How can creative practices serve as a tool on your journey?
I’m in the final stages of preparation for my upcoming Creation Pilgrimage in the Pacific Northwest, fully immersed in the revelations of creation and the creativity it inspires. As image-bearers of the Divine and co-creators with the Sacred, we are hard-wired to create. And just as creation can be seen as theophany or God-showings, tapping into our own creativity has a way of revealing what’s hidden deep within and illuminating the path we should take.
Below you’ll find 3 creative practices to spark your journey within in your pilgrimages both at home and abroad. However, one thing should be clear as you approach these practices: They are not meant to be planned out as if striving for perfection; the point of these exercises is to listen deep within, follow your intuitive impulses, and let your response flow freely as you work in tandem with the Sacred Guide.
Heavily based on archetypal psychology, SoulCollage® is a practice loved by many seekers across the world. A process developed by Seena Frost, participants choose images from magazine clippings which draw them in, creating a collage around a cohesive, yet spontaneous, theme. (Another useful and equally revealing exercise is to choose images which ignite internal resistance.) Once the collage is complete, participants are invited to spend time in reflection with the images, beginning with the statement, “I am one who…”, finishing the sentence with whatever the images seem to reveal. Learn how to start your own SoulCollage® practice and find workshops near you at soulcollage.com.
Map-making is an exercise in bringing your inner landscape to life. Take a piece of paper and draw a land mass on it like you would see on a map. Perhaps it’s an island with jagged edges, an archipelago, or a peninsula jutting out from the corner of the page. Maybe the entire page is land with no surrounding water to be seen. Now begin to fill in your landscape with elements you might see on a map of old—coves and caves, forests and mountains, rivers and lakes. Give them names that reflect your inner experience, like “the forest of mysteries,” “the cliffs of despair,” or “the holy moors.” Add color, villages, and even beasts of land and sea if you’d like. Then, after your map feels complete, spend time with your landscape and explore what messages are trying to emerge. Learn more about this practice in my Journey Guide pilgrimage resource.
3. home altars
There’s no reason that altars should be restricted to churches or holy sites. If you want to infuse the Sacred into your everyday life (or equally into your travels), you can easily create a Sacred Space in your home as well. Simply clear a shelf or the top of a small table, adding an orienting object that represents your spiritual grounding, such as a cross or an icon. You might also like to add a candle or an altar cloth to more visibly establish your altar as a Sacred Space set apart from the rest of your home. From there, simply build on your altar day by day, placing on it objects which draw you in or items that you want to spend further time with, such as newspaper clippings, images of loved ones, and pieces from nature or around the house. Some of these items might already represent an intention, such as a pen symbolizing a writing practice or seeds encouraging new growth. Other objects might appeal to you and yet take a while to reveal their meaning. As you spend time with your altar, trusting it as an outer representation of the inner stirrings of your soul, begin to wonder where the Sacred Guide is leading. If a theme begins to emerge, continue to develop your altar to reflect that theme as a way to keep vigil with the journey as it unfolds.