In the Spirit of Collage (Pt. 1 of 3)

Reflections of a Teenage Dream

I first began to collage as a young teen, around the same time I began to study and read the Tarot. Now this was back in the 80’s so the photos used were ones developed with actual film, which means days, sometimes weeks would go by before I ever saw the end result of my attempt to capture the moment. There was no instant gratification and no way of knowing if the one you took was even going to turn out (unless you had a crappy Polaroid). You took one picture at a time, crossed your fingers, and prayed to the Photo Gods because you only got a total of 24 chances in a single roll of film. This made capturing raw moments much more random and rare than nowadays.

I found that thick poster paper or plain cardboard worked best as the base for my collage work. Before beginning I would take several minutes to gaze at the blank ‘canvas’ like I did before painting with my watercolors, imagining it as a smooth pond, knowing that the first photo (like the first stroke of the brush) would be the pebble that I tossed. Each photo would in someway be connected to others on a deeply spiritual level. I chose the images randomly from a big heap collected over months. I had no set intention, I just placed them where I felt they belonged. Even the shapes were cut haphazardly, notched and imperfect, just like the volatile teen I felt I was. Little did I know that those images were telling a story that only my subconscious was aware of at the time.

The collages were never intended to be anything fancy, just scissors and glue, time alone, raw teenage emotion, and an LP record playing loudly in the background. These pieces of memory held together by glue encompassed an abstract view of my emotional world at that time in a way that I was unable to do with words written in journals. I look at my old collages now and my mind reaches far beyond that moment suspended in time. Each snapshot intertwines with the other, which connects to another, and so on until the memories blend and I am transported back to a time that is not a time, and to a place that is not a place. It is from there that I can finally see the big picture clearly through my soul’s eyes.

Collage was my form of therapy during those difficult, sometimes unbearable teenage years. The end result displayed the jagged pieces of my world and I didn’t scrutinize or over think their lack of beauty, depth, or importance like I did with every other aspect of myself. They just became what they were.

I continued to do collage on and off and in between the changing times during those years as a rebellious runaway, a pregnancy and the choices to be made as a result, drug use, an abusive boyfriend, life in a crisis group home for girls, a stint in juvenile hall, hopelessly pining away for a first love, friends in rehab, and friends who decided to check out of life before their time. But there were also smiles, laughter, friendship, excitement, celebration, silliness, remnants of childhood wonder, magic, dreams, unconditional love, and hope for the future. When each collage was completed it would take up space on my bedroom wall to be displayed with the others that mingled with band posters, ticket stubs, and theme park souvenirs.


Love to you all (and thanks to Facebook for helping us stay in touch) 

In my very first collage there’s trimmed snapshots of me and my horse, a couple of boyfriends, me nose to nose with my poodle, friends at the beach, a birthday wish, friends who partied, a trip to Hawaii, and another trip to an amusement park, and my dear friend R. holding the litter of puppies shortly before she decided to end her own life.

This collage may seem like nothing more than a collection of mishmash haphazardly thrown together but it actually weaves together the private story of a 3 month period of my life very well, saying so much without any words at all. The jumble is a language that is all my own, each experience deeply affecting me, and each event directly relating to the other.

Although I’ve decided to publicly share a little piece of my past, the emotional soul attachment is still privately mine because only I can connect the experiences of my feelings as they relate to the intricate web of my personal journey. That’s the beauty of collage, and even more so, the beauty of our individual memories.

What are some of the ways you have expressed yourself or chronicled events during times of joy, or difficulty?  How do you honor or cherish your memories?

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

Invitation Into the Spirit of Collage

For many years I have enjoyed working with collage and wanted to share with you how my practice has evolved over time. Because of the different stages in my collage journey I decided to write my experiences over three separate blog posts. I’ll begin with my first attempts at collage as a young teen looking to find an emotional outlet while trying to find myself. The second post will be about my renewed interest as a pregnant pagan mom on bedrest, and how having too much time on my hands was a blessing that led me back to something I enjoy. Finally I’ll share where I am at this point in my journey not only as a wife and mother but a woman who is beginning to come full circle in my process of self-improvement and spiritual growth and where collage plays an important role in that process.

