In this post, I share how I created my Mandala Forecast for the Year Ahead.  Scroll down for the printable step-by-step instructions and for a free downloadable Card Spread.

The first person to explain to me I had a highly sensitive nervous system was my Naturopath many years ago. It took me a very long time to understand what it meant, how to manage it and why self-care was extra important.

One of the things that affect my highly sensitive nervous system is overwhelm. I process things deeply therefore I can easily become overwhelmed. Things need to run at a slow and steady pace for me to function at my best. I can’t control everything but I can do my best to ensure I’m giving myself the most advantage possible.

One of the ways I do this is by taking time in December and January to look at the year ahead. I create my calendar of the Moon phases and use it to gauge when the best time to do certain things is. For instance, running a retreat during an Aries Full Moon wouldn’t be my idea of fun since I’d be surrounded by people who would most likely be feeling a lot of emotions. It would feel energetically noisy and overwhelming for me and that wouldn’t be setting me up for success. If I have to do it, then knowing what I’m up against helps me prepare accordingly. In my Moon Sisters Art and Ceremony Circles, I help everyone understand and use their own personal calendar of Moon phases and signs because it’s been such a helpful process for me.

Another way I prepare my highly sensitive system for what might lie ahead is by creating a Mandala Forecast. It’s my creative way to collect signs and messages from Spirit about the year ahead. I start with choosing one Tarot deck and one Oracle deck. This year I chose “The Green Witch Tarot” by Ann Moura and Kiri Østergaard Leonard and “The Mother Mary Oracle” by Alana Fairchild and Shiloh Sophia McCloud. 

The reason I choose one tarot deck and one oracle deck is because I like to team up the thoroughness found in the tarot system with the lighter optimism I find in oracle decks. Oracle cards are usually created around one theme – love, forgiveness, animals, angels etc. – whereas the tarot system includes in-depth insight into major issues in my life and everyday concerns. I used to shy away from tarot decks because I was afraid of what I judged to be their darker messages but that was naive of me. Tarot provides complex answers that reveal the challenges, celebrations, hidden desires, obstacles and ego side of life and my personality. Tarot doesn’t pretend life is all chocolate and glass slippers. Life throws shit at me all the time. Pretending everything will be perfect is ridiculous and unrealistic. Personally, to support me through my difficult times, I’d rather have a head’s up on what challenges might be coming than be caught by surprise.

A couple years ago, a few tarot cards I pulled were devastating. They showed buildings toppling over and a man dying from swords planted in his back. I was worried and knew something unexpected and unwelcome would happen. In the spread for the year, the months following these ominous messages were optimistic and happy. I knew no matter what happened during those darker months everything would work out in the end.

The year progressed and I eventually came to the months my yearly forecast predicted as difficult and lo and behold, my husband lost his job. We were devastated and worried. We didn’t have a financial cushion to lean on and the job market had crashed in our area. Jobs were much harder to come by than in the past. Things looked bleak but I remembered pulling cards for my yearly forecast and I reassured my husband everything was going to be all right – and it was. He managed to find another job and everything worked out in the end. That time of not knowing what was going to happen would have been so much more stressful on me had I not taken the time at the beginning of the year to create my yearly forecast.

This year, without realizing it, the two decks I chose both had roses on the backside of their cards. I thought this was interesting since my focus this year is on my relationship with Divine Mother and I associate roses with Divine Mother. I also started a 100 day art ritual on January 1st where I draw one rose a day and use it as a way to pray and connect with Divine Mother so roses were something I was already drawn to. I thought it was a nice confirmation that I was on the right track.

After I cleansed each deck, I pulled one tarot card and one oracle card for each month of the year.

Next, I wrote the title of each card for each month in my journal and I read the description of each card in the accompanying guidebook. I summarized the message of the card and took note of any information I thought was relevant and important. This year, I wanted to include significant words and inspirational messages in my Mandala Forecast because I found last year that images weren’t enough. I think, along with the images, keywords will help keep me focused and will inspire me throughout the year.

After getting a feel for the messages, I gathered my art supplies to create a sun mandala. I hang my yearly mandala forecast on the wall in my office alongside my yearly intention painting and this year, I wanted the forecast to be painted on an image of the sun and my yearly intention setting to be on the image of the moon so they could sit side by side in a reflection of day and night.

To create a sun mandala I cut an 18″ x 18″ piece of heavy watercolor paper and drew a circle in the middle of it and divided the circle into 12 equal sections. At the top of each section, I drew a petal shape then erased all the lines so only the outline was visible.

Here’s a look at how I did that.

I marked the middle of my page and placed the point of my compass on the mark then drew a large circle. The circle was small enough to leave room for large petals to be drawn around it.

Next, I drew a cross from the center of the circle. (Make sure to measure equal distance from the outside edges of your page so your cross is perfectly in the middle of the page. Because my page was 18″ x 18″ that meant I had to measure 9″ in from the outside edges of the page.)

