She Rises When Needed
grace has also posted about this wonderful work this evening. Please read her post as well as the first comment which contains Marti's detailed heartfelt explanation for her creation.
She Rises When Needed
grace has also posted about this wonderful work this evening. Please read her post as well as the first comment which contains Marti's detailed heartfelt explanation for her creation.
Not sure I would have had the guts to make either the collage or the post that follows if I hadn't been so moved and inspired by Joanne's collage right here.
Originally I didn't plan to engage with this prompt because I figured I'd evoked all the Empress of Everything energy I could reasonably expect myself to express during the Care Package prompt. But then I realized I was also avoiding something really important that I didn't want to deal with in an active way until after this challenge was complete. Felt it wasn't "necessary" or "proper" for me to include what I wound up creating as part of my personal responses to the prompts. Nonetheless here we are.
My collage for today is in large part a delayed reaction follow-up to the real-life results of a collage I made the summer before last as part of year-long art journaling project. Within that context the image spoke to my ongoing experience(s) being silenced by white culture in general and within my specific family of origin. I allowed myself to visually specify what this felt like for the first time: to be enmeshed within a solely white upbringing in a 90% white town (all Others neatly collected in slim enclaves with protestations that the Others wanted it that way ....) while being bi-racial and utterly estranged from my other half.
The latter fact was routinely dismissed as a mere detail which shouldn't be encouraged "to fester" because my inherently insufficient* environment was supposed to render me too grateful by my good fortune to be able to "pass" if I just applied myself to the goal with true will to succeed at it.
*I'm defining insufficiency in terms of knowing who I really was at a basic genetic level since it was glaringly apparent to me I was indeed half Other. And consistently feeling myself as lacking any viable guidance towards developing life skills that were relational to my ongoing experience both at home and in the larger world.
As a direct result of making that collage I subsequently ripped the metaphorical tape away from my very literal mouth and began expressing what felt the safest within an inherently troublesome aspect of my life : the white-centric way in which my small but mighty family has lived since we moved away from a diverse urban hub of great meaning and empowerment to me. And what that experience has led me to conclude without a shade of doubt:
Hypocrisy is a crippling by-product of all human nature, no doubt. But the specifically white version of it insures nobody anywhere ever really gets very far with race relations.
entirely true for me without doubt. But I went about expressing it in the dogmatic emotionally charged manner of somebody who's been honing their rage as well as their ability to sit quietly with a thing I cannot fix by myself or by summoning my own white mojo intent to have it be otherwise. And I regret that very much. THAT isn't just something I can fix - it's something I must fix because nobody else can do it for me.
To illustrate my re-considered intentions moving forward - I began with a healthy dose of self-accountability that focused on an ability I actively hold here in the everyday world that I can apply within experiences involving my linear human landscape - starting with a photocopy of the lede collage. I pasted in a dedicated journal I'll probably wind up sharing a bit on this blog once this challenge is in the past tense long enough to have reclaimed one or two planned winter learning projects first.
I also photocopied two other elements of the same art journal where I made the original collage - tracings of my left and right hand decorated with off-world tatoos what have been re-configured so they might attend to my silenced past-tense self. In this collage they embody the wise and seasoned touch of my highest self and all her cumulative experiences and observations. Thus the hands work slowly and with gentle patience to loosen the powerful adhesive that's kept me 95% quiet about this pivotal aspects of my ongoing life experience for more than half a century.
- notice they are using flower medicine to loosen the adhesive and heal the wounds it caused -
My right hand takes command of the evolved objective - to liberate by way of accrued finesse and empathy. My other - receptive and empathetic - hand cradles my forehead to steady me for the shock and abrupt shift that will come when the tape's finally removed and I now hold sole responsibility for whatever I elect to say or not. In acknowledgement of this - through the process of making the collage - I've given myself a sovereign power - the power of gentleness - I already had without knowing how to claim or implement it.
This collage that I almost didn't think it was 'necessary' to let myself make at this time and in this specific venue is probably the most personally meaningful and healing response I've had in the process. It's a visual pact with myself as a writer and activist.
far more importantly - from now on making the commitment to deliver myself from the idea there's only one way to get a thing done. Or that there's a BEST way and for some reason I'm the one who knows it. And that if I'm not heard or remotely 'accepted' in that one-way's cadence and tone then I have failed The Cause and myself.
failed to grow, maybe.
but I'm pretty much done with that too.
