Once upon a time, not so very long ago, at slightly past middle age, I began a new journey. I was in the depths of an anguish, a fright so deep that I couldn't see a way out. Faintly, a voice began to call to me, a song began to hum. I listened closely. What I heard was my very soul, my spirit. I felt it in my bones. It sang to me to do something, create something, to listen, to find another way. This voice became louder and started to show me a new way of understanding. I did not tarry; I dove right in and found a new creative part of myself that had been hidden. Now I have a hunger, a thirst, a need to sing over my own bones to bring alive the parts of me that want to be heard and explored. And so began my journey into SoulCollage® and studying with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
I learned of SoulCollage® in 2011 and knew right away that this practice was calling to me. It continues to this day to help me find self-expression and creativity as an ever-growing part of my life. Since 2017, I have been going to Colorado to study with Dr. Estes through her Archetypal and Cross-Cultural Psychology programs. So far, I have attended five different trainings. The Singing Over the Bones program is a training to learn to facilitate groups in doing Dr. Estes's seminal work, described in her book
Women Who Run with the Wolves
. This training is filled with stories, particularly fairytales that have been passed down to Dr. Estes from various sources, but primarily from her family.
In this training, we are encouraged to compare our life stories with fairytales, which have deep meaning and usually offer a path forward for us to follow. Fairytales are doorways into the many parts of ourselves, of our psyche. They are another layer of information that helps us answer life questions we ask ourselves. Just like SoulCollage®, fairytales reveal another layer of learning about ourselves in a deeper way. Recording dreams and following our intuition, encouraged by Dr. Estes, are related avenues into exploring our life story. Paying attention, noticing what comes to us, finding our own ways to do our own work, is our life's purpose, according to Dr. Estes. Finding our voice, asking what is our way, and doing this through stories and SoulCollage® give us a way to flesh out our own bones - to find our own creative voice, our fire.
Inspiration is wild. Inspired thought is sometimes like a flock of birds, so much movement. When we are inspired, the feeling grows inside of us and then leaps out or flies out into our collage-making and into our readings. Each card to me is a story, or a part of a larger story, and all elements of a story belong to one psyche. When we ask our cards to reveal themselves and their views, such as through the
I Am One Who
... invitation, I imagine that Dr. Estes would encourage us to add to that, "In what ways Am I One Who...?"
When we flesh out and sing over our parts, our bones, we might include our sensory impressions too; this can bring us to another level of self-knowledge. How does the image(s), feel, look, sound, taste, smell? What is the temperature in this scene, what movement is going on?
Open to Inspiration
by Marci Wenn
I Am One Who
reaches out to possibilities, to new ways of being. The earth, the moon, the Luna moth and wolf at the edge of the water all are here as guides, to help you learn all you can. We give you confidence, direction, and connection.
Open to Inspiration (Council Suit) by Marci Wenn I Am One Who reaches out to possibilities, to new ways of being. The earth, the moon, the Luna moth and wolf at the edge of the water all are here as guides, to help you learn all you can. We give you confidence, direction, and connection.
Dr. Estes asks us to think of our personal associations to the different elements in stories, whether our own life stories or the archetypal fairytales. For instance, using just the book's title,
Singing Over the Bones:
my associations to the word
are the joy of hearing my grandmother playing the piano, love, and connection. My associations to the word
are "foundation, strong, everlasting," and "structure." I could write a story and make a card about my memories of my grandmother singing to us and how I felt. Even as I think about this now, I can feel a layer of meaning wash over me that connects me to her in a new way. In this way I am honoring her and appreciating all the many things she did for me and for my family. Her singing filled me and helped my bones grow and stay strong. A card I could make about this time in my life would be a very special and meaningful card for me. My grandmother is part of my structure, physically, emotionally, spiritually; she is one of the bones in my life story.
This process is all about metaphors, symbolic language, looking for the meaning behind the meaning. Have you ever had a time in your life when it felt as though you were falling to pieces or into a pile of bones? What did you do? How did you pick up the pieces or put flesh back on your bones? How did you come back to your true self again? We have amazing tools, in SoulCollage® as well as in in our life stories, to help us do this. Dr. Estes asks us to use our tools; she asks us to be fleshed out, to be a lantern in the dark to others who need us. She believes that face to face, hand to hand, and heart to heart work is what is needed right now; to me, that sounds like SoulCollage®. SoulCollage® is much more than just for ourselves; it is also meant for us to share with others, this wonderful gift of knowing, inspired and birthed by Seena Frost. Dr. Estes is a Jungian psychoanalyst and Seena Frost studied Carl Jung; both are carrying forward his legacy of in-depth exploration and inclusion and healing of all parts of ourselves.
I have such gratitude for Seena Frost and Dr. Estes. Both have brought me new ways of exploring my life and opportunities that have expanded my consciousness and created meaningful connections with other people and with other sentient beings. Both have given me a way forward to make a significant difference, to add something expressive and deep and important not only to my world, but also to the world we all share.