I hope that you enjoy these posts and that they inspire you to try something new, rekindle an old hobby, or perhaps blend the two together in order to create something that is uniquely yours; something that gives you great joy and satisfaction. Please feel free to share your thoughts, comments, and advice. I would love to hear from you!

Simple Collage Cards

Simple Collage Cards

Forgive the Pain

Guilt. It’s a nasty word that seeps deep into the pores of even the most thick-skinned of people. I can personally say, without a doubt, that my biggest guilt issues have occurred since becoming a parent.

I know that I have blogged here and there about guilt; little snippets of should’ve, would’ve, could’ves in my parenting strategies, coping skills, chronic pain, depression, and all the rest of the ugly mix-matched and beat up baggage I have acquired over the years.


I pressed a new page down in my journal today, but not before reading my previous entry from the week before. This entry compels me to readdress guilt and particularly the release of it during this New Moon.

Below is my journal entry from Monday September 7, 2015:

I sit here in bed, propped up by pillows, trying to write as much as I can before my muscle relaxers and oxycodone set in. Need I mention it’s been a horribly painful day? Again? The aches, the burning, the locking up of the hardware in my back…none of that compares to the agonizing feelings I have over the loss of my children when they return to school tomorrow. Another summer has come and gone and it’s time for them to enter a new grade.

Please Universe, I’m pumping the brakes as hard and fast as I can, but it only seems to cause the opposite effect.

I’m so pathetically sad and tearful as I look back over this past summer and all the things I wish we could have done. Oh how I hate writing through the blur of tears! There’s so much guilt over spending afternoons in bed when I should have been teaching my daughter more about the Tarot or encouraging my son to look more closely at bugs. Summer is now over and what have I got to show for it?


Memories…yes I know there are the memories…and photos of course…but…

I’m afraid of all the time wasted and opportunities lost. Things my chronic pain takes from me. From Us.

And it pisses me off!

After reading that entry I thought long and hard about that day, remembering very well how I felt both physically and emotionally. I was a total wreck. Unlike that awful day, today has been good to me. I feel functional, happy, productive and my pain level is manageable.

But the words that kept playing in my mind over and over again were, “I’m afraid of all the time wasted and opportunities lost.” By typing those words right now I find I have to fight back the feelings of sadness and guilt. As today went by I paid close attention to each time those words and feelings sprung up. When they did I would gently remind myself that there’s absolutely no proof that my children are suffering or living in constant disappointment. There’s also no evidence that they feel unloved or ignored. I know this in my heart of hearts because I do the best I can with what I’ve got to give on any certain day. Every choice I make for my children I make with love.

What we do is what we can do, and there have been many days where my children will climb into bed with me and we will watch cartoons, read silently, talk, laugh, discuss spirituality or even play cards. Those may be the bad pain days, but the day itself remains positive, supported by love.

When I reflect on this past summer it becomes clear that some of our best moments were the quiet ones. It didn’t matter how often we traveled, how many things we went to, or even how much money we spent, all we really wanted was to be content; to just ‘be’. Sometimes that included travel and money, but it didn’t have to. Enjoyment came from lots of different things, and I am now beginning to question my feelings of guilt caused by my fear of what we weren’t able to experience together as a family.

So to put it into perspective I’m going to start typing out everything that pops into my head that we did this past summer, and I’ll stop when I begin to slow down. So here goes…

Copy of DSCF4829

We went camping, spent a week at the beach, took several long nature walks, went fishing, horseback riding, out for dinner at our favorite pizza place, then a fancy restaurant, and a greasy diner. We did a picnic lunch in the backyard, and even celebrated several birthdays.

We stayed up way too late to watch the stars and satellites move across the night sky, took time doing a family collage, baked all kinds of delicious awful-for-you goodies, had a lemonade stand, colored with crayons, painted with water colors, walked underneath a giant waterfall and had a “Fairy Tea” in the garden.

