These dream boards have a stripped-down feel and yet also a vibrant decadence about them. I find I need less and less images to answer the questions posed by each individual moon, and that the images I do choose have a boldness that I lacked when I first started this practice. (Evidence to be found here and here.)
The image of the swan has an interesting story. Upon returning from my last spiritual direction intensive, I chose an Animal Medicine card to help ground me as I attempted to integrate all that happened while I was away. The Swan revealed itself, bearing a message of awakening the true beauty and power of self. About a week later, I found the image pictured above in my collage stash and also remembered listening to David Whyte expound on a poem by Rilke called “The Swan”. (You can find the poem here and the commentary here – I swear I could listen to that man read the phone book.) I won’t butcher Whyte’s nor Rilke’s eloquence, but suffice to say the essence of their words feels like an grace-filled answer to this moon’s questions:
What dreams are ready to burst into flower? Who are you when you’re in full bloom? How do you wish to bloom? xoS
Every couple of months it seems, I debate continuing with this dream board practice. However 2015 ended in a collage-binge and reminded me why that medium was my first love. And right now, I’m looking for any opportunity to sit with a pair of scissors, a glue stick and a stack of magazines. (Now you know the real reason for this.) In one of my previous dream board posts, I mentioned that I was letting the images speak to me and for me . . . I’m not sure that was true. Actually, it was a complete lie, as my pattern has been to work on a spread or two, tape it in my journal and then stick it on a shelf. Occasionally I glance back at what I’ve done, but I certainly haven’t sat with what I’ve created and pondered anything it might imply.
I’m changing that this year. See that tiny red fox in the corner of the last photo? She and her sisters have been slinking around the edges of my journals for months now. Somehow, they’ve wandered into my mind as well and become the companion image to a line of poetry that has also haunted me for months: “Let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” Mary Oliver, of course. Words and images: it’s how I navigate. And as I embark on a new year, I’m letting myself be led by this powerful combination in a new way by exploring the specific images that show up in my art.
Like dreams, I believe these dream boards speak in a language that is largely symbolic. If something comes into my consciousness repeatedly, I know it means I’m not listening or if I am listening, there is obviously more that needs to be said. I can’t tell you what it took for me to look up ‘red fox’ in this book that has largely sat collecting dust on my shelf since I bought it in September. Stepping into this realm feels like the absolute edge of my open mind. Because when I get to that edge? what I like to call my ‘New Jersey’ kicks in and it sounds something like this: “Really? Really? You’re listening to foxes now? And not even live foxes – which would be bad enough – but little paper foxes?” I could go on, because the litany in my head does, but these days I’m trying (trying) to listen to quieter voices. Voices that are sometimes so quiet as to be silent. And yet, they speak . . . like little paper foxes . . .
This exploration led to my 2016 vision cards (last year’s are here) and my word of the year (last year’s is here). All of it scares me and thrills me and leaves me a bit bewildered as to where I find myself at the beginning of 2016. We’ll see where we go from here. Hoping the new year is surprising you in the best ways possible. xoS