{ Witch Club Anniversary! }

Wow everyone, 

We have officially accomplished Witch Club for an entire year! I don't even know where to begin with explaining how I feel; a mixture of relief, giant spoonfuls of self reflection, and excitement for ideas of bigger and better things to accomplish and a bit of fear... 

Witch Club was inspired by a need to fill a void we recognized in our community. Friends would come to the store to either make self deprecating jokes about themselves getting into crystals or wanting to smudge their home, but didn't know where to start or felt like they couldn't do it. Some were unsure where to even begin in their weird new practice, while others felt like they needed to already be a practicing witch or have apprenticed under so-and-so yogi from the sacred mountains of Woo Woo. 

This mysticism of 'witchery' is what we were trying to dismantle, especially through starting Witch Club. Although, it was a struggle trying to start it though from Oracle being a natural science focused store. It was a project that ended up bringing different paths to Oracle but an internal struggle for myself as a scientifically-minded person. This is where Witch Club turned into a slightly large shadow work project for myself.

I have been a practicing secret witchy lady since middle school. Always hiding my spell books and myself at every turn. Camouflaging into the wallpaper to make sure I wasn't offending anyone. my practices oddly enough were based on things my grandmother taught me or through observation... Most of the time hiding in Barnes & Noble's New Age section. So versed mainly in medicines, salts, spirits, candles, and crystals. 

The first time I ever heard about Shadow work was actually from Jane Almirall (clairsentient hot dog eating champion, charming person, one-woman-think-tank and all around brunette) who had come to me, a few months into starting WC, for a potential workshop at Oracle. It was eye opening. The whole project was to immerse yourself in moments of self reflection and sigil work. Focusing on what you feel are your weaknesses, fears, strengths, what you need, what you want, and delving into the whys and the hows. The class was enlightening and a good homework for any individual in trying to grow and empower themselves. 

That is exactly what WC turned out to be for me - every month focusing with the seasons and the month, but ultimately focusing the instruction and intention on what I felt I needed and the people around me. Not realizing what I was doing, I was forcing myself to pay attention to my subconscious. My 'spiritual' practice comes at a weird self doubt just the same as those who came to the shop questioning themselves in why they wanted to carry around crystals, beyond the collectors point of view. Being a skeptic who is scientifically focused, believing in an object or a practice to help me beyond the mumbo jumbo was exactly what helped me believe; just superstitions and nothing more couldn't be the answer...

Being raised Catholic, wasn't everything based out of superstitions? Wasn't everything based from rituals and knowledge passed on from someone else? Why would me burning a candle to help me focus my thoughts on my intentions any different from lighting a candle to help me talk to and pray to my grandfather? Was a stuck in yet another structured religion? 

I will admit I still occasionally go to church with my grandmother (even though I sometimes feel like I stick out as a sore thumb), but it was then while I was burning a candle for prayer that I realized I didn't stray too far from my origins (I just don't agree with their practices but fundamentally their rituals guided me to what I believe in now). But what I took out of it were the tools we were given should be used to make us bigger and better people. Self reflection is the easiest part of that (even though our society deems it weak or selfish), then plants and herbs of old wives tales (being dubbed the title so it was diminished to a less knowledge), or even being called a witch (which was a way to take power away from a medicine woman or healer of the community). There were too many centuries of tradition to back them up... with eventually my own experiences that made me no longer able to avoid direct contact. No there isn't a proper way to do anything nor is there one belief that triumphs them all... every person is an individual, a different strain of matter in this universe of clumped particles...

Knowledge of plant magic, stones, and animal spirits are all questioned and doubted because of wanting to squash out the 'old-ways' or disconnect us from nature or a social consciousness? There totally is old knowledge that isn't sound anymore, but we totally should question EVERYTHING. Just because you smudge your house doesn't mean you are now no longer (insert whatever religion you connect to here). But sometimes it is ok to give in to the things that may help us focus or give us faith in this complicated world... why not investigate these other ways of thoughts, especially if they are guiding you to love and light? 