Then, without changing the distance of my compass, I placed the point of the compass on each outside point of the cross and made a mark on both sides of the line.

That gave me marks to guide my ruler as I divided the circle in 12 sections.

All I had to do was place my ruler from one outside point across the center point and over to meet the opposing outside point on the other end of the circle and draw a line. This created 12 sections. The sections pictured here aren’t equal because I made the mistake of forgetting to measure my cross properly but I’m not a stickler for details so I just went with it regardless of the mistake.

Next, I added a larger outer circle and made a dot to mark the center. I didn’t measure this to be accurate. From the dot, I drew a couple curvy lines to give the idea of a petal (or sun ray in this case).

I continued to do that for all 12 sections of the mandala.

I then erased all the lines except the outline so all I was left with was a shape that reminded me of the sun.

Once I had the outer mandala shape I wanted, I painted the background with watercolors. I worked in sections and painted my paper with water before I put down any color and because I wanted to play with cloudy effects with the paint, I made sure there was a lot of water mixed in each color of paint. It was fun to watch the way water and paint danced together to make pretty swirls of color.

I used the same watercolor process to fill in the sun shape.

My last step was to draw the images and include the words and phrases I wanted to remember in each petal of the mandala. I started with January, of course, then continued to work my way around the mandala until I had captured the messages I thought were important to remember for the year ahead.

Here’s the finished piece.

I shared this process with my Moon Sisters Art and Ceremony Circles and Christine Steele, one of my online Moon Sisters, made a couple changes and came up with these two beautiful year ahead forecasts.

The first showcases the tarot cards she pulled for each month.

The second piece showcases the oracle cards she pulled for each month. I thought it was a nice twist on the instructions I shared.

If you’d like to create your own Mandala Forecast for the Year ahead, below you can find printable step-by-step instructions. I’ve also included a Year Ahead Spread workbook where you can write down the name and a short description of the card you pulled for each month of the year ahead.

Download the Year Ahead Spread Here

Mandala Forecast for the Year Ahead
Moon Phase: New Moon
Suggested Month: January or near Spring Equinox
Prep time: 
Performance time: 
Total time: 
An art ritual to receive and document the messages you receive from Spirit about the year ahead.
  • watercolor paper
  • watercolors
  • watercolor pencils
  • markers
  • one tarot deck
  • one oracle deck
  • brush
  • water for cleaning brushes
  • compass
  • pencil
  • eraser
  • candle
  1. Light a candle and call in your spiritual team. Inform them of your desire to receive messages for each month of year ahead. Request their help to choose the perfect card from each deck for each month of the year ahead.
  2. Cleanse each deck using your favorite method of spiritual or energetic cleanse such as Reiki, prayer, herbs, crystals, salt, etc.
  3. Pull a card for each month of the year.
  4. In a journal or on the Card Spread for the Year Ahead worksheet I created for you, write down the names of cards you pulled for each month and after looking up the description of the card in the accompanying guidebook, write down any words, ideas or phrases that seem relevant and important.
  5. Cut your watercolor paper into a square. I used an 18" x 18" square.
  6. Find the center point of your square and, using a compass, draw a circle in the middle of the page. Make sure to leave enough room between the outer edges of the circle and the border of the paper to draw petals around the circle.
  7. Divide your circle in 12 equal sections.
  8. In each section, draw a petal shape on the outside of the circle.
  9. Erase all unnecessary lines.
  10. Paint the background.
  11. Paint the sun shape mandala.
  12. Starting with the petal on the mandala that you choose to represent January, take the tarot card and the oracle card and your written summary of the messages you pulled for January and draw whatever would best represent the overall feeling and message you received for the month of January.
  13. Repeat the process for the remaining eleven petals on the mandala.
  14. End with a prayer of gratitude.
Thank you for honoring my work and creativity. The photos of this craft and/or ritual and content above are copyright protected. Please do not use the photos without prior written permission or without a link back to this blog post. If you wish to share this art based ritual, please provide a link back to this post on my blog. And if you like this art based ritual but want to make changes to it, please do so in your own words and link this post for credit. Thank you!


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Mother can be such a beautiful word.  For many it conjures up memories of a welcoming shoulder to lean on, a warm hug to fall into and a batch of fresh baked cookies to ease the pain of a bad day. But it’s also a complicated word – a word loaded with difficult memories and yes, sometimes a lot of hurt, abandonment and pain.

Every woman experienced a unique relationship with her mother but not every woman blossomed in that relationship. Many women, despite their mother’s good intentions and well-meaning hearts, endured relationships with their mothers that caused issues that affect them to this day – and this isn’t usually the mother’s fault. The problems we face are bigger than that. I believe being negatively impacted by the mother-daughter relationship is as common as it is because women, as a gender, have endured centuries of abuse, neglect, dismissal and oppression.

