29 June 2016

getting my insta'game on

social media strategy

I have a confession: I have been experiencing a slight Instagram obsession of late.

This month I have been challenging myself unofficially to post to the platform each day using Chantelle Ellem's intensely popular Photo-a-Day challenge prompts between my own posts. The intention being to share a more behind-the-screen peek into my personal daily as a contrast to all the other output I create online, and to share my enjoyment of photography and visuals via a fun, casual platform that focuses on that.

It was an active decision to branch out onto the platform with more intention and purpose this year, and this past month I have been slowly building up my account and experimenting with my content. It has been an interesting learning curve getting into the habit of taking a photo a day - something that I don't generally do - but it has been fun to brainstorm each day how to interpret the prompts without straying too far from the authentic path.

My enthusiasm for getting to grips with the platform and see the eventual kind of interactivity that I am seeking has led me to investigate a number of classes and workshops on the topic and I have rather gone gung-ho and signed up to all of the learning resources I found! This is typical of me when diving into a new topic: research all the options and gather an umbrella of experts on the topic to get the fullest picture, before breaking out on my own.

getting my instagram game onphoto a day challenge

Before getting engrossed in these offerings and working through their more detailed content, I also gathered up a whole list of tips and advice from around the web on Instagram best practices for building a cohesive brand and compiled them into categorised lists for specific focal point actionables.

While there was lots of duplication across the board which reinforced and highlighted the key 'fundamentals' to any purposeful Instagram account, there were also some unique points that folks brought up to think about too that would be interesting to experiment with. I am very much a believer that any strategy and formula is good to a point, but once the majority are doing the same thing it is very hard (or very easy, depending how you swing it) to stand out. What happens is that lots of folks end up looking the same and what once was a successful formula is no longer. Your milage may vary, I think is the phrase...

Anyways that being said, I did think that my list would be a handy-dandy hotlist from which to get started. Over the coming month I am going to be playing with these ideas and those gathered through the various resources above to really see what works for me - both in the return and in the doing. If you would like a copy of my Instagram hotlist, you are very welcome to grab one here >>

instagram hitlist

In the meantime, come find me on Instagram.


// related //

My most favourite tools for Instagram
Learn with me: Instagram in 30
11 good reasons to Instagram


:: BEKA ::


Are you ready to get to the root of an issue? Are you at a crossroads and need to make a tough decision? Are you seeking a trusted advisor who tells it as it is with love and compassion? There is still time to request a Wild Reading for the coming New Moon. I would be honoured to be your guide. Onwards.

25 June 2016

all white texture inspiration

balenciaga fall winter 2013Balenciaga, fall-winter 2013 // Alexander Wang

white wedding dessert baroatmeal + lemon donuts // Russell Van Kraayenburg

knitted blanketpithvava female // Rowan Mersh

unfinished poemunfinished poem // Anca Gray

the hive airbnbthe hive // AirBnB, Mexico

Just a few of the white texture inspirations I have been exploring lately.

Am off on a spur-of-the-moment intuitive painting workshop today with local abstract artist, Fiona Neal. It's been a while since I got painty, so I am really looking forward to whatever the day may hold. Fun!

What are your plans this weekend?


:: BEKA ::

If you liked this post, please consider sharing it via your social media poison of choice. Thank you for your support!

21 June 2016

decks of interest

Happy Solstice Full Moon! Exciting times are afoot. Today I am pleased to announce that intuitive Wild Readings are available and in particular am open to requests for the upcoming New Moon, July 4th.

As I have been doing for the past 3 years, Wild Readings are currently drawn solely with Kim Krans' Wild Unknown first edition tarot deck. Together I have found we work incredibly well; their minimalist imagery of the animal world and familiar symbolism facilitating an honest and objective perspective on the current energy easing the way to resolution and breakthrough.

See more here.

However, an itch has been growing slowly of late. An itch to expand my horizons once more and to consider the possibility of incorporating something new and something of a different energy. It's been a while since I even looked at another deck so it was fun to window shop and see the possibilities of what is now out there. My favourites (and strong temptations) among what I found follow below...

hidden waters tarot
Three of Swords // The Hidden Waters Tarot, by Ana Tourian

The Hidden Waters Tarot

As soon as I saw these gorgeous cards I swooned. And then I got very excited! I absolutely adore that these cards are based on the Rorschach inkblot tests as the idea behind them has long intrigued me and been on my wish list of ‘strange and peculiar things to explore’. As you do...

