One of my special friends hosted a get together which included a short meditation. After slowing our breath and leading us into a field, down a path, she asked us to notice a building. Now, I am a meditator-in-progress, and I’ve always been a default rule follower (unless civil disobedience is called for), and there was some time pressure to imagine this building because I knew she’d keep talking, and then I remembered I was supposed to be calm and just go with the flow and so I saw a brick and wood building, like something you might find in Shrek-land. Good done.
Then she said, the building was a temple. A temple? But I didn’t imagine a temple! You said building! Deep breaths, it’ll be okay. I decided it was too late and “wrong” to go back and re-see the temple/building, so I made the best of what I had. It was not big enough to hold everything that was inside this temple, but yet it did. It ended up being pretty magical. Surprise! Not surprised.
Not long after, I was doing some workshop image prep and found the stone base and wood structure of my temple building. They combined perfectly. It felt rewarding for just going with the originally imagined building, and generally validating that I am on the right path. It made me smile, laugh inside, and give a special, silent, thank you to my friend, SoulCollage®, and the universe.
Prior blogs have looked at the other two Transpersonal cards, Source and Witness. This is the third one, SoulEssence. Seena Frost, SoulCollage® creator says that “deep within each living being, and indeed all created forms, from their beginning, is a spark containing a pattern and a thrust towards what it can become.” That is our SoulEssence.
For me, as I get older, I realize that the things I let go are impediments to that thrust, and the things I easily enjoy and want to spend energy on are boosters. I’m more sensitive to, and proactive about my feelings, my gut, my intuition. It’s a way my SoulEssence speaks to me, and the more I listen and practice using it, the “better” life is. Be true to yourself. Be the change you seek. Let that spark ignite growth and expansion, eliminate obstacles.
Although I say that there are no rules to SoulCollage®, there are Principles of SoulCollage®, published on the SoulCollage® website. Most are more like “agreements,” but there’s also a section labeled, “SoulCollage® cards are for personal use only.” Part of the reason for that is we use copyrighted material in our collages as the images all come from published material, and so, to be absolutely certain you will never encounter any copyright issues, SoulCollage® cards should not be copied, sold, or bartered, except as a back-up in case of damage.
That said, I’ve never worried too much about sharing my cards on the SoulCollage® with Megan Menkveld Facebook group, for instance, or Instagram. According to SoulCollage® principles, I can share publicly when “sharing one’s own personal process,” and that’s basically what I do. I’m not putting my cards on display at a gallery, for instance, or charging to view them, and I certainly do not sell them! They are mine, all mine!
If you are concerned about copyright issues, here is my opinion, just my opinion. First, we are collaging, which is a generally accepted art form, which, by definition, uses material previously created by someone else. Art friends have said that as long as you substantially change the original piece, there’s no legal issue. They are not legal experts, but they do know people who collage who are not in jail for it. There are also no SoulCollage® police, and finally, there are sources out there for copyright-free images, such as www.pixabay.com, and your own photos and/or art as alternatives to copyrighted material.
I think collaging for personal purposes, using images with a unique spirit separate from the original use, and not making money from it, is fine. I try to be mindful about the process of creating the images I use, expressing gratitude for it, and loving what it brings to me and my deck. Thank you, images, and their original creators.
I’ve felt a spiritual connection to all my pets, so it shouldn’t surprise me when they show up on my SoulCollage® cards. I was surprised by this one because my current set of dogs is young, and I underestimated their ability to make their way into my SoulCollage® deck so quickly and cleverly.
My dog, Hope, has two different colored eyes, a marbley-blue one and a brown one, like the dog on this card. My other dog, Jack, is a black lab mix with a white bib, very similar to the dog on this card. Somehow, through animal magic, they merged themselves into one super dog with wisdom that is greater than the two of them separately. Then the four-leafed clover floated its way on the background. The cat is a rather literal representation of my cat who is part of the MM pack, even if the dogs think she’s more an accessory than full-fledged member.
I love this card and still can’t believe this perfect hybrid dog image found its way to me – dog power unite! They should absolutely be part of my deck. Thanks, dogs. Thanks, universe!
This is one of three Transpersonal Cards, as they are called in SoulCollage®. They are silent cards, unlike all the others, and sit outside the regular deck. For the Witness, I’m going directly to SoulCollage® creator Seena Frost to describe, which even she says is difficult to do! “The Witness… draws us up to higher and higher consciousness, towards the capacity to see the play of our inner parts… The Witness sees without judgment.” Totally clear now, right?!
This card represents my interpretation of Witness. There is no one right interpretation. Animals tend to show up on most of my SoulCollage® cards, and one of my favorite observer animals is the llama or alpaca, they are hard for me to differentiate. When they jumped onto my Witness card, I was not surprised, and can now picture those creatures calmly, but vigilantly, seriously, but with humor, keeping watch over me as a whole, and all the parts that make up that whole, and then psychically relaying data to/from Source and SoulEssence, the other two Transpersonal cards.
