Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Muses

Working with the Muses provides me with inspiration in my craft work and writing, if I take time to meditate or sit still with the Muses prior to starting my creations there seems to be another force working with me guiding me whilst I create. My creations seem to flow with no difficulty and I just sit in an open heart space and I just have an inner knowing of what products to use, colours, textures etc and I am lost in a space with no time or day to day cares.

Although traditionally the Muses were associated with Music, Song and Dance I personally find that they can assist us with any king of creative pursuits we undertake.

So I thought I would investigate and share with you the origins and myths of the Muses and how each one has a different role.

The origin description from is as follows:

The Muses in Greek mythology, poetry, and literature, are the goddesses of the inspiration of literature, science and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge, related orally for centuries in the ancient culture that was contained in poetic lyrics and myths.

Photo Source
The nine muses, clio, Thalia, Erato, Euterpe, Polyhymnia, Calliope, Terpsischore, Urania, Melpomene on a Roman sarcophagus (2nd century AD, from the Louvre)

In Boeotia, the homeland of Hesiod, a tradition persisted that the Muses had once been three in number. Diodorus Sirculus, quotes Hesiod to the contrary, observing:

Writers similarly disagree also concerning the number of the Muses; for some say that there are three, and others that there are nine, but the number nine has prevailed since it rests upon the authority of the most distinguished men, such as Homer and Hesiod and others like them.

Diodoris also states that Osiris first recruited the nine Muses, along with the Satyrs or male dancers, while passing through Ethiopia, before embarking on a tour of all Asia and Europe, teaching the arts of cultivation wherever he went.

The Muses, the personification of knowledge and the arts, especially literature, dance and music, are the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (memory personified). Hesiod's account and description of the Muses was the one generally followed by the writers of antiquity. It was not until Roman times that the following functions were assigned to them, and even then there was some variation in both their names and their attributes: 
Calliope -epic poetry - emblem is writing tablet
Clio -history - emblem scrolls and books
Euterpe -song and lyric poetry - emblem Aulos (an ancient Greek musical instrument like a flute)
Thalia -comedy and pastoral poetry - emblem comic mask
Melpomene -tragedy - emblem tragic mask
Terpsichore -choral dance and song - emblem lyre and is often dancing
Erato -love poetry - emblem Cithara (an ancient Greek musical Instrument in the lyre family), and a crown of roses
Polyhymnia -sacred poetry/hymns -emblem veil and is often seen with a pensive expression
Urania -astronomy - emblem globe and compass

Three ancient Muses were also reported in Plutarch's Quaestiones Conviviviales. The Roman scholar Varro relates that there are only three Muses: one who is born from the movement of water, another who makes sound by striking the air, and a third who is embodied only in the human voice. They were Melete or Practice
Mneme or Memory and 
Aoide or Song.

Photo Source Gustave Moreau, Hesiod and the Muse (1891) Musee d'Orsay Paris
However the Classical understanding of the muses tripled their triad, set at nine goddesses, who embody the arts and inspire creation with their graces through remembered and improvised song and stage, writing, traditional music, and dance.

In one myth, King Pierus, king of Macedon, had nine daughters he named after the nine Muses, believing that their skills were a great match to the Muses. He thus challenged the Muses to a match, resulting in his daughters, the Pierides, being turned into chattering magpies for their presumption.

Sometimes they are referred to as water nymphs, associated with the springs of Helicon and with Pieris. It was said that the winged horse Pegasus touched his hooves to the ground on Helicon, causing four sacred springs to burst forth, from which the muses were born. Athena later tamed the horse and presented him to the muses.

Antiquity set Apollo as their leader, Apollon Mousagetēs. Not only are the Muses explicitly used in modern English to refer to an artistic inspiration, as when one cites one's own artistic muse, but they also are implicit in words and phrases such as "amuse", "museum" (a place where the muses were worshipped), "music", and "musing upon".

According to Hesopd's Theogony (7th century BCE), they were daughters of Neus, the second generation king of the gods, and the offspring of Mnemosyne, goddess of memory. For Alcman and Mimmermus, they were even more primodial, springing from the early deities, Uranus and Gaia. Gaia is Mother Earth, an early mother goddess who was worshipped at Delphi from prehistoric times, long before the site was rededicated to Apollo, possibly indicating a transfer to association with him after that time.

Photo Source
Polyhymnia, the muse of sacred poetry, sacred hymn andeloquence as well as agriculture and pantomime.
Pausanias records a tradition of two generations of Muses; the first being daughters of Uranus and Gaia, the second of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Another, rarer genealogy is that they are daughters of Harmonia (the daughter of Aphrodite and Ares) which contradicts the myth in which they were dancing at the wedding of Harmonia and Cadmus. This later inconsistency is an example of how clues to the true dating, or chronology, of myths may be determined by the appearance of figures and concepts in Greek myths.

In Renaissance and Neoclassical art, the dissemination of emblem books such as Cesare Ripa's Iconologia (1593 and many further editions) helped standardize the depiction of the Muses in sculpture and painting, so they could be distinguished by certain props, together with which they became emblems readily identifiable by the viewer, enabling one immediately to recognize the art with which they had become bound.

Greek mousa is a common noun as well as a type of goddess: it literally means "art" or "poetry". In Pindar, to "carry a mousa" is "to excel in the arts". The word probably derives from the Indo-European root men-, which is also the source of Greek Mnemosyne, English "mind", "mental" and "memory" and Sanskrit "mantra".
Photo Source
Melpomene and Polyhymnia, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico
The Muses, therefore, were both the embodiments and sponsors of performed metrical speech: mousike (whence the English term "music") was just "one of the arts of the Muses". Others included Science, Geography, Mathematics, Philosophy, and especially Art, Drama, and inspiration. In the archaic period, before the widespread availability of books (scrolls), this included nearly all of learning. The first Greek book on astronomy, by Thales, took the form of dactylic hexameters, as did many works of pre-Socratic philosophy; both Plato and the Pythagoreans explicitly included philosophy as a sub-species of mousike. The Histories of Herodotus, whose primary medium of delivery was public recitation, were divided by Alexandrian editors into nine books, named after the nine Muses.

For poet and "law-giver" Solon the Muses were "the key to the good life"; since they brought both prosperity and friendship. Solon sought to perpetuate his political reforms by establishing recitations of his poetry—complete with invocations to his practical-minded Muses—by Athenian boys at festivals each year. It was believed that the muses would help inspire people to do their best.

Photo Source
Thalia, muse of comedy, holding a comic mask
"Muses Sarcophagus" early second century AD - Louvre
The British poet Robert Graves popularized the concept of the Muse-poet in modern times. His concept was based on pre-12th century traditions of the Celtic poets, the tradition of the medieval troubadours who celebrated the concept of courtly love, and the romantic poets.

"No Muse-poet grows conscious of the Muse except by experience of a woman in whom the Goddess is to some degree resident; just as no Apollonian poet can perform his proper function unless he lives under a monarchy or a quasi-monarchy. A Muse-poet falls in love, absolutely, and his true love is for him the embodiment of the Muse... But the real, perpetually obsessed Muse-poet distinguishes between the Goddess as manifest in the supreme power, glory, wisdom, and love of woman, and the individual woman whom the Goddess may make her instrument... The Goddess abides; and perhaps he will again have knowledge of her through his experience of another woman..." Robert Graves, The White Goddess, a historical grammar of poetic myth.

