alchemical rituals

still feeling disjointed

ShiboriscrapsOne day over the weekend I chose scraps to use in making nine-patches for my Spiritcloth tribute.  During the heatwave I lurked in my summer studio.  Aside from the basement it's the coolest place in the house.  Marked the scraps for cutting and sewing lines and got the individual squares cut.

Littlesquares72820I followed grace's advice the other evening and listened to the 1619 podcast she recommended on her blog.   It took me a day and a half to get that kind of quiet time within myself.  As I listened I stitched a couple of four patches.  Three and a half, to be exact.  One was stitched badly because I was saddened and increasingly focused on the podcast's narrative.  I really wasn't paying attention to the stitching at all but simply doing it because that's what I planned in advance.   Have since taken it apart to restitch later today or this evening.  But leaving the image of it as part of this ongoing creative record.  It shows how I felt while listening to the podcast and everything else we take some measure to absorb in an ongoing way: out of whack and consequently vulnerable.

SquaresMost of my free time - including that in which I'd normally write emails and get my packages packed up and ready for mailing - has been feeding my need for a reliable fulcrum.  Something I can turn to for the beginning and ending every day as a reliable place to stay focused beyond all the things we're all doing in whatever ways we can to absorb or reject just what we need to have/not have too close to our fractured minds and hearts.

coyote medicine says:  when you get to the end of reality make another one.

so that's what I've been doing.  and lo and behold -

Writing more diligently and carefully has begun to result in also writing more fluently.

To that end I've opened a password protected blog on which to share a few of the first-round results.   At the moment I've got one block of writing posted with the intention of posting two more that are very much inter-relational.  It's a contemporary narrative that strays a good bit farther afield than I stray here on my two blogs.

closer to heart in many ways.  and in others most definitely a word on the street/beach book kinda thing.

Leave a comment or email me if you'd like to take a look and I'll send you the keys you need.

Patchesinarow


Sympathetic Evolution (tm jude)

Creatorstone My response to recent community truth tellings and the resultant supportive growth tendrils pushed me all the way beyond words.   Obviously where-ever I was going expressively would be cloth driven.  Somewhere around 2 a.m. on Thursday I understood I wanted to make a tribute/protection quilt for the community jude created and has tended in much the same style I tend to my gardens. 

I've never wanted to do this before.  For one thing - precision and math.  Planning that's focused rather than a rough suggestion.   For another - I learn best when I incorporate rather than emulating.  But for this purpose it doesn't feel like my expressive style serves the purposes.  So what's coming to life is a bit sympathetic magic and a little evolutionary cloth/work approach and whole bunches of sympathetic evolution.    I don't remember when it was that jude put her stamp on that phrase and its brilliant articulation recurring throughout her work and teaching development.

Wheelassquarebegin She sent me this I don't even know how many years ago.  It was last resurrected for ongoing contemplation shortly before the shit hit the fan COVID-wise here on the east coast.  I thought I would like to make it the center of something bigger and somehow aquamarine-ish. 

Wheel transferIn this busy multi-plexic portion of the growing season yesterday afternoon was sending me to the big bad tizzy place.  I realized cloth work would help slow the revs as well as elevating my perspective of the moment.  I sat down with my intentions to just go in the sympathetic evolutionary magic sense - having earlier stolen 10-15 minutes to anchor stitch the green and blue/turquoise fabric to the under-side of jude's corduroy base. 

 once this was done I sensed the soft collaboration I was seeking.  And remain pleased that I gained the most beautifully moody moon circle to dream over.

Next will come a border of small four patches.  To adept lovers of small piecework the size will probably feel overblown (1" finished) but for me this level of literally scaling down is an exercise in trust that time and providence can hold the care I'm taking. Last night after I got this far I adjourned to fictionland but not before I located my embroidery hoops with today's stitching time in mind.