I have gone years flip flopping back and forth between my ideologies. Today, I still can't tell you what I believe in, although I am surrounded by like minded people who have guided me to be ok with that and just to do me, which I realize how privileged I am to have that and so grateful. I can just tell you my experiences and the things my grandmother taught me or the things I learned hiding my nose in those books... Ultimately I think that is the reason we all got into it. It accepted our dark gloomy faces with open arms and the darkness that stared back too. We were accepted into the shadow and it accepted our visions and our imagination. It accepted our intuitions and deep feelings - it allowed us to venture into the 'what if' with vengeance. 

You didn't have to believe in the dogma, you didn't have to believe at all. There are no rules in Witch Club. Maybe the one rule is to never stop questioning and learning and to delve deeper. Only then will you learn what type of witch you really are... Maybe crystals speak to you, maybe they don't and that's fine because the plants do. And maybe they don't speak back but the animals do... and maybe they don't but the ghosts and the spirits sure do. Or the stars, or the moon, or the earth and elements. It called to you and you came here (maybe just like me) unwillingly... but willingly hopeful that that is the key to help us gain our sanity. 

I do believe the energy is there for all of us to read and tap into. Especially with practice, patience, and repetition, just like drawing, you get better. To some it comes easier, but maybe they did the work already in a past life. Everything is connected in some form shape or matter. 'Matter' literally in a scientific point of view so why can't there be a transfer of energy? Why knows, maybe it is all superstition. But it helps me be a better person (I think) so what is there to harm in giving you what helped me? And obviously Witch Club is more than just that, as it is building a community. A community of weirdo people who want to delve deeper into the shadows. Helping one another understand this thing we call life.

From Witch Club grew Open Circle, a meet up of all kinds to talk about just that and help each other in any fashion. So far, we have done two meet ups coinciding with similar topics of the month that was shipped out with WC. That is where the fear falls into my lap. What if I look like a fraud, what if I don't know what I am talking about, what if my practices are just old Italian farmers supersticion? What if I run out of ideas? What if they don't like me?? All I want to do is help, what if that is misread? 

And that's when I realized... that's when shadows spoke back... 

With more questions, which hopefully means I am on the right path. 

{ Oracle Origin Story :: Update }

Oracle Fine Curiosities was founded in 2013 by psychologist Carrie Parker and artist/illustrator Jane Almirall. Oracle, a natural science and oddities shop with an interest in divination tools, attracted a beautiful community of customers and clients who were interested in science, art and metaphysical ephemera. Not long after opening it’s doors, Oracle entered a partnership with artist, Alessandra Dzuba, whose background in entomology and osteology became the literal backbone (*articulated spine) of the shop.

 

LaurenThurmanKing/Dzuba.jpb

In November of 2017, Ms. Dzuba assumed sole ownership of Oracle - now Oracle Natural Science - and has continued to grow the community of natural science enthusiasts as well as spiritual growth seekers, healers and artists with her sustainable and thoughtfully curated space. Alessandra Dzuba continues her work as an artist, www.alessandradzuba.com, and showcases her one of a kind works and assemblage pieces at Every Day Original, which can be found here.

 

sacredpsyche.jpg

Carrie Parker has turned her focus on her intuitive counseling practice, Sacred Psyche, and has opened a beautiful space for her clients located in the Historic Tower East neighborhood at 901 East 31st St., KCMO 64109. Ms. Parker hosts events and workshops which explore a variety of divination modalities, all of which can be found on her site, www.yoursacredpsyche.com and on instagram.

 

JaneAlmirallNola.jpg

Jane Almirall has returned to her first love, competitive hot dog eating. I kid! Ms. Almirall is creating an oracle divination deck, collaborating with fellow artists and creators, as well as teaching workshops and reading Tarot for clients. Her illustrations and drawings can be found at www.janealmirall.net, and on her instagram.