Photo Source
Athena and the Muses Painting by Hans Rottenhammer 1564-1626
Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nurnberg
The following article by Jach on which talks of the Glamours, the Muse, and the Sisters of the Cauldron.

Lazaris first explored the Glamours in depth while working with the faerie realm. He points out that the Glamours do not belong to the faerie realm, but they are easier to encounter there.

The Muse are the "Sisters of the Fire." They are the energy or consciousness that is present in the igniting of the fires of passion and of creativity. They are present in the ignition of the fires of inspiration and change, as well. They are the god-being energies related to the fire element.

As the Muse are the nine Sisters of the Fires, so the Glamours are the nine Sisters of the Cauldron. They are the magicians that give birth, death, and rebirth. The cauldron is the womb. It is the esoteric womb and the source of all life. In Ancient Egypt, the Nile was the giver of all life, and the headwaters were the cauldron. In each culture, there is the concept of the womb of all birth, death, and rebirth. That is the cauldron.

Fire creates life; water gives birth to life. And there are Nine Sisters which begin with initiation and move to gracious love and to joy. These are the first three sisters. If they are the ones who come to you, they bring a message of what you need to give birth to in your life. The Muse may bring a story idea to a writer or a tune to a composer, but it is the Glamours that bring it to birth and manifestation. The Muse can inspire it and create it; the Glamours manifest it. The Glamours make it happen.

So if the Glamour of Joy comes, the message may well be that even when you have a terrific creative idea and you are aching to get about creating it, you need to tap into joy before you are going to "give birth."
Photo Source
Parnassus (Apollo, Venus, Mercury and the Muses), by Andrea Mantegna (ca.1431-1506),
Italian Renaissance painter
For another, the manifestation may come from experiencing gracious love or from sparking initiation within themselves. Other Glamours include the healing balm that heals grief or brings comfort. When Lazaris talks of generating abundance as never before, he talks of the missing key to our "abundance machine." One of the places where that missing key may be lost is within the grief that will not end or in the "unforgivable." It could be lost in the malady that will not mend. For one for whom this is true, it may be the Glamour of the healing balm or the Glamour of healing grief that is necessary before that person will allow the manifestation of abundance. So the Glamours are the Sisters of the Cauldron and they are involved in the manifestation of the stuff that emerges from the fires of creation.

I love working with the Muse (the nine maidens), and Terpsichore is my favorite Muse. She is the Muse of Dance or of Movement. She is an important player and participant in my magic. And the Ancients are beyond words. I find them enchanting and I think it is because of the Ancients that we have such words as "enchantress" and "enchantor" in our vocabulary. And between the Maidens and the Ancients are the Glamours.

They are the women of magic. Within the legends of Arthur, they are the Ladies of the Round. Chauvinism and Christianity have focused upon the men, and the Ladies have been relegated, once again, to the recesses. But it is within the dynamism of the Ladies of the Round that incredible magic is worked. And Arthur's half-sister, Morgaine, is a powerful Lady of the Round. She is one of the Glamours, as well. She has been turned into a sinister character in the Legends of Arthur, but she is not that at all. She is a woman, she is a Glamour.

The Glamours are the nine sisters that keep the cauldron steaming. It is not fire that keeps the cauldron boiling, it is the breath of the sisters of the cauldron. And they tend all Cauldron Magic. They tend all that is created from the Goddess. That is, they tend all that is created.
Photo Source
Apollo, Athena and the Muses.
There are nine of them that we know about. Each one has their own glamour and their magic is glamorous. There are Initiation, Gracious Love, and Joy. Each of these offers a special magic and each is essential in creating success, happiness, and joy.

We must begin with initiation; we must set things in motion. And love is key, but for true creation, doesn't that love have to be gracious? Doesn't it have to flow naturally? "Now it's time to love because if you love, you will be rewarded with success,"- we have thought it and we know others who teach it. It's like love is an investment that has a certain rate of return. Done for these reasons, it seldom is magical, is it? But when we just love and it is spontaneous and it is natural . . . as natural as flight is to an eagle . . . then love's magic works miracles. The key is the love, but the key is also the graciousness of that love. And joy is critical to creative success, don't you think?

Then there are three Glamours: Dominion, Comfort/Healing Balm, and Nurturing. Again, all three are critical and they are given. We can develop dominion, sure. But as we do the dance of dominion, it comes as a gift. We do not earn dominion, we receive it. It's a gift; it's given.

The ability to comfort another is also more akin to a talent than it is to a power or strength. It is a gift that some of us have while others do not. And to receive comfort is also a gift. - so it seems to me. To be nurtured and to be nurturing ... the steps can be learned and one can take training, but to truly be a nurturing person takes talent. It just comes naturally to some. All three of these are given gifts from the sisters of the cauldron ... from the women of magic.

And then there are three more: Challenge, Knowledge (of Ancestry), and Compassion. Again, the glamoury of each is obvious.

Photo Source
"[The Muses] are all of one mind, their hearts are set upon song and their spirit is free from care. He is happy whom the Muses love. For though a man has sorrow and grief in his soul, yet when the servant of the Muses sings, at once he forgets his dark thoughts and remembers not his troubles. Such is the holy gift of the Muses to men."
The following inspired Poem I thought I would share with you from

Naw Morwynion

A Bard am I with a tale to tell
and you may be captured by the spell.
From the Elder days of yesteryear
of Nine Maidens you shall hear.
How they came to be born in our land
and in a circle came to stand.
Nine Stones in a magic ring -
Each one a Maiden, daughter of a King.
Lir, his name, Lord of the Sea:
Nine Mermaid Princesses had he.
Up a river valley they swam to a hill,
Where they danced in a circle
and then stood still.
The Nine Muses as stone became
and each was given her bardic name.

Nine Maidens, born from One,
through Nine Springs her waters run.
Nine silver moonbeams, bright -
Mood Goddess of the Night.
Nine Morgans of the Lake
here in Avalon awake.
Nine Maidens of the sea:
peace to you and blessed be.
Nine maidens of the stones -
circle of our Mother's bones.
Merry Maidens in a ring:
see them dance and hear them sing!

In the merry month of May
on the Druid Sabbath day
Poets sing and Bards play
to the Nine Maidens.
Nine Queens with silver crowns
rising from the barrow mounds
bear a cauldron in their hands -
Grail Maidens of our Lands.

Nine Ladies of the well
many a tale they have to tell
from Lyonesse to the shore,
Tintagel to the Tor.
Priestesses of the Grail:
to the Goddess 'All Hail!'
Merry Maidens, Nine
Muses of the Mother.

I saw Nine Stones
and on each carved a number,
with words engraved
which I read out loud:
'Nine Moons there are
from conception to birth.
Eight turns of the wheel
through the seasons of the earth.
Seven tones in colour and sound.
Six Kings, Six Queens
of the Table Round.
Five seeds hidden in the Apple, green.
Four elements Spirit flows between.
Three are the faces of the Moon Goddess.
Two is Creation from nothingness.
One is free from separateness!'

