There is something about art that soothes us and provides a gateway into our innerscape. “Arting” lowers our defenses and allows our long lost voices to speak out and to be heard. Once we pay attention to these ignored parts, we begin to receive a different self-image and hear a new, more authentic voice.
I have practiced many art forms over the years: needlework, mosaics and collage cards. During the past 20 years, I have made enough collage cards to form a Deck of Ann with Archetypes, Emotions, Allies, Totems, Shadows and Path cards. Originally inspired by Seena Frost’s seminal work, Soul Collage: xxx , I learned to communicate with my self my talking with my cards. At first I thought this was akin to pretending to have a tea party with my dolls. In a way, that’s exactly what we are doing. And it helps to bring insight to problems, personality ticks and hidden emotions.
First, let’s discuss how to make the cards. Then we can describe a few discussion techniques.
Making collage cards is simple
Browse through magazines and picture books. Be prepared to rip images and create piles, such as People, Animals and Background. Rip madly, with joy and ferocity! At this point you are pulling images that appeal or intrigue. It is important not to seek specific images, but to remain open to any and all contenders.
Before you begin assembling your collage, here are a few tips: Don’t use words or captions. Prepare an image-only card. This process emphasizes combining a background with a single image rather than creating a jumble of images.
With that in mind, pick a number of backgrounds that appeal. They can range from images of the cosmos to fields of daisies. Select a variety.
Next, select the image of a person or an animal. Try each image out against various backgrounds.
Allow the child in you to just play with the images. Don’t have an end in mind. The process is to allow your intuitive self a space to speak. You know your card is right when you hear or feel “aha!” or perhaps an “ahhh”.
The card stock dimensions in Seena’s book is 5x7 inches. If you plan on posting to social media, consider squares of from 5x5 to 7x7 inches.
Now, paste to your heart’s content! Put extra glue on the edges, smooth out the image as best you can.
Sit back and admire your work. Don’t allow that monkey mind a chance to quibble over details and woulda-should-coulda. If you cut and pasted a certain way, trust yourself. It’s perfect just as it is.
Make at least three cards.
How to dialogue with the cards
Ask each card these questions:
What is your name? What should I call you?
When did you first become a part of my life?
Why are you a part of my life?
This question is important. Your self parts enter at different times, often when you are experiencing a crisis and need an ally.
4. The process that helps this exploration is to look at the card and say:
“I am the one who…”
Allow the card to speak. Listen. The card will tell you who it is and what its purpose is.
5. Sometimes you can look at two cards and have then talk to each other.
This dialoguing is not an easy process at first. You may just want to make the cards and enjoy the images. I recommend that at the very least you write on the back of the card:
2. Date you created the card
3. What it means to you right now.
The simple joy of making collage cards and allowing yourself to express your self in a new way is the first step towards parts integration, or depth coaching. Many of your inner parts have not been listened to, and speak out in rage or tears. This part integration is essential for developing a healthy mind. Psychologist Carl Jung created mandalas for this purpose. Now collage cards are all the rage. Use whatever tools are available to find out who you truly are.
My journey with collage cards has taught me many things and time I have seen important patterns emerge. One of them is that my Sage archetype is exceptionally strong. I have many images showing teachers, librarians and a series of cards that I call Prometheus. I chose one of my Prometheus cards to illustrate this blog. She is leaping into the great unknown and the look on her face is one of glee and perhaps a bit of terror. She is a seeker of truth and of life and she wants to share her spirit with the world. That’s how I feel much of the time and I love sharing the journey with you.