 

{ Upcoming Taxidermy Classes x2!!}

We are so excited to announce... We had to add more classes because the classes below sold out within 48hours! So exciting guys! Glad to see so many people are as excited about these classes and for the talented Mickey Alice Kwapis coming to Oracle! So, what did we add??:

Raccoon class with some exciting techniques on how to professionally taxidermy your own shoulder mount... skinning, fleshing, the whole deal... learning how to do mammal taxidermy can be hard, but Mickey will talk us through it (and once you learn how to do raccoon, it is pretty easy to bring that knowledge to other taxidermy projects)! Then her final class is a Cabinet of Curiosities class, where students will learn a little of everything; starting with wet specimens, botany with pressing flowers, and then finish off by identifying and dissecting an owl pellet. This is a great classes for anyone who has been fascinated with a little bit of everything... and you get two great specimens for your curio collection ;)

Raccoon Taxidermy
Saturday, July 7th from 12 pm to 3 pm
Deposit $200 (total $400)

Cabinet of Curiosities
Sunday, July 8th from 12pm to 2pm
Deposit $50 (total $150)

 

{ Upcoming Taxidermy Classes at Oracle! }

We are so excited to announce...


MICKEY ALICE KWAPIS is coming back to Oracle Natural Science for some exciting taxidermy classes! We are starting our 2 day taxidermy weekend, Saturday (July 7th), with Pigeon Taxidermy where you will learn how to mount your very own iridescent bird! Then on Sunday, we take a creative turn for a Jackalope or Rabbit Taxidermy class where you will make your very own gaff! Both classes require no prior experience. You will learn all the basics and proper techniques of skinning, fleshing, tanning, cleaning, fluffing, and mounting. Sign up for one or for both! I know I got my eye on the Jackalope class...

Pigeon Taxidermy Class
Saturday, July 7th from 4 pm to 8 pm
Deposit $150 (total $300)

Jackalope or Rabbit Taxidermy Class
Sunday, July 8th from 4pm to 8pm
Deposit $125 (total $225)

 

 

Mickey has taught classes here at Oracle before, but this will be her first full on taxidermy class, a beautifully thought out workshop that she has taught for years all around North America. Last time we saw her here in Kansas City, she taught us how to press and preserve flowers and wet specimens... which was so inspiring to watch all the thoughtfully posed and well preserved wet specimens our students went home with! But for those of you who don't know her just yet, here is a little quick peak from her website about this lovely talented lady; 

2017_0602.jpg

"Hey there! I'm Mickey. I'm a Midwestern taxidermist and craftsperson. Born and raised in Michigan, I took an interest in nature and biology from an early age. My obsession with animals, coupled with a desire to hold onto tangible memories, led to an unexpected intersection. My passion for taxidermy was discovered one night with a dead squirrel, a bottle of wine, and an old biology textbook. I have been working in the taxidermy industry since March of 2012 and I'm recognized internationally for my pop-up taxidermy workshops for beginners. Additionally, I have practiced metalsmithing since 2004 and create handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces inspired by natural history and the occult.

IMG12082016_5.jpg

I practice sustainable taxidermy methods, am a member of the National Taxidermists Association, and have worked, volunteered, and taught at museums and universities all over the world. Last year I won a third-place ribbon for my peacock (his name is Kevin) at the NTA National Championships. I have also served as a consultant to novelist Lauren Beukes for the award-winning book Broken Monsters. You can read a bunch of articles and watch a bunch of short documentaries about my work here. My lectures are primarily targeted towards those with an interest in biology, science, and natural history and focus on the role taxidermy plays in understanding the past, present, and future of our ecosystem. I reside in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago with four living pets and a whole lot of dead ones.

Want to know more? Read my FAQ. Interested in seeing photos of the taxidermy process? Follow along on Instagram."

 

*Also stick around for July First Friday - Mickey will be showing off and selling her work and her jewelry during our First Friday Crossroads Artwalk! Join us Friday July 6th, 6-9pm for some beverages, art, and a good time!