(tomorrow begins the final third of the challenge. We'll be downshifting the intensity of the prompts' self-exploration curve in order to discover what might want to grow in all the fresh inner space we've made through better understanding who we are creatively and what we're making of and for ourSelves through making art of whatever form.)
Today something crystallized for me and I realized the ultimate 'end run' for this project when viewed as a prototype.
[This is my larger creative purpose with collage frequently enough to explain why getting it exactly absolutely perfectly just-so - right out of the gate - doesn't concern or even particularly interest me. That doesn't mean I don't want whatever I create to maintain a consistent degree of fluency and competence with the medium but for projects like this I realize the booklet's ultimate purpose is to be exactly what and how it is.]
The gifts my cosmic form sent my earthbound self living in today's world begin (as ever and always) with the packing material. Decided cosmic me would surely have access to feathers that have the ability to expand and retract and thicken or thin according to intergalactic traveling conditions. Looks like this form of me packs everything with feathers instead of evergreen branch segments. I also sent myself seven seeds for growing various foods not currently known on earth - food more nutritious and easier to plant, pick, pack and prepare than we'd believe to be possible.
Sent myself eight holographic silver stars from Uncle Ganesha in his Star Thrower guise. A very big star containing coded maps so I'll know how to get back to my true home when the time comes. Two kinds of magical beetles. One species eats ticks in such prodigious numbers it could be the size of an elephant instead of being so tiny even a baby tick never sees it coming. The other species builds thick impenetrable webs to encase the eggs and nests of tree-defoliating relatives anywhere in the cosmos. The eggs and nests are flown away in the webs by astounding glittering groups of these beetles - returning to their source so the defoliators may be gently reprogrammed enough to populate a world I don't know the point of yet so we'll stop right here.
I sent myself a sun that eradicates ozone devastation. Special translucent color-diamonds full of specifically sequenced energy shifting power(s) for healers who want to be more whole than wounded. Two "legs to stand on" diamonds that clear all toxic cultures' waste and debris from our collectively over-burdened solar plexus centers. You can see in the image that they've already scoured through enough grime to let areas of pure solar yellow shine through.
A color diamond that pulls fully optimized solar energy into the green realm of our earth-bound heart chakra. It is Love Your Mother medicine for the planet as well as evolutionary human illumination. A color diamond loaded with bright clear orange/sacral energy tonic riddled with gold and pure-white threads of focused vibrational karma juice to leapfrog us into a place of being authentically clean & clarified psychically and emotionally. And then hold the capability of re-programming ourselves without resistance in ways that allows us to stay elevated on these 'lower' planes. A color diamond mixing heart and throat energies into a beautiful organic turquoise range of gold flecked truth telling.
[I internally associate turquoise with CroneSpeak based on wisdom a woman's age will provide in great bounty if she's been seeding her inner garden spaces diligently throughout her Time.]
Little fast-flying golden beings that transmit love and cosmic wisdom. You know. Just for fun.
The blue butterfly flew off on its own accord to land here and there throughout the booklet without finding a place it wishes to settle yet.
See Marti's remarks in the comment section of this morning's post. I especially love the significance of the diagonal marker and the primary dialogue set between the masthead and Judy Chicago dinner plate.
Above is the image that influenced this prompt. I very much wanted Her rising from the center of our fire pit. As you saw in my results for day 1 I had her trimmed to size and ready to glue. But then she disappeared. Entirely. When and where-ever she resurfaces I'm going to thank her. Because, in my search for the same card in the actual deck (the one I chose was scaled down as the image on that intro card most modern decks contain) I found a much more appropriate choice:
The fire pit is where I make my sacred prayers and intentions known independently but it's also where I've gathered local female friends for Ceremony - often on quarter and cross quarter days sacred to all sorts of heathen record keeping. Energetically there are additional women who work with my flower essences and I consider them to be a vibrational part of the ceremonial landscape as well. I made two copies of the card on my ink jet printer just in case I bungled my first attempt at a loose plan. Knew the gilded parts would be cut away so there was no need to wait for a trip to Staples for laser prints. Instead I backed them with brayer cleaning paper. Like how the darker green hints with accuracy of the field's tree growth just before our property line. In the colors of late spring. If only we had something going on out there that would justify glorifying those wonderful apricot fruits at the top of Primavera. But the background paper is close to the right color ... hmmmm.
as a visual re-set, here's the reality of this spot:
and here's the way these results sit on the centerfold 'map'.