We researched animals that interested us then talked about what we learned. We played board games, went to the movies and watched movies at home. We did hilarious shadow puppets on the ceiling before bed, read lots and lots of books together quietly and to each other. We roasted marshmallows and told ghost stories during the backyard bonfire. We harvested herbs, had a puppet show, and spent countless hours on our fairy garden.


Oh, and we swam. A lot!

So when I look back on this past summer I can quickly and easily tick off many of our adventures. Some required travel, and some had to be rescheduled several times due to my health. Some cost money, but a lot of them didn’t.

I can say with conviction and honesty that all in all we did what we had set out to do this summer, even if sometimes things had to be modified. I would even go so far as to say that we had a successful summer with moments of fun, travel, and loads of laughter. What matters most was the time we were able to spend together. It’s okay that I wasn’t always on my A-game especially on those painful days that were spent mostly in bed. It’s okay that I felt the need to sleep or not up for company. It’s time to release the guilt about all of that.

What touches my heart the most is my husband and children’s natural compassion and understanding. Were there times of disappointment? You betcha. But the good definitely outweighed the bad, and maybe I shouldn’t say ‘good’ or ‘‘bad’ because no one else in my family would describe those times as such. So let me rephrase that, we did more things together than we did apart, we smiled more than frowned, we enjoyed more than we lacked, and we most definitely loved the whole time.


It’s more than time to release the guilt and I think I’m finally ready and capable of doing so because I’m ready to forgive the pain. It’s time to forgive the pain. That statement might not make sense to some, it’s even a bit foreign to me. But right here, right now, as I come to the end of this blog post, in this quiet moment of writing and solitude, those words made themselves to my fingertips, where i pressed the keys and then shared them with you. I ask that you please read those words again and allow your heart to lead them to the right place and that you freely accept what they mean to you.

Let this New Moon be a time of releasing guilt and/or shame for the things you had no control over. Let go and freely forgive yourself, in all the ways, in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

The Real Me, The Real You

My True Self

It’s strange to think about all the roles I have played in my life. I was a daughter, then eventually an adopted daughter, only child, competitive figure skater, good little Catholic girl, a Duranie, rebellious teenage runaway, juvenile delinquent, friend, lover, teen mom, college student, wife, heart-breaker, teacher, occult student, Tarot reader, Priestess, & one who lives with chronic pain. These are just a few off the top of my head. Now obviously there are some roles I am not proud of and there are those that make me happy inside. Each one of those roles has been a unique learning experience and has led my life in many different directions. Two of those things I have been for more than half my life; and those two things are a wife and mom.

The role of a wife and mom are are what most people identify me as, because they are the two roles I show most to the world. They are big pieces of my life, and I love being those things. My journey as a wife and mom has given me some of my most beautiful and amazing memories and I know there are good things to come (even through the muddy waters of problem children). The roles of wife and mom are pieces of my life but they don’t define me. These roles are what they are; roles. The real me, (the real you, the real them) is infinite and immeasurable. Everyone is their own being with a unique spirit and a spark of the divine, and yet I can sometimes bog myself down with labels. Do you do that too? Yes, I’m married, I have children, I’m a pet owner, volunteer, and homemaker. I have many interests and hobbies. I am blessed with those things and those are a part of my being, but not the totality of me.

Why do we limit ourselves with our self-image? Why do we habitually identify our uniqueness with roles and titles, employment and status, what we own or what we don’t own, our personality traits and our looks? It’s self-limiting, and I don’t believe that’s the entire reason for this incarnation and most definitely not my soul’s existence. There’s so much more to me. It was time to knock down those walls I’d made. It was time to expand my sense of self and open myself up to new opportunities. There was room needed for my new dreams and ideas to flourish.

So, who am I?

