Friday, April 13, 2007

When the bones take flesh

During this past week, I've been confined to home with a head-cold - the type that makes thinking, reading, anything involving left-brain concentration difficult. I've spent much of the time in a floaty-dreamy, not-quite-here state of consciousness, and the results have been interesting. It's been in some ways like a retreat. I wouldn't have chosen to spend days on end alone, or to avoid reading and other activities with which I normally fill my days. What I found I did want to do was to spend time with my SoulCollage cards, browsing Seena's articles on the website, listening to a couple of the audiofiles on the Kindred Spirits site, and at some stage during the week, I made a new card: My "La Loba" or "Singer over the Bones" card. This card is inspired by the story toldy by Clarissa Pinkola Estes in her marvellous book "Women Who Run With The Wolves", which is retold by Seena in the introduction to "SoulCollage"

Having made the card, I found myself writing about it in my Morning Pages the next day, and still in a dream-like state, I mused which, of the cards I'd made recently, had permitted me to finally make this card, and began to see a 'chain' of cards going back to the first cards I'd made. Yesterday, still musing on this - the way that La Loba represents the bringing together of the many disparate pieces of myself, I wondered if I laid out my deck, would I be able to see this flow from one card to another... and so I planned a ritual or ceremony of viewing my entire deck.
There was a problem, however: The missing cards. Should I leave them out? Should I print them out and create new versions of these cards? Should I create one composite card showing the four that "gave themselves" to my 31st March workshop? I wasn't sure. But before I came to making that decision, I had a few bits of correspondence to see to prior to my ceremony, and at my desk, searching through a folder I'd last had in my hand on 26th February, there I found my four missing cards! So, now my deck would be complete: All 90 cards would be present.

The details of how I laid out the cards went like this: I began with thinking "that belongs with that...", but soon found myself moving about the room, placing cards in a fairly random, intuitive fashion, and finally, they were all arrayed in a "sunburst" radiating out from a central grouping of my Source, Soul-Essence, La Loba, and a new card I was calling "Going Into the Dark Places", but which I think I'll be calling "The Hero's Journey" now. When the last card had been placed on the floor, I sat back, and contemplated the picture arrayed before me. The bones were gathered. And there was life in them. There IS life in them. Some cards, like ligaments and tendons, support other cards. Some fall togther in natural groupings, like ribs or vertebrae. I found my journal and pen in my hand and I wrote:

..... And the time came, when the woman saw - these are the pieces I have been gathering, and each piece has its place, and each piece holds another piece in its place.

And the woman saw that there was no 'wrong' or no 'late' or no 'slow' in her path. The time it took to gather the pieces was the time it took.

When she came to the place where she was ready to sing life into her bones, she was ready, because she had learnt to sing, learnt to breathe and to weep. She was ready to go down into the dark places and emerge again, because she had been able to see her own heart, because she had become ready to take away her mask, because she had taken the time to witness, because she had known the death of love, the loss of love, because she had learnt to love.

.....And so she came to the place of life, and she saw that her doubts and her pain were sisters to her joy and her dance. She saw that the gifts of the universe come in prayer, in fun, in ancient wisdom, in the guardianship of an angel, in sisterhood. She saw that she was held in the palm of God's hand. She saw that she was held by the love of many, by the gifts of musicians and artists; she saw that the Children's Fire is protected by the fire-carrier and the mystical child. She saw that all time is Now. There is this present moment. She saw that she has been blessed. And she was grateful. And she wept.

When I had spent a long, long time sitting with my cards, the music I'd had gently playing in the background turned to something very rhythmic and I just had to get up and dance. So I danced my cards. I danced la Loba. I danced the bones together, and sang them, and it was good.

I have been three-and-a-half years gathering these bones. They are not all of the bones of me, but they are of a piece. I was glad to see that each card has a resonance, each one has an energy I can identify in myself. I was glad the time came to do this. I was glad of my enforced retreat. I found myself so thankful for the mysterious process that is at work when we embrace SoulCollage.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Evolution of a SoulCollage deck

Last week, I mentioned at the end of my post on my missing cards (still no sign) that I felt my deck was getting ready for an evolutionary shift. That sounds rather dramatic, and in fact what I mean is that I'm only now beginning to consider removing cards from 'active' deck, or changing cards, and I've been prompted to make a few changes over the last week or two that really do demonstrate movement and growth within my deck. Before my 31st March workshop, I felt a strong urge to remove this card:

and replace it with this:

When I first made my 'Lillith' card, modesty made me represent her masked - I wasn't sure whether she was putting on the mask, or removing it. But now, it's clear she was removing it. I had made a scan before I'd added the mask, so it was easy to retrieve the 'unmasked' Lillith, and now this is the image that will be included in my deck.

