On January 1, 2016 I began a daily project. The hashtag was #dailyanimalart on Instagram, where I shared them each day. Baby C was just 13 weeks old. The idea was to create an animal a day. Some days I knew I might only have 5 minutes. Other days I might get lucky and have an hour or two. Some days it would be somewhere in between. I knew I’d probably miss some days, too, but I made that an ok part of the plan, too. I tried to be gentle with myself but also to hold myself to my commitment, so I could stay in touch with my creative self while swimming through the murky, mysterious, intense waters of brand-new motherhood.

Some days were easier than others. Some days were practically impossible.

Badger welcomed in the project, in a quick 10-minute sketchbook painting, on January 1, 2016:

A longtime companion of mine, Badger helps me focus and find the space, the quiet, intense energy, and the determination I need when creating goals and commitments in my creative life. I don’t think it’s surprising that he is who emerged first in the animal series.

Just 3 days into the project, on January 3, 2016, a Fox painting emerged out of nowhere that lit me up inside in a way I hadn’t felt inspired creatively for quite some time. That’s her above. I remember I got to spend about an hour working on this one, part of it while Coen was sleeping beside me in our little rock n’ play, part of it while I held him on my lap as he watched me paint. It was fast and free and one of those magical times that a painting seemed to come through me rather than from me. I still feel a bit goose-bumpy when I look at this painting, which now sits on the mantle above the fireplace in our living room.

I consider this Fox painting the catalyst for the series as it continued for the remainder of 2016.

20 days into the project, on January 20, 2016, a Hummingbird emerged (she is so pretty that I decided to put her on the front of the deck box!) and lit the way for the rest of the project.

This was the first time I’d added the animal name underneath the painted image, and this sealed the deal for me. I continued to create animal paintings in this format for the rest of the year, and I ended up painting 164 of them in all! (There were 242 animal paintings total in 2016; I still headed to my sketchbook on some days when I didn’t have it in me to create a more robust painting.)

Hummingbird energy is all about JOY. Tapping into and appreciating the sweet nectar of life. Accomplishing the impossible. Saying YES to yourself, your life, your dreams. She teaches you to seek out and appreciate the magnificent beauty in all things.

Fox is about Invisibility, adaptability, keen senses and awareness of your surroundings. Camouflage. Cunning, charm, and magic. Shape-shifting and blending in, which will allow you to see and hear things you might otherwise not, to receive messages from Spirit, and to discover hidden truths. Fox is also a protector of family and home, always returning from her magical adventures to the warmth and safety of the den. She teaches you to follow your natural instincts.

Fox and Hummingbird. Two animal allies who’ve walked with me for some time. I didn’t actually realize until this moment that these two allies are the ones who held my hand through this project, beckoning and inspiring me to move forward, even on the days when I didn’t want to because I felt tired, lost, broken, or uninspired, depleted, or simply at the end of my rope.

I never set out to create an oracle deck. I think the oracle deck set out to find me, with the help of Fox and Hummingbird. I’m so grateful I listened, because now I hold this beautiful deck in my hands and it seems that I did accomplish something sort-of impossible. The fact that the images in this deck were created in tiny pockets of time during my baby’s first 15 months of life is magical to me. I’m feeling tearful and filled with gratitude and wonder at the parallel growth of my most magnificent creation to date – my child (who turns TWO tomorrow!) – and this deck, which is my most favorite and precious art project to date.

Everything is intertwined. We are not alone. Help and guidance are available in unexpected places if your heart is open for it (and sometimes even when it’s not open for it).

All this to say: this sweet precious deck is now available for pre-order.

The decks will be arriving here in early to mid-October, and your deck(s) will be lovingly shipped to you just as soon as I’ve got them in my eager hands.

I hope you’ll find comfort, support, beauty, magic, hope, JOY, and whatever else it is that you need in this deck. Your animal allies are waiting for you inside. I promise.