I invoke the Goddesses of the Sea,
the Nine Muses so that we
may compose an incantation
from the land of the Sidhe.
She is the blazing fire on the hill.
She is the spring where we drink our fill.
Healing Goddess of Poetry:
may the Nine Muses return!
Nine Muses to Avalon lead
the way through the mists
to the hall of mead.
They pass a chalice of heather ale
the cup of life, the Holy Grail.
The bubbling cauldron of Cerridwen,
the three drops of the Awen.
Bestowing rebirth beyond the grave
the Tir-nan-Og, beyond the Ninth Wave,
where the Nine Morgans reawake -
the Nine Ladies of the Lake.

By the shores of the lake I lay dreaming
of Nine Swan Maidens singing.
Nine daughters of Lir, enchanted
by a spell - human forms transmuted.
For Nine long Moons, unchanging,
mortal men - their lovers lamenting.
On the eve of May, returning,
I pray the spell is lifting?.
from the lake Nine Maidens arising?.
from the lake Nine Maiden are Rising!

Hail Nimue - to Avalon welcome!
Olwen, Branwen, Bridie, Blodwen,
Aine, Avaline, Vivian, Morgan!

© Merlin of the Woods

Friday, 25 January 2013

Soul Collage Cards

As a craft person I was so excited to find the Soul Collage cards and the creation of cards using craft processes everyone can do, to find more spiritual meaning in one's life.

The founder/originator of this process is Seena B Frost. You can go to her website to find more detail not covered in this blog at

The beginnings of this powerful process began in the late 1980s when Frost was a participant in a program led by Jean Houston, one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement. At the time Frost, a practising psychotherapist, was exploring world myths and archetypal psychology, alongside a variety of spiritual paths. The card-making process evolved over time with the aid of many women in Frosts therapy groups. As they made their powerful, personal cards, shared them with each other and consulted them, the transforming possibilities of these images became apparent. Seena Frost wrote the book, SoulCollage: An Intuitive Collage Process for Individuals and Groups, to share the process with you.

Seena B. Frost, M. Div., M.A. studied theology at Yale Divinity School, married, raised four children, and then received a Master's degree in psychology from Santa Clara University. She is a California licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Special trainings with Jean Houston and Robin Van Doren inspired the combining of three of her life passions: spirituality, psychotherapy, and creativity. The SoulCollage process and book have issued from this magical mix.

Photo Source
"SoulCollage is a system for creating a deck of cards which is a visual journal, your own living journal to which you can add over years. Your deck of SoulCollage cards will help you identify and image your diverse inner parts, the beautiful ones and shadowy ones, the easy-to-like ones, and the harder-to-like ones. You will also reflect on the external guides and allies in your life, visible and invisible, human and archetypal, and make cards for them.

A SoulCollage deck is the Story of You. It is a tangible way to know yourself in your diversity and depth, and also to show yourself to others. Showing your deck of SoulCollage cards to another person is a holy experience.

In like-spirited groups, you can share cards and work with them in many sacred ways. You can consult them intuitively and discover wisdom within yourself which will amaze you. Besides all this, creating them is just plain fun! You will love your deck -- a multi-card Mirror of your Self and your Soul -- whether it consists of three cards or a hundred... "

SoulCollage cards are the key to unlocking your inner wisdom. Using your imagination, personal symbols and your intuition you will create a unique deck of collaged cards that will help you resolve issues and move forwards.

SoulCollage is a simple and fun way to tap into your intuition. No artistic talent is needed as you collect, tear out and glue images that you're attracted to. These creative images will allow you to discover insights about yourself and can help you to make positive changes in your everyday life. SoulCollage helps you to connect with your intuition and start to live a life you love.

People have found SoulCollage a help, when they wanted to: lose weight, land a dream job, heal a broken heart, develop stronger relationships with family & friends, recover from grief, build confidence and find balance after illness.

SoulCollage helps you bypass logical reasoning and your defence mechanisms and discover what's holding you back. As you reconnect with your inner wisdom it will guide you towards making positive changes in your life. SoulCollage can also help when you have a big decision to make and don't know which path to choose.
Photo Source
There are 3 parts to the SoulCollage process:
Making your own beautiful, intuitive SoulCollage cards, getting to know yourself by connecting with your thoughts, dreams, fears and aspirations and using your SoulCollage cards to access your inner wisdom and help make decisions and changes in your life.

To making your own SoulCollage cards & connecting with them you will need to gather together your card-making materials. You actually need very little the basics include: Blank cards (usually 5 x 8) available for purchase from SoulCollage Store @ or mat board which is a heavy form of cardboard, it is used when you buy a framed picture and there is a mat around the photo - it can be purchased in art stores, scissors, glue, gel medium can be purchased in an art store which works well as an adhesive as well as a glaze on top (whatever you use be sure if says Acid Free on the label to ensure the long life of your cards without discolouration etc), an abundant supply of magazines, books, greeting cards, calendars, photographs, scrapbooking paper designs, rubber stamps, catalogues,   brochures, travel brochures and junk mail, a frame- helpful when using large images you can lay the frame over the picture in different areas to see exactly what will fit on the card (take a regular piece of paper or cardstock and draw a 5 x8" rectangle in the centre and cut it out now you have a frame), scalpel (craft knife), cutting mat and metal ruler (optional- but useful).

To learn about how to make SoulCollage cards and the corresponding journaling exercises you can:
Purchase the SoulCollage book by Seena B Frost. Download the FREE e-book on How to Make SoulCollage Cards-And use them to tap into your inner wisdom or attend a workshop with a trained SoulCollage Facilitator again all information can be found at

Accessing your inner wisdom and decision making, after you have completed a number of cards you can do a SoulCollage reading which can help you to tap into your intuition and make decisions that are right for you. There is a button on the website that will give you a four card reading, I was really surprised just how my reading was so accurate for me at this time.

Another website also giving detail on the Soul Collage Cards is again following the principles developed by Seena Frost.

Photo Source
I am one who loves to create art.
They talk about what does creating SoulCollage® cards have to do with spiritual crafts? There are many spiritual crafts available in the world right now. You can make prayer flags, meditation candles, and many more things of a spiritual nature. Most of these other crafts have a one time use…. you make the object and then you are done. But SoulCollage® cards are different. You will be making and using your cards for as long as you’re alive! And once you make a card, you can add to it later if you choose to. These cards are always in process.

Two ways to make SoulCollage® Cards is intentionally - When you make a card intentionally, you are making it with a plan in mind. You are mostly using your left brain which is logical and rational and goes about things in an orderly, organized, step-by-step fashion.

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A Community card for a good friend.
You intentionally go about collecting photos of her and create a card already knowing what it is and what it is about.

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A companion card for your Heart Chakra animal - Dolphin. 
You have seen a dolphin in your latest meditation and want to make a card to honour it. You search magazines until you find the right images to match your imagination, then construct the card using some backgrounds that you found a few months ago.

This is not to say that every Community and Companion card you make will be made intentionally. These are just examples.

The second way is intuitively. When you make a card intuitively, you go through magazines and collect images that appeal to you first, with no plan in mind. You are mostly using your right brain which is intuitive and creative and often times operates in a meandering, spiral-like manner.

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Committee Card
I am the one who has a choice.
You have found an image that you like of a little girl in a white gown being pulled forward by a woman wearing black. You’re not sure why you like it or what she means, but you are curious. You hold it up against several backgrounds until you hit the “right one.”