Another card I made early in my acquaintance with SoulCollage was my Divine Mother card, and I've been aware that, while I love the images I included in the card, it would have been better to select a background for this card, rather than simply pasting them onto the black side of the matboard. So, a few days ago, I found the background, and here is the amended card:

It has really surprised me to see what a change this has made. The energy of the card is really now Divine Mother to me.

I was also really interested to read what Seena says about how her deck has evolved, especially about what was originally her Source card evolving into her Death card. I recall being surprised when I first saw Seena's Source card that there was a human image included, and thinking it had the 'going into the light' feeling of a death card to me. Now her Source card is without human images.

My first-ever card has always presented me with the question as to what it is exactly. I knew it wasn't my Source card, but also knew it was special in some way - and described it as my Creator card (while knowing it's not exactly that), and could say it has to do with duality. Reading Seen's description of the three transpersonal cards, I have a strong sense now that my Soul Essence card has been with me all along, and that is what I met in these images:

The final change involves one of my community cards. My community suit doesn't contain cards for everyone who's important in my life, but it does include cards for my son, my parents, some friends, and a few artists/writers/musicians, along with a couple of groups who are important parts of my community. I included photographs when I had them, and the one card which I felt has pictures of the person, but doesn't capture her spirit was the card I had made for my mother, using some photos, and some images from cards she had received during her first years in a nursing-home, where she still resides. Somehow, her spirit doesn't seem to be present in this card - almost like the reality of being with her now, when much of the time, she isn't 'present'; I wanted to honour my mother with a community card, but this card doesn't satisfy. Then, some images presented themselves during the past couple of weeks that called out to become my "real mother" card. - The card that captures the spirit of my mother. I am really happy that this card should replace the 'official' Mother card:

Now that I have become open to amending and/or replacing cards within my deck, it seems the refinements that are ready to be made are presenting themselves in a natural way. Does anyone else find they are making changes of this nature?

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Monday, April 02, 2007

A strange thing happened on the way to the workshop....

This weekend just past was a special weekend for me, in that I held my first public SoulCollage workshop on Saturday. Any others I've facilitated to date, I had been invited to come to a writers' group, a women's group, or a youth class to intoduce SoulCollage, but in this instance, I planned and advertised the day. 16 women came, including the wonderful Caroline, who travelled from England to participate and support, and it was a very special experience for me. It was an honour to witness the process at work in people who had just encountered it, and to see the beautiful cards produced intuitively and gracefully by these women. Feedback was very good, and I hope this was the first of many such days.

And a funny thing happened! (Well, synchronicities abounded, in fact, throughout the weekend). On Saturday evening, chilling and relaxing after the day's intense activity, Caroline and I were sharing one another's decks of cards, and she mentioned her Dalai Lama card. Well... when I went to find mine, it wasn't there, and I realised also that my Time card wasn't there. I didn't really become very concerned, assuming they were misplaced (and also, safe in the knowledge that I have copies scanned in my computer). Yesterday, a thorough search of all possible places they might have been turned up nothing. They're really missing. Ok.
Last night, I began to wonder - Are they the only cards missing? Are there others I haven't noticed that are also gone? So, I printed out a list of all my cards, and ran through the deck, ticking off the cards. Lo and behold! Two others were also gone - My autumn self, and Shyness. Hmm.

I think they've all given themselves to the weekend. If they never turn up again, they have gone to the place of that workshop, saying:

Dalai Lama:
Don't forget that this work has a spiritual element, but that you can also have fun. Take the spiritual aspects lightly. Nothing needs to be heavy. Be happy. Be joyful!

My Autumn Self

Remember to celebrate this weekend's
workshop as one of the fruits of the work
you have been doing in your life over the
past years.

You don't have to be held back by your natural reserve. You can be in groups of people, lead a group, and still be yourself.

Time - Past, Present & Future:
When you are working with Soul, time is not relevant. Soul knows past, present and future at once. Be prepared for time to lose its meaning.

How strange. It's Tuesday now, and the cards still haven't turned up. But the search for them has turned up some surprising and very useful ideas and images. I think my entire deck was getting ready for an evolutionary shift, and this has been part of the review. More on that tomorrow!

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