The arguments we keep repeating with our spouses, the areas we feel disconnected from our children, the unhealthy patterns we keep repeating, the insecurity that plagues us, the mistrust we have of our own intuition and gut feelings, the areas in our lives where we can’t speak up, the competitive or inauthentic relationships we share with other women, the challenge we have with setting healthy boundaries and the way we feel removed from our passion and purpose can all be traced to the legacy of how women were treated that runs in our family.

If we don’t know what that legacy is, how can we hope to heal it?

I work with women who have experienced complicated relationships with their mothers and the one thing I’ve come to understand is women are a brave and beautiful bunch. We are emotional warriors who, despite the pain and tears, face the scariest and most grueling emotional battles with courage and determination – and we do it for our families, our marriages and because we want to take care of our communities and the world. We heal because we care. We heal ourselves and our own emotional wounds because we want to prevent our children from experiencing the suffering we endured. We talk about our feelings and dig up our past because we want to offer unconditional love to our spouses. We look at our issues and take responsibility for our emotional wounds because we want to heal the planet and make it a more peaceful place. We aren’t perfect but try and we care a lot.

We put other people’s needs ahead of our own. We empathize and carry the emotional burdens so others won’t have to. But the mother wound exists because women have been expected to do this. They have been forced to shoulder more than their share of the emotional labor in the family, in their communities and in the world and it has left them depleted, spent and empty.

And, in their emotionally depleted state, they’ve often been responsible for raising children – who had, of course, no choice but to become emotionally depleted also.

It’s not just that mothers have been raising children from an emotionally depleted state. It’s also that their wisdom has been devalued and mistrusted. For instance, in the culture I was raised, emotions, intuition and creativity are regarded as frivolous, unnecessary and ineffective more often than they are acknowledged as powerful and important. These ideas about emotions, intuition and creativity affected my grandmothers and they affected my mother and they have most certainly also affected me. You can’t take that which is inherent within me, put it down, devalue it, dismiss it and expect these actions not to affect my self-esteem, my choices, my relationships and the way I parent.

The Mother Wound is real and it is most likely affecting your life in one way or another. But healing the Mother Wound doesn’t have to be hard. It can be as beautiful as women coming together and supporting each other in healing circles. Women coming together to mother each other – spiritually and emotionally – heals the Mother Wound for every heart in the room who is witness to the healing. Sisterhood is medicine. And it is such an important medicine for mothers of daughters to take regularly. It will heal the past and usher women into a new relationship with each other and ultimately reunite each woman with her innate wisdom.

And from her center she will navigate her life with her unique internal compass and her life will become her own.

She will no longer apologize for having an opinion.  She will no longer feel content with playing small to make someone else feel comfortable. She will no longer swallow her feelings, sweep the issues under the rug, cry herself to sleep without asking for help, expect herself to be a super woman, ignore her dreams, feel ugly in her body, settle for inequality, keep her mouth shut or feel like a bitch, value being nice to the point of sacrificing herself and take care of every single other person while putting herself and her needs high up on some abandoned shelf.

Through the Mother Wound, we learned to abandon our intuition, our passions, our opinions, our needs, our magic, our creativity and our emotions. We sacrificed ourselves. Meeting with other conscious women in an authentic and sacred commitment to unconditional sisterhood, we can find ourselves again. And when we heal, our relationships heal, our children heal, our communities heal and our daughters are freed. Our daughters can lay down the Mother Wound and follow their hearts.

But first it’s up to us. Let’s nourish and free our own hearts and show them how it’s done.

If you’re interested in exploring your own Mother Wound, I host a free of charge online Mother Wound Wisdom Circle most Mondays at 10 am MST. We meet in my private online meeting space and use intuition, sisterhood and simple soulful art activities to mend the Mother Wound and return to our personal power. You can register here or read more about it here.

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There’s a scene in “Eat, Pray, Love” where Elizabeth Gilbert is in her bathroom on her knees asking God for help and to her surprise she hears an answer. It isn’t a great big boom or an earth-shattering revelation. It is a simple, firm but quiet instruction to go back to bed. But that simple, quiet instruction becomes the moment everything in her life changes.

My life happens to be peppered with those simple, quiet instructions from God and Spirit. These instructions always come in the exact way as Elizabeth Gilbert describes it. Short, blunt but peaceful sentences that set my life on an entirely different course than it was previously on.

The first time it happened I had flunked out of my first year of University. I was lost and heading into a depression. I laid in my bed, looked up at the ceiling and said, “Now what?” to no one in particular. To my surprise, I actually heard a one word answer; “Victoria.” That was it. No explanation. No insight; just “Victoria.” I had never thought about Victoria before. I had no real knowledge about the city  of Victoria other than it was a city in British Columbia, my neighboring province. It was a completely random, out of left field answer. I didn’t realize this until just now but I didn’t even think it was odd to hear that voice and I listened to it without questioning it for a second. I went downstairs and told my mom I wanted to go to college in Victoria, B.C. to try and get back into University. With my parents help, I enrolled and moved away that summer.