***

Appliqueing the stone into position was so gratifying at a stitch level.  Was a little worried I'd cut too scant a turn to prevent the corduroy unraveling but there was no such problem.  Later today  I may stick it in a hoop and do a little noodling but that could well be a plan to procrastinate marking and cutting the little squares. 

slowly but surely I'm coming around to the understanding that neurological abrasions shouldn't keep me from stitching just because I can no longer manage a fine seam.  I probably could if I spent more time with it but that's the Catch-22 that this endeavor may help me mend a lot more effectively.

Backsideofstone


beyond words (plus words)

Graceinclusion

Longcloth6220

Moonmadness6220

*****

wrote these words spontaneously after re-working the Lunar Annal title page background and creating some equally spontaneous collage pieces.  less than a day before shit got real in the most effed-up way yet.  bearing witness to our country literally going up in flames has given the implications of what I wrote a much deeper collective context.

*****

dark black elliptical shattered

broken scary moons.

moons to haunt the dreams of the dying

as well as the merely alive

amidst unending disconsolation.

 


Solar/Lunar polarity

Inanna

ETA:  Some first rate writing from Molly Jong-Fast in Vouge Why I Am Not Leaving New York. 

word tincture is becoming THE currency rather than ancillary background to image as All.

Back in the mid & late 90's I had several UK friends who were quite gifted astrologers.  Each felt that my natal chart "explained everything" -  whatever that may have meant to them when they said it.  Most other remarks/insights were far less cryptic. The most consistently on-point and directly relatable to my life came from a woman who understood the best way for me to both know myself and consistently play to my strengths was to set a course of ongoing pragmatic activity that was nourished by constant meditation on solar-lunar polarity and how necessary it was to seek impeccable reflective balance one into the other.

One thing I've been doing ever since:  Begin each shift of seasons by drawing a solar and lunar card to represent energies that needed and deserved my attention for the season.    I used to work with the Motherpeace tarot major arcana but for years now I've been using Susan Seddon Boulet's Goddess knowledge cards from Pomegranate Press.  As winter shifted into spring I was somewhat delayed in finding the time, space, and centered frame of mind I ask of myself for this slow-down-and-root-Beyond ceremony. 

Yesterday I gave myself moon-in-Taurus rooted energy.  Spent all my studio time cleaning, sorting, and figuring out creative uses for (or storage of) things I'd planned to take to our town dump's freecycle station.  They shut-down recycling until further notice and I doubt they'll re-open freecycling at the beginning of May.  Or maybe ever.  Spent all of yesterday contemplating the shift of my personal expectation/needs sliding scale.  This proved more enormous than I would have imagined.  But eventually it led me to centering enough to recall I had yet to pick spring cards.

Hina

My solar draw was Hina.  I am aware of her place as a Polynesian creatrix goddess and have certainly admired this portrait thousands of times but have never pulled the card so far as I recall.  a snippet from the back of this card:

Hina is perhaps best known as the woman who lives in the moon...[She] represents that part of ourselves that creatively brings forth nourishment even in the midst of what appears to be death and decay.

Flora

Lunar draw - Flora aka Flourishing One.  This goddess presides over nature and the spring season as well as that phase of the human lifespan.  She is extremely familiar to me but I've never drawn her from this deck.  Was ruminating on that over the course of last summer.  When I pulled the card I took my time reading the card's text and how it connected to this particular moment of time.  Thought a lot about how Floralia - often presumed the beginning of the Maypole ritual - aligns with a time in our impending collective experience that hinges on people paying attention to life/death information that's being actively shuttered on an ongoing basis. 

I also felt validated in my sense that my own personal emotional/psychic/mental health depends on seeking out corners of suspended pleasure and joy throughout the day and evening.

Flora teaches us to honor growing things, both inside and outside us.  She is a reminder to pay attention to pleasure, to the beauty of spring, and to new life, wherever it is found.

Artistaltar

Meditating on this pairing guided me to resume and complete the re-building of a long artist's altar here in the studio.   Solar and Lunar energies and talismans are fairly even in distribution.

