Bat for Lashes’ Natasha Khan on her enchanting illustrated oracle deck, Motherwitch

The artist speaks to It’s Nice That about the visual inspirations and “compulsive” process behind the mammoth project that began while she was pregnant in lockdown.

22 November 2023

Bat for Lashes’ Natasha Khan is known for her intertwining pieces of sonic and visual art, and often works with different visual media such as collaging and painting in between albums. But this project is the first that came out of a kind of creative “flow state”. In the quietness of lockdown, in between growing vegetables and going for yet another walk, Natasha – who was pregnant with her first child – had an empty notebook and felt compelled to draw. She had no plan as to what would come out on the page, just a need to “channel images”.

What emerged almost unconsciously was a drawing of a pregnant woman, standing with two other characters, a maiden and a crone. This became the Three of Witches, the first in a series of 40 drawings that Natasha describes as “an exploration of the facets of the divine feminine and stages of life,” as well as “all these different fragments of my psyche and personality”. Each drawing forms an oracle card in a new deck titled Motherwitch, which she’s since spent three years producing and includes a guidebook for exploring the meanings and interpretations behind the imagery, accompanied by a collection of other visual and sonic artworks.


Natasha Khan: Motherwitch (Copyright © Natasha Khan, 2023)

Though her visual work has never been so “channelled”, usually more intentional, this “flow state” Natasha entered while drawing the cards is familiar from her music writing process. “For some reason these drawings wanted to come out that way,” Natasha says. “I’ve worked in so many different forms of creativity for so long, that however bodies of work want to present themselves, I’m open to it all now.” This seems apt for this project, given how Natasha hopes people will read and use the deck – in a way that is open to whatever “hidden realms or mysteries of their own imaginations” might present themselves. “To me, that’s intrinsic in the creative process… opening up the channels to the collective unconscious, being receptive to muses or inspiration. Being quiet, listening, being inquisitive.” She suggests people could use the deck as a way of getting to know themselves better, to work through an issue, or even to work through a project that’s stuck. Readers can explore what messages and resonances they individually find in the deck, using the guidebook for clarity.

The cards are beautifully evocative, with texture and detail that makes gives them a handmade look. This was achieved by scanning in the energetic original drawings, made with black thin-tipped fibre pen in Natasha’s notebook, and digitally placing them on top of hand-painted gouache backgrounds – each card with their own specific colour created by the artist to complement its depiction and messages.

Many of Natasha’s own artistic muses have influenced the visuals of the deck. Since moving to LA five years, ago, she says she’s become deeply interested in abstract expressionist female artists and sacred geometry painters; Agnes Pelton and the Desert Transcendentalists; Gauguin, Dali, Hilma Af Klint and Helen Frankenthaler. She also describes visiting the Krotona Institute of Theosophy in Ojai Valley, a centre dedicated to the teachings of occult pioneer Madame Helena Blavatsky, and exploring its library and on-site labyrinth. After her own art degree, Natasha spent a lot of time studying myth and psychoanalysis, fairytales and archetypes, and has been “quietly” reading tarot over the years. “So many facets of where art and spirituality and esoterics combine for me,” she concludes. “I feel like it had been building up all these years and finally came exploding out.”

Motherwitch by Natasha Khan is released by London-based wellness brand She’s Lost Control, out today.

GalleryNatasha Khan: Motherwitch (Copyright © Natasha Khan, 2023)

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Natasha Khan: Motherwitch (Copyright © Natasha Khan, 2023)

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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