In Victoria, I healed and found myself again. I received top grades, was in the best shape of my life and glowed with happiness. It was an extremely pivotal year. After the year, I moved back to my home town, graduated University and assumed I would become a teacher but that firm but loving voice returned with other plans. One day, after putting down the phone, I heard the words, “Write this down.” I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and I wrote what the voice continued to say. The voice went on for a while describing a woman and explaining a message she needed to hear. Then, as suddenly as the voice came, it stopped with another firm but loving instruction stating, “Your mom will know who this is for.” I showed my mom the message and she did indeed know who it was for. We hand delivered the message I received and from that moment on, I pivoted on my career path from teacher to messenger for the angels. (You can read more about that story here.)

Years later, that same voice chimed in one day with the simple instruction, “Go here”. I was roaming the internet for something unrelated and landed on a page of an Advaita teacher who was unfamiliar to me. I live in Alberta, Canada. He lives in Sedona. He was an Advaita teacher. I had no idea what Advaita was. I had no intention of traveling but I couldn’t ignore the voice so I booked a flight and enrolled in a satsang he was hosting. Despite not knowing what satsangs were, I listened to the voice and my spiritual life was never the same. During a break in the weekend satsang, I went on a solitary sightseeing walk. At one point along my walk, I stopped and looked over to the red mountain scenery and time stood still. All thoughts fell away and my mind felt like it was no longer confined to my brain. It felt like my mind was the wind and the sun and the mountains. I was everything and everything was me.

The moment came with a sense of peace that has never left. Regardless of whatever drama, emotion, worry, depression, illness has come and gone since then, this tiny center of peace has remained and I’ve been able to witness everything I experience from that center. I’ve been able to observe my thoughts from that center. I’ve been able to watch my emotions crash, fall and rise from that center. And it’s given me this overall sense that no matter what is happening everything is going to be okay because that center is really where I am. The rest is just dramatic moving pictures.

I’ve had a few other pivotal moments in my life when the voice returned with specific instructions but the one I want to write about today is the one that interrupted a quiet moment I was enjoying with my friend. We were sitting on the couches in my living room reading. It’s a secret joy of mine to read with people. I don’t know why I enjoy it so much. It’s not like reading is a team sport but my heart just lights up when I get to do what I love with someone I love beside me. While we were quietly reading, I heard the voice interrupt my silence with a question this time, “Will you devote the rest of your professional life to Divine Mother?” This was the oddest request of all. Divine Mother? Who is Divine Mother? Something in me must know because I said “Yes!” without thinking about it and spontaneously burst into tears.

This brings me to my latest art ritual. I’m at the very beginning of my spiritual journey with Divine Mother. I don’t really feel like I know who Divine Mother is. I have a general idea and I know I relate Mother Mary to her (I was raised as a Catholic) but much like when you’ve been set up on a blind date, I only know minor details.  That’s part of the reason I’m writing this blog. I want to share my journey of learning who Divine Mother is. I suspect the journey to discovering who She is will inspire another series of life-changing moments. If the journey inspires life-changing moments for me, perhaps if I share my story, it will inspire life-changing moments for someone else.

It’s really hard to share my journey publicly since it’s such a private, sacred kind of journey. I’ll have to expose my vulnerabilities and ignorance. I’m sure I’ll write things that I’ll later want to take back because I’ve learned something more. It’s different sharing the journey as you walk through it than writing about it at the end when all the pieces have fallen into place. I’ll have to let myself be imperfect and that makes me feel worried about being judged. But I’m going to do it anyway because I’m trying to be a braver person. So if you’re here to witness my journey, be gentle and kind. I don’t really know what I’m doing.

I did decide that solidifying my decision to say yes to Divine Mother was important so I created an art ritual to commemorate it. I came up with this handmade paper invitation on which I wrote my request to have Divine Mother grace my altar.

inviting divine mother to grace the altar

As I was creating my invitation, I realized Divine Mother had some words she wanted to share with me. This is what I received as her words to me:

The world is starving for Divine Mother energy. Energy that nurtures. Energy that protects. Energy that gives selflessly. Energy that sacrifices for the family – the Earth family.

Many moons ago, in your white Western culture, the Divine Mother was murdered on the altar and replaced with the shadow of the Father – not even with the Divine Father but instead, a power-hungry, murderous father who would banish his children to suffer in pain for all eternity! It is time now to return the Mother to the altar. Return the Divine Mother and the Divine Father to lead this family to peace. 

The Divine Mother should be held in the arms of Divine Father. She should be supported and ready to birth Love into the world.  A devotion to Divine Mother is a devotion to caring for everyone – including yourself and the planet. This is what your culture is missing. Other religions, faiths and cultures have it but yours, the consumerist Western culture, does not. This is what your culture needs to make more room for – the simple act of caring; the simple act of divine mothering. When you care for someone or something you take an interest in them. You appreciate and enjoy them. You are concerned about their well-being. You are attentive and tender. You worry about their needs and you do what you can to help them meet their needs. You listen and try to understand. You provide a safe space to be heard. You provide a warm space to be held. You communicate your affection and you are sensitive to their wounds. You are kind, thoughtful and gentle. Even if they are different.