Created with ink and paint by artist-illustrator, Ana Tourian, gestures and lines were incorporated into the then mirrored images to achieve the distinctive non-repetitive images, of which there are a full 78 plus reverse side.

With their vibrant use of colour and abstract mirrored shapes there is no fixed reference point to default to, save the annotation of classic naming conventions. It is a minor point and one I can live with, but I would love to have seen these as a set of pure image-only cards for an even more intuitive interpretation.

Overall though I really love the crossover of these cards from cartomancy into the realms of psychology and their potential for working with folks who maybe have difficulty with the common perceptions of the former.


The Devas of Creation

Likewise, this second of the two distinctly abstract decks I am looking at also has application in the mental health sphere for its use in art therapy.

One of two oracle decks I currently have my eye on, The Devas of Creation stretches across time, space and the invisible energy patterns of the universe. As a whole the series of ethereal images travel a journey from the nothingness of the Void, through creation in all its elements and incarnations, to the quantum realm before returning to the Void once more.

Though referenced for initial identification, Cilla Conway's intuitive paintings are a unique concept that is wholly subjective to personal and subconscious interpretation. What might be referenced as being ‘Spacetime’ (below right), for example, the viewer may see as the vortex, the spiral, or the whirlwind.

It is this subjectivity that really appeals to me as a compliment to the more formal structure of The Wild Unknown and other, 'traditional' decks.

devas of creation
Rebirth + Spacetime // Devas of Creation, by Cilla Conway


The Fountain Tarot

First of two collaborative decks for contemplation, The Fountain Tarot combines the work of an artist (Gruhl), a writer (Saiz) and a graphic designer (Todaro) to provide a very contemporary Tarot experience full of sacred geometry and delicate modern art.

With an additional card among the major arcana, the deck’s namesake ‘The Fountain’ is said to represent the unnameable force of which all and none are a part. A Source energetic.

Intended for use as an intuitive tool for self-discovery this is as much a collector's deck as it is a functional reading deck with its silver gilt-edge cards, comprehensive booklet and deluxe packaging.

jason gruhl jonathan saiz andi todaro
The Fountain Tarot // Jason Gruhl, Jonathan Saiz + Andi Todaro


The Starchild Tarot, Akashic Edition

Another more traditional tarology deck I am pondering over, this deck holds a certain local affinity for me being the creation of a visual artist from Vancouver Island.

Created over a span of two years, Danielle Noel designed The Starchild Tarot and this Akashic second edition with layers of mystical symbolism, personal photographs and hand illustrations to create a deck that feels otherworldly in the same way that the fantastical works of Roger Dean demonstrate.

With beautiful card backs depicting a lace-like pattern of esoteric mandalas and sacred geometry The Starchild Akashic Tarot is presented in a beautiful two-piece box. The cards themselves feature ‘spiritual keys’ to aid and supplement interpretation and exploration of the messages they have to share.

starchild tarot
The Starchild Tarot // Danielle Noel


The Wisdom of the Oracle

Lastly, there is Colette Baron-Reid’s Wisdom of the Oracle deck with its whimsical and surrealist digital illustrations by Jena DellaGrottaglia among the possible options for addition to my practice.

Blending elements of the I-Ching, Norse runes and Tarot’s major arcana this is the smallest deck I am exploring with just 52 cards in the set. However, this lack of cards does not make it any the lesser deck as each carries multiple interpretations through its dream-like depiction of mythical beings, animal guides, archetypes and symbols.

Browsing the cards feels rather like a journey with Alice in Wonderland with its soft colour palette, fine details and fantasy dream world imagery juxtaposing the natural and the bizarre with photographic and original artwork.

wisdom of the oracle
Wisdom of the Oracle, by Colette Baron-Reid // image c/o Being Erin


Far from seeking to usurp the strong bond I have with The Wild, all in all I guess what I am 'looking for' maybe is something to now contrast and complement The Wild Unknown. Something that has colour and is not predominantly nature-based. A man-made construct possibly, and more likely something more oracular and subjective in its interpretation.

Decisions, decisions...

In the meantime as I ponder, I would absolutely love to help you with an intuitive Wild Reading. A way for you to see the path forward with grace at a time of transition or stuckness. It is always an honour to do this and one I look forward to sharing with you soon. My door is open...