Crowfeathers
Last night and this morning I completed the finishing touches on this space.   Have also selected the below pairing as my studio reading material for the month of April and beyond.

Booksforapril

How is everyone else balancing their own forms of inner/life/creative polarity in these evolutionary times?


holding gratitude

Gratitudejournals

This is my collection of gratitude journals.  In another few weeks it will be 7 years since I began keeping them as an outgrowth of Angeles Arrien's Living In Gratitude. Am posting about it here and now as a gentle mental & emotional wellness check for us all.

A mindful heart-centered person who wants to keep their mental and emotional equilibrium in the face of chaotic administrative distraction and a global health crisis wouldn't need to follow Arrien's year-long themed trip through the calendar year in order to benefit greatly from adopting this type of a journal.  Decided to share my ongoing process as I'm finding it very helpful as a tool to ground and center myself in the midst of so much chaos and ineptitude at the top.

Every morning when I come into the studio I open the gold notebook all the way on the right.  That's my current volume in the series.  I write the day's date and then write out two sentences each that begin with:  I love ... and I'm grateful...

I write two sentences because one doesn't always get below the surface enough for me to feel I'm truly connecting with myself rather than my automatic programming.  I only write two sentences for each beginning  because doing any more might make the practice feel less do-able as an ongoing process.  Sometimes on really really beautiful & special days I wind up 'cheating' by adding multiple items between parenthesis. 

That used to be the whole process.  But somewhere near the end of the first volume (under the current volume's left edge) Angeles Arrien died.  I was flabbergasted and couldn't fully process the news when a friend emailed in mourning.   I worked my way past such flat-out denial by surfing the web in order to read what bloggers might be saying about her meaning to them.  Her reach was so wide and deep that I found plenty. 

 I was particularly grounded to a larger reality through a blogger who shared the way she ended each day with a journaling end-note inspired by Arrien.  Her process has further structured my own ever since.  Every evening I return to the day's entry in order to complete three different sentences:   Today I was happy ...  I found comfort and balance ...  I was inspired...

This practice has taught me to understand how resilient my soul is even on bad days.  In the 7 years I've been doing this I've only had one day that was so black and depressive in nature that the only way I could push myself to truthfully complete the "happy" sentence was to write that I was happy the day was over. 

one.  day.   What that showed me about myself was not something I'd been conscious of feeling or living-through;  I think of myself as a cynical optimist at best any time our collective species is part of an equation.  I'm also someone with a history of PTSD complicated by depression.   There have been any number of times I've really had to push myself to get the sentences completed in a way that's authentic to the moment when I'm writing them.

it was only that one time I could only push in such a tiny way.  And still did push that way.

***

Last spring I fully opened my eyes to the ways my husband and I have created the kind of Place we've talked about 'having' ever since we met.  Standing on the verge of a tiny field so different from its form when we first arrived I spontaneously decided I was going to stop keeping a gratitude journal.  Instead I would simply live in a sustained state of gratitude.  I committed to the decision on the spot - vowing to let it last as long as I stayed honest about gratitude's sustenance.  I made a further commitment to feeding the intended practice high quality fuel to continue sustaining my inner soul and state of mind/heart/gut. 

***

Started keeping a gratitude journal again when the constant ineptitude, ignorance, and sadism crested-over my personal world view.  The fact that this tipping point occurred once the land was fully barren for the year is no coincidence.  When I returned to daily practice I began to allow myself more room to express the context as well as more details about my 'required' sentences.  I came to see that a journal by whatever definition is something that can and in fact should evolve.  The original intention was to create something so simple and easy to fulfill that it would become ingrained as a self/soul-sustaining form of self-care.  Now I want to linger even if it means I need to step up to a larger sized journal and let it become an everything journal that's still topic specific.   By making gratitude the central quality of life force that it's capable of being for so many of us.


mercifully mellow

Robinfortressblg

Today has been warm enough to open windows on both sides of the studio.  The pleasure of naturally fresh air - and the fact that it's still possible to say we live with such a blessing - left me hungry for spring.   Am in the throes of pretty much going through everything I own here in the studio and elsewhere.  It's been an ongoing process for about a year now.  The more I lean into it the more it picks up speed and volume. 