World peace is no more complicated than that.

But the shadow image of the Father judges, rejects, banishes, punishes and attacks. This leads to conflict. This leads to war.

Who sits on your altar controls your heart and rules your mind. Who are you devoted to? Are you devoted to Love or are you devoted to Attack? Make no mistake about it. If a judgmental, punishing, fearful God sits on your altar, you, my child, are devoted to Attack and you will attack the earth, the animals and your brothers and sisters. And you will feel justified in your attack because you will be living in the image of your god.

Dana, it is time to bring the Divine Mother back to grace your altar and your celebrations because the Mother within you and the Mother in the planet wants to heal the suffering. She wants to soothe the pain and comfort the wounded. She wants to wrap all her children in her arms and return them to Love.

I sat with her words and realized I’ve never believed in a judgmental God. It just never rang true for me. But it did ring true for the religion I grew up in. And I do worry about being attacked by other people, I do carry a lot of guilt and I do have a voice within me that secretly believes everything is always my fault. All of this does cause me to act protective and defensive and many opportunities where I could have acted with Love, I reacted with an ugly combination of attack and defense. And I do believe that if I can’t explore how to move from these attack/defense tendencies in my personal relationships then I will never understand how to be the peaceful change I want to see in this world. I’ve studied A Course in Miracles for years and co-created a therapy approach based on it’s principles so although I would not have worded it the way I received it from Divine Mother, I definitely welcome her to teach me more about putting Love in action in my life and in my world. I guess only time will tell where this goes.

As for the invitation, I think it’s a pretty way to keep a handwritten letter on the altar. This particular letter, I imagined as a scroll invitation being delivered by a man on a horse that would read…

You are hereby cordially invited to grace the altar of one Mrs. Dana da Ponte.

I didn’t write it that way but I liked the formal quality of creating the scroll.

If you would like to create your own handmade paper ritual to invite Divine Mother (or any other spiritual deity) to grace your altar, this is how I did it.

I collected scraps of paper from my recycling bin.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

I searched the internet to find instructions on how to easily make handmade paper. I liked this site’s clear instructions so I followed them and asked my husband to make the frame with screen stapled to it. My husband, being the kind man he is, gladly obliged. Next, I put my scraps of paper in a blender and filled it with water.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

The next step was more ritual than craft. I tuned in and decided which oils, plants and flowers I wanted to mix in with my paper. I chose to add as many flowers as I could, especially roses since I associate them with Mother Mary. I also added specks of gold because it felt regal to me and like I was honoring the Queen of Love. I added Lavender essential oils because I thought it should smell peaceful and floral.  With each plant, flower and oil, I prayed, invoked Divine Mother, spoke to her with my own ideas about what our relationship might be and told her about the special place I was making in my heart and on my altar for Her and Her mission of Love. This step was as pretty as it was sacred.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

After this meditative step, I turned the blender on until a gooey mush formed. I poured the gooey paper mush in the screened frame my husband made.

inviting divine mother to grace your altarI then removed the frame from the tray and soaked the water up from the paper with a paper towel. A note about environmentalism here, I should have used a sponge. It makes no sense to recycle paper only to create more paper garbage by using paper towels. Duh, Dana!

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

I then removed the frame and continued to soak up more water.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

It didn’t take long for the paper to be dry enough to remove from the screen. (Those are my husband’s hands. He wanted to help and see how his paper making frame worked.)

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

One blender full of gooey paper much made three pieces of paper. Once the pieces of paper were mostly dry, I placed a thin towel over them and ironed them out flat with my clothes iron.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

I only needed one piece of paper for the remainder of the ritual so I chose that one piece and wrote my invitation to Divine Mother with a nice fountain pen a friend shared with me.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

After my heartfelt letter was written, I gathered two sticks and some ribbon and turned on my glue gun. I glued a piece of ribbon in the middle of each stick and I glued each end of the handmade paper to a stick.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

I love the way it turned out and it smells as pretty as it looks.

inviting divine mother to grace your altar

Here are the easy-to-print instructions if you’d like to recreate this ritual for yourself.