In learning to know myself, I have had to become more aware during times of meditation, journaling, and when reading the Tarot for myself. From time to time I pause and ask myself if I am keeping to certain roles during this time of introspection, or am I floating free of those labels? Am I looking at the whole picture of me? This has helped me tremendously in letting go. I was surprised at first when I felt more complete the more I let go. Now it comes naturally when I’m in my quiet time and space of solitude. It has become an immeasurably important piece of my life, allowing me to step back in order see the strength and beauty of who I was, who I am, and the woman I aspire to be.

                  magic recievers - supernatural links often attributed to things that people do not understand. Mirrors seemto posses a power beyond the natural, a reflection of the truth, and so became a handy repository for many mystical and supernatural ideas. They did seem to be portals to another world at times..

    Blessings on your Journey )O(

Finding Balance

Finding Balance

As a Free Spirit, there is no set prescribed dogma or rules about how much, how little, how long, or even where I decide to practice and honor the Divine. My path is a reflection of my Soul’s yearning, and I feel as naturally drawn in that direction as branches of a tree bend towards the light.

Daily Spiritual Practice is vitally important for the Journey of the Soul but can be very difficult to maintain if you don’t find some sort of structure that is evenly tempered with balance. This is my ongoing journey towards balance.

Over the past two decades, my daily practice has evolved (and continues to evolve) in the most wondrous ways. I’ve come a long way since twenty years ago when I felt it necessary to perform formal rituals for any spellwork of any kind. When I flip through my first Book of Shadows and the countless spiral notebooks I had filled with ‘necessary’ knowledge, it’s clear how much I lacked in self-trust and balance.

Unlike my Catholic upbringing and other major faiths, my new way of Spirituality was not centered on an individual’s teaching. I wasn’t following a “Book”, instead I was creating my own. I was discovering my own Truth and quickly became passionate, eager to learn anything and everything I could about Paganism, Goddess Worship, Witchcraft, New Age, Astrology, Divination, Angels, Holistic & Natural Healing, Reiki, Eastern Philosophy, Zen, etc.. Although I had freed myself from the bondage of mainstream religion, I found myself to be very much alone. I was no longer accountable to anyone other than myself, and like many others, I am my own worst critic.

Young and in the early stages of my new Spiritual Path, I quickly fell into the New Age Wicca trap and became guilty of buying gleaming new tools to adorn my altar because I didn’t trust myself to create them myself with items I found in nature. (And I’ll admit I’m drawn to pretty, sparkly things, and oh my are there pretty, sparkly things packed in metaphysical shops!) I read, reread, rewrote, and reworked everything until my head spun and I began to second guess all of my actions. Instead of finding fulfillment and peace, I became a nervous wreck with less self-esteem than I began with. I’ve come a long way spiritually since then, and had a lot to learn about the concept of balance.
Regular balance adjustments have been crucial to my Spiritual alignment and have become as welcome as they are necessary. Over the years I’ve accepted the fact that overdoing can be just as bad as doing nothing at all. Roadblocks and perfection detours have no place on my Spiritual Path. Creating balance allows me to move along freely and maintaining that balance in my daily Spiritual practice has helped me gain balance in all areas of my life.

Life is just one big balancing act. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual lives are in constant stages of change. We can be physically cold, emotionally sad, and spiritually malnourished. On the other hand we can feel great in one or more of these areas.

When it comes to Spiritual Balance, it’s important to understand that a person’s idea of balance can vary greatly between individuals. When you factor in all those moment to moments, the one size fits all mentality just isn’t going to work.

The trick to finding that sweet spot of equilibrium will rely on your honesty. With yourself. We are creatures of habit, but not all habits are good for us. Look at yourself, then look at your situation. What needs to change? More than likely it will be something you don’t want to change, but it’s our responsibility to know where our strengths and weaknesses lie at any given time. Knowing where and how much power we can draw from one area of our life to help balance another is one of our life’s best lessons to learn. For me it was one of the hardest. It meant I had to evaluate and be objective in my reasoning.

One of my favorite tools to use when looking within is the Tarot. The archetypal images work beautifully for me to tap into my subconscious, bringing to light certain aspects of my life that I couldn’t see . Many are inspired by the Tarot, but it’s not for everyone. The key is to find that special tool that resonates with you on a deeply Spiritual level in order to unlock the subconscious. For some it’s meditation, for others it may simply be going for a walk in nature. There’s automatic writing, trance work, dream analysis, etc. Look for that special something that works for you, try out new things. When you find it you’ll know it. If you find yourself second guessing, then it’s probably not right for you, and you should move on and try something else.