You’re still not sure what the card is all about, but you know that there is something that this little girl is trying to tell you.

Later you write the I am the one who I am the one who ..... exercise in your journal and discover that this is the part of you that currently is feeling pulled in one direction but is being called in a different direction.
You are in a card-making mood, so you gather all of your images around you and go through them in a meditative fashion. You choose four that somehow just seem to go together, and you lay them on a background of the celestial heavens that jumped out at you from a catalogue last week.

Ahhhh….. this is it. You have no idea what this card means, or why you have made it. You only know that you like it.

A few weeks later, you do the I am the one who ...... exercise with this card and discover that this is your Explorer Archetype who is always ready for new spiritual journeys and adventures.

This is not to say that every Committee and Council card you make will be made intuitively. These are just examples. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no “right way” to make SoulCollage®cards. What you are reading on this page are only suggestions.

You can make your cards any way that you like. Remember that you are making them for you and you alone, and you will be just fine!

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I am the one who creates sacred space. 
Lighting a candle before you begin can help to create sacred space. It doesn’t have to be a big or elaborate candle, even a tealight will do. Choose some music that is relaxing and speaks to your soul. This will also help to create sacred space for your SoulCollage® card making time.

The most important thing to remember while you are making SoulCollage® cards is to honour your own process. In other words, go with the flow of whatever is happening for you in the moment.

So… please keep in mind while you are reading the steps below that they are only guidelines. Feel free to deviate from them at any time and in any way!

And don’t forget to… HAVE FUN!!! Ready… Set… Create!

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I am the one who leans back and trusts what is. 
Clear a workspace for yourself. Be sure you have enough room for all of your materials as well as space to spread out your images. Create sacred space for your SoulCollage® work by lighting a small candle and/or putting on some soft music that delights your soul. Or you can create sacred space by spending a few quiet moments of conscious breathing, or saying aloud a short quotation or prayer that inspires you. Anything you can do that will set the intention for conscious creating and delicious time with yourself is just fine.

Gather your materials and put them on the table in front of you. You should have the following: a piece of 5” x 8” mat board, a pair of scissors, some kind of adhesive, your frame, and several magazines or images that are already torn out.

Spend a generous amount of time (at least one hour) going through the magazines. Tear out any images that you like, that seem to appeal to you for any reason. Don’t question why you might be drawn to certain images. Simply rip them out of the magazines! It will be helpful to have large images that completely fill the frame, and smaller ones as well. You can use the larger ones for backgrounds.
Once you have 50-100 images torn out, take a few deep breaths and pause a moment. Give yourself a little space. Drink some water or make a cup of tea if you like.

Photo Source
Sense of Humour
Spread the images out around you as much as you can. Gather them into smaller piles, sorting them by colours, energies, themes, or patterns. For instance, you might notice that you have lots of images of stairways, or windows, or birds, or people who are frowning. You might have several images that show a great deal of movement/action, or stillness. You might see several images that just seem to go together for some reason. You don’t need to verbalize a reason for grouping some images together. Remember: trust the process. There is no right way to do this!!!

When you have a few different piles sorted by theme, choose one of them. Choose the theme that intrigues you the most. Or choose the pile of images that you already know the meaning of. It doesn't matter which pictures you work with first. Just choose some so you can begin to make your first SoulCollage® card.

Push the rest of the images aside or put them in a manilla folder or other storage device. Move them off of your workspace so they don’t distract you.

Start playing around with the images that you have chosen. Lay them on top of one another, or beside each other. Arrange and rearrange them until you come to a layout that you like. Trust your intuition. You will know when it looks “right” and when you need to add another image. Use the Frame if you like so that you can see how it will look on the card.

When the images are arranged “just right,” you can glue them onto the mat board. If you are using the Frame, you might want to mark the corners of the images in the upper right and left, and lower right and left corners of the frame, to make placement easier for you. You can use a brayer or rolling pin if you like to roll out any air bubbles you may have on the card. You may like to take a metallic gold (or other colour) marker and make a border around the edge of your card. Laminate your cards or cover with acrylic varnish to preserve them and to prevent edges from curling up. Try not to do this too soon, however, as you might want to add something to a card later on. If you use the acrylic varnish, be sure to use a very light coat and allow a LOT of time (at least 5 days) for each piece to dry.
Use stickers to identify the suits on the backs of your cards instead of covering each fully.

There! You have made your first SoulCollage® card!

Now you might want to go ahead and make another one. Or two or three or…?

Photo Source
A council card
I am the one who is on the edge of an adventure.
Once you start making SoulCollage® cards, it doesn't take long before you realize you’re going to need some form of organization! This could be as simple as stuffing all of your torn-out images into a plain manila folder, or as complex as sorting them all into a rolling cart, or purchasing a scrapbook carrying case to hold everything. Give yourself some time before you decide on your SoulCollage®organization system. Some organization tools are more expensive than others and you don’t want to invest money in something that you will outgrow or not use.

A suggestion is to sort your images by: large backgrounds/objects, small backgrounds/objects, images of people and children, images of animals, images that I cut out but want to share with others, miscellaneous images, cards I’m currently working on etc.

You could also use an accordian-style folder that has dividers in it to separate your images. But if you’re not really into organizing, then just pile everything into one big box. You need to do whatever feels right to you!

Another site for those who love SoulCollage® and for those who want to learn more is - a place of support, inspiration, and renewal -- as you venture into your personal SoulCollage® work. 

Whether done in solitude or in community with others, card making offers time to allow your intuition and creative nature to come forth in your unique and special ways.

In her book, SoulCollage®, Seena Frost recommends making cards that fall into various "suits" that will eventually make up your SoulCollage® deck. For a deeper understanding of these suits, you may enjoy reading her book. Attending a workshop or retreat will give you more information on this aspect of the SoulCollage® process as well. It is not necessary to know which suit your card will fall into as you are creating it...that can come later. If you do know, that's OK too. 

A brief overview of the "Suits" of the SoulCollage® deck.

"COMMITTEE" Suit: I think of the Committee suit as all those various "parts" that reside within me, sub-personalities, almost like a group sitting around a conference room table. Whenever I am in a situation, certain members of my committee may speak up more loudly and others may hold back. Certainly, each of these parts wants to be acknowledged by me. Some examples of my Committee cards include "Playful Child", "Receptive Self", "The Judge", "Nurturing Mother", and "The Adventurer". The possibilities are nearly endless for creating Committee cards, it seems. 

Photo Source
The Source by SoulCollager: Mili
"COMMUNITY" Suit: This type of SoulCollage® card creates opportunities to make cards that visually capture the essence of special people or pets in each of our lives. Each card focuses on one being or one group and is a tangible way to acknowledge and honour the impact that person or pet has had in our lives. These beings can be currently living or not and can be people we've actually known or perhaps those we have admired from afar. Some examples of my Community cards include "Buddy" (my son), "Johnny (my fiancée , and "Grandmama & Aunt Mary" (two dear women who greatly influenced my life).

"COMPANION" Suit: Companion cards recognize that many of us feel we have animal guides who offer us wisdom and insight at various times in our lives. Seena's book outlines a process to access these animal guides in a very personal way and to relate them to the various parts of the Chakra or energy system in the body. Examples of some of my Companion cards include "2nd Chakra Tiger", "6th Chakra Owl", and "1st Chakra Turtle".

