Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Through the eyes of SoulCollage(R) Book Review

What I learned about SoulCollage(R) from reading Through the eyes of SoulCollage(R)  
by Anne-Marie Bennett, published 2015

(Note: SoulCollage(R) is a process of making a deck of cards that represent various parts of one’s life journey. There are four suits that represent either people we have loved, archetypal energies, inner personality parts and animal guides or instinctual energies).

On Facebook recently I saw a quote that read, I have been a seeker all my life and still am, but I stopped asking the stars and the books and started listening to the teaching of my own Soul. (Rumi) Stopping to listen in, and dialogue with parts of myself as represented in my SoulCollage(R) cards, is the best thing I have ever done to get to know myself better. And not only that, but it’s helped me accept all of me, the good and the bad, the light and the dark.

The lovely essays and reflections on life in the book Through the Eyes of SoulCollage(R), Reflections on Life via the SoulCollage(R) Lens, by facilitator and trainer Anne-Marie Bennett, grew out of the last ten years of her SoulCollage(R) journey, and were originally written as newsletter articles for KaleidoSoul, Bennetts’ SoulCollage(R) community. 

In this first book, of two planned books of essays on seeing life through the lens of SoulCollage(R), Anne-Marie covers two of the four suits – Community and Companions. (Council and Committee are the other two suits). Community cards are made for all the actual people who have lived, touched us in some way, or been close to us (including pets). Even teachers you have known or celebrities you admire fit here. Cards can be made to grieve and honour lost ones, and can increase our sense of connection, or “nettedness” as Bennett calls it. The Companions section has some wonderful ideas about how to receive messages and gifts from our animal guides or totems.

The book includes a list of vocabulary for the uninitiated, and a Time to reflect space to encourage readers to journal along with each chapter, as well as additional ideas for card making. She provides a link to her SoulCollage(R) cards on her website, with other resources and recommended sites and books. Facilitators can mine the book for workshop themes based on the topics in each chapter, with the author’s full permission.

There is a chapter on spirituality that I found especially appealing. Bennett sees SoulCollage as a form of prayer, as a tool to stay close to spirit. I like that Bennett describes the cards as more than just pieces of cardboard with images glued on them – they represent our wholeness, all the parts of self gathered together. Using the cards allows one to access deeper layers of soul, through active imagination and intuition, seeing patterns, themes, and writing about what one sees.

Bennett suggests that sticking close to your SoulCollage(R) cards through readings is a way of coming home to yourself. She strongly encourages makers of SoulCollage(R) cards to either do daily readings, picking two cards and sitting them on your bureau, or journaling about them, or Focused readings, where you set aside a special time and space to ask a question, clear your mind, and receive guidance from 3-4 cards you choose at random. Again, journaling is a component, as you dialogue with the cards and receive messages – in actuality, your sub-conscious selves, or inner self replying to your own questions. Bennett’s book is full of instances of synchronicity and learnings. It can be a fun, light process or one of transformation and deep healing.

After finishing the book, I spread all my SoulCollage(R) cards on the floor of my bedroom – they covered most of the room – and did what Bennett suggests – separated them by darker Neters or shadow parts, and Light Neters. I put the darker ones on the left, for no apparent reason, and the lighter, more playful cards on the right. Right away I noticed the difference in colour – the darker cards (representing anger, shame, old hurts and abandonments, painful heritage, etc) were mostly dark coloured. And the joyful, juicy creative cards (representing whimsy, joy, spirit of play, sanctuary, love and marriage, sexuality, freedom and creativity, were much more colourful and light – reds, yellows, blues predominating.

This was a very good exercise and I’m glad to have learned it from Anne-Marie’s book.

Some of my favorite essays were about learning how to trust the intuitive process. How does one begin to listen in and discover which inner parts need attention? I put a star beside a few chapters: What lights you up, and Inner Beauty (writing a love letter to the self, sealing and mailing it is a great idea and one I use in my journaling classes). So many creative moments are explored in this heartfelt, inspiring book...simple moments, from stopping to pause and admire nature, lessons learned riding the metro, to having the courage to tell all your heart.  

Read this book and discover many artful ways to pause, wonder at, and savour the moment.

You can find the book on Amazon, or read more about it here:

Jennifer Boire is a published author and a facilitator of the Creative Circle class, (creative journaling and SoulCollage(R)) and leads retreats for women.

Anne-Marie Bennett– KaleidoSoul founder, SoulCollage(R) Facilitator and Trainer lives in Massachusetts.

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