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Author Archives: Kate Hames

About Kate Hames

Kate Hames is, in no particular order, a writer, a witch, and a performer. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree, a Certificate in Natural Sciences, and loves to travel and explore. When she's not harassing the cat, she can be found with a camera in hand, hiking a hill or eating. Find her on Insta @madeahames or FB @KateHames

Wild Woman Oracle, by Cheyenne Zárate

Wild Woman Oracle: Awaken Your True, Free and Soulful Self, by Cheyenne Zárate
Rockpool Publishing, 1925946835, 144 pages, 44 cards, October 2022

Cheyenne Zárate, the enigmatic artist who created Wild Woman Oracle: Awaken Your True, Free and Soulful Self, knows exactly how you’re feeling when you say you want to reconnect with the wildness inside you. She asks us to “reflect regularly on who we truly are,”1 something which is achievable with this easy to use, beautifully crafted pack.

Zárate is a supremely talented artist, now living in Canada with her two cats, Carlos, and Lily. In this deck, she draws on her Scottish, Chilean, and Ukrainian ancestry to bring us feminine figures from around the world. Her adoration and respect for these wild women is apparent here in her artwork and perfectly written descriptors. Zárate wishes to celebrate women, help them find their strength and power, “to reconnect with their wild feminine nature in order to live in alignment with their authentic truth”2

It was the title of Wild Woman Oracle that first drew me to these cards. I have an underlying “wild woman”, who is desperate to get out and be seen. I thought these cards might help me to embrace her and set her free. Just the thought of getting closer to nature and finding that connection deep within was all I needed to make the decision for this set.

To begin with, before I even opened the pack, I was mesmerised by the imagery. The colors used and beautiful sketch work on the box, I was instantly in love. This is carried throughout, with each card having an almost metallic feel to them, the drawings looked etched, opposed to drawn. The set consists of thirty-six cards and a guidebook, complete with an introduction to Zárate and how to use the cards. A message for each individual feminine icon is included, along with their symbolism.

There is something deep within us that’s wild, leftover remnants from a time when we may have been forest dwellers. It is that urge that makes us want to climb a mountain, swim naked in a lake, or just take yourself forest bathing in your local woods. You find inner peace and a connection to the earth.

I have used many oracle and tarot decks before now, some of which I have found to be extremely useful. They have given me insights into my mind, heart, and soul–insights that I never would have found without them. I have felt that they were created in such a way that I could rely on them for guidance and awakenings, which is how I also feel about Wild Woman Oracle. I knew that as soon as I opened the box, they were going to be there for me and offer that same kind of help.

I have found that classic tarot can often be quite harsh, unforgiving, hard to navigate and honestly, difficult to work with. And although I know we need to take the good with the bad, tarot to me has always been a bit of a tyrant. Oracle cards, especially this deck, give you a softer approach.

I have consulted angel cards  in the past and although their messages and guidance were brilliantly accurate, I am not a religious person and some of the phrases used, such as angels, God, and heaven, just don’t sit right with me and I would find myself changing the words to suit. Usually, I would exchange those words for “the Universe,” a phrase used throughout the Wild Woman Oracle. I had been searching for a deck that would speak my language, and I may have just found it.

Though no deck should be used without prior knowledge of how to read them–you must do your research before diving straight in–these cards are a perfect place to start if you are just getting going on your reading journey. It’s a nice relaxing way to spend time alone, get yourself a cup of honey tea, light a candle, and give yourself time to take in a reading from the wild women of the Universe.

I like to take my cards when I’m away with friends, so we can do a reading every six months or so. I haven’t yet had the chance to show them this fabulous pack, but they will definitely be in my case for our next trip.

I did, however, get the chance to do a reading for my Mum. She chose the classic three card reading: past, present, and future. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the cards touched upon subjects and important life aspects that needed attention at that time, some of which have been an issue for several years. The cards were adamant that this needed addressing immediately and that too much time had already been wasted. They guided her with the steps to take, how she can resolve these issues, and, more importantly, which of the wild women to call upon when needed.

The personal changes I am experiencing at the moment, physically and mentally, have been at the forefront of my mind, and when I did a reading for myself it was obvious that the cards were aware of this. They have alleviated some of my worries, given me an alternate way of viewing things, and I now feel I have them to call on when I need more guidance.

In my first reading, I drew death, destruction, and divine service. My first instinct was of course to worry about what this might mean, but the death card can have an array of different meanings and not the actual death of you or anyone else. It represents new beginnings, a chance to start fresh, tear yourself down, and rebuild. It can be a job, a relationship, a focused time in your life. Here is your chance to reinvent yourself. And this reading gave credence to feelings I’ve had: I need to let go, and I have been given permission, safe in the knowledge that these supreme beings had my back.

One card, the Inner High Priestess, stood out to me. She sits, solitary, the moon visible from her window, her black cat at her feet. She is in control, busy, but rested. Powerful. Pillars stand at either side of her, with the letters B & J, representing Boaz and Jachin from the Temple of Solomon. She holds the balance: good and evil, dark, and light, feminine and masculine. 

