This blog post is about the sixth mask, Blue Throat Bat created for the Prismic Vision NYE event hosted by the Body Earth Collective in Longmont. Read the previous posts in this series about Rabbit, Skunk, Swan. Antelope, & Bat, and other posts about the beginnings of the process as a whole and the success of the actual event. There will be one final post after this one. Be sure to Follow my blog to catch all the updates. So far it has been so wonderful writing and reflecting on the process of this project.
All of 2019 I was working very closely with the medicine of the birds. Every week I wrote a zine about a different bird messenger called 52 Feathers. Hawk was the perfect ally to have at the Indigo Altar, which was nestled deep in the Third Eye Sky Shrine at the event.
This mask went through many iterations as I finessed the shape, editing it several times to attempt to capture Hawk, versus another bird such as Eagle or Vulture. This was the second mask I ended up working on, immediately diverting away from my original intention to create the masks in order from Root to Crown. However I have no regrets in following my intuitive path through these seven masks, and in some ways activating my intuitive flow early on, by working with the messenger of intuition, was a fitting choice.
Since this was one of the first masks I worked on I learned a lot about the best ways to work with Papier-mâché. I watched a ton of youtube videos to get the best sense of which paper to use, how thick to make the paste, which materials to make the paste out of, and how to build the armature. The armature is the structure beneath the Papier-mâché, and most of mine included materials such as cardboard, tinfoil, styrofoam, balloons, and masking tape.
I settled on using newspapers for the paper. Even though using an unprinted newsprint may have saved time later, due to needing to prime over all the ads and words, I felt really good about giving new life to the trees that had been used for advertising and news. I didn’t quite realize how much newspaper was being mailed to me each week; weekly ads for the grocery, local press, and a subscription to the daily camera I don’t remember signing up for. I also was thrilled by the magic of tearing newsprint. Pro tip – newsprint has a preferred way to tear, much like fabric. When you find the correct orientation it tears with ease in a straight line. It was SO satisfying tearing hundreds upon hundreds of strips of newspaper.
For the paste I used a homemade mix that was simply flour and water with a pinch of salt to keep it from molding. This project was done on a shoestring budget, so I ended up using a ton of materials that I had in abundance around my house, like flour and water. I found I was happiest using a paste that was fairly thick as long as I could keep it from clumping. There is something extremely satisfying about creating a piece of art with materials that have been in use for hundreds of years. There are records of Papier-mâché being used in China as early as 200 BC!
Working with Hawk Medicine and the Energy of Indigo Third-Eye
When Rachel and I began calling in animal allies through Oracle for the event we worked from Crown to Root, and so Third Eye was the second card we pulled. I knew that the Oracle was working when Hawk appeared, since birds are already symbolic messengers of intuition, clarity, and true sight. Their connections to the Heavens through flight makes them a strong ally for the upper Chakras, which are all connected to spirit.
The Third Eye Chakra is located in the forehead, between and just above the eyes. It is associated with the Pineal Gland, which regulates our circadian rhythm, deeply connecting us with body intuition to the cycles of the world around us; day to night and the change is seasons. The mantra for the Third Eye is I Am Connected.
Indigo is a rich and moody color, easily lumped in with Blue or Purple to the unexperienced. Indigo vibrates with it’s own unique light, a color deeply connected to magick, spellwork, and enhancing psychic abilities. It is the color of the sky in the liminal transition from dusk to night, and night to dawn. Simply resting your eyes on the color Indigo invites a deep sense of meditation.
The Mask in the Space
It seems the Indigo Hawk Altar literally transitioned into a space beyond time, a truly ephemeral altar as I somehow failed to capture an image of it, and no one else I know from the event felt called to capture a picture of the altar. It was so beautiful!
When conceiving of the design for the Hawk Altar, which would be nestled in the Third Eye Sky Shrine, where psychic readings were being offered, we wanted to have it emulate a nest. We designed it to be a round space, with opportunity to sit and rest all around the altar. Oracle and Tarot Cards were available at the Altar for individuals to tap into their own intuitive knowing, receiving messages for the year ahead. I participated in two powerful readings by the Altar.
The first was a relationship reading, an impromptu divination into my primary relationship performed by a friend using the Osho Zen Tarot Deck. It was spontaneous and amusing to get insights, and like so many tarot readings it was mostly an eerie reflection of what I already knew to be true.
The second reading I did was after New Year’s had passed, as the evening was winding down. I have a tradition of drawing an animal messenger card for the year ahead to see what animal totem would best assist me. I was completely unsurprised when I drew the Blindness Card, which is the card for the snake, whom I was aspecting for the Opening Procession. More on this in the next post for the Violet Snake Mask.
In the Opening Procession, after completing a rebirth dance of the Bat, we flocked together with the Hawk Avatar leading our movements. We concentrated on activating our own head tail connection, a great medicine from bird totems, and peeked over the edges of the balcony, weaving a web of connection through the upper and lower levels. By the time we reached the upper level and were flocking the energy of the Hawk a grand crowd had gathered, to the point that it was becoming difficult to stay together as a flock for the ceremony. Despite the difficulty I was moved by the attention from the participants who were eager to be a part of the sacred manifestation we as ritualist animal avatars were calling into the event.
The words on the Altar were as follows:
Indigo – Third-Eye – Hawk
Medicine of the Messenger.
Far Seeing… Seeing the Whole Picture.
Knowing Somatically & Intuitively.
Mystic observer of the wind and sky, with piercing insight and attention lend me your eyes so that I may see more clearly the landscape of my life. May the subtle movements of emotion, opportunity, and growth be illuminated to me under your keen vision.
With eyes and heart and mind open wide, like the expansive sky, may the obstacles real and unreal be overcome by fierce competence. I am sovereign of my body and spirit as you are sovereign to your sky. – Excerpt from 52 Feathers Zine by Khiri Lee
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