:: BEKA ::


// for more images //
The Devas of Creation, by Cilla Conway
The Fountain Tarot, by Jason Gruhl, Jonathan Saiz + Andi Todaro
The Hidden Waters Tarot, by Ana Tourian
The Starchild Tarot, Akashic Edition, by Danielle Noel
Colette Baron-Reid's Wisdom of the Oracle, by Jena DellaGrottaglia

17 June 2016

of mouse

harvest mouseharvest mouse // Paul Tymon

attention to detail

prolific

focus

quickness

dexterity

little fighter

flexibility

industrious

vigilance

trust in Source

well-organised

big picture

let go that which no longer fits


// further reading //
Indigenous Medicine Wheel for All People, L.M Bluehawks Stec
Discovering Your Spirit Animal, Lucy Harmer
Animal Spirit Guides, by Steven Farmer
Animal Speak, by Ted Andrews

13 June 2016

pinterest pet peeves... and what to do about them

things that annoy me on pinterest

I have been on Pinterest a long time. I honestly can’t remember when I started, though I think it was in the early days of when an invite was required to join. Which, you know, makes me utterly prehistoric by social media user standards!

In that time I have not gone crazy with pinning. I even at one time deleted all my pins and stopped using the site for a while. But with the expansion of private boards and some changes to the game play, I have found it to be a really handy place to begin my research into a topic and find beautiful things and have slowly been coming back to openly using it again. And I'll admit, nor can I ignore it's crazy-useful ability to bring visitors to my blog.

But that aside, Pinterest is far from perfect (like most things) and there are a few particularly recurring 'bugbears' that make it less than the smooth resource I know it can be.


1. No man's land

Oh crikey! The internet is a living, breathing creature and things evolve rapidly, so I get it. But Pinterest is fast becoming riddled with a graveyard of places lost in the river of time.

Pins that have broken dead ends, that take me to a home or other page working on a rolling chronology, and pins that link to an image host page (example) rather than the article they are connected with.

Instead I ask this:

Install and make use of the Pinterest browser button. For a long while I resisted and would add pins manually, sometimes I still do but with the Pinterest extension it makes life so much easier. And when pinning that pin, check it is connecting to the permalink.

What is a ‘permalink’ you may ask? A permalink is a permanent static hyperlink to a particular web page or entry in a blog. In other words, this link makes it easy to locate a specific article again in future, unlike choosing the home page or some other rolling page that updates as new entries are added.

An example of a permalink looks like this:
http://gingerurchin.blogspot.com/2016/06/pinterest-pet-peeves.html

ginger urchin on pinterest// a few of my current boards


2. Words matter

Fortunately Pinterest has now put a limit to this, but there are still plenty of pins with uber-long descriptions/information. So much so in many instances that it defeats the point for jumping to the original source and diminishes the credit given to the creator.

Apart from this though, such long descriptives stop the visual flow when scanning the stream and do not actually add anything to the search function of Pinterest. Same goes for non-existent or reactionary descriptives. Likewise hashtag overkill is equally unhelpful and visually intrusive.

Instead I ask this:

Pinterest is a visual beast, so be selective with the hashtags and verbage. Better still use keyword-kind descriptives for the pin. Though the limit on Pinterest is topped at 500 characters, a 200-character format that uses intelligible sentence structure has been shown to be more effective in getting pins reshared and therefore found by others.

The bonus of this is that if you are searching within your own boards to pull up all relevant pins, you have a way better success rate of finding them again too.


3. Spam-unlike

Oh my gods! With the rise in popularity of businesses using Pinterest to drive traffic (see above), there is the inevitable trend too of spam disguised as pretty stuff invading the Pinterest stream.

This is frustrating to users who eagerly click on what appears to be an interesting and relevant pin and *whomp!* you are redirected to an advert for something completely unrelated. Obviously it works, but why?!

And then there is the more obvious advertising for gaming apps and the like. This is something that is more under the control of Pinterest HQ than it’s users, but when a site is self-declared to be a “tool for visual bookmarking that helps you discover and save creative ideas” I do not feel that these things align with it’s leading mission.

Instead I ask this:

Be wary of what you find and don’t unwittingly promote spam or other irrelevant things. Folks should be free from that. It’s not always obvious, especially in the case of the ‘spam disguised as pretty’, so a good rule of thumb is ‘like’ before you ‘pin’. Then when you do come across it, help others by using the integrated option to report it.

ginger urchin on pinterest// my current stream of likes waiting to be sorted


4. Repetition overwhelm

Seemingly with an estimated 50 billion pins across 1 billion boards Pinterest would appear to have a mind-boggling wealth of information and great ideas at users’ fingertips. However of that, only 20% is actually original content!