Am thinking now about the legend strip at the bottom of the page. How I want it to Be. Something like this but wilder while also being more tightly focused on specific types of leaves, acorns, relevant animal stickers, whatever ...
Am closing out with acknowledgement that these grace-full luminous women's original task was indeed to represent The Three Graces within one of my favorite seen-in-person famous paintings - Primavera. I liked introducing that connection because I knew the appropriated reference included Our Grace and also my grandmother's older sister Lordy Lou Grace. But who was the third? This morning I woke with a smile of contentment. I understood the third Grace could only be Ms. Paley. Enormous Changes at the Last Minute left quite an impression on me when I was back there in my Women Only reading phase that only broke for People's History of the United States. Feel so happy I got to see and hear her read years ago ('79 I think) at a benefit for the BU 5 in the Arlington Street Church.
Dee! Any chance you were there, too???
... 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finalize your layout. Take a picture of it, back to front and front to back. This will be good documentation and reference when/if you decide to make additional booklets.
Hopefully you have your folios ready to go but in case you still need encouragement and examples of how to trouble shoot beyond the point covered in the last post - Above is the cover of my assembled book. In the end I changed the size to smaller dimensions in order to prevent floppiness. Lost all the design elements I thought I loved too much to be free of them. In full disclosure I stopped resisting the idea once I discovered a second identical bag. Jim reminded me one of them was holding one of my current fave long-sleeved tees bearing the slogan seen above and below.
Above the unbound folios are displayed in order as they'll look when bound. Before I changed the book's dimensions, I changed my mind about which paste paper I wanted to include. This is a bit matchy-matchy for my tastes but that will be easy to correct (or learn to appreciate as 'new growth' on my part) along the collage-patched way of things. I made the shift because I had a LOT of ideas of ways I'd like to draw on the spine/ley line I saw on the other paper. Didn't want to wait until my next opportunity to hit a color copier before getting the book assembled and so I made the swap-out. Once I did I immediately decided to revert to my original idea of having part of a shopping bag serve as back drop for a treasure map. Since then I've clarified that I intend to use the space to do a funky interpretation of the wild gardens I've planted to benefit the neighboring farm's bee hives as well as wild bees/hummingbirds/other nectar seeking insects. Think that's something that must have been percolating when I chose the sheet of bee related collage elements I'd been hoarding as something I'd challenge myself to use up in it's entirety.
The patch from the swapped-out paste paper appears on both sides. The original bag paper was thin to nothingness just there and I decided I wanted something that will give me a visual guide for where I want to put the map's scale and orientation markers. There are many grey portions of the bag which I've patched over with yellow cut-outs from other parts of the bag. Sometimes I made an effort to create flowing lines from patch to patch and others not so much. I used Yes paste for the strengthening and flexibility properties and also because it's got a patented 'curl proof' property that's really helpful for smoothly joining two heavier papers of similar weight. It's equally helpful to fuse a thinner paper bag to a thicker paper as I did with the cover.
note: For inner page work and thin-to-thin fusion I strongly prefer glue sticks.
This layout shows the page order from the centerfold to the back cover (which is blank on the inside).
Note the way I strengthened the cover's seam by adding a strip of a contrasting paper. I chose it because the sheet literally fell on my foot. It fit my emergent color palette, and I then realized J. got it for me during a fabulous birthday tour of all our old haunts in Boston last summer. That's what I wanted and all I wanted - 102 degree temps be damned - we were going and so we went. Our very last activity was a visit to the Dick Blick store in Central Square in Cambridge. Walked by the solid wall of decorative paper drawers with an averted gaze but J. was right behind me raven-heckling "oh come on! It's you're birthday - don't worry about details just get what you want!"