Think it's my sane response to the increasingly insane world.  I want and need this space to have energetic flow and practical workability.  In addition to very lo-fi yet optimum storage reconfiguration it's become really important to me that all dust and bits of debris be corralled and removed.  (note as is obvious in above image I do not consider flaking bark fragments to be "debris")

There is much going on in my family - thankfully nearly all of it of a purposeful and positive nature - that's pulled my energy back to the basics of the Householder path.  Last night I had a chance to sit quietly with the new moon in pisces vibration.  That's when the phrase mercifully mellow popped into my head.

Bulbsplantedonsolstic22420

Here in the studio we have two very unglamorous pots of bulbs I planted on the winter solstice.  Sunny yellow and orange sweet scented daffodilly energy is on the rise!  It's a ritual I've enjoyed since a friend and I declared ourselves the Inventresses of the practice roundabout '81.  Then we had an old fashion metal milk delivery cooler to store our pots and now I have a left-behind refrigerator that just sort of hulks at the edges of our garage.  For the two months of winter the bulbs give it purpose.  At this point (other slower to rise bulbs are still sequestered) the narcissus have been slowly acclimating to light for 5 days.  Tomorrow or the next day I'll put them in their permanent spot for budding-up.

Malachiterescue

Have also been breathing life in a long-neglected and pretty much ossified tube of discontinued (malachite) Daniel Smith watercolor from their primatek line.  The color doesn't handle reliably and it's streaky.  But the specific green itself is rather marvelous and I've been thinking of ways I could use the smaller chunks as mark making tools.

Herbacrafterspouch

Today I also sewed a silk-lined storage pouch for a tarot deck I acquired very late last year - The Herbcrafter's Tarot.  Although I'm quite aware dandelions aren't pink it's the scrap that kept calling to me.  I lined the quilter's cotton with a green dupioni silk that stops just short of chartreuse.

[note:  per a request I'll soon be posting about Herbcrafters in relation to the way I approach a new deck upon unboxing.  Will do that on my main blog as I know some who read there but not here will be interested and inspired by the card imagery.]

I just cut long rectangles of the outer fabric and silk, eyeballed to leave sufficient room for a front, back, and tuckable flap.

Pouch unsewn

The two fabric's raw edges are folded inward (sometime with unravelling silk involved it winds up being as much as a half an inch for the silk and then easing-along the cotton to keep the edges even.  Below you can see how the folded seams look when the finished rectangle is positioned in the proper place for its intended contents. 

  Pouchedgedges

You can also see how the two fabrics are folded inward to self-seam with a continuous well spaced running stitch and (sometimes gently botched) mitered corners. 

Today I had to work with set dimensions based on what I had of the dandelion print.  And within that constraint long experience has taught me that if I set further folding and sewing lines based on the booklet and cards placed horizontally as it is above...

Herbcrafters

When all is said and done the cards and accompanying booklet will be housed in verticially snug comfort with just enough space to slip in a polished stone or crystal if you do that sort of thing.  

Pro-Tip:  Join the finishing side seams of the pouch with a continuous backstitch. 

Begin at the BASE of the sides rather than the top. When you get to the top take one or two small but sturdy stitches that are perpendicular to the rest of the stitches.  The top edge of the pouch will receive the most stress and wear.  Mindful stitch planning significantly increases the timeline before you have to repair or outright re-stitch the joining seams.


Day 30 - results

Trustyourself

(because that's where and why and how all the creative magic happens)

I'm really glad we all did this together.  I hope you are too.