{ The Reoccurring Card }

I recently took this magnificent class with Philip Matthews for creative blocks and writing through Tarot (hosted at Oracle). It was phenomenal. I have never had a guided meditation as well as this class - it opened up some parts of my mind that I hadn't realized were blocked. I've been wanting to incorporate poetry and writing with my work for quite some time, but always went to the drawing board blank. The solution, as Philip taught us, was right there in front of us. They were hidden in our consciousness and proved evidence through the cards that we pulled. By imagining ourselves and our project in a void, we were to ask ourselves why and how did we approach our issues? And isn't that a weird way to use tarot cards, you may ask? Answer; It really isn't.

Tarot is far beyond the divination tool that people have thought it to be. I blame movies and ghost hunting episodes where tarot is represented as a faux paux, an opening of portals, like a ouija board deck of cards that is so full of power that only the damned would consider using. *shakes head slowly and disappointingly

Tarot is a fantastic tool that allows you to touch on your subconscious. Our brain is a powerful tool that picks up on subtleties and symbols, reading into the situation at hand from a different perspective. It is almost as if putting yourself into the cards, as another person, looking back at yourself (if you are doing a personal reading) and then reading as a friend would be giving advice. After years of study you learn the symbology and its deeper meanings, separating yourself more to delve into the void as Lyra reading an alethiometer. YOU are actually the tool and the cards are a guide. 

Sometimes it isn't that easy to read the situation, that's when tarot can help. Separate your deck to the 4 suits, and pull from each to investigate the 4 aspects of your life; what fills your emotions, what are your passions, what drives you, and what are your dream career/aspirations. When things are out of balance that is when we don't feel confidence or have the ability to produce as your are struggling to keep ourselves afloat. Every part of life is important, just like when we don't love ourselves how can we possibly love another. There isn't enough to spread out like too little butter. Friendship, stability, love, career, they all effect how we feel then affect one another. So it always is good to look at the picture as a whole. 

-

In my guided meditation I was brought to solve my creative block in a void, where I kept my toe on the ledge trying to grab it and bring it back to where I was originally standing. SO MUCH < DUH. (Honestly, pretty sure Philip is a true magician) but how can that be more obvious that my issues on this project were leaving my comfort zones than the card I kept pulling up (even Philip pulled the same cards for me!) was the 3 of swords. I was holding on the the fear of failure, I was afraid of trying, and I needed help and I shouldn't have felt ashamed for asking for it. 

How many times we as artists have felt this way. Where we aren't good enough or our ideas aren't valid? Taking the leap for a new project or job that we have always wanted, but the instability is unnerving. Plenty of people who I have spoken to always tell me, 'but that's what being an artist is, that's what drives us'. I disagreed with that having to be norm. Why must we all be starving struggling artists? Why can't we have periods of time of experimental work? I blame art school to a degree forcing us to always have a body/series of work. Needing to be flawless and conceptual at all time. Why must you suppress my urge to draw cartoon cats, art world?! Ha, I'm kidding, but not really... as even after art school days are gone we are encouraged to have curated instagrams and facebook pages to sell our work... cohesiveness always sells

But I guess that's the issue. Unvalued work and hustle overrides the ability to experiment, even though it shouldn't. So take the leap, try that new project. Make the work just because. Dump out the studio and start from scratch (*note to self: take your own advice). Purge and force yourself to take the time. To investigate the possibilities. Make something ugly.

Pulling more cards I found I wasn't giving myself enough time, nor patient enough. Rushing the projects, or focusing too much of my energy solely on my other business. Solution? Going to stick to a new routine and studio days strictly for myself. Start saying no more to things and stick to that - maybe even a studio week in the middle of the Ozark? Who wants to go with me?! 

for more blogs click here :)

20180303_140044.jpg

{ Valentine Gift Guide For Black Hearts }

Valentine's Day is upon us, and for some of you, this fact may fill your black heart with dread. Admittedly, it's a schmaltzy holiday, replete with unwanted Teddy bears trapped in heart-shaped balloons, subpar chocolate offerings and heart-themed jewelry (as ubiquitous as it is repellent, shudder). If you have ever been on the receiving end of these crummy, landfill-destined gifts, it's possible you may loathe Valentine's Day just by that association.