I selected three or four papers and it's a very happy memory so I was glad this book wound up covered in evidence of my life partner's Way of partnering. Not quite sure exactly how to tie that in with the bee map and whatever's between now and then but the book's page layout does suggest also doing some kind of surreal rendition of my literal landscape and the farm where the hive bees originate. Maybe I'll represent more wild places on the blank inside cover.
Once I'd cut into the cactus birthday paper I decided to use it as a unifying patch/work agent throughout the booklet.
Its placement here made me think of expanding the scope of the treasure map from what I kinda-sorta sense happening in the centerfold. I envisioned ways the cactus paper could be re-imagined as the wild windrow at the back of our field. The other side hmmmm. two or three ideas are so formless I can't really say. I can say it's been really fun beginning to outline no-pressure yet engrossing prompts to help everyone participating feel like they're accomplishing something that's personally meaningful. There's me and three other people actively committed in the online commentary sense. I'm aware of some maybe/gonna try folks from the walking around world and a few who send regular emails but otherwise do things very quietly and privately. Maybe 11 all told. I think this is good for a sense of disembodied community even if we aren't all connected. It's more ... collage-worthy somehow.
preparing your pages for pamphlet stitching.
use a ruler to make sure all your pages have the same height.
Fold each sheet of paper in half.
Double check your pages' width this time. If anything is extending beyond your front cover and that's not the look you're going for, trim it back to size.
Mark each sheet right inside of the fold:
1/2 inch from top and bottom
At the half-point of the length between the top and bottom marks
make all the holes with a needle, stiletto, awl etc.
Nest the folios together and hold the fold towards the light.
Make sure all the holes are aligned.
Correct if necessary.
don't worry unduly about any corrections
for a book this size that's bound with this particular stitch a couple of extra holes aren't likely to matter at a construction level. You can also compensate by binding just a little more loosely to avoid pulled-tight abrasion points between threaded and empty holes.
Above is a Japanese screw-punch. If you ever decide to make your own sketchbooks with heavier weight paper - and/or you have any sort of hand pain or weakness that makes a lot of twisting and grinding of your knuckle joints very unhappy and painful - you may want to invest. Don't choose by the price. You want an authentic item and there are a lot of counterfeits on the market. I used this treasured tool in order to complete my booklet on a day when the mostly kinda-sorta successfully denied arthritis in my right index finger was not to be trifled with.
load your needle with thread that's two times the length of your booklet's spine PLUS 5 inches
Bring your needle to the center hole of your booklet's outside cover. Slide the needle and thread through all the folios. As you near the end of your thread catch it with a loose finger. Hold it firm while you tape it securely in place, off to one side of the spine, until the full bookmaking stitch has been completed. Leave a three and a half inch tail. This will give you enough thread for knotting the stitch into place.
note: it may take a couple tries before you successfully keep everything securely loaded on the thread. Be patient with yourself and the process. Once it's loaded bring the needle and thread along the inside cover fold to the bottom hole of the book.
Thread your needle through that hole with a moderately loose tension
Bring the needle and thread along the outside spine of the book with a slow and steady movement as you pull the thread to create a firmer stitch.
note: avoid pulling too firmly into place before you've threaded the top hole and pulled to the desired tightness at that specific structural station. Finesse the tension as necessary with even distribution between the 3 holes.
Complete your booklet's binding stitch with a surgeon's knot.
note: The link above features a very clear visual and written description of making a surgeon's knot. Ignore the beading chatter at the end (unless of course that's of interest to you) and just focus on the knot making instruction.
pro tip: I leave the tails as-is and tucked around the long binding stitch. Since I use waxed linen thread they generally stay put. Once I'm done working into the pages I'll either clip them shorter or place a tiny bit of glue on the wrapped threads to seal them into position because I like this look very much as a finishing statement.
Don't be concerned if you don't yet have an idea of what you want to express. In the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing different examples of gluebooks I've made that are only very loosely themed and one that has no theme whatsoever other than making my eyes happy and keeping my mind pleasantly entertained. Every time I post I'll try to remember to add a few questions-of-inquiry that may help you get a clear sense of your expressive intentions.