  EVERYBODY did outstanding work - not just in the scope of their collage creations but also in terms of quickly establishing a challenge-based working style and dedication to their personal process development.  Despite the initial uncertainty any challenge brings it was truly remarkable to see how quickly everyone adapted to their freshly personalized relationship to this expressive medium.  By reviewing each other's efforts the way we'd all look at something together if our virtual situation was happening in the walking-around world - we each insured that every single one of us "got" something about collage that we hadn't quite put together before this time of sharing.

  Everyone - including me -  willingly trusted I'd guide them to a stationary end-point while also digging deeper into their private stashes of emotion and life experience as well as their paper collections.  Now - going forward - there's only one barometer/compass rose to be followed:

trust yourself

keep speaking truth to and FOR power

from the center of your creative soul

and every corner and crevice you discover

where true power resides

*~*~*~*~*

My faves from these days:

Dee

grace

Joanne

Liz

Marti - curendera (make sure to scroll down or click for her response to our final prompt)

Nancy

[For those who like statistics - this blog has averaged 82 unique visitors a day for the challenge time-frame.  Including myself and everyone actively involved - 35 people have let me know they're participating/following along as a somewhat regular part of their creative experience. 

The most unique visits to a single post (328) happened here. oof.  Typepad is going rogue on me right here at the end!

For reasons unknown all the [listed as published] posts aren't appearing on the blog right now.  At least not in what I can see of it here on my laptop or phone.  The post with the most unique visitors was the Day 16 results page for the garden Crone totem.  Quite a skyrocket!  Somebody somewhere linked, obviously, to significant effect.  Perhaps it's fitting that my first studio-based intention once I've scheduled this post is to paint that totem's background layer.  Last things first, as I like to say!

Not at all by design but I'm very grateful it's working out this way - I don't have to be/go anywhere that requires me to be all the way ON until Thursday morning.  Between now and then I'm planning to stay paint smudged and considerably more powered-down than I've been since ... before Thanksgiving, actually.  Yikes.  No wonder I feel so ready to shift from extro to intro mode energetically.

and I still don't have a clue what I might post on this blog going forward.  or why ...]


day 18 - results

Lotusalchemy

This isn't fully cooked yet.  And am somewhat ambivalent about how to get it there.  I may have to do some gesso/craft paint scraping to knock back areas of the ground paper's pattern.  This one will be a lot trickier than the goat/moon background.  Thought I'd have to resort to painting rather than scraping.  Then I remembered my still-new miniature spatula!  Will try working on scraps of all the paper/elements in this spread with this tool to see if that might be viable or not.  Maybe someday I'll learn not to work backwards.  Maybe.

Lotuspiecesunglued

The only reason these elements look like they contrast with the background paper is because I rough cut around them. The kraft paper background shows the clear difference between the first and second layers.  But this is not how I wanted my finished effort to look because it's not at all how The Center feels to me.  I thought about the pieces, their combined purpose, and what I had on hand at copier paper weight that I could use as a thin highlight outline.

Nothing made me happy until I glanced at a pile of patterned wrapping paper scraps topped by a clear bright aqua water-patterned paper with many bubbles outlined in dull dark gold.  YES.

Lotuswaterframes

Included the above image for those who haven't worked this way previously.  Audition your options by placing pre-trimmed or torn collage elements on the paper as if it was their background layer.  If the background is patterned make sure you place your elements far enough apart to see each piece individually and in sole relationship to the patterned edges of the background paper that will become part the single element you'll glue to the real background.

note:  This is exactly like cutting out separate applique motifs on cloth.  You need to leave enough space between elements to have the border width you want for both pieces.  I usually leave plenty of room rather than cutting things too close.  In my experience the cut-aways/extra background paper will not be wasted.  See the first image for examples of how I used cut-away pieces to form a rough border suggestion and also the seven free-cut lotus seeds mentioned in the second paragraph below.

