  9. Such a pretty colourful card with the tropical-type birds, but they don't look real, so I far prefer the native species.

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    1. That's exactly it, they look like something you'd find on a Chinese take-away calendar - that bit unreal. So glad we went with the native species!

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  10. Really interesting to see how this deck works. Lovely card, lovely process - inherently creative and healing!

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    1. Thanks, Christiana. The deck will also work as a regular Lenormand, but my focus is so often on healing and creativity that it made sense to me to incorporate that into the deck :)

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    1. Hi Selena, not sure I quite understand your question? Do you associate those cards with this time of year, or with healing and creativity? Or did you just hope to see more cards? :D

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