As planned, Laura and I drove to Kathy Bresler’s woodsy retreat in Indiana to meet on her screened porch for an introduction to SoulCollage. (You can learn all about Kathy in our prior post, she’s definitely someone you’d want to spend an afternoon with.) We were greeted by a river of dramatic and appealing images, cut from magazines, flowing over the porch floor. Kathy invited us to pick 5-7 photos without thinking too much about it. We used them to create the first cards of our SoulCollage deck.
As Laura and I cut, pasted and arranged our images, Kathy talked a little bit about the art of Soul Collage. Not thinking too much became one of the themes of the afternoon, because much of what we innately know and respond to isn’t verbal or logical. SoulCollage helps women tap into a visual language to express the many facets of their being, of their souls. Kathy told us there are three ways to interact with the cards. The first is to create them, the second is to dialogue with or “process” them to understand their meaning, and the third is to use the cards in readings to provide insight to questions or problems. Here are Laura and my experiences working with the SoulCollage cards in those three ways.
Marjie’s SoulCollage Experience
Making my first SoulCollage cards was fun and effortless. It was so satisfying to use scissors and a glue stick to create these appealing little works of art. I was surprised when Kathy told us an hour had passed. I had only made three cards and was really getting into it. Here they are:
Laura and I lay our completed cards on the picnic table to show what we’d made. I felt a little shy, like I was revealing something tender and private—even though I had no idea why I’d selected these combinations of photos or what the cards even meant. Even so, I loved these cards from the beginning and am really connected to them in a sensory way. They just feel… yummy.
After creating a SoulCollage card, you dialogue with it to understand what it represents. I began with the card with the gorgeous woman in the gold headdress, set against a crystal chandelier background. Kathy led me in a series of questions, asking the card: Who are you? What do you have to give me? What do you want from me? My answers to these questions ultimately revealed the essence of the card, resulting in this statement:
I am one who boldly shines my light
I still need to process my other two cards. I’m quite interested to discover their meaning. But, as Kathy says, everything about the cards is fluid. Their meaning may shift over time and context. My cards might mean something completely different to you. (For example, my husband thinks all these cards have deeply sexual implications—LOL!)
Laura and I didn’t have enough cards to do a reading, so Kathy invited us to choose from her wondrously expansive deck. She’s been practicing and teaching SoulCollage since 2007 and has over 200 gorgeous cards. We each chose a question from a question deck for our reading. Mine was “What would feel even better?” And I chose these cards:
My question was positive, but the cards I selected felt weighty, especially that one on the right. In a reading, you consult each card to determine its essence and what it has to say about your question. I interpreted the cards (from left to right) as meaning:
- Feel and express your emotions fully to reach higher consciousness.
- Surrender to the forces of the earth and moon. Let go and experience pleasure.
- Some of your existing ideas about who you are need to die for you to move forward.
Pretty powerful stuff, right? I’m not sure where those answers came from! But that’s the magic of SoulCollage. When you tap into your higher self—your soul—you access a source of wisdom, guidance and knowing you didn’t know existed.
Laura’s SoulCollage Experience
I came at the afternoon on Kathy’s porch with a slightly different feeling than Marjie (who, in the years I’ve known her, has always been open to exploring her spiritual side). Let’s call my headspace a little more skeptical. My previous experiences with Tarot readings were at hen parties, and no surprise, the readings were superficial and not specific to me. Still, it made me worry so my goal for the afternoon was to not embarrass myself or do anything “wrong.”
Kathy said right off the bat that some people are intimidated by the creation of the cards. Yep, raising my hand. My experience as a student of art is best described as lacking talent! I can’t draw or paint, so I shied away from art classes after elementary school. However, this is less about talent and more about feeling. First, we started with piles of magazine images, which made me feel right at home. I’ve worked in print magazines for years and love looking pages. Next, the only skill one needs is to cut and paste; even I didn’t find that too scary. In an hour, I had created four cards and while I didn’t know why or what they meant, I did like all of them.
In the interest of time, we only worked with one card to find out more about it. (Obviously, a full workshop with Kathy at Altar would be more complete.) I randomly chose the gold toned card with a photo of couple in the dark releasing a lantern into the sky. Then I started by asking the card, “Who are you?” and then responded as the image with five or so statements, “I am one who…” And that card—for me in this moment—is about letting go, not being afraid of the dark and looking upward. I haven’t found the voice from my other cards, but I’m sure they’ll be quite different.
As Marjie said, we had the privilege of using Kathy’s deck for our reading. I didn’t have a specific question, but the one that was suggested by her deck of question cards was about change. Always a good place to start.
As I worked with the cards, the meanings that came from them were (left to right):
- Sliding forward into the unknown is sometimes enough to bring change.
- Change comes from looking within as well as from looking outside.
- Change comes with practice!
Did I have a moment of epiphany or transcendence, no, but I did feel like these cards are a tool that can help me be more self aware and more introspective and maybe even slightly more attuned to my spiritual side. It’s not a moment inspiration, it’s definitely about practice and learning to be comfortable with the unknown. Are you interested in exploring your spiritual side? Let us know how and do get in touch with Kathy as she grows the Altar community.