with love,

Dana da Ponte

Handmade Paper Invitation for the Altar
Moon Phase: Disseminating
Suggested Month: Any month
Prep time: 
Performance time: 
Total time: 
A handmade paper invitation ritual to invite Divine Mother, or any deity of your choosing, to grace your altar.
  • recycled paper pieces
  • blender
  • water
  • mould & deckle (a screened frame)
  • tray
  • sponge
  • clothes iron
  • 2 sticks of relatively the same size
  • 2 pieces of ribbon
  • hot glue gun
  • lavender essential oil (optional)
  • rose petals (optional)
  • dried lavender (optional)
  • gold leaf specks (optional)
  • grains of paradise (optional)
  • basil (optional)
  • dried chamomile (optional)
  1. Fill your blender loosely with recycled paper pieces. Don't compress them as they will bind up your blender.
  2. Add water to cover all the paper.
  3. Add to the water and paper whatever elements you want to ritualistically infuse in your handmade paper.
  4. Blend it all together until it's a watery gooey paper mush.
  5. Place your mould and deckle at the bottom of your tray and pour the paper mush into the tray until all parts of the screen are covered.
  6. Remove the mould and deckle from the tray and pat the watery mush down with a sponge removing water carefully until the paper feels flat, compressed and damp.
  7. Remove the overlapping frame and pat down the paper some more releasing more water.
  8. When the paper feels ready, remove it from the screen and place it somewhere to dry. You may have to allow it to dry overnight or to speed it up, you can blow dry it.
  9. Once it is dry, place a thin towel over the paper and use your hot iron to flatten the paper.
  10. Your paper is now ready to write your letter inviting Divine Mother or your deity to grace your altar.
  11. Glue a piece of ribbon to each of the two sticks you collected.
  12. Glue each end of your letter to a stick.
  13. Carefully roll your paper on both ends to meet the sticks in the middle. The paper will rip if you go too quickly.
  14. Wrap the ribbon around your scroll and tie a bow to seal it.
  15. Place your invitation in a special place on your altar.
Thank you for honoring my work and creativity. The photos of this craft and/or ritual and content above are copyright protected. Please do not use the photos without prior written permission or without a link back to this blog post. If you wish to share this art based ritual, please provide a link back to this post on my blog. And if you like this art based ritual but want to make changes to it, please do so in your own words and link this post for credit. Thank you!

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First Quarter Moon Card Holder

This week, my moon magic art ritual is inspired from an online course I’m taking from Susannah Conway.  The course is called Daily Guidance and at one point Susannah invites us to do a reading with our oracle or tarot cards by choosing three cards based on how the imagery appeals to us in the moment. I loved the way the exercise inspired me to sit with my deck and go through it slowly card by card. I usually sit with my deck face down and I shuffle and draw the cards in a variety of random ways that make me feel like spirit is choosing the cards for me. This exercise was different. I was in charge!

It felt a little naughty at first, as if I was going against the Tarot gods or something. But I loved Susannah’s suggestion because I lingered with my deck far longer than I ever do and I just sat and enjoyed the art and imagery of each card. The exercise was also empowering. It felt as though I were choosing my fate and claiming my destiny. I decided to incorporate that empowerment into a ritual for the First Quarter Moon.

The First Quarter Moon is, to me, symbolic of being at a crossroads or choosing between two different realities. In the First Quarter phase, the moon is half light and half dark. It’s a time of shadow and truth, ego and spirit, littleness and divinity or in a word, duality. In that space of duality, I like to exercise my power of choice.

My mind, my emotions, my words and my actions are under my domain. I wanted to create something for my altar that allowed me to showcase whatever card I picked to represent the energy or intention I was choosing for myself. Not a card to represent a message spirit had for me but a card to say, “I CHOOSE THIS. I want to act like this or be like this or believe in this or dream about this today.”

I knew I wanted something to hold my card of choice but I couldn’t think of what to create until I saw a kid’s project for a clay hand dish. I knew that was it. A clay shape of my hand was the perfect idea because, to me, the shape seemed to hold the same conviction as the idea of putting my foot down. I imagined myself slapping my hand down on the table and making a declaration.

The first thing I did was make some clay out of baking soda and glue. You can see the recipe I used here. The batch I created didn’t work very well. I suspect it may be because I didn’t have any regular glue so I had to use Mod Podge. That may have affected the recipe. Either way, although my clay was dry and hard to mold I decided it was good enough for this particular creation. Next, I found some wire and my pretty purple wire cutters.

first quarter moon tarot card holder

With the wire, I created a shape similar to what you would see in wire photo holders. In fact, if you would like ideas of different ways to shape your wire, do a search for wire photo holders and you’ll see an amazing variety of ways to bend wire to hold your tarot or oracle cards. I chose to create a simple and easy design from scratch. It’s not fancy but it works.

With every twist of the wire, I repeated my intentions to stand in my power. I thought about what that looks like in my life. I thought about all the places I haven’t been doing that and all the areas in my life that may challenge me in the near future. Repeating the intention to stand in my power infused the process of creating this simple design with energy and purpose.

first quarter moon tarot card holder

I then tried to add paint color to my clay but that didn’t go as planned. As I mentioned, the clay was hard to work with. Although the paint didn’t evenly mix throughout the clay, I ended up liking the marble look of the pink paint so I once again decided to stick with using the clay despite my initial disappointment.