"COUNCIL" Suit: Council cards represent various archetypes that we each recogise or feel operating in our lives. Council cards are often about various "bigger than life" concepts or ideals that are important to us as individuals but that also carry meaning for others. Archetypes reside in the collective unconscious. For a more thorough explanation of archetypes and Council cards, you may enjoy reading Seena Frost's book, SoulCollage® . Some examples of my Council cards include "The Hermit", "The Divine Feminine", "Death/Rebirth", and "The Fool".

"SOURCE" Card: One final type of card that can be really beautiful to create is the "Source" card. This card is deeply personal (and aren't they all!) in that it is each of our unique representations of what "Source", "God", "Great Spirit", "The Universe", or whatever term each of us may use to describe that highest aspect. My "Source" card did not come right away, but when I saw the images that eventually made up the card, I "just knew" they were the ones I wanted to use. 

Select a speciality or hand-decorated paper pattern for each of your SoulCollage® “suits”. Really let your creativity shine through here! Adding/drawing-in a gold border on the backs of cards is a nice touch and makes fitting the “suit” paper easier while providing a more finished look.

The next process is to do the I am the one who… exercise with one of your cards to deepen your experience with it, and to begin to integrate its meaning into your life. Designate a special journal to use to capture your “I Am One Who…” ponderings about your SoulCollage® cards or to capture your feelings and thoughts after SoulCollage® card-making or group workshops/gatherings.

The following website explains this process more fully. Cheryl Finlay talks about her findings from her personal SoulCollage® cards.

Photo Source www.dancingwiththeshadow
Creator Me
These are examples of how the I am the one who .... process is done. Using the image above.

Who are you?
I am the part of you who loves to create things with my hands…I am the one who becomes enthralled with your creative, “tactile passions.” I am the one who has my life in the palm of my hand. I am the one who knows she is co-creator, be it art or manifesting a new way of life. I am the one who creates your colourful life. I am the one who spins straw into gold. I am the part of you who can see diamonds in the rough; and I am also the one who feels, sees and knows that you are living in a wellspring of an enormous Diamond Mine! It’s all in your hands. I am the one who knows more than I know (don’t know what that means, but that’s what came up). I am one who is in partnership with God, G.O.D., Divine Mind, and the Universe, and any other names also known as the Almighty. I am the one who knows life is precious…like a pearl. I am one who sees and admires the beauty of my work and craftsmanship. I am the one who identifies with the stars w-a-a-a-a-a-y “out there”.

What do you have to give me?
I give you the knowledge that you can create what you desire….using your single-minded intention, and focused action… combined with your BELIEF and FEELING…and patience.

What do you want me to know?
I want you to know that you are empowered from within…and you can do anything you really want to do. I want you to know that you affect the lives of others, especially when you are living purely from “the stream of your authentic self”. I want you to know you can stop, breathe, decide what you want to create…be it with beads, or rings for chainmaille, or with yarn, fabric or paper…or anything other “straw” you are drawn to create with. This includes your words. All you have to do, Cheryl, is “intend” to focus on one project at specific time, and when you sit down…KNOW that you will create something brilliantly beautiful that anyone, including you, will love. Just an easy, breezy thought in your head...this intention…nothing serious…just think it and allow “it” to pour through you. Let your creative power soar…no judgements  Just know that as a vessel of and conduit for dynamic creative power…all you have to do is be aware and willing to let It flow through you, and “go with It”…ride with It. Let your inner-genius have a ball! I want you to know that this is the way I created my one single luminescent comet-blue pearl.

I want you to know that you don’t have to fret with the dozens of projects going on in your head. Just set the intention to create something that makes your soul sing. It doesn't matter if it’s for someone else or for yourself, a gift, or to sell. I want you to let go of all ideas of if “they” will like your creation or not. Of course they will love it!

What do you want me to do?
I want you to let go of the hair-splitting details that can stifle you if you’re not paying attention, and are confident to make a decision and move on. I want you to acknowledge that your inner-creator (me)…knows how to accurately and efficiently handle the detail, and trust that….otherwise, the “part” that prevents your from creating with abandon and joy will not allow you to feel…and “live in”…your innate creative bliss. “She” has had more than their share of time on the stage of your life… no more encores for her! Poof! Be-gone!

Make a list of projects and prioritize them. Allocate the most important to a month, or to two weeks within the month, such as: Jan. wks 1-2: Chainmaile; Jan. weeks 3-4: Jewels of the Heart Earrings Project. Feb. wks 1-2: Creating Red jewellery (or do this in January so you can wear it in February in honour of Valentine’s Day!); Feb. wks 3-4: Pick a theme i.e. Bracelet & Earrings Sets; March wks 1-2: Pick Spring colours & Plan your Spring wardrobe….Show. You get the picture. You can plan your website this way too…or just about project for that matter. Schedule your time to create, and do it! And… remember to name your projects…it makes it more fun! – Thanks to Muse Jill for that tip.

What is your job?
My job is to make sure you allow yourself be the fount of creativity, creative joy, ingenuity, inspiration that you were born to be. My job is to coach you to do that for yourself so that you will be your most powerful when you teach and facilitate the creative-life-journey of others.

How will I remember what you've told me?
Visit this reading regularly, at least once a week. Read it aloud. Heed my directions. See yourself becoming a greater, larger creative power in your own life on all levels. When will remember when you sit down to create anything, or whether you’re puttering around at home. Mainly, set the intention to let me run free within you, heed my words and you will be on your way and living your creative bliss every day.

Is there anything else you want tell me?
Yes. Have fun; and…acknowledge & celebrate the “me” in you!
Now, go create!

Photo Source www.dancingwiththeshadow
Inner Critic
I am the one who nags at you...that you coulda, woulda, shoulda.
I am the one who rides your back and "killing you softly", whispering..."You are not enough''.
I was born from your self-criticism, which gives me more power.
I am the one who's had this job too long and wants to retire. I want you to stand up & let me slide off your back into retirement.
I want you to know it's easier to get me off your back than you think. I want you to know that "You are enough. Be yourself."... I am a queen in the making...I can be transformed from critic to cheerleader, helpful protector... and compassionate challenger. I am transformed when you love yourself without matter what. I am transformed into mentor through your authentic self-compassion, self-love and self-forgiveness. I am transformed each time you give yourself what you need most... in the moment.

Photo Source www.dancingwiththeshadow
The Traveller - My Soul's Historian
I am one who travels my continuing journey leaving these bones behind. I am one who is wise and has secrets to tell you. I know your history, the history of our ancestors, and our ancestors' ancestors.
I am your soul's historian. I am the riches of the history of many lifetimes. Look around...see the death of the ancients. You are on sacred ground now.
I am one who lives beyond flesh and bone. My essence is forever...far beyond these dry bones and adornments of gold. I am the Traveller...lifetime upon lifetime in the great continuum.
I want you to take time with me. I want you to remember to really live. Life is precious. I want you to take the golden treasure in your heart and and spread it far and wide - throughout the world! Share your treasure with others. Show them their treasure and remind them that they too...have a crown to wear.
I am the Traveller. I give you proof that life is everlasting. I give you proof that what makes us, us is far greater than our body and mind...far greater than what you can imagine...and it lives on forever and ever.
I want you to keep loving...yourself, others...and continue to learn of me. Continue allowing your essence to flow through unobstructed for you are a living vessel.
You will remember each time you feel love deep in your heart, or think about those who have gone through the curtain to the other side. You will remember each time you see or think of me or see the colour of gold. . You will remember that you have an inner-treasure just waiting to fly even more .
Upon reflection, I realize that part of my soul's inspiration for this card came from over 10 years ago in the poem The Traveller by James Dillet Freeman, for which I am very thankful. That poem has blessed me and countless others I've shared it with over the years. I hope you enjoy it, at the above link.