Balance is a constant state of give and take. You will only be disappointed if you think balance and harmony can be a moment frozen in time. The only constant in life is change, so you just gotta to roll with it.

Blessings on your Journey )O(

Mirror, Mirror

Life is full of mysterious reflections. Some are clean and clear while others are distorted or deceptive. The mirror of our soul reflects back to us all aspects of our hopes and dreams, our love and passion, and ultimately our true self. These reflections serve as reminders and change according to need, and are felt within and seen by others without.

Before each incarnation our souls are known to us, as is our intimate source to the divine. That connection becomes muddled with life as a result of all the headaches and heartaches, complexities and confusion we endure. We struggle with holding on to that connection but it continues to float further and further away from our day to day consciousness. What once resonated with us spiritually becomes a distant faint glimmer among the stars of our forgotten dreams.Mirrors capture our image, revealing to us our likeness in great detail. But these are not the only mirrors we have available to us. There are other types of mirrors that reveal things about ourselves that we can’t see. Those reflections are all around us in one form or another, but none more common and reliable than our daily interactions with others. These mirrors provide the clearest reflection of our innermost selves once those reflections are brought into focus. That act in itself can prove to be quite a challenge.Remember running through the room of mirrors in the carnival funhouse? It was dizzying and disorienting, and you kept finding yourself bumping into either clear glass or mirrored reflections, unable to differentiate between the two. There probably came a point where you began to question which illusion was true to your eyes and which was in fact deceptive. Perhaps in trepidation you held your hands out in front of your body to shield yourself from hitting your face against the glass again.

If we’re honest, we’ll be able to admit that we have certain traits or characteristics that we don’t want to see, and we most certainly don’t want others to see. When we show our true selves, we are left vulnerable to the judgement and critique of others. When we hide these things then we are hiding from ourselves. We’ll eventually move through our self-made illusions and come out the other side relieved.

Those we encounter are the mirrors showing us our hidden truths. These encounters are arranged by the universe, and more times than not they are an opportunity for growth.When we can honestly watch ourselves through the actions of others, we are able to connect with both our strengths and weaknesses. These reflections of ourselves that we see in others help nudge us to remember who we really are, what we are really like, and what our life purpose is.

There are people in our lives who can trigger good or bad reactions almost immediately. Do you cringe when you think of bumping into a certain person you don’t like? Do you smile when you hear your children get off the school bus? What about the feeling of excitement when you arrive at a get together with your closest friends?
Our mirrors appear as people who come into our lives (friends, neighbors, co workers, enemies, grocery store clerks, and telemarketers) who have a way of bringing up our own issues. You can be going about your day when you encounter someone who creates a downward spiral in your world. Later you find yourself still thinking about the situation, going over the details, reliving the feelings of anger, insecurity, or guilt. Coming up with things you could’ve said, should’ve done.

Picture yourself showing up at that get-together you were so looking forward to only to see someone whom you always seem to clash with. That is a perfect time to look for the reflection of yourself. What is your reaction? Do you turn around and head out the door? Do you hide behind a plant? Maybe you walk right up and say hi in the most pleasant way you can only to feel your lip twitch. What are your feelings? Anger? Shame? Embarrassment?No matter the emotion, it’s strong and It can feel overwhelming. These instinctual feelings are a signal for you to take a closer look at yourself.

One personal experience occurred after my third child was born. I was insecure about the way I looked as It had been 6 weeks since I gave birth and I was still trying to shed the extra baby weight. I felt frumpy and depressed. I wasn’t getting much sleep, and I had no energy whatsoever.