When you make your choice take a few minutes to fidget with the top layer's position. You only want to create a thin outline so as not to distract from the central element you're further highlighting with this extra layer of paper.  If there's a pattern with lots of lines (or any dramatic color shifts) on your outline paper choice make sure you're arranging the top piece in a way that will yield disjointed segments of the ground paper that pleases you rather than an unwelcome surprise right at the end of your process. 

  Glue the elements down.  Usually I cover the results with wax paper and press them for awhile but today I had limited time to devote to getting this post created and scheduled.  I finger burnished really well, let it sit 20 minutes and then cut the pieces apart.   If you look at the finished page at the top of this post you'll see I also added 7 free-cut lotus seeds.  That's the primary design reason I want to knock back some of the other circles - so the seeds stand out more as being Story rather than background 'interest'.

(what remains to be seen is whether my Center's lotus pond needs to sparkle or not .  Am thinking not.  Definitely not.  But will sit with that for awhile and see.  Maybe just the bottom of the pond - where the seeds would naturally fall among muck - needs to have some sort of glow to it.

isn't it amazing how many different detailed ideas can grow instantaneously from scraps of paper and your two hands connected to your heart-brain throughline???


.4 larger scale collage driven narratives...

Fertilityowl

... and a word narrative about them.  The examples in this post, which I teased the other day, come from my Alchemical Rituals art journal.  You can read more about that project by clicking on the so-named category in the sidebar.  In the month of April our focal expressive technique was collage.  I was determined to collage EVERYTHING including the elemental symbols and the month/theme title bars. 

Above is the heart of the month's solar spread.  For its expressive frame we were asked to create our idealized secret garden and how we'd feel to spend time there.  Having just given myself permission to speak freely - I resisted the idea and precisely how it was expressed in the videos but then I did what I'd been doing since the very first video - I actively pushed aside my resistance by diving directly into the part of the lesson that evoked the strongest feeling of no I'm not doing that. And when I look back on it the thing that consistently made this year long endeavor compelling to me was my ongoing and ultimately unwavering commitment to making the class material compelling to myself rather than relying on the instructor to take me to the same level of personalized satisfaction without much effort on my part.  I realize that's not an inspirational model for successfully unleashing a lot of specific creative motivations but it's the way I got something inherently challenging and twice as meaningful fully manifested so that the challenge-meaning ratio was more than sufficiently satisfying to me.

Because I chose to Say No to NO itself - I wound up concluding the assignment, just as it was, held its own weight in the fun and self-introspection departments once I got out of my own way.  I liked where I was going as soon as that happened but things really got cooking for me once I happened upon a large scale statue fragment that fit perfectly into the blank space within a different fragment of espalier examples.  Hades was in the house just like that (I had been worried for almost two months about where I might find a place to "put" him within the journal's over-arching narrative) and shaking the tree even if Persephone - radiant in her full flowering as mythological Queen of the Flowers - is not yet aware. She is simply full of her own ripe agency and its blissful harmony with her array of petal'd subjects.  All the same there He is and there are the fateful pomegranate seeds - some falling as tears from his stony eye.  I consciously softened the seeds' message by adding a magical protective number of fat pink lotus seeds scattered throughout the spread. Various protective words and symbols are drawn upon their undersides.

Aprilsolarcu

Loved the way a clipped luxurious ornament so strongly resembled the outline shape of a pomegranate.   And just the faint foreshadowing of marigolds that will proliferate on the Lunar Spread.

Aprilsolarspreadfull

 

Persephonereturning

For the lunar spread we were asked to depict what happens when we "neglect" to weed our sacred garden.  For me that would probably be the idealized condition I set out to foster out in our little field so I went with that along the bottom of the entire spread.  The next thing to develop allowed me to address the interest said field attracts.   Once people caught on that I/we were up to something deliberate rather than neglectful nearly everyone involved swung from reproving and DISapproving to naked curiosity and more unsolicited shouted-out questions than I was initially comfortable managing.