Photo Source www.dancingwiththeshadow
I am the wise one... I am wisdom, personified.
I stand here knowing that you have the key.
I am the one who knows you must walk through the doorway...through new doorways.
I am one who knows you are strong, and vibrant and a being of influence.
I am one who challenges you to stand and walk through new doorways ...
to move forward; in doing so you teach others.
I am one who knows your power, your power is love
and charge you with using it. must use it; our world needs it...YOU need it.
Your power... is love.

Suit: Council

Photo Source www.dancingwiththeshadow
Inner - Sanctuary
I am one who waits for you to join me.
I am your highway to sanctuary and serenity.
I am always present, and patient and loyal.
I am devoted to being here for you.
I show you the beauty of the peace you have within.
I take you from the highway of the hustle and bustle of your daily life,
to the land of your soul. ~

Photo Source www.dancingwiththeshadow
God's Fingerprint
God's fingerprint is all over me! I am one who is illuminated by the Light and DNA of the Creator; from the tip of my head to the bottom of my feet, and far, far beyond where my eyes can see: above, below, left and right...all around and through me...far beyond what I can ever imagine. I am one who is surrounded by the Presence, and swaddled in the omnipresent love of the Divine. I want you to know that there is no where you can go that I am not.... already there; preparing a place for you...blessing you. Rest. Trust. Know. Let go. My fingerprint is all over you.

Draw a card daily or weekly to do “mini-readings” for yourself. Create or participate in a group that gathers periodically to make cards, share new cards, and do readings together.

Cheryl interviewed Senna Frost on 13th Nov 2010
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Seena: SoulCollage has been changing and evolving ever since its inception in 1989 when I first made a set of 130 cards as a project for a class with Jean Houston. Those cards were all of people, what would be now be the Community suit, and they weren't even collages. From there it evolved into a collage process that I modified and shared with my clients as well as a practice I did for my own growth. Then it was called the Neter Card process and for many years I used it in my clinical office and taught in my living room.

One Saturday in 1998, Kylea Taylor and Jim Schofield came to my place to check out the Neter Card process and began the next evolutionary ‘shift’--a big one! That day they suggested I write a book that they would publish! I took a few years to write it, getting all the images of cards from people. At Jim’s suggestion, we renamed the process SoulCollage®. Hanford Mead Publishers, Inc., Jim and Kylea’s company, published this first book in 2001. It had pictures and images contributed by about 40 local people who loved the process and were eager to share their cards.

This SoulCollage® book and the listserv/website that developed along side it, and then the Facilitator trainings that began a few years later, were part of an evolution that was powered largely by the vision of Kylea and Jim. They urged me to do the trainings, and Kylea and I developed and did them together. We still do.

With the book and the trainings, the SoulCollage® community began to grow…and grow…and grow. As I taught and received input from others, and watched people quickly take to the process and transform through it, I was stimulated to add new ideas. The listserv/website became bigger as people sent in cards for the gallery. The Neter Letter developed for Facilitators. Then in 2007 the first Trainers were carefully chosen. These are Trainers who may train people as Facilitators in different states and in other countries. Alia Moore worked diligently to develop a new and much richer website which allows people to read articles, get news of trainings and workshops, and see a big assortment of cards.

SoulCollage® (now with this symbol to show that it is trademarked) is gaining in complexity on many levels, and a second book was a natural and inevitable next step in its evolution. We wanted to show more images from all these wide-spread Facilitators. Close to a thousand now. We wanted to say more about how the process is being used and with whom. I wanted to add words about the Soul Essence and Witness cards, the second and third Transpersonal cards. Exciting stories abound.

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Cheryl: How does this book differ from your first book, SoulCollage®: An Intuitive Collage Process for Individuals and Groups?
Seena: There are several things although the basic information about the suits and the process is still there, sometimes in an expanded form. What is new are most of the card images. We replaced many in the first book with cards that would not have any copyright issues. Also new are explanations of two of the three Transpersonal cards, Soul Essence and Witness. These, along with the Source card, are described in depth. However, probably the biggest additions are the stories and experiences of many Facilitators and Trainers of Facilitators telling about the work they do with various populations. This book also has many more photos of people doing the process, and a more in-depth explanation of how we read the images on our cards and access our own wisdom when we do this.
Cheryl: Have the recommended methods of interpreting the cards essences changed from your first book?

Seena: I think the essential way we read our images is the same in both books. However, there are some interesting and helpful stories that Facilitators have provided in the new book, and I elaborate a bit more about the “I Am One Who” exercise, and also about readings.

Cheryl: From your experience, what is it about SoulCollage® that touches people, and allows them to do such deep, healing and revealing inner-work?

Seena: I believe the word “surprises” is better than “touches” when I consider how SoulCollage® opens a door to healing and change. Images are transformative because they surprise us and awaken us, often in ways that words coming from outside, (from books or lectures or sermons or therapists) cannot.. Our defence systems, those ego defenders of the status quo, are onto words coming from outside, and they generally take them in and throw them quietly into the trash can, rather than allow them to change anything.

Images can be different. Images will grab us when we glance at them, and they can slip down into our less conscious parts of Soul and sneak around those defenders of the way things are. When your image begins to speak with your own words it speaks from a deep layer of the Soul that usually doesn't have a voice. It is these words bubbling up that surprise us. Not always, of course, but sometimes the message surprises us into changing, into healing, into awakeness. So I’d answer this question with the words surprise, and the discovery of one’s own inner wisdom.

Cheryl: What is your wish...your prayer for the role of SoulCollage® in the world?

I think it has potential to do quite a bit if it continues to grow. The more people heal their own inner wars, the better they will be at healing the wars in families and communities and nations. However that is only the beginning of what I think is possible. If enough people gather, using their images to find consciousness, they can become one more of the imaginal cells forming and joining up in our chaotic world to envision the butterfly that we could become. SoulCollagers can gather and show that cooperation is better than competition, that partnership is better than hierarchy or patriarchy, that knowing the one and the many is far, far better than insisting on one way or the other. Perhaps there can be a creative inclusiveness in SoulCollage® that will be catching.

Cheryl: Can you share a little about your personal practice?

Seena: Every morning I draw two cards from my deck of over 100 cards. I have the cards backed by suits and I always draw one Community card and one from another suit. These become my Neters of the day and I put them up on my altar next to the 3 Transpersonal cards which are always there. The rest of my cards are in a pile in the centre. I record which cards I have drawn in my daily journal, and sometimes I will email or phone a person who is my Neter and just let them know--if they are alive and I know them personally. I don’t read from these two cards. I just have them up as special Neters to remember. Other practices, not daily, are sitting and tearing out images for my trainings, and also meeting with a peer group to do readings. We try to do this at least once a month or more if possible. (I have other practices like daily meditation and yoga and walking which are not so directly oriented to SoulCollage®.)