Am re-posting the image from yesterday in order to review a few things that may help you personalize and tweak what you've gathered so far. The 11 x 15 enamel butcher's tray in the rear is my official "kit case" for this project. Everything that's out on display fits in the tray which in turn fits neatly on top of the large wooden thread box at the back of my sewing table.
clockwise down from the tray - baggies containing the cut-apart bee collage sheet and the 'loose handful' of personal ephemera quadrant of my four fold recipe strategy. Part of a bouquet wrapper from flowers J. brought home. Included spontaneously when I'd really only planned to set it aside in my stash because the design speaks to the time of year and how we're experiencing it here as well as serving as a more personal autobiographical layer of meaning.
In the center are three items that insisted I cut them out and keep them with this project's stash. I reluctantly set them aside with everything else because I just didn't see it in relation to what I'd gathered. But then in the literal light of a new day I saw the scrapbook paper I'd thought was backed in forest green was actually a dark turquoisey-teal. That paved the way for the cactus paper and then, with these three pulled clippings, just the level of clash that makes me happiest. You can't see the show-stopping lotus-printed art paper cut off by the insistent magazine cut-outs but, believe me, it's there. A copy of my grandmother's favorite bird book in the last years of her life. I found it online very cheap so got a copy to replace hers and one to cut apart. A sheet of very weathered paper I stenciled with spray inks. These little test sprays happen to feature my two favorite stencils. The purple mono-print look on the left is an actual seed head. The one on the right is a repetitive design pattern I generally cut into pieces. The pattern's single unit is for me representational of a magic seed.
Above is my loose handful of personal ephemera unfurled. Since I didn't feel like going downstairs into the house and rooting through pockets and drawers and bags I simply went to my work desk and loose-skimmed scraps at the margin of the desk's cutting mat Clear Space. There was a lot of pretty chaos happening there. So far I have a clear idea for both the Venus - to rise from our Gaia breast fire pit and the printer's glitch strip of a winter photo I took used as the background for the treasure map's scale bar. We'll see how closely I follow that plan as time moves forward.
pro tip: If particular pieces you've collected speak very strongly to you - even if they don't speak to you of their specific purpose - put them aside for use as potential visual anchoring points in your own booklet's narrative.
P-town's one of my favorite places. During the winter of '78 I lived in an unwinterized A-frame overlooking a salt marsh in Wellfleet. I was 21, all but surgically attached to a pair of dearly beloved combat boots, and determined to read nothing but female writers until such time as a man managed to produce something sufficiently interesting to break the instinctive boycott streak*. I read and wrote and roamed around sandy roads to nowhere with the scents of bayberry and scrub pine all around me. Spied admiringly on Marge Piercy slinging her garbage bags (sometimes one handed with a steaming mug of coffee cupped expertly in her other gloved palm) in wide arcs at the town dump. Wrote long letters to J. in my illegible handwriting which he keeps bundled in his bottom desk drawer. I've never asked to read them. I presume they are self-conscious yet emphatic Musings on a variety of subjects suitable for cringing over or forgetting cheerfully sight unseen.
I forget what night of the week it was but I definitely remember the ricketty shack of a P-town drinking dance club where off-season people would gather to cut loose in a loud sweaty tangle. I'd drive out occasionally. I quite liked all the components of being there except the reality of other people wanting and all too frequently expecting to dance with me. I did not want to be Bothered and so I'd usually wind up walking along the deserted thoroughfares with the blaring music still slaloming through my head. Never dreaming J. and I would someday have an off-season honeymoon here amidst gale force winds and a swirling nor-easter snowstorm. Or that, as we aged, we'd laugh and laugh about all the things in our life that would have horrified the young 20's versions of ourselves.
[spoiler alert: That man would be *Howard Zinn/People's History of the United States.]
The town at the place where water meets land contains a rich history of different artist groups and colonies. I will be posting more about that at a later time. The pictures in this post are of a specific privately owned property a few steps off the town's main thoroughfare. To be Next Level - on pretty much any level - by Provincetown standards is saying something. And this particular Place is saying volumes.
[really love the way the Buddah and the snake look like a collaged element. plan to make copies so they can be used that way.]
proximity context below
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.
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