SO EXCITED! to have an interview with Tory Woollcott today! Thanks so much, Tory for agreeing to do this.
Tory created The Tessera Oracle in 2017 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Tory is a classically trained archaeologist, a maker of books, an educator, designer, and generally a person who can’t sit still. She is based in Toronto, Canada. Follow on Instagram @tesseraoracle To learn more about the Tessera Oracle and to purchase it go to https://www.tesseraoracle.com/.
In reading the material Tory posted on Kickstarter and on the Tessera page I learned that Tory has long been interested in divination and studied archeology while at University. I loved that she had a picture of her dog (and her) on the Kickstarter page. But I really loved the Tessera Oracle. It’s different from so many other forms of divination. The portability of it and the elegance for the wearer make it a wonderful way to hold your intentions and your answer close.
I’m posting our exchange here along with a photo of the Tessera. I’ve been using and wearing my Tessera and will share several readings in a future post.
1. I read that you studied various forms of divination, expanding your knowledge to find what was right for you. Was there a certain something that clicked and prompted you to create the Tessera Oracle?
Oh goodness! Starting with a hard one! I’ve been wondering about that a lot myself, there were so many little things and big things that sort of came together. I knew I wanted to make a new system that was customizable and modern, but it took me a really long time figure out how to make that work. There were several elements that came together to make the Tessera Oracle work: the symbolism, the meanings, the shape, the material. All these moving parts came together at the right moment.
I studied Archaeology when I was in university, and did my field work with mosaics and had a love for tessera from that, so the idea of making shapes that fit together was in my head since then.
I work as a cartoonist, and I started seeing enamel pins around at comic conventions — it hit me that enamel would be the look I wanted.
The symbols where a lot harder. I was trying really hard not to take too much from existing systems, because I wanted The Tessera to balance well with any other system you wanted to mix it with, and too much mirroring would distract from the distinct voices of other systems.
The big breakthrough was this very intense dream I had about them, where I was putting them down on a table and they had this wonderful sound. That was when I finally knew it was time to make them real.
2. What attracted you to divination to begin with?
Well the movie The Craft came out at a very formative age for me. ;P
Seriously though, when I first started understanding what divination was, I think it was the idea of being able to speak to the Divine. It was always less about seeing the future for me, and more about understanding the present, seeing perspectives I hadn’t considered.
3. I understand you studied archeology. Where (does) divination meet with your background?
Archaeology impacts so much of how I view the world, it’s hard to narrow this down into something I can explain. I feel like what I know about archaeology is simply that humans are human. The cultures and societies we create work in cycles, they rise and they fall, but humans remain human, and I think that’s why divination and fortune-telling is such a cultural consistency.
4. Do you have a favorite charm? Are you planning more charms? Another Kickstarter?
The fish probably is my favorite charm, I think we often mistake our own hard work for luck, especially women. I also like having a physical thing I can hold to remind me that my own work is valid.
And yes, I am planning so many more charms! I’m working on designing the next ones right now! I’m debating another Kickstarter though — I had so much fun and met so many amazing people doing it, but as I move forward with this project, I want to start releasing individual designs, so that people can start customizing their sets, and I’m not sure if Kickstarter is exactly the right way to do that.
5. How do you see wearable divination as helpful in accessing/tuning into our own intuitive sense?
I can only speak for my own experience, but I find I have a tendency to ignore my intuition, to value other people’s opinions over my own. Having the ability to carry a physical reminder of my intuition with me is incredibly valuable. Also, I’m not above asking for help! And having a talisman is always helpful (at least for me)!
6. Can intuition be honed? How has accessing your own intuition helped you personally and/or professionally?
I definitely think that intuition can be honed, I believe strongly that it is like any muscle — with practice, it can become extremely strong, and if left alone, it will atrophy. The way my intuition has helped me has been both huge and tiny. Intuition should never replace your other methods of decision-making, it should always be the spice in your soup, not the broth! There is always a risk of relying too heavily or exclusively on your intuition.
Since I’ve been using the Tessera, I think I’ve gotten much better at balancing the two aspects of my life. I think the way it has most improved my life is valuing my energy more. I’m starting to see what directions my energy needs to be directed to, and I’m being more able to control that flow by saying ‘no’ to people.
7. What charm are you wearing now? What is it saying to you?
I’m wearing the rabbit right now! I’ve been working nonstop on designing the new generation of Tessera, and I decided to change directions for a little while and finish up a different system I’ve had on the back burner for a while. I only gave myself a few weeks to finish, and that deadline is quickly approaching!
8. Is there a particular divination spread that you most like to use?
When I’m using The Tessera Oracle, I tend to rely very heavily on the six-pointed star, it’s definitely my go-to spread, I find it very straightforward and clear. I’m going to sound very simple and basic, but when I’m reading cards, I rely on a three-card pull, more than anything else. After I pull three, I like to expand out and build on it, based on the direction my intuition is pulling me.
9. How can people integrate the Tessera Oracle with other forms of divination?
I think the best way to do this would really be the same way you would integrate any two systems together — this would be through intention and following your intuition!
10. I read that you studied fortune telling. Can you say something about the difference between fortune telling and divination? Is there a reason or time you would choose one over the other?
It’s funny because I feel like they are two very similar things, but are different in some ways. I think the difference is something that different people feel in different ways. I often find myself using the terms interchangeably, but when I say fortune-telling, I tend to be referring to a more personal and easy going experience, something less formal, and a method of communicating with the self and the subconscious. When I think of divination, I think of it as being more a communication with an aspect of the Divine. I hesitate to say more ‘serious,’ but I definitely think of it as being more intense.
I believe very much that any system is capable of both of these experiences. I think it’s one of those ‘eye of the beholder’ situations — it’s more about the mindset you have when you go into the reading. I think they’re both equally important, because I believe connecting to the Divine and connecting to yourself are in many ways the same experience, just viewed through a different lens.
11. What would you like people to know about the Tessera Oracle?
I think the big thing I’d want people to know about The Tessera is that it’s a system that’s designed to be friendly and welcoming! I want anybody, regardless of their experience to be able to use it!
The thing that I’ve been most excited about is starting to see new spreads, to see how other people will start using and interpreting and modifying them! I’m starting to see more and more posts on Instagram, and I wish I could tell you how happy that makes me! I want people to know that fortune-telling and divination is here to help you, it’s here to help you explore yourself and your connection to the universe, that it’s safe, it’s fun, and it’s beautiful!