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Interview With BackyardBanshee

I’m Lizzie, or L.B. I'm in my mid 30’s, and I've been interested in witchcraft, Paganism and divination since I was young. Growing up, I was always into dark macabre things. My mam had a holistic business with a friend, and I was always borrowing or rehoming their crystals, and pinching her angel cards. I started by reading books on Wicca, as that's what my local bookstore and library had. I also read history and folklore books. That led me to having a ‘pick what I fancy’ type of path.

I tried to develop my psychic ability in my teens, but I wasn't following the basics, and my energy was dropping. I had a lot going on in life, and it freaked me out to the point that I stopped, and didn't pick it up until my early 20s. I secretly started learning tarot, and had readings at Mind, Body Spirit fairs. I was consuming everything I could online, there was so much more available.

Spells, charms, spell jars and kitchen witchery were my biggest interests until I went to an art museum in Norway. I was struck by the ink and patterns in one exhibit. Listening to the other tourist’s interpretations reminded me of Klecksography and the Rorschach test. I subsequently discovered a form of ink divination called Encromancy after reading about different methods of divination, and started to test my spirituality. I was open about it with people that I was close to, but found that the online community was absolutely game changing. It was amazing to be able to share knowledge and find resources, even so, I found it really difficult to find people like me. 

I was pregnant, trying to set up two businesses, and looking for investors. I had a big “I don't want to do this anymore” feeling. I was reading tarot as a self-care practice while on bed rest. I did readings for a few friends, and then I was recommended to someone else, and it took off from there. It's something I really love to share with other people. I don't like the traditional tarot imagery, but I love some of the interpretations of the original Rider-Waite-Smith structure by amazing, independent creators across the world.  

Seeing so many people putting their work out there helped me feel more confident, so I created Backyard Banshee. I made perfume oils, and did different types of readings. It's been almost five years. I have a monthly residency for tarot readings, I read at events, and I recently supported The George House Trust fundraiser for World AIDS Day. That was amazing as a queer, bi, witch, to be out there in my community, sharing my passion and skill in an environment that was supporting people that I care about.

Backyard Banshee was named after two concepts. Banshees, much like the death card in tarot, are misunderstood. They're depicted as vengeful, malevolent female spirits, wailing and shrieking as they warn of impending doom, however this is not entirely true. The name Banshee comes from the Irish Gaelic term bean sí, which is like a fairy woman. In Celtic mythology, Banshees would warn families of impending deaths, and would mourn with them. They acted as a messenger, or guide, between the living and the dead. It's through time and changes in culture that the once revered Banshee has gained a negative, evil, connotation. Banshees would be with families for generations, this is the type of support I want to offer my clients. 

The backyard aspect describes the casual nature of my readings. For me, tarot and divination is a method of support, introspection and self-care. It's more like coffee and a catch up in the garden with a friend. I want to create a space that allows us to work together to build the support that fits your journey. No one's backyard looks the same, much like everyone's description of a Banshee would be different. It's individual to you.

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