One warm spring evening I made a quick jaunt to the corner market because we had ran out of milk. My husband was helping finish dinner so I reluctantly agreed to go. Besides, I hadn’t been out of the house in days. It was one of those ‘in cognito’ quick run in, run out, hope you don’t see anyone you know trips and lo and behold I run into an old high school friend. There I was, caught in my baggy sweatpants and milk-stained t-shirt, wearing no makeup with my hair pulled back in a ponytail.

Gina however, was sun-kissed and smiling. She seemed ‘put together’. In fact, she looked amazing. Several things ran through my mind; I was grateful that my husband wasn’t with me, that she probably wouldn’t have noticed me if I had been wearing my sunglasses, and that I hated her guts. I felt a twinge of guilt with that last thought because she was in fact a dear friend of mine during high school. She had always been positive and caring, but at that moment I couldn’t stand her. Everything about her bothered me, and I found myself focusing on how she was chomping on the piece of gum in her mouth and how incredibly irritating it was.

This encounter with Gina was a real wake-up call when I was finally able to come clean with myself about my jealousy towards her. It was emotional to see someone from my past, someone who reminded me of myself just a few years earlier. I found myself reluctant to answer when she asked me what I was up to. I didn’t want to ask her what she was doing with her life, afraid that she would have the same answer as me. She was married too, with a three year-old ; and 8 month- old twins! I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself as I looked at the radiant woman standing in front of me. Not knowing what else to do, I politely told her I was in a hurry and left

Later that evening I reflected on the encounter. After processing the feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy, embarrassment, and sadness, and as I continued to peel back the layers of those emotions, my reflection became clearer and more focused.

The fact of the matter was that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I couldn’t remember the last time I took any time for myself, even to grab a coffee, or take a bubble bath. I was too exhausted and depressed to even give it much thought. After pouring all of my energy into being a good mom and wife, I had nothing left for me.

Encountering someone from my past, someone who I admired, someone who reminded me of who I used to be, was also a reminder of what I could still be.. Happy. Healthy. Put together. It created a sadness within me that was a direct reflection of my lack of self-love and acceptance. I threw on the sweatpants because I didn’t think to bother looking for anything else. My devotion to others allowed me to ignore myself, my own needs, and my feelings of worthiness. Why bother with makeup or brushing my hair if I wasn’t expecting to leave the house? What was the point?

The point was that I had simply forgotten about myself! My feelings of inadequacy stemmed from the fact that I had failed to create a perfect life for my family (which of course doesn’t exist for anyone). In feeling like a failure, it became easy to neglect my emotional and spiritual well-being. The more I neglected these two things, the more my self-image suffered. This was obvious in the way I treated myself, and my physical appearance was a direct reflection of that.

I was not only too tired, but I felt it was too selfish to worry about my own well-being or to fight for my own happiness. I thought that if I could manage making everyone else around me happy, then happiness for myself would naturally follow. I had fallen into the trap that so many moms fall into. Put simply, I had it ass backwards. This encounter with my old classmate was a wake-up call, a slap in the face from reality, and it was a way to stop the downward spiral.

I realized that I was the only one responsible for my own happiness, and I began a new way of life. I had an entirely new mindset. I began to think about myself. My needs. My wants. My emotions. My physical health. All of it. Gina mirrored the qualities I so desperately wanted back in my life. The self-confidence and genuine smile, the positive aura, and the bright energy. It was the real me, and I wanted it back. I began that night, scribbling away in my journal. I wrote out reasonable goals and crossed them off as I achieved them. I then created new ones. My confidence grew and my love and appreciation for myself blossomed.

Everyone you meet has the potential to act as a mirror. Every day you encounter them as smiling faces or sour looks. You’ll see friendly gestures or hear rude comments. How do those people reflect your own personal emotions that day? Are they similar or quite the opposite? How do those actions and attitudes affect you? Do they bring to attention certain patterns or habits you need to do away with? What are some that you need to embrace? Make the most of the human mirrors you meet in the world. Be open to the learning experience they offer, even the ones that make you feel uncomfortable. Well, especially those ones.

Remember to keep close to your heart the knowledge that you too are somebody’s mirror. Never underestimate the importance of that.
Blessings on your Journey )O(