This is one of my favorite art journals. I introduced the project here. Writing that post inspired me to begin bringing this blog into focus in a somewhat different way than I originally imagined I might. Instead of focusing on daily accountability in relation to my ongoing creative practice, I thought about the projects that most matter to me in specific terms of taking them with me if I had to leave where I live under emergency circumstances. Grace recently posted on the subject of her refined bug-out readiness plan there in NoCali's fire belt. She's already had to evacuate with the goats once this season and has since devised a means of readying her fabric collection for swift travel with no moment to spare.
It got a lot of us thinking. And irrespective of pragmatic what-iffing I love Alchemical Rituals intensely. Perhaps the most significant learning/personal growth that emerged from a year spent allowing somebody else - literally half a world away - to guide me in a venture that was deeply personal relates to how much I came to understand and appreciate the ways my mind and heart instinctively braid things together via collage and a few other thematic/supply-based touchstones of this project. Each month we watched inspiring and crystal clear process videos related to a carefully chosen theme and pre-selected mediums/artistic techniques to explore. The journal holds 24 spreads; 2 per month. The first of each pair is a solar spread and the second is a lunar spread. As a general rule Vanessa broke down her topical themes in a light/shadow format.
Above is a detail from the lunar spread for April. It was a month in which we delved into the subject of Fertility using collage. For the solar spread V. asked us to create a secret garden devoted to carefully cultivated sacred space. For the lunar spread we were asked to depict what happens when we neglect such a space and allow the weeds to take over. I'd introduced my intrinsic sense of connection to the archetypal goddess of perpetual duality, Persephone, within the month's solar spread where she appears as a maturing form of her Queen of the Flowers guise. On the next page I depicted her making her yearly return to what lies Below, through earthly gates that quickly fade to black.
The overall scene I created for the lunar spread nudged me to consider my life's kind of ... almost touristy aspect of relationship to this part of myself. I mean that in terms of how much it can take out of me to be familiar and calm with dark stuff many people I know work extremely hard and consciously to avoid. And so I thought about what a brutal (and culturally undervalued) form of returning it can be and how sometimes I actively step back from acknowledging the difficulty level in order to dispassionately observe myself "handling" things like a no-contest pro if not a saint or a hero. That's ... pretty much Persephone's gig in the Underworld kingdom: managing the unmanageable yet inevitable switch between being and not-being in the human life span.
I was surprised and inspired to realize this new awareness could with time and mindfulness allow me to just be in the process (instead of focusing primarily on performance checklists) of guiding and being guided through dark times and deep water.
Here's a detail from January's solar spread. The theme for the month is New and the technique is stitching - with the centerpiece effort being a dream catcher. I decided to construct the two spreads as thematically joined by the open web between them. V. encouraged us to add some sequins to our web. Some have bent over time due to inadvertently smashing them while flattening other pages beneath a few heavy books.
This is a detail from the final spread in the journal. December's theme was Closure and the technique was color blocking paint colors to harmonize with pre-selected collage pieces to fit our chosen representations. The month's Lunar spread was designed around those aspects of our immediate and ongoing future we needed to integrate but found personally challenging. I elected to further clarify the issues I placed in this category as works in progress I was committed to shifting as mindfully and gently as possible in order to move forward into a new cycle of deepened/more conscious self-relationship.