Which means there’s a whole lot of repetition and multiple graphics for the same sources. Let alone the incestuous nature of like-creating-like. Pinterest may be a source for finding and cataloguing completed ideas, but it is not a stream of true creativity and inspiration. On the other hand it is a great place to observe rising trends...

The problem with this is that when researching an idea there is only a limited pool of resources to look at. This is why Pinterest is great as a starting point, but far from the final destination. With all the duplicate entries it can be confusing and frustrating to sift through all the extraneous pins on the way to finding the gold.

Instead I ask this:

Look outside of the Pinterest goldfish bowl for true and original inspiration. Be a contributor more than a recycler. Make the beauty that is the Pinterest experience a place of discovering and saving new creative ideas from new sources. Get out there and pin original content and shift the balance between the pins and the repins of this world.


Lastly, a rule of thumb

If any of this is to go by, my best advice is to ‘like’ before you ‘pin’ when it comes to repins within the Pinterest matrix. Pin carefully and with respect to the maker. And when you get a moment consider auditing your pins and pull out those that have gone astray. If you really love them, go old-school and save them offline.

Ultimately slow down and take the time to check the sources, save the truly good quality and unique finds, and make the Pinterest experience that much better for all involved. I and your fellow pinners will thank you for it.


How do you feel about these bugbears? Have I missed your pet pin’ peeve? Let me know in the comments. In the meantime if I haven't spoiled all the fun, consider joining me on Pinterest.


:: BEKA ::


// further reading //
The Problem with Pinterest, by Emily May
When to Pull the Pin, by Kal Barteski
Google Needs to Fix the Pinterest Problem and Soon, by Michael Martinez

09 June 2016

diy month-to-view wall calendar

diy blogger wall planner

Since moving back into the rhythm of blogging again and all the planning that goes with it I have quickly found that my old system was no longer cutting it. Or it did, but rather it was not the best. So I went looking for a solution that would do better.

Basically I needed something that was simple, preferably inexpensive and easy to make and maintain, that would be flexible and not date restricted, and that would not put too much wear and tear on my walls. Some of the ideas I found can be seen here.

After lots of consideration of all the options, in the end I came up with a solution that answered all these parameters. Other than treating myself to some new, special sized and coloured post-it's, everything else came from my stash so the thriftiness of the finished project makes me happy.

diy blogger wall planner

Supplies + materials

:: Blank index cards, 12.5 x 7.5 cm
:: Numerical rubber stamps
:: Ink pad
:: Washi tape
:: Post-it notes, 5 x 5 cm
:: Pen
:: Scissors (not shown)


Putting it together

1. Print a series of numbers onto the lower half of 31 blank index cards using numerical rubber stamps.
2. Cut/tear short strips of washi tape, approximately 3.5cm for each index card, plus a few extra.
3. Make a note of your prefered calendar layout: I chose to run each week left-to-right, Monday-to-Sunday.
4. Begin sticking cards to chosen wall starting with what will be the bottom row.
5. Build up four further rows until all numbered cards are used. Adjust grid into alignment as necessary.
6. Fill in remaining gaps with spare blank cards +/ reverse extra dates not required for current month.
7. Use post-its to note blog post schedule + content plan along with key deadlines, appointments and events that need special mention to dated cards.

When each month ends cards can be easily removed from the wall and shuffled as needed. Over time as cards get tatty they can easily be replaced with supplies on hand.

diy blogger wall plannerdiy blogger wall planner

I generally don't like having too many calendars and datebooks preferring a one-for-all system, but for the purposes of organising my blog schedule this was a great solution, helping me plan my todo list and keep my hyper-brain from over-thinking. Which is always nice...


:: BEKA ::


If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with your friends using an option below. Thank you for your support.

05 June 2016

free photographic desktop wallpaper

free desktop wallpaper download android
| 1920 x 1200 | 1600 x 1200 | 1280 x 1024 | 1024 x 768 | Android |


Hello fiends! A little while ago I had fun putting together the first in a series of desktop wallpapers I hope to share with you every so often on this blog. Just because.

This first one is a gorgeous macro close-up of one of my inherited Black Hollyhocks, Alcea rosea 'Nigra' taken a couple of summers ago. This year's blooms have yet to come but the low stems are already growing in and it looks like we will have a bounteous crop!

