I embark upon this journey
My body, the vessel of my soul
My first transformation…..birth
My mother cries out
I am born in fire and blood
The birthing waters cool me
I am pure passion and innocence
I sail forth into unknown territory
The wisdom of uncertainty rocks
I am adorned with love
I hear the words you cannot speak
I sense the suffering all around me
The world tries to take me down
I do not let it
My second transformation…..I walk
I give my seeds to Mother Earth
She nourishes my roots
I am pure light and laughter
My veins are filled with joy
I lift my branches to the sky
The clouds of knowing are my pillow
I dream of glory
My third transformation…..first blood
I am the womb of Creation
I join the circle of women
The spiral of life is born within me
I am the kiss of Venus
Sensuality soothes my soul
I am pure beauty and grace
I am the infinite
My fourth transformation…..death
My father is torn from this life
My heart is shattered
I am broken pieces, jagged edges
I am falling, falling into an endless black hole
My spirit is covered with ashes
I am wracked with pain…it holds me captive
Anger bars my way…guilt is my jailer
I yearn for freedom
Prayers are my only anchor as the storm
rages through me
In my burning bed I dream of the phoenix
I am the winged flame
I am the resurrection
My dance is the rites of spring
A child is born within me
My fifth transformation…..I give birth
My body is split in two
A valley opens between my mountains
The tree of life bursts from me
Blossoms bloom upon her branches
From the blood of my womb
From the flames of my passion
I give birth to this child
My blood binds together the broken fragments
of my self
I pledge my body, my heart, my life
to her well-being
Forevermore my heart shall walk
outside my body joined to hers
with the cord of my love
I have walked through the cavern of death
In giving birth to this child I have given birth to
I drink from the chalice of life
I can taste immortality
My vision is the feast of miracles.
Elizabeth Gibbons c2004
Transformation is not about being pretty or neat. Sometimes it involves blood, fire, tears and pain. Actually, most times. It can be and often is a messy, chaotic, gooey business. There is a time when the caterpillar is in the cocoon before it emerges as a beautiful butterfly, where it literally liquifies. It is in a state of pure chaos. I call this the “cosmic soup.” This is the phase that I have noticed a lot of people are in right now. The much talked about shift in consciousness of humanity has put us all in a state of recalibration, reconfiguration and transformation. We are in the womb and we are simultaneously in the birth canal. That is a little tricky to navigate, as you might imagine. It is a dance of becoming that requires balance, profound compassion and ALLOWING the pain and the joy to exist side by side without denying either.
Transformation is about digging down to the bones, the foundation of the stories that are running you. It’s about excavating the cemetery of lost dreams. It is a cleaning out of your psychic closet. Which is not so different from cleaning out your actual physical closet. You don’t really know what you’ve got in there until you take it ALL OUT. When you first do, it looks like a way bigger mess than you can even believe. Let me regale you with an amusing example from the legendary life of Glitter W.A.S.P. just so we can get the giggles going. My daughter cleaned out my front hall closet over Thanksgiving. It is the mail slot closet where the mail arrives and also the coat and umbrella and what I