“The High Priestess is the portal between the earthly plane and the heavenly spiritual plane: She has one foot planted firmly in each dimension.” 3

The guidebook for this deck is pocket sized, easy to follow and features some lovely designs. The instructions are set out for whichever reading you choose: one card and three card divination, past present and future or situation, action, and outcome. A description for each depicted feminine figure is given, plus what they each represent and the message they wish you to have.

For example, my Inner High Priestess card represents divine service, wisdom, intuition, psychic abilities, and sacred occult. It’s an incredible card to draw, one of which has come to me twice in a row, at a time when I was in desperate need of her guidance, so I feel incredibly honored for it to have done so.

In Wild Woman Oracle, Zárate has drawn upon her own personal experiences in order to bring together the strongest feminine figures from myth, legend, and folklore. These inspiring women who we look up to, seek out, and aspire to be, are all within our reach, right beside us and deep within us.

Pagan Portals – Abnoba, by Ryan McClain

Pagan Portals – Abnoba: Celtic Goddess of the Wilds, by Ryan McClain
Moon Books, 1803410248, 112 pages, October 2022

Not much is written or known about this eclectic deity. But what we do know is captured here within these pages, beautifully written by Ryan McClain.

Before discovering Pagan Portals – Abnoba: Celtic Goddess of the Wilds, I had never heard of Abnoba, but I now realize why I was drawn to this particular title. McClain speaks of how he was guided to Abnoba:

“Little did I know that I had been receiving subtle messages all my life. The voice that told me to stop on a hike and just absorb the divinity that surrounded me”1

So, if you are ever “called” by something but have never been able to figure out who or what was doing the calling, maybe the universe is trying to show you your pathway to the divine. It could be that you just need to allow your mind to open to a little more. Invite the signs in and embrace the energy

Reading about McClain’s journey with religion was an eye-opening experience for me. It has helped somewhat, with explaining the connections I feel towards certain places, objects, and especially churches or ancient sacred places; it never occurred to me that this connection might also be a sign. These feelings have always fueled my intrigue but never enough to follow any one religion exclusively. And it never occurred to me that it could be a singular Goddess calling to me.

McClain takes us on a spiritual journey of receiving the signs. It is a perfect reminder for us to be open to them and to practice mindfulness on a regular basis. The world and our surrounding universe are always talking. We just need to be open to listening.

It was refreshing and quite unexpected, to relate to something so closely, when, prior to reading this, I had never even heard of Abnoba.

There is so much more to learn about the many facets of Abnoba – her connections with children, slaves, healing, the homestead, boundaries, and transitions.

The traits she shares with other Goddesses and the connections that McClain so delicately lays out for us here.

McClain speaks of a peace that he feels –  in nature, mostly when he is in the woods – and how the words to describe it eludes him. It’s a personal connection with the earth, one that shouldn’t be put into words. I feel this on another level. Some things are just not made to be verbally expressed.

I was surprised to learn that Abnoba is the Goddess of hunting, amongst her other many areas of expertise, as the author did not strike me as the hunting type, and he does admit he has zero affinity with the hunting aspect.

McClain makes it clear however, that Abnoba’s connection with hunting is merely a symbiotic relationship. Nature and herself working together. It is a respectful connection. Humans need food and sustenance, as long as you are respectful, grateful, and your need for hunting is a worthy one, Abnoba will be the Goddess you call upon to aid you. 

We learn briefly about the polytheistic religion of Gaul, although not much can be said, as the recorded history of their Gods and worship has been lost to time. These types of religion are important to be reminded of though, as many places can be linked to the Gods and Goddesses who call to us now.

The myths and legends that we have for the likes of Thor and Loki in Norse mythology just do not exist for the Gods and Goddesses of Gaul. Although there are several inscriptions which bear the name Abnoba, we have nothing of significance to encapsulate her. Even the only known statue of her is missing its head.

With much of Abnoba’s history missing or simply never existing, you could be wondering how an entire book can be written about such a person. Well, most of what we read here is from McClain’s own interpretations. He has painstakingly compared and contrasted Abnoba to other Goddesses who share her assets, Goddess Diana, a Roman deity, holds a heavy comparison throughout.

And since McClain has dedicated himself to Abnoba, she speaks to him in many different ways. Through his prayers, meditations, and his dreams. It is with this that he is sure his interpretations have been correct. She leads him on the right path in order to give others an insight.

This may be difficult for some to understand, and McClain is absolutely not preaching here. His journey is for himself, and he strongly encourages others to seek out Abnoba for themselves. See what she shows them, see what she shows you. Each person will experience her differently.

There may be so much more to learn about Abnoba. It’s a difficult prospect when so much has been lost, but we can search within ourselves to know her better and ultimately share our discoveries with others.

Pagan Portals – Abnoba is a great starting point for this journey, there is just far too much to be said and to learn about Gaul, Abnoba’s ancient connections, where she was first represented, and to whom she calls. It cannot all be crammed into this book. I urge you to start your own research into this intriguing deity and see where the Goddess Abnoba visits your life.