In the Spirit of Collage (Pt. 2)

The Wisdom of the Womb

It would be nearly two decades before I would have the yearning to put together another collage and it came about while on bed rest when I was pregnant with my fourth child. I couldn’t seem to get jazzed about scrapbooking like some of my friends did. I found that there was way too much stuff to deal with and lug around, and strangely, I thought it seemed too structured (if that makes any sense). But I needed something to do.

So out of the blue I began gathering photos with pagan people/places/themes from old calendars, greeting cards, and torn from alternative magazines. These were added to the collection of pictures I had in a folder and stored over the years (for what exactly, I did not know, until that time of course). During the sorting process I recalled there being a large empty frame in the corner of the garage and asked my husband to bring it inside for me. Using the cardboard backing as the base for the collage, I went crazy on it. For the next several weeks I spent hours sorting through and cutting out pictures. I came across small trinkets like snakeskin found on the garden path, sand in the bottom of a bucket from a beach trip earlier in the year, an old spiderweb my toddler brought to me, unrefined sea salt, colorful beads, and other odds and ends to be used as embellishments. I found myself immersed in a therapeutic activity without ever consciously saying to myself, “gee, I’m making a collage”, I just did it and it helped those last five weeks go by a little bit faster. More importantly, it just felt good, like a balm for my soul.

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My “downtime collage” has now presided over my main altar as a backdrop for nearly six years and continues to inspire me in countless ways.

Pieces of Parenting: Sharing the Wisdom 

After taking all the precautions and strict bed rest, our last child was born at 32 weeks. My placenta had ruptured and at one point during the c-section, the outlook was dim for the two of us. What little I can remember of the things I saw, felt, and heard during that perilous time remains as ethereal wisps of fear that brush against my subconscious from time to time. To look at him today, no one would ever suspect he was born a preemie struggling on a ventilator in the NICU. Other than his mild asthma, his looks and build replicate his Poppa’s, who is a hefty ex-lineman football player. Needless to say, he is walking in his dad’s footsteps as the offensive lineman on the 3rd grade football team.

I feel blessed to experience life with my family. Our children are our biggest accomplishments, cherished little souls that we wistfully watch grow and mature into adults faster than we ever thought possible. Our oldest son (their older brother by 10+ years) recently left for college, so now it’s now just the four of us in the household (plus our familiars of course). It has taken some time to adjust, but we’re getting there, knowing that through love and acceptance we can weave any gaps left in our newly downsized household.

Collage as a Family Group Activity

My children love collage and have enjoyed making some of their own creations over the years. From there the idea to construct a big family collage to honor the Four Directions was born.

There Were 5 Rules:

  1. To find images that they felt represented the four directions
  2. Group them accordingly
  3. Cut only paper
  4. No glue fights
  5. Have Fun!

Though we live in the mundane world out of necessity, as a family we bring in as much magick as we can, tapping into the other realms through practice, patience, guidance and protection. What better time to create something together as a new start (and finally new bedrooms of their own to boot!); something that we each contribute to, sharing how we feel about our world at the moment and linking our emotions together in a visual way. What better way than a collage!

We could have used personal family photos for this project, but to truly tap into something deeper, something on the archetypal plane, we needed universal symbols, those things that spoke to us on several different levels. So we took the time and sifted through old stuffed folders of scraps torn or cut from magazines, catalogs, calendars, brochures, and whatever else we found, gathering new images as well. The process becomes a wonderful unifying experience, bringing intimate understanding between those involved.

An example that comes to mind is one child may set a photo of a bear on the table to be used in the direction of North. When explaining that they see the bear as a representation of Earth, it will in turn will resonate with the rest of us in some way by suggestion, personal affinity or connection, knowledge of the animal, etc.. If you were to ask us individually ‘why’ we see it as connected to North/Earth, you will more than likely receive different answers from each of us. Strength, courage, grounding, confidence, beauty, and so forth. Each answer blends harmoniously and the back of the bear image is coated with glue by one child and placed by the other, smoothed by me, and acknowledged by my husband. This creates teamwork and connection in a loving gift of sharing and mutual understanding.

Creating a family collage can be a powerful spiritual experience. 

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Gathering images and sharing ideas

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The finished product hangs happily on a wall in my Tarot office/art and craft studio/ritual space/massage table area/yoga room/library and reading place/writing space/eBay store and where we do many of our family rituals because obviously everything we need is right there!

We did a decent job on trying to keep the elements in their quarters; Earth has furry animals and outdoorsy activities. South has the sun, candles, and a cool dragon. East has outer-space, sky, clouds, pictures of people feeling inspired, dreaming, and singing. West is filled with watery things including Momma’s totem, the seahorse. That was a fun surprise because one of the kids snuck it on at the last minute. It makes everyone who sees it happy with the light, friendly, childlike, magickal imagery. It offers us all something we could use a little bit more of.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

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