Full Flower Moon

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

Full Egg Moon Dreamboard

We are in the waning days of the Full Egg Moon. A few days before this lunar cycle started, I made the tiny collage above which seemed to put forth a directive: Listen, something fragile is rising. I turned this phrase into a series of questions that guided me during the past month. What are you hearing? What is fragile? What is rising? Frankly, the answers surprised me. They were powerful and have left me feeling a bit tender and exposed. Hence the silence in this space. I have been working with my little bits of words practice in an attempt to put some words around my feelings. You can expect glimpses into that art journal over the next couple of weeks. The Full Flower Moon begins on Friday.

Sunday Selections


it is written
the act of writing is
holy words are
sacred and your breath
brings out the
god in them
i write these words
quickly repeat them
softly to myself
this talisman for you
fold this prayer
around your neck fortify
your back with these
may you walk ever
loved and in love
know the sun
for warmth the moon
for direction
may these words always
remind you your breath
is sacred words
bring out the god
in you

Suheir Hammad, “talisman”

Vision Cards 2016

Jamie Ridler has a wonderful little e-course that guides you through the process of making three vision cards. I did this last year and loved the results. This year, I listened to the guided meditation on the heels of making this dream board (another Jamie Ridler inspiration). In the opening meditation, Jamie talks you through sorting a pile of stones that represent things in your life. She asks you to keep three stones that represent three aspects you want to focus on in the new year. Last time, I came away with three definite areas that became the subjects of my vision cards (travel, home and art). This year, I was left with the image of three gemstones glimmering in my hand: turquoise, opaque white quartz and amethyst. They were clear as day, but without any corresponding words of explanation or clarification.

Squelching the urge to repeat the meditation until I had something more concrete, I took out my journal and wrote down the names of the gemstones. I know nothing about gemstones – nothing – but I was intrigued. Rather than researching their properties or connotations, I instead scanned a list of words that Jamie had provided in case you got stuck in the process. Three words jumped out at me immediately: community, physical body and the spiritual world. I did a quick google search and sure enough, the gemstones corresponded to these words.

At the risk of repeating myself, I’m not sure what any of this means. There was a point in my life when all this would have freaked-me-the-eff-out, but I have had way too many intuitive experiences to be afraid anymore. If I’m feeling grounded and balanced when something like this happens, I can view it as information that I should probably pay attention to. When I’m not feeling so centered, I tend to swing to extremes: either these are *SIGNS* (cue creepy celestial music) and I freak-the-eff-out or “NJ” butts in and tells me it’s a crazy coincidence and I need to lay off the sauce.

And at the risk of belaboring this post just a bit more . . . there is one more piece to this unfolding puzzle. I spent last weekend at The Haden Institute completing my third of six intensives for my certification in spiritual direction. I was sharing some of these experiences with my mentor who also has a passion for the intersection of creativity and spirituality. Without batting an eye, she quoted me these lines from Rilke: “You must give birth to your images. They are the future waiting to be born. Fear not the strangeness you feel. The future must enter you long before it happens. Just wait for the birth, for the the hour of the new clarity.” I have tried to hold these words lightly, but I will confess that has been impossible. They feel like both a confirmation of what I already know and a challenge to what I think I believe – especially that fourth line. (Really? Really?)

The whole freaking thing makes me feel like I have walked into a debate on quantum physics armed with the words of a dead poet, a handful of imaginary rocks and a gluestick. Which, I guess, I kinda have.

Anyway, here are the cards. xoS

The Spiritual World






My Physical Body



Full Cold Moon Dream Board




IMG_0310Every 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