I chose a strong pink color intentionally of course. I’m tired of apologizing for my emotional and transparent nature. As I kneaded the color into the clay as best as I could, I thought about how I wanted to integrate love for my personality flaws and especially love for the aspects of myself that have been the hardest for me to accept and appreciate.

first quarter moon tarot card holder

My next step included adding the herbs and spices that symbolized the intentions I wanted to infuse in my altar oracle card holder. I added roses to invite the fairies, basil to invoke my personal power and lavender to remind spirit that I like my growth to happen with ease and grace. I rolled the basil and flowers into the clay with my craft rolling pin while thinking about my intentions and sending gratitude to the fairies for all the magic and connection they’ve gifted me with lately.

first quarter moon tarot card holder

I then rolled out the clay and traced and cut the shape of my hand.

first quarter moon tarot card holder

It was time to insert my quirky little wire card holder into the palm of the clay hand. I also decided to add a few extra herbs and spices. I placed a black pepper corn in each finger tip for power, a circle of cloves around the wire holder to represent angelic assistance and one Star Anise to invite psychic insight when I choose my daily tarot card.

first quarter moon tarot card holder

The end result wasn’t as refined as I thought it would be but I ended up loving it. It reminds me of a bowl of rose potpourri. And truthfully, with rituals and ceremony, the end result isn’t as important to me as the magical process.

first quarter moon tarot card holder

If you’d like to re-create this ritual, I’ve included the step-by-step instructions in this easy to print recipe format. Enjoy!

First Quarter Moon Card Holder
Moon Phase: First Quarter
Suggested Month: Any month
Prep time: 
Performance time: 
Total time: 
A ritual to stand in your power and claim your right to choose and/or a clay holder for your tarot and oracle cards.
  • 16 or 18 gauge wire
  • wire cutters
  • air dry clay
  • acrylic craft paint
  • clay knife
  • marker
  • rose for fairies (optional)
  • lavender for ease & grace (optional)
  • basil for personal power (optional)
  • peppercorns for strength (optional)
  • cloves for angel assistance (optional)
  • star anise for psychic awareness (optional)
  1. Cut the wire in a length that is long enough to form the shape you desire to hold your oracle cards. Don't forget to form a wire base so you can easily insert the holder into the clay.
  2. Choose enough clay to create a wide enough square of clay to fit your hand.
  3. Add a drop of paint to the clay if you wish to tint the clay and knead the color into the clay. If your clay is soft and pliable, the entire ball of clay should be tinted.
  4. Knead the rose petals, lavendar and basil into the clay.
  5. Roll out the clay to a one inch thickness.
  6. Trace your hand with the marker and cut the clay to the shape of your hand.
  7. Insert the wire card holder into the palm of the clay hand.
  8. Press the cloves, peppercorns and star anise into the clay hand while thinking about your relationship to your personal power.
  9. End the ritual in gratitude and let the clay sit to dry.
Thank you for honoring my work and creativity. The photos of this craft and/or ritual and content above are copyright protected. Please do not use the photos without prior written permission or without a link back to this blog post. If you wish to share this art based ritual, please provide a link back to this post on my blog. And if you like this art based ritual but want to make changes to it, please do so in your own words and link this post for credit. Thank you!

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New Moon Wishing Tree

The New Year may be in January but personally, I feel like the spirit of it lives in the fall. Bare trees, crunchy leaves, harvest and the mystical time when spirit feels near all signal to me a time to retreat and contemplate my next steps forward.

During the last New Moon, I decided to make a wishing tree as a way to help me visualize my intentions for the coming months. My knowledge of wishing trees is very limited and basically comes down to my seeing them on Pinterest in the various wedding ideas that pop up in my feed. I’m not getting married since that knot has already been tied but nonetheless Pinterest appears to assume my interest in ceremony and ritual is nuptial so it keeps me abreast on all things bride. I don’t mind because there are some amazingly creative designers out there who dream up beautiful ideas. The wishing tree is one I fell in love with.

I loved it so much I chose to make it the center of my New Moon ceremony and it was a perfect fit. The textures and smells were rich and soulful. Painting simple symbols was cathartic and pulled out a primal connection to imagery and my subconscious. Holding the wood connected me to the earth and made me feel as though I was whispering my wishes to Mother Nature herself. The earthy scent of the moss mixed with the sweet and bold aromas of the oils and spices pulled me right into the moment and held me there with warmth and magic. Even tying my wishes to the branches was enchanting.

You could create this tree as a simple craft or you could do as I did and make an entire ceremony out of it. Either way, you’ll be left with a pretty tree where your wishes happily hang to remind you there is always room in life to dream.

I will show you the steps I took to make my wishing tree but bare in mind that near the end of this post I’ve included a handy dandy ‘recipe’ you can print.  My very lovely web designer, Katy Martin of Tall Poppies Design, just added this recipe feature to my blog and I love it. If you want an easy to print step-by-step summary of my art based rituals and ceremonies, I think you’ll love this new feature too.