This was somewhere in the back of my mind but it leapt right into the foreground when I looked at the underside of scraps left over from the enormous ancient looking gate at an Italian vineyard.  In the original image the open gates frame the proud vinter's family marching out to invite the townspeople into the property for a yearly ceremonial grape stomping event.  The slivers of beaming onlookers wielding all manner of image recording devices served as an accurate model of how I felt as if I'd been under forms of scrutiny so beyond what I was actually experiencing (some of this, too, was an admittedly toxic reaction to my two month Instagram foray) that I couldn't help smiling at the way I was overplaying it.  I decided to stop deciding things and simply play, period. The Invasion of the Looky Loos became the official title of my lunar spread depicting unexpected perils of Failure to Weed. 

Lookylooscu

Following this clarification of my expressive intentions I "suddenly" warmed to including an element that had insisted on my attention from the jump I just kept thinking Why?? NO.  WHY!!  But then once I chose to symbolically deal with my angst to the point of feeling actively ready to make fun of it I didn't think no or why anymore.  Especially after I'd I looked up mystical/healing correspondences for both alligators and crocodiles since I wasn't sure which one this was.  Then it made complete and total sense, either way. 

Lookyloos

I posted about this specific representation of Persephone at the gates of the Underworld, ready to return to her role as its queen, in a more general introductory post about this particular art journal.

Lookylooswhole


both fun & worthwhile

Ritualwheelsbeginning

As we all move closer to a new calendar year I've decided to start broadcasting some creative seeds.  Maybe something I share will find fertile ground in a way that compliments your own creative/ceremonial activities.  Please note that the featured project for this post was conceived and taught by Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd.   Her method for making and filling a pair of wheels to mark ongoing experiences throughout a calendar year served as a free introductory lesson for her year-long Rituals art journaling class.  You can learn more about my creative immersion in this project via an introductory post I wrote for my main blog or by clicking on the alchemical rituals category link in the sidebar here.  Have recently decided to make a similar pair of wheels for the year 2020.  I'm going to use the same size and brand of journal so it will be a literal as well as intentional companion volume to EarthStar Alchemical Rituals. 

~*~*~

The teaching video for my 2018 endeavor featured Vanessa creating two 12-spoked wheels with rapid inky brush strokes.  My wheel on the left, above, embodies her specific guidance generously layered with my own notions and instincts focused on actively building an energetic year-long plan for myself BOOM all within a single art-date at my work desk. Before that, however, I thought about the project both actively and in a more passive "this is also happening" sort of way for about a week.  

note: participants were further encouraged to pick a word for the upcoming year based on individual intuition/introspective wisdom.  I'd already been chosen by this word for 2018 a few weeks before I impulsively decided Rituals would be a positive and grounding experience for me.  STRONGHOLD.  I really liked the way the word held space as a caption below the wheel on the left. Next I created a  phrase to caption the wheel on the right so the overall page design looked more balanced.  My plan was to collage free-cut branches, leaves and flowers from paper scraps.  In my mind's eye I envisioned the barest whisper of wreath-like suggestions encircling each wheel.  Something simple, to allow the wheels themselves to do most of the talking.

Beginningofcollageonwheels

This was ... fun to begin constructing but I could see if I kept going with a doggedly simple evenly spaced ring of decoration it wasn't going to feel or look nearly quirky/authentically self-expressive enough.  Didn't have to think about that at all but simply decided on the spot I'd go for broke in foreshadowing Persephone in Queen of the Flowers mode.  Having quite a plentitude of flower/gardening magazines and scads of seed catalogs available for cutting and pasting, I sensed I'd have no problem randomly collaging flower images throughout the year.  Given Ritual's over-arching theme of promoting high quality ceremony infused self-relationship I further decided to save these specific mini collage sessions for moments when what I needed most was a 15 minute time-out in which to revitalize and flow my way back to a stabilized center of personal gravity.  The few remaining blank spaces will be filled in such a way - when and as

Stronghold

Unfoldingwheel

Bothwheels