Elle a naturally gifted psychic, medium, tarot reader, mystic and spiritual advisor based in Kitchener-Waterloo. Her spiritual journey began when she received her gifts from her godfather many years ago. She has been practicing divination for as long as she can remember. It has been a tool that helped her find peace and purpose in life. She uses her art as a divination and meditation tool. As part of her journey, she intends to help and learn from others through her practice.
Through her readings, she offers spiritual advice on past, present and future situations. I can help you find peace in yourself, relationships, family and career through the use of tarot cards, oracle cards, pendulum and other divination tools.
1. What is the significance of your business name, White Owl Mystic?
Since I was young I have had a fascination with owls. My late grandmother even nicknamed me her little owl. When she passed I tattooed a little Greek byzantine owl on my left wrist in her honour and to commemorate my Greek heritage. As I developed my own divination practice and through consulting other spiritual practitioners I began to learn one of my spirit guides was in fact, a white owl. So, when I decided to brand my business I thought it would only be fitting to use the white owl in the name.
2. How do your spiritual gifts affect your artistic practice?
I feel they go hand-in-hand; my art is part of my spiritual practice. I use my artwork as a meditation tool. I believe creative work is a transcendent process. Recently I've been working with digital collage and animation. Often inspired by my spiritual research of sacred geometries, tarot symbolism, divination, astrology and the like, while creating a piece I am often researching and intuitively working with images. It really isn't until a piece is complete that I truly understand it's significance in my life and practice. Sometimes after finishing a collage it may take a few months to realize what subconscious ideas were influencing the creative process. In the end, I feel the pieces inform me more than I inform them.
3. On average how long does it take you to finish an art piece?
My current work usually will take a day or two to produce, but the research and inspirational aspects usually marinate for a while. When I have more time on my hands the output is obviously much faster; I can produce a couple of collages a day. I also find I have creative spurts. I could complete a collage or animation in one day, while others take a week because the intuitive process takes longer. For example, I have been working with one idea recently relating to the sacred feminine. It's been rattling around in my head for the last couple weeks, but I don't anticipate the actual production of the piece taking much longer than an afternoon.
4. Do you think it's necessary to have a formal education in order to be an artist?
Education is a funny thing. I was originally trained as an architect and worked in the field for a while, but I left that path to become an art and technology teacher. So yes, I do believe in education. That is however, a very personal journey. In as much as artistic skills can be taught some are obviously innate. I tell this to my students all the time. It may have come easier for Picasso to paint and draw, but that doesn't mean you can't get there with enough time and practice. The most valuable part of my education was the development of my craft. My artistic skills were cultivated in an educational institution, but that's not to say one cannot learn them on their own. I think it's important for artists to devote themselves to learning about their craft, artists, culture, and history because we're part of a collective. Our role is to communicate and there are tools we can learn that may help us to do so. If you spend years learning about drawing, painting skills and art history outside of a university or college, but truly devote yourself to learning the craft why can't you call yourself an artist? I am always reminded of the famous architect, Tadao Ando, who had no formal training in architecture. He did, however, manage to cultivate the necessary knowledge and create spectacular buildings. So to answer your question, I would say formal education isn't necessary, but education and a thirst for understanding your craft is a necessary part of learning any skill.
5. What is your typical day like?
I will usually wake up to a screaming and crying baby and get ready for my day in a whirlwind. At the moment I work as a teacher full time, so I'll usually go to my classroom, and do a small meditation there before I organize myself for the day. At the end of the day, I'll come home and again attend to the beautiful craziness that is parenthood with my wonderful husband. Once our son is asleep I'll usually take some time for self-care, whether that is doing some reading, meditating, tarot, prep for upcoming meet-ups/workshops and of course spend some time with my husband. On occasion I'll have clients come for psychic medium readings, but since going back to work I've started scheduling those on weekends. With our current parenting schedule, the time I devote to my spiritual and artistic practice has obviously downsized, but I try to get in as much as I can in the free moments I do have.
6. Who or what inspires you?
The little details of daily life, my family, my son and challenges especially. I find the most inspirational moments were when I found myself overwhelmed. That's usually when I would turn to my art to help myself make some sort of sense of it all.
As far as other artists, I have a range of people from which I am constantly inspired, Surrealist ideas of course, but I'm very inspired by contemporary artists that have found a similar path to mine. Artists like: Kim Krans, the author of the Wild Unknown Tarot deck, Leela Hoehn Robinson, Ruby Warrington, James R. Eads, Mystic Mamma and UUSI design studio, to name a few, bridge spirituality and art. I also find a lot of inspiration in my reading of spiritual practice - stories of people trying to make sense of their existence. Learning about various religious practices and how they coincide and overlap is also very inspiring to me.
7. You teach a workshop on discovering intuition. Do you think that everyone is naturally intuitive, but we just need to tap into it?
Definitely. I think we are all born with the ability to connect with our intuitive selves and higher spiritual worlds. It's like a muscle - we just need practice.
8. Have you ever received any negative feedback from anyone about your spiritual gifts?
Sure, but that will often come from people who either don't believe in these systems or are frightened by them. I was raised in a very Greek Orthodox household where witchcraft and tarot were the devil's work. I think a lot of the negative connotations of these things are created both out of fear and a society of exclusion. We all believe our ideas are right, and when something contests them we very easily go on a defensive path. I think it's important for me and other practitioners to understand that we need to continue a dialogue to help remove stigmas and use these conversations as moments for us to learn as well. I am currently working in a very religious setting where I cannot openly discuss my beliefs and practice. It has been hard, but I try to keep private out of respect for my students, as I know they may not be taken very well by the staff and parents. However, in the moments where I have been able to do so (with some trusted staff members) I find it very enriching to learn about other practices while discussing my own. Respect is key.
9. Do you have any advice for emerging or aspiring artists?
Just keep going. Learn and use the tools we have at our disposal in this global climate to your advantage. Take risks. That voice in your head that is telling you, you shouldn't or can't do something, take it with a grain of salt and find its origin (actually, just use it as fuel!). It's important for us to be uncomfortable, that's when the greatest learning occurs. And most importantly, follow your gut. It's never wrong. It might not be the path you had envisioned, but you'd be surprised at how things unfold perfectly if you let go of fear and preconceived ideas of success.
10. What's next for you?
I am trying to consolidate previous images while creating new images for a set of oracle/intuition cards I hope to publish. This is a long-term goal, but definitely something I've been cooking up for a while.
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Interview by Glodeane Brown
All photos provided by the artist