The following article, which I wrote, appeared in the Sept. 26, 2016 issue of the global e-newsletter Soul Treasures, published by KaleidoSoul in Massachusetts.
Reader Kas Sobey-Knabb responded: “Heather, just wanted to reach out to you after reading your upbeat and lovely piece in Kaleidosoul Soul Songs.Enjoyed it and meeting your 2 Neters [symbolic guides]! Quite colorful and they have given me something new and refreshing.”
SoulCollage facilitator Heather Conn with some of her 250 cards in 2013
Grieving my father’s death. Healing from incest. Transforming feelings about everyday situations and people. SoulCollage® has been my silent sanctuary of grace and empowerment for more than a decade. It allows me to surpass the limitations of written and spoken language and instead, immerse myself in archetypal forces, intuition, and the rich universal world of visual imagery.
If I have conflicted feelings about a situation or person, I feel related sensations in my body: an ache, a tightness, whatever. I don’t want to ignore that by “escaping” into my head. SoulCollage® provides a tactile way for me to keep or release the flow of any given energy in my body. When I create a card related to those feelings, I don’t stay in my head. I don’t try to tame or control these emotions through words. SoulCollage® gives them a different outlet, a form of creative self-expression that balances my intellectual life as a professional writer and editor.
I have loved making collages since childhood. When I saw Seena’s first SoulCollage® book at a women’s conference in Seattle, I couldn’t put it down. The four-color images of the cards spoke to me in every way possible. SoulCollage® incorporated so many of my favorite passions, including photography, spirituality, art, and archetypes. How could I not explore that?
I love SoulCollage® because it offers rewards similar to free-association or “wild mind” writing. I don’t have to know the answers to a dilemma; things don’t have to make sense. In free flow, I’m co-creating with my subconscious. I just start in and pick images that evoke a visceral response. This might make no sense at all to my Inner Critic, but that’s fine. I can stay in confusion or bewilderment or joy or grief or fear and honor that, without a label. Like the Fool, I can tap into wisdom or insights without conscious intent. To me, the card-making process, the finished card, and interacting with the card are all forms of true presence: engagement with my deepest, most authentic Self.
I love that SoulCollage honors equally all aspects of self, without making character traits positive or negative. This makes it easier for me to “own,” befriend, and transform them, rather than resist or deny them. This embracing of my otherwise split-off or buried parts of self is one of the most powerful and exciting aspects of SoulCollage®, in my view. It reinforces unconditional self-love and acceptance, which is at the core of healing and personal transformation. And the process is so accessible!
Like dream work, SoulCollage is a non-threatening medium that can enable others, with little or no exposure to it, to open up and share in ways they might not otherwise. I have witnessed this repeatedly with workshop participants, one-on-one clients, and my family. It is so rewarding to see and hear people making “aha” connections with images on a card, even if it is one that they didn’t make.
I made cards on my own for at least three years before receiving my SoulCollage® Facilitator’s training in 2008. I began offering workshops in 2009. Most of the time, I started making a card with a specific intention. For example, if I wanted to tap into archetypal Peace, I made a Peace card. Or if I wanted to represent a certain sub-personality, I would create a Committee Suit card for that. But in the last three years or so, I have given myself the freedom to create a card with no specific intention. Even when I’m finished a card, I’ll sometimes have no idea what it represents and I’m fine with that. My controlling self might niggle a little, but I can handle that.
As with dream work, I will review such cards weeks or months later and usually, the meaning or importance of certain symbols will be obvious. I love this delayed process of discovery. It reinforces that we are ever-changing, ever-growing beings and our rational brains aren’t the sum total of all we are. I encourage anyone creating SoulCollage® cards to combine both an intentional and non-intentional approach.
In a handful of cases, I have asked the person honored on a Community card I’ve made to sign the back of it. This way, I feel as if I’m making a connection with someone I admire. The signature imbues the card with that person’s spirit and energy, which adds a special touch. That makes it even more of a cherished keepsake.
You can find me at sunshinecoastsoulcollage.ca.
Here are my 2 favorite cards:
My Source Card (Transpersonal)
I loved creating this card because it represents my sense of being a tiny speck in the Cosmos, part of infinite inter-being and the Great Mystery. It inspired me to use imagery of night skies with stars on other SoulCollage® cards to remind me of my interconnectedness with All That Is. When I cut out some of the background image, I liked the empty space that it left behind, so I decided to incorporate that into the card. I put black behind this space and left it open, to represent the Unknown.
The glowing circular white rows are a close-up photo of a backlit dandelion. I like the notion that something traditionally viewed as an unwanted weed can be a source of beauty and wonder, depending on your perspective. That reinforces to me that Source energy is everywhere, in everything, even in the last places where I might think to look for or find it. This image has inspired me to include pictures of dandelions gone to seed as a repeat motif on some of my cards. These silently remind me to find the beauty in everything.
My 6th Chakra Animal Guide
This card came together quickly and effortlessly. I loved the colors and sense of flow with it. Since I am drawn to the imagery of circles as a symbol of wholeness, I cut out a circle around the Dragonfly. I liked this card so much, I made it my business card image.
I am one who is with you always.
I am one who brings vibrant beauty to the glimmer of a moment.
For more information about SoulCollage, please see my website Sunshine Coast SoulCollage.