I am here to offer several alternatives for those of you who like good presents and who want better things for your loved ones, to make Valentine's Day (or Friendentine's Day) great again (but for real, think Halloween For Lovers)!  

:: Framed Insects And Butterflies :: Each beautiful piece at Oracle is preserved and framed by the artists in the shop, making every single specimen a unique and special work. I am especially enamored of the dried flora pieces created by Alessandra Dzuba and Ash Miyagawa, they are romantic and timeless and would surely win the heart of the natural science lover that you know!

:: Jawbone Talismans :: Our jawbone talismans are intuitively created in shop and are imbued with blessings to bring protection and abundance to the recipient. Each piece is constructed with loving intention and care, and no one talisman is alike - perfect for the Brujas and Brujos in your life.

:: Witch Club ::  -  Witch Club is a monthly subscription box and makes an excellent gift for someone who is looking to amplify their spiritual practice! Available for purchase in monthly, three month and six month installments - each month our Witch Club members receive crystals, incense and resins, dried herbs and flowers, and a special, hand selected monthly bundle to incorporate into your ritual or meditation practice. Items are chosen with the lunar cycle in mind but can be used however you see fit! This is a wonderful gift that keeps giving into extra innings because Love should be celebrated all year round!

*We also carry specially crafted Witch Bundles which are available in shop and online, a wonderful gift on it's own!

 

++ It is our pleasure to recommend items from these other makers and sellers whom we love ++

:: Chocolate ::  Fatally Yours Vegan Treats - Holy smokes y'all - when you have a black heart but a sweet tooth this gourmet chocolate box is everything!

:: Divination ::  Vessel Oracle Deck - I am a huge fan of Mary Elizabeth Evan's Spirit Speak deck and I absolutely love her charming illustrations for this oracle deck. Mary Evans puts so much care into her work and her divination tools have wonderful energy - I want one (subtle hint *cough* gimme)!  - She Wolfe Tarot - This Tarot deck by Devany Amber Wolfe is beautifully rendered with photographs and digital collage - this potent, sexy deck makes an incredible gift for a witch you are into!

:: Jewelry ::  - Mercury Hour - Scarlett C. Dancer's work is so awesome, I would be hard pressed to choose just one piece, but her Love Ballad series is spot on for V Day. - Arcana Obscura -Kate Hockstein creates the most wonderful, occult-themed jewelry - each piece is a unique work of art, perfect for those who like to keep it dark, I love it all!  - Omnia Oddities Studio - Artists Keri Newton and Nate Allen have created this incredible jewelry studio and there is no shortage of excellent adornment here - seriously, have a look and try not to buy everything for yourself!

:: Perfume ::  - For Strange Women Perfume - Jill McKeever is botanical perfume genius, her scents are evocative of magical woods, fairy tale forests and the kind of memories you create by firelight. It can be difficult to buy scents for other people, so I highly recommend giving the gift of the Lunar Amulet series, in which the lucky recipient receives a new perfume every 29 days for 12 months to celebrate the new moon! 

:: Incense and Candles ::  - Ritualcravt - Literally every single thing in this shop is imbued with magic (made by witches for witches, y'all!) and you will find many beautiful offerings for your loved ones. Of particular interest for the upcoming holiday, is this sweet little Love Spell Kit - it has everything you need to bring love to you! That said, if you have gone through a breakup or just aren't feeling this particular holiday you will also find excellent potions for self-care and to mend a broken heart. Ritualcravt blends their incense, teas and dressed devotional candles in shop, by hand - and every single one of them is gorgeous.