I have been a member of the Turning the Wheel National Team for almost 10 years, in addition to building my own arts practice. Turning the Wheel is an amazing non profit that builds community through all different arts practices. Although my work with them has changed quite a bit over the past few years I was invited back to the Facilitator Winter Retreat and it was a HUGE GIFT! Thank you to this tribe for keeping me in the circle and pushing always towards more joy and growth.
This year the Winter Retreat was deeply focused on the “Imaginal World.”
Henry Corbin, the Sufi philosopher and mystic, speaks of love as the force of imagination, the entryway into the Mundus Imaginalis, the Imaginal World. For Corbin, the Mundus Imaginalis is a place that exists between our knowing and not knowing, but is palpably real. It is a place powered by imagination. -School of Lost Borders
We spent three days visioning and dreaming an Imaginal World that each of us longs to live in. If you have the power to Imagine it you have the power to make it real. Without the power of imagination nothing can come into existence. Electricity was imagined. Marriage was imagined. Airplanes were imagined. And so on.
To land our dreamings in the real world we each had the opportunity to create a Totem. I loved this project! I’ve made Totems before (I thought i’d shared the ones I’ve made in the past but apparently haven’t. Maybe time for a throwback post), but this one was completely over the top and full of beautiful memories and reminders from my magical weekend.
Base of the Totem – Foundations of Self
Women were often placed at the bottom of the Totem pole, not as a symbol of oppression or martyrdom, but with deep respect for being the impetus for all life. Women and the Earth are intrinsically linked in their life giving power, and that power is reflected in their place in many traditional Totems found all over the world.
The base of my Totem wandered through various skills and learnings from my youth all the way to today. My perceived kindness, spontaneity, playfulness, creativity wove through the images collaged on this base box.
Longings and Wishes
What are you longing for in your life? What is your body asking for? Close your eyes and dance and feel what wants to happen now.
These were the prompts and questions for the second piece of the Totem. As we build ourselves up our longings guide us towards growth. I found a beautiful tin in the offered objects and completely covered it in an abundance of beautiful, shimmering, glinting beads and sequins and bells and gems. To me this represents a desire for a bounty of Joy, Dance, Music, Partnership and Play.
The Imaginal World
By the final day of the retreat we were all steeped in the Imaginal World. And so we were invited to create a spontaneous box for the top of our Totem (although I ended up making one more piece #rebel). We had been guided in a wonderful time traveling meditation earlier in the day and the colors that kept coming to me were the richest shade of teal, the kind found in feathers and precious stones. I was immediately drawn to those colors when creating this layer of my Totem and it is a beautiful reminder of the gifts I found during that meditation.
Extra Credit: Self Love
My biggest learning from the weekend is that I want to manifest myself as my Ideal Partner. I’ve been going through lots of transitions in my romantic life and the message I keep receiving from the cosmos and my own unconscious is that I need to deeply and unconditionally love myself. I realize we hear it all the time, AND I have a new sense of conviction to be my own best partner in this crazy journey of life. Like a flower blooming, I am coming alive with no competition in my heart and excitement in my soul.
See even more images of the finished piece of my Instagram. I’d love to hear what these images and musings brought up for you. Share thoughts here or on instagram, facebook, or if you know me personally lets get tea!