Cheryl: How has your personal practice changed you over the years?

Seena: This of course varies greatly with everyone who does some sort of a daily practice, and it is hard for me to separate out the results of my daily practice from my current life work which is so involved with SoulCollage®. This process surely has changed my life because I'm thinking about it probably thirty percent of my time. Unlike most people! But just in terms of my own evolving Soul, I believe that the images on many of my cards have taken on a vivid life of their own, and continually remind me of energies I have available to me. I think I use more of myself because of this, use more of my potential, and I balance my energies better because of this consciousness. I also have a real sense of the marvellous aliveness of the world around me, of the archetypes that inhabit our invisible world, and who are calling on me and all of us constantly. They guide us and nudge us. The synchronicities of the cards help me know this. I do not feel alone or separate in the universe and have no fear of shedding this body and going on without it into other realms.

Cheryl: How do you recommend using SoulCollage to mark a Rite of Passage in our lives? 

Seena: I can think of a number of ways one could mark such a moment of change. Most obvious would be to do a reading from your cards either with a group that you regularly attend or just by yourself. Ask a question about this passage and what you might need to remember, want to honour about the past, etc. Word it however feels right to you.

A second way would be to create a special SoulCollage card that honours this passage in some way, perhaps with a Council card honouring the archetype who feels most involved in promoting this change. A Community card might be created with a photo of yourself and others if it is a very special gathering. Certainly there might be a Committee card or two created representing inner Neters who are excited, anxious, angry, grateful or whatever, for the change.

There also have been some SoulCollage experiences around passages that involved several people gathering with their cards and all doing a reading around this person’s passage and speaking to it. People can even lay out certain of their cards in a montage on the floor around cards of the honouree and photograph it.

It may be that only the person involved has SoulCollage cards and the others are present as witnesses. They also are thereby introduced to the process by seeing how meaningful the cards can be.

A session was held for one person’s birthday where, instead of the regular readings, the birthday person laid out all of her cards on the floor in patterns that showed her life story and then spoke of her story from her cards. On page 115 of the new book is a picture that was also in the first book of just such an honouring of one person. It is on page 80 of the first book.

What SoulCollage® is—The SoulCollage® process is a flexible, creative, and inclusive tool. SoulCollage® can be introduced to a variety of populations by facilitators with varied backgrounds and trainings and adapted to use in many contexts. The term “SoulCollage” is trademarked in order to differentiate it from other collage/art therapy processes, and to provide the training and support important for solid and ethical work done under the “SoulCollage®” name. SoulCollage® is a creative tool, but it is not in itself a therapy. The SoulCollage® Facilitator Training recommends that SoulCollage® Facilitators develop a referral list of licensed therapists who are familiar with the SoulCollage® process and to whom referrals can be made as appropriate. Some Facilitators will use SoulCollage® as an adjunct to various types of therapies for which they are already licensed; some will offer groups specifically to create and “read” SoulCollage® cards; some will invite an existing group to engage in the fun and deepening power of this process.

Using SoulCollage® as developed by Seena B. Frost, a person creates a deck of collaged cards from found images. The cards are arranged in suits for the primary purpose of self-exploration and self-acceptance. SoulCollage® cards are collaged from images found in purchased or donated magazines, calendars, books, cards, etc. and from stock photos and/or personal materials (e.g., photos, one’s own art).

Monday, 21 January 2013

Intuition as your Guide

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller

That little voice that nudges you when you're stuck between two choices? It's real.
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Trusting in our intuition connects and integrates our relationship with ourselves. Everyone can connect to this inner knowing whether it is a gut instinct, an inner voice, an inspired thought it doesn't matter how you get the guidance as long as you do and then listen to the instruction.

To hear these messages we need to have an open heart so that the information can flow through to us in it's given form. It is through this open heart that the messages can be directly given to you, not caught up in our own self talk to be discarded as nonsense, or operating solely from the rational mind. The intuitive approach should never replace rational, cognitive thinking, but should complement it.

There is no given time frame for this messages to come they will just be present when our spirit is ready to hear them. They can also come in the form of message through conversations we have, movies we watch or musical lyrics we hear.
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Intuition is very subtle which is why it is so easy not to hear the message. The messages have always been there but it may not be until you stop and consciously listen to them that you become aware of their presence. Knowing that this higher intelligence doesn't make mistakes can put us to rest in needing to know the details of how something will unfold.

Once we become accustom to hearing the message we will notice that they come through several vessels to insure that we understand the message clearly. It is when we make a conscious effort to be alert to the messages that the frequency will increase and the effort to do this will diminish and they will just happen like breathing.

When we then take actions in our lives to follow these messages our lives become richer with less difficulty or struggle involved. Less time is spent being anxious about things and more time completing tasks that nurture and fulfil us. We no longer have to be scared of making a mistakes or doing the wrong thing.
Photo Source
Life improves and we become more connected to the essence of what it means to live this life, instead of going through our daily lives purposeless or without direction.

The biggest problem tuning into intuition is differentiating it from the inner voice and trusting what message we are being given. The only way to overcome this is to take the plunge and listen and go with the messages and they will prove over time that intuition does in fact happen and that the outcome to a situation is improved through them.

So create your intention to notice the messages in whatever form they come to you and say that you are welling and open to hear them. Write down the information you receive that feels like it was generated without your conscious thought in a notebook. Don't confuse the message with personal preferences you may have (these can be the result of fears, biases, prejudices or emotional reactions - or information received from spouses or love ones with vested interests in your decision), sometimes it will be a message completely opposite to way you have done things in the past. Practice listening and seeing with eyes open to see subtle things like you may ask for confirmation that this is the right thing to do, then perhaps you will have a feather float down to you, a certain song will be played on the radio with lyrics that link in to your thoughts etc. Take time to be still each day through whatever practise you prefer mediation, yoga, walking the messages may not come at this time but by being still you are allowing the body and spirit space which is a powerful way to boost intuition. When you are faced with a decision clear your mind and ask what the next step may be, then stop thinking about the question and just see what pops into your mind no matter how off beat to the question it may be whether an image, words or thought. Then write these down in your notebook, you will find that they will blend together creating a theme which you will then be able to interrupt towards the decision you have to make. Over time you will not have to write the information down and the messages will become clearer without the need for so many to put the picture together. When a number of them have worked out you will gain confidence in the process. You will know when the answer feels right within your body, mind and soul it will just rest there with an easy feeling. Like exercising a muscle, the more you use and follow it, the more it works for you.
Photo Source
Know that your intuition is a normal function of the brain, not clairvoyance or some phenomena, it is when you have all the facts to a situation that the intuitive process can take over. It's actually a form of unconscious reasoning—one that's rooted in the way our brains collect and store information. When you see a tiny detail of a familiar pattern, you instantly recognize the larger picture—and that's what we regard as a flash of intuition. Our female ancestors, in particular, needed this skill: They had to tune in to their infants to enable them to survive. And this helps explain why women today have an edge when it comes to reading people. So listen to your gut feelings instead of brushing them aside. For example if your doctor dismisses a nagging symptom as "nothing serious" but you're still convinced there's something wrong—go with your hunch.