At SoulCollage® with Megan Menkveld workshops, you are free to make as many SoulCollage® cards as want to be made, within the time frame. There are always more cards available. A general best practice when SoulCollaging® is to not overload cards. While there is no set number of images that should go on a card, and of course it varies with each image and each card, I recommend spreading it out, maybe even make a card series if you find you have a lot of images wanting to be together.
The same applies to overloading cards with ideas. If you want to collage about peace, love, and harmony, I would make three cards not one. I’ve used SoulCollage® to help sort through negative emotions, and as I started sorting through images one day, I realized there was a difference between sad, mad and what I call “smad," so that became multiple cards. SoulCollage® is the forest and the trees, but since we all know we can’t see the forest for the trees, make a card for the forest and each tree so you can see it all, separately and together.
SoulCollage® with Megan Menkveld introductory 2-hour card-making workshops are just the beginning of SoulCollage®. If you want to dig deeper, you can! I recommend buying the book, available through me for a discount, or on the SoulCollage® website. SoulCollage® can include Transpersonal Cards, one of which is the Source card (along with Witness and SoulEssence). The transpersonal cards are not used in card readings, and do not get “I am one who…” statements. They are simply there to represent our existence in the universe.
This is my Source card. When I showed it to my mom, she asked me, “What do you mean by ‘Source?’” She's a Christian, so I said it’s like God, or Creator, or the “force,” for Star Wars followers. It’s nature and science and magic. It’s where we and everything came from.
My Source card is about 4 years old and I’ve never felt the need to make a new one, same with my Witness and SoulEssence cards, both will be featured in future blog posts. It still has strong energy for me, and it represents everything I imagine Source to be. What does/will your Source card look like?
Like millions of other Americans, I’ve suffered from burn-out. I’d worked in the corporate world for about 15 years, moved across the country, then got divorced, and I just couldn’t handle the stress, politics and drama of office life anymore. My priorities changed quickly as I started purging negativity from my life as fast as possible, including the toxic workplace. My break from paycheck work was longer than I thought. I wanted to re-gain my physical and mental health before going back, which takes time, but before going bankrupt.
My issue with paycheck work is not the work, it’s usually the job. I like accounting and managing, what I'm educated and trained to do, and I care a lot about healthcare finance, my specialty. For a long time I wanted to help inform healthcare policy in America, but my personality is not compatible with that, but I am still working in the field trying to make the process as efficient as possible, one clinic at a time!
I’ve had numerous work executives complain about their financial position and accounting results. One even asked if I thought it would be misleading to report the losses I was calculating. No! It would be misleading not to! I care about reporting accurate data, for decision making, for information, and most importantly for myself. I'm also a Taurus, so I may be pre-disposed to stubborness on this and other issues.
One day, instead of complaining about this all the time, I decided to SoulCollage® about it, and have been ever since. I like to remember what’s important and enjoyable to me about my paycheck job(s). In addition, the cards help me set healthy boundaries. Everything that I want to be part of my work goes on cards, so anything that’s not on them is not welcome in my workspace. I’m better able to identify toxicity before it becomes overwhelmingly stressful to me, and thus be able to take corrective action. SoulCollage® has truly helped me a lot with handling paycheck work and office jobs. It could help you, too!
I SoulCollage® whenever I need to, and since I have everything I need at home, I often do it by myself. An added bonus to being a facilitator, besides my general love of sharing SoulCollage®, is that I get to SoulCollage® with others! It’s a different experience when there’s quiet, supportive energy in the room that’s not my own. I hope participants – you!- don’t mind me collaging with you. SoulCollaging® with others means everyone gets new ideas, shares out loud, and feels connected. I can identify with almost every card that other people make, and with their story, when they share. We are so connected, and it’s important to know that we are not alone, so not alone.
Doing it with family, kids and partners can enhance existing relationships. I love to see both young and adult kids with their parents doing art together and then sharing so personally. My mom, who lives in Michigan, came to one of my workshops when she was visiting. I never get to see her craft or hear her share personal feelings in that way, she’s usually in mom mode, not in self-care mode. That was a special day.
So invite others to SoulCollage® with you, even at home. Put on some tea and music, cut up some magazines, and be semi-social. It’s quality, quiet time.
With light comes shadow, the darker, more hidden parts of the world and ourselves. It’s one of the concepts SoulCollage® teaches and challenges us to examine. It’s what happens when light is blocked. We cannot ignore shadow, but instead can embrace it and its affects on us, and if there’s too much shadow, if it’s weighing us down and preventing us from seeing the light, then maybe it’s time to SoulCollage® about it.
It’s important to note that shadow is not the same as toxic negativity, which is something we do not SoulCollage® about. There’s no place for that in our decks, but there is ample room for loving, productive, emotional growth through understanding our sad, angry and frustrated emotions. What does your intuition have to say? What voices need to be heard to heal? SoulCollage® is an excellent way to find out.
Megan Menkveld created MMSoul to have a platform from which she could share SoulCollage® and the overall gift of art in order to create balance and wellness for all individuals open to receiving it. This blog is a way to stay in touch and keep the conversation going outside of workshop time. Please visit regularly, comment and share! All are welcome.