The steps to create the tree were simple but they did take a bit of time. After gathering all my materials and setting my spiritual space, I painted my intentions on wood rounds that my wonderful husband cut for me from fallen branches in our back yard.



I then painted a terra cotta pot white so I could write my prayers and intentions on it.


Next I filled the pot with pieces of a dry foam brick and inserted some branches I picked up in the woods near my home. I wasn’t too persnickety about placing the foam. Perfection is not really my thing. Capturing the feelings is more important to me so as you can see, sometimes I’m a little messy about it.


 After the branches were firmly in place, I added some moss. I like the look of moss plus I thought it would be a great base to add my herbs, spices and oils to.


After all these preparations were completed, I gathered the herbs, spices and oils I wanted to use in this Wishing Tree.  In the instructions you can print below, I included the spices, herbs and oils I would use as a base for the Wishing Tree but if you want to make your own Wishing Tree, you’re going to want to add your own magical elements depending on the wishes/intentions you are making. For instance, if your wishing tree is relationship centered, you’ll want to use elements that symbolize and inspire a harmonious love life. If your wishing tree is prosperity centered, the elements you include will obviously be to attract wealth and success.

There are tons of sites and books that describe the magical properties of different plants, oils, stones, herbs etc. so you can easily find elements that will work for you. I would also include elements that are meaningful to you. The whole Wishing Tree ritual is, to me, a way to dig deep in your soul and pull out what you really want and a way to slowly and mindfully tap into the emotions your wishes evoke. For that reason, choosing stones, oils, charms, plants and flowers that mean something to you is just as important as choosing elements that have a magical history.

If you’re not magically inclined and would prefer to create this as an art ritual, you can simply skip this next step.


This was one of my favorite parts of creating the Wishing Tree because it made the room smell so good. I added things like pepper and Frankincense and Star Anise and the scents engaged me body, mind and heart.


When I was done adding all my magical elements, the base of my tree looked as good as it smelled.


The final step was to tie my wishes to the tree. With each knot, I prayed and communicated with spirit. This was the most magical and therapeutic step for me. I received some helpful insight from my spirit helpers and felt their support as I cried and moved through some emotions the ritual was evoking.


I tied all the wishes at the same height simply because I liked the look of all the wishes hanging together but I just as easily could have tied them everywhere around the tree.


When I was done, I sat in prayer and gratitude and thanked spirit for being with me. The tree has now become a representation of not only my wishes but the conversation and healing I shared with my angels and God. Now it sits in my home and every time my eyes happen to glance in its direction, my heart immediately feels warm and cherished.


I shared the idea of painting our intentions or wishes on wood rounds with my Moon Sisters Art and Ceremony Circles. Although we didn’t make the tree, they each decided they will hang their wooden wishes in their gardens, yards or on their Christmas trees. Here’s a look at their pretty wooden wishes.

Here is the New Moon Wishing Tree ritual and step-by-step instructions.

New Moon Wishing Tree
Moon Phase: New Moon
Suggested Month: October or January
Prep time: 
Performance time: 
Total time: 
A ritual to affirm your New Year goals and/or a craft to hang your wishes and intentions on.
  • wood rounds
  • white paint
  • black paint
  • terra cotta pot
  • moss
  • branches
  • dry foam brick
  • string
  • black permanent marker
  • Cloves for protection (optional)
  • Frankincense for manifestation (optional)
  • Peppermint for luck (optional)
  • Sandlewood for renewal (optional)
  • Ginger for joy (optional)
  • Dried dandelion for wish fulfillment (optional)
  1. Paint your terra cotta pot white.
  2. Decide on the number of wishes you would like to hang from your tree and choose that amount of wood rounds. I chose 12 wood rounds to paint and I found 3 additional wood rounds that had naturally occurring images in them already which felt like spirit's way of making a few wishes for me so I included those also.
  3. Light a candle and journal with spirit about your intentions then paint a resolution, goal, intention or wish onto each wood round.
  4. Write your prayer or letter to spirit with permanent marker onto your white terra cotta pot.
  5. Fill your pot with dry foam.
  6. Insert your branches in the pot.
  7. Add moss over the dry foam.
  8. If you are creating this as a ritual or spell, now is the time to add your magical elements. You can include the ones listed above or include your own. You can also add charms and crystals.
  9. Tie your wood rounds to the tree. As you tie each knot, visualize your intentions and concentrate on the feelings they evoke.
  10. End in gratitude.
Thank you for honoring my work and creativity. The photos of this craft and/or ritual and content above are copyright protected. Please do not use the photos without prior written permission or without a link back to this blog post. If you wish to share this art based ritual, please provide a link back to this post on my blog. And if you like this art based ritual but want to make changes to it, please do so in your own words and link this post for credit. Thank you!

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new moon wishing tree ritual

new moon wishing tree ritual

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