This seems to work best in stressful situations when our mind is cluttered and our hearts hurting and we feel confusion at each step. Just take some breaths and be still and apply the above principles.

It’s the feeling that for whatever reason you should go left instead of right, not to go on the vacation you've scheduled or give you the sense that something is or isn't right. Listening and following your intuition can guide you to your hearts desire or keep you out of trouble! ‘I just felt like something was wrong’, ‘it felt like the right thing to do’, or ‘I went with my gut on it’. You might not be conscious of it but following your inner guidance system leads you to the truth in any situation.

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Friday, 18 January 2013

Inner work of the Soul

Today I am going to share a sense within me that something has changed. Whether this is wishful thinking now that we are in the new age past 21-12-2012 or whether it is a tangible real experience I guess is not important as long as the journey is real and the soul is nourished.

I know from nearly 20 years of taking part in many inner child, personal growth, healing workshops, retreats and programs that my mind, body and spirit are all one, all part of the spirit body and all must be in harmony to have a fully conscious, spiritually aware life experience, that is nurturing and fulfilling to my soul.

Photo Source Path to Truth
This year is going to hold for us all everything that we are prepared and ready to step up and claim. It is only in having the courage to step beyond what is known to us and comfortable that we will grow and learn. Taking a leap of faith that all will be delivered to us in a timely and appropriate manner.

My biggest growth and positive changes have always been as a result of going through or completing a process in which I have been fearful, uncomfortable, even terrified at stages as I so tightly tried to hold on to what I knew from the past. If we want life to change, improve and become all that we deserve we must be prepared to do something different to what we have been doing, receiving the same results.

When a deep knowing or instinct begins to stir in our heart, we start looking for a way to open to it, to be embraced by it, to integrate it into our life, and to serve it. It is by listening to these stirrings that we can open the sacred wellspring of all possibility. We must create an atmosphere in which we will be able to hear these messages. We need a variety of spiritual practices to do this, as we all know we can hear the same thing from many sources but it is one particular time that the light bulb goes on and we see for the first time what was truly meant. By gradually infusing the light of awareness and a sense of the sacred into every aspect of our lives we can create this space, this can be through daily meditation, body awareness, presence, prayer, communal worship, and the like. Always it is through being present.

Photo Source Marietta McCarty
We should never say we are too busy or do not have time to be still to enable us to seek the answer from within. I know how easy this is, I have been an expert at keeping busy, it is through doing this that we are distracting ourselves from doing the greatest work we can, healing ourselves. When my mother became gravely ill last year, the busier I got all so I did not have to sit and feel what my body and spirit were going through watching this transition that place. I have always known how vitally important it is to do these practices, as I know that you can create dis-ease within your body by not allowing grace to take the necessary steps to process life's happenings. I tell you every soul no matter how busy has time to do this, for it should be as important as breathing. So make time to be still and allow grace to work in and through each one of you.

It seems with the cosmic shifts that have taken place something internal has also shifted in me and I am now not resisting these practises etc. I always had to have noise within the home either TV, radio, CD's etc and this is another form of distraction, now I find I am comfortable going about my day in a home of silence being present in each task I undertake.

Living your life consciously and authentically, exploring what it means to be connected with spirit and
your own intuition and to practise this in everyday life, allows us to celebrate who we are and what we can contribute to the whole through living spiritually.

Are you hearing the call of your heart and soul to deepen your inner connection to spirit and your own
inner wisdom?

Wisdom does not come from having experiences. Wisdom comes from reflecting on one’s life experiences. It is critical to do this, it is from this awareness all the inner work becomes possible and effective. Acknowledging, healing and letting go of old wounds, angers, hurts and victim mentality is how we grow and step beyond what has been and create the new life we wish for. We must be free and clear to allow new ways of being to enter our psyche. When we look at our life we become aware of any story that we are holding onto, if I am not the victim then who am I?

Photo Source Path of Truth
When we look at the stories of our past with distance we are able to see the contributions these experiences have given our life. The failed marriage I had gave me the skills of being independent and resourceful. I have then gone on in my life to use these to create consciously the life that I am living now. The more we review our life, and we can do this, by deeply feeling our emotions and grievings  without staying within the painful experience any longer than we wish to, the more we can  learn and grow as an individual. The beliefs of parents, teachers, authoritive figures in our lives that once served us to get through the tough situations of the past probably no longer serve us now and it is in being willing to let these go and reform our beliefs to those of our own creating that will serve us into the future. As a child in a domestic violent household I learnt that being silent and keeping out of the way served me very well and I became a master of being invisible, however in my adult life this behaviour was holding me back, making me feel resentful of all the things I was missing out on. Through changing this behaviour and speaking up and sharing my essence with others and being part of the community my soul has been filled with love and nourishment from other individuals and life has become the exciting journey I now live. 

Having a divine intelligence present within us through our daily practices allows us to achieve these things more easily and give us the inner calm and strength that culminates into the willingness to do this the greatest work of our lives. We do not even have to believe or understand this process for the benefits to become more than clear. The ability to trust in the divine intelligence we hold within and let go of our ego selves will create the tranquillity and wholeness we seek in ourselves. This deep connection to spirituality is what is needed to change our daily lives from being one of doing into days of being, acting not from the ego but from spirit and allowing spirit to guides us. When we learn to listen to this guidance and hear the calling of our soul our gifts and talents come to the forefront and we live our lives with open hearts and with focused intention.

Letting go of what does not serve us any longer is also something that can bring up fears and uncertainty in our lives. We have attachments to people, places and things, attitudes and beliefs in our lives that through conscious analysis can be altered as many times as needed along our journey as we change. It is only through awareness and surrender and trust that in letting go we allow the space for something new to step into our lives. As they say "When one door closes another opens", as long as we have eye to see it, "When the student is ready the teacher appears". This is what our lives to this point have prepared us for, the most important work we can ever do. Your life will be filled with radiance, passion, love and synergy.

Photo Source Path to Truth
Once these changes have been achieved living in a genuine spiritual community, with people who also walk along similar paths to yourself can be a blessings and powerful connection to spirit. Retreats convey the advantages of life in a spiritual community on a temporary basis. Periodic retreats, in which we focus entirely on the work of presence, deepening awareness, and opening our heart, can prove enormously beneficial in reinvigorating our inner work. 

In our normal life situation, a group meeting, attended regularly, offers an external reminder, a source of energy, and a shared commitment, enabling us to maintain our practice in the face of life’s many distractions and pressures. A group which does not collectively do a practice such as meditation, pray, or similar interaction can miss a great opportunity. Discussion alone even when profound and heartfelt does not touch the inner soul in the same way. Just as practice alone does not receive the benefit of shared experiences and insights that are spoken by each member of the group from a place of vulnerability and truth. We are all unique and thrive in different environments however if we can get the balance right our transformation can be ongoing and continuing without limitation. We are the only ones that can do the work necessary however support from others is always beneficial. 

If we do this work we will be people who radiate positiveness and have a glow as they walk through there day that others enjoy, lifting their spirits, this is my work and I strive to slowly and nurturing continue my great journey, taking steps consciously as I go.