Attracting devas and giving shelter to the fae folk, the Hollyhock aids too in the flourishing of those living nearby. In particular the dried seed pods can be used to increase success in the material world, the flow of money and the acquisition of new possessions. Medicinally, the flowers can be steeped in water and used to ease irritations and inflammations to mouth, throat and bladder.

Being deer resistant they work well in our garden, though sadly last year's plants were ravaged by grasshoppers. I have my finger's crossed that it won't be the same case this summer as I really would like to enjoy them in their full glory. If anyone has any bright ideas as to how I can insect guard them naturally, please let me know in the comments - thank you!

free desktop wallpaper download android

In the meantime, if you liked this I would love it if you share this post with your friends and others who may like it too. Enjoy!


:: BEKA ::


// further reading //
Black Hollyhock, at Alchemy Works
A Compendium of Herbal Magick, by Paul Beyerl
A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Year, by Ellen Evert Hopman

// credit //
Kindly note that these images are for personal, non-commercial use only. I would appreciate your including credit to me and a link back to this post when sharing. Thank you for your cooperation and good karma to all.

01 June 2016

exploring the light + dark of tarot

kim krans wild unknown tarot readings

To celebrate the official rebirth of this blog today, I thought it would be apt to give away some quick tarot readings in time for the new moon this weekend. I’ll be properly reopening my full tarology services very soon but wanted to offer a little taster as a small thank you for today, and because I really do enjoy intuiting the cards for others.

But before I give you more on the giveaway I wanted to share with you a couple of cards that are particularly significant to me from my working deck, The Wild Unknown.

The reason being that I am constantly fascinated as to how the cards speak to us as individuals, and in particular the ones that trigger the greatest fear and enthusiasm. It’s in these places that things get really interesting.

Also if you are in possession of a new deck this is a really easy way to begin building a relationship with it as you get to peek into the full range that the deck will offer: from the lightest joy to the darkest depths.

kim krans wild unknown tarot readings

Nine of Swords

For me this is a truly disturbing card. One of the ‘big three’, I would say, from The Wild Unknown. The Nine of Swords is quite vile in its depiction of rot and decay. It is riddled with worms and wriggly things. Gore, chaos and sharp, cutting things. There is great torment here.

But, the Swords tell us, it is the torment and chaos of the mind, thought and word, not deed. This is an agony then self-inflicted. Our own ideas and thinking is what can wound us to such intensity.

And so in bringing even this dark secret to the surface we can shed light on it and find compassion to see the truth of what is. So too we see our leg traps and self-sabotaging habits and with awareness brought, begin the process of mindfulness.


Daughter of Wands

In contrast, the Daughter of Wands holds a beauty, elegance and ease that really appeals. The symbology of the easy figure of eight that Snake weaves around the flowering branch that is Wand speaks of an eternal flourishing cycle of creativity and rebirth.

For me the medicine of Snake and that of the flowering Hawthorn are in an important coexistence and would be worthy of further investigation to deepen the teaching of this relationship.

Finally the dark background brings to mind a place hidden within the earth, and it is here that any perceptible creativity is first begun. Snakes, particularly garter snakes of which this one reminds me, hold safe haven underground and the way she is wrapped about the blooming wand I sense a guardianship of creative endeavours being told.


Of the Dark + Light

Read in unison then, the Nine of Swords and Daughter of Wands bring a simple message: that while the creative process can be sabotaged from within, so too can the mental turmoil be healed through creative expression. That they are partners. Daughter reminds us that creativity can be the greatest ally and warrior to our mental wellbeing.

Though gruesome in its portrayal, the Nine simply warns us we need to be watchful of allowing the mind to race into dark places and the ease at which anxiety and depression stops the creative process in its tracks. We need to hold onto the truth that these horrors are not true things. They are not real. And to overcome them we need to continue all the same.

kim krans wild unknown tarot readings

New Moon Tarology Giveaway

And so, are you ready for a little tarology insight this new moon? Something to support your next step? I hope so.

In honour of my new blog launch I would like to gift 5 single-card Wild Readings this new moon to you in thanks. Readings will will consist of a high-res photo of the card drawn for you along with a short narrative of your tarot medicine.

To enter, simply comment below telling me one thing that you are looking forward to this coming moon. I will confirm winners at the bottom of this post on the New Moon, Saturday 4th June.

Good luck!


:: BEKA ::


**UPDATE** Thank you everyone for your support! It truly means a lot and I am really grateful. Single-card, New Moon Wild Readings will be sent to you early this coming week. I will be in touch. xo