I had the pleasure of attending a workshop last weekend at MAMA Marbletown Multi-Arts Center, a Stone Ridge organization that hosts creative and spiritual events for our local Hudson Valley community. The workshop entitled “Embracing Darkness, Finding Light” was geared towards artists, therapists and healing professionals who are using the expressive arts to explore the internal world using art, dance, clay and creative expression. It was exactly what I needed to relight the spark of creativity and spirituality that has been missing in my life as I trudge along completion of my academically-focused Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling.
We had a full day of offerings with workshops whose themes flowed well together. Topics ranged from the Jungian perspective of shadow as a visual phenomenon in art, by Sarah Jackson; to working with dreams with Judith Schafman; to actualizing and dancing with the monsters lurking in our unconscious with Julie Rose; to accessing shadow material through clay, by Therese Bimka. One particular workshop by artist Daniel Mack, which he called, “Making Contact with Shadow,” a kind of creative alchemy, really stood out.
Dan is an artist who works from a multi-media approach. He collects things – all kinds of things; masks, feathers, stones, bones, flower petals, shells, metal objects, sticks, buttons, bottle caps, shiny things, broken pieces of miscellany that catch his eye. Some might call it all garbage, yet this is the fuel of the creative alchemical fire. He considers his work as “Trickster-Driven.” We were encouraged to put on funny hats and create small notecards gathering, gluing, painting, and hammering random stuff into place, interacting with whatever objects he gathered that called to us. The rules were we needed to forget about if our creations were artistic, marketable or made any sense to our rational minds. The funny thing is both of my creations were described by fellow travelers as very organized. I can imagine my shadow is organized, as sometimes letting go of routine and order can be scary for me.
Dan believes objects themselves have a language; we allow shadow which is never direct, to come through the artistic creation to tell us what it wants us to know. In other words, we let the thing become the thing. By having this experience creating, we allow the creation to provide its own non-linear, non-logical wisdom, which is unique to all of us, but whose power is unmistakable. This realized power then takes concrete form which can act as a catalyst for needed internal changes to take place.
I had so much fun with this that I took the concept of this workshop into our monthly Wiccan Soul Blossom Circle last night, which is open to all and held on Zoom once a month, Circle members were led on a meditative journey to first encounter their shadows in relation to light and then to express whatever symbols or images were shared with them as we emerged. When we finished the circle, everyone had something concrete and mystical to work with – something which came forth from their own Higher Self. Each was a personal talisman which could be used to access power as we come into the season of Beltane, a season of light which celebrates Nature’s return to fertility, warmth, sensuality and abundance in the Northern Hemisphere.
Dan shared in his workshop the following words of wisdom, which I believe ring true and I will leave you with them to inspire you in your own creative alchemy. May they help you to conjure what is alive for you in your subconscious right now that needs to be brought into the light:
Humans have the need to be in Awe
To be wild and feral
To share and listen to story
To make Music and move our bodies.
And to Create – We all have Creator in us.
Thank you for reading. For information about receiving interspiritual counseling with Rev. Wendy, readings, or to join our monthly circle, please send an email to: email@example.com