SoulCollage® Community Update
April 2019
Poet-Oracles in My Deck
 By Janet Trenchard
Editors' Note: April is National Poetry Month
in the United States and Canada.
Poetry and SoulCollage® are intimately intertwined for me. I've written poetry for as long as I can remember, and for many years I have been a member of the Emerald Street Writers of Santa Cruz. In 2009, I became a SoulCollage® Facilitator; I have given numerous workshops and built a modest deck of 50+ cards.

Party (Committee Suit)
by Janet Trenchard

I Am the hostess who greets the many selves.

Each card represents a facet of myself or my world, known or unknown to me before I make the card. Each is a secret inner-wisdom oracle I approach with reverence, whether I'm asking it a life question or allowing it to speak as a poem. Often, over years, I write many poems from the same card; images have this power to contain multifaceted inner meanings.

Making and consulting my cards explores the same terrain as poetry or dreams, so using the cards as prompts for poems follows naturally. A poem is not a SoulCollage® consultation; its job here is not to help, tell, or give advice. It lifts its voice purely to sing the riches of the inner life. Yet these poet-oracle cards reveal and encourage my inner process in a way that helps me as much as do their responses to specific life questions. As a poet, I hate to spoon-feed meanings to people, but as a Facilitator I gladly share here what my cards convey to me.

Cliffs (Council Suit)
by Janet Trenchard

I Am the daunting inner path you're on. How can you climb as high as I Am? Yet I continue, maybe through lifetimes.
Take Cliffs, for example. A poem appeared that shed more light on the nature of this inner journey, linking Cliffs with the card Party that appears at the top of this article:


Over and over, I wander these rocky bluffs.
Sometimes a window appears
through the clouds.
One day I spot a ladder -

An old woman in a caftan welcomes me,
mortar and pestle in her hands,
to a party in full swing,
paisley shirts, Luther Vandross,
cigar-smoking bikers,
and the girl in yellow chiffon.

Staring into a wine cooler,
I contemplate the mysteries.
Here is how wisdom dawns:
like a lilac sunset,
a wrinkled hand,
a tendril curling on a vine,
the sound of grinding.

Mortar & Pestle (Committee/Council Suits)
by Janet Trenchard

I Am One Who faces loss and aging with courage and self-healing. I Am also the grinding of life, the way time grinds off the edges, leaving the essential.


The old lady (me as wisdom elder) casts me a lifeline by inviting me up to the clouds, a higher state from which I can arrive at my own insights. She welcomes me to a party of souls. Several of them are me at different ages, like the girl in yellow and the hippie-ish girl with long straight hair. Another woman looks like she is from Mars. I have often felt like her, as my past included much partying and freaky people. As I age, part of my journey has involved coming to terms with past behavior I regret.

"The sound of grinding" in Lifeline refers in turn to the concept expressed in my card Mortar & Pestle:

Crumbling Pillars
(Committee Suit)
by Janet Trenchard

I Am One Who seeks to escape the confines of the past.

I like the idea of being pared down to my essence. It's also true that continuing to feel burdened by the past hampers me. This card spoke a poem about release:


With a quick leap backward in time,
following her thread, she slips through
a clerestory window here,
a crenelated arch there,
but when bricks and columns begin to crumble,
she scurries under a bridge, round the corner,
down a cobblestone street-
for though the structures ring with voices,
the cries of animals,
the scent of smoke,
in the end they are not much more than dust.
Laughing, she looks up,
her hat in her hands.
A light rain begins to fall.

Vintage (Committee Suit)
by Janet Trenchard

I Am One Who is being transformed.  
My card Vintage, on the other hand, talks about coming to appreciate the treasures the past has to offer. (Full disclosure: I was a single mother while my kids were small.)


The old house resonates with the presence
of the Italians who lived there before.
they are the old men, sipping wine.
They are the ones who buried the shoes
and nailed cans full of bolts
and screws to the shed wall,
and left jars of canned plums in the basement.
They are the ones who planted walnut,
almond, plum, pomegranate,
persimmon, peach, and yes, prickly pear
they called tuna cactus,
for the stickery fruit.

They sit there still on the cracked patio,
Tasting of the new wine. They nod,
knowing it will age and be transformed,
but it will take time, time. Be patient, girl.
The pissed-off single mother stands
on the porch, hands on her hips.
The old house isn't much,
but she likes the fruit trees
and the cutting board,
extra long, for making ravioli.

Like the prickly pear, that prickly young woman has needed persistent and careful handling to reveal the sweetness within. But this stage of life holds self-acceptance, new pleasures, and deep meaning of its own.

Ocean Girl (Committee Suit)
by Janet Trenchard

I Am One Who seeks peace and purification. 

She knew now that what she needed
was all this pale sand,
so cleansing and elemental, gently abrasive.
She set down the small paper bag
containing the prickly pear, wondering how
anyone ever got at the sweet fruit,
wondering that anyone tried.
The old man next door had handed her the brown bag,
saying, "So delicious.
You just have to be careful. Use a pliers."

Maybe she should just dig a deep hole
and drop it in.
Then no one would get hurt.
But infinite as the sand appears,
the tides have the power to sweep back
vast curtains of it, and there it would be:
a dangerous fruit bleeding into the sand,
thorns threatening furiously.
No. She'd keep it.
She had a pliers.
And she had to taste it.

Janet Trenchard is an exhibiting artist and a poet. Her poems have been published in Porter Gulch Review, Hilltromper, Caesura, Diamond Dust, and other journals. Her paintings have been exhibited in and around the Bay area and can be viewed at Janet Trenchard Art on Facebook and  Her book Infrared is available though Blue Bone Books. Contact her:

Keep your SoulCollage® cards with you, make notes about any card, share your cards, and do readings on the go.

Included in this kit is SoulCollage® Evolving, the basic text for SoulCollage®. Once you have looked through the book, you'll want to get started right away making cards with the 12 blank cards and the glue stick in this kit. Many SoulCollagers want to cover their cards with the glove-like high quality transparent sleeve so these are included as well.
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 From the SCU Archives
While we formally celebrate Earth day on April 22nd, this article by Jodi Blazek Gehr in the April 2016 SCU reminds us of the importance of honoring our earth every day of the year.
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Before attending a Training, we want you to read SoulCollage® Evolving by Seena B. Frost, to have a SoulCollage® basic workshop experience with a trained SoulCollage® Facilitator or listen to a recorded class  Fundamentals of SoulCollage®, make some cards, do the exercise, " I Am One Who...", with your cards and do some SoulCollage® Readings, letting your cards answer at least one of your questions.
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