Judith greeted me warmly and then returned to setting up the workshop. In no time, the elements of SoulCollage lay before me and a small circle of others who had come. After going over a few principles of the process, we each chose an image from the center and created an "I am the One Who . . ." statement. A few people put their images back into the center before moving to the work tables, but I held on to mine: a woman looking across a crowded discotheque. From that image, I made my first card and its statement: I am the one who looks away. Anyone looking at this image wouldn't know that the original photos were violent and flawed ~ one of the elephants was being mauled by a lion, the young girl was born without a left arm (a new genetic mark of the Chernobyl incident). And that, I suppose, is what makes a SoulCollage card very personal.
While Judith expected at least one card done by the next exercise, I was eager to get another out of my system. That resulted in this second image.
I'd have gone for a third, but time ran out and we all had to move on to the next exercise. We were all arranged at three different tables with lit candles and asked to look at our images and connect with them. With that connection, we asked our image what it had to say to us, what its statement was. This second image had this to say to me:
I am the One Who is the Hole, the Cleft, the In-Between.
You have to get through me to get to the Other Side.
The Guys will go with you if you want, but you'll be okay on your own because you already know what to do.
You won't have a plan, but you'll have a clue.
Then we all shared our images at the center again, laying them out in a circle on a rainbow-colored silk on the floor. Each participant passed their image around and read its statement aloud. The experience of creating and sharing was powerful and inspirational. Nothing like the staid critiques marginally creative students would have to endure in college. Judith then announced that SoulCollage circles are held, free of charge, the first and third Sundays of every month. I believe I'll be making my way back a little more often. I might even drag a needy person or two along with me. So, again, I thank you for a really great birthday present.
Now, I have two problems. First, all magazines are suddenly a gold mine of images which means that I may be squirrelling away a tragic amount of periodicals just to do more collage cards. (I'll just keep them with the Yarn Stash.) Second, it means I'm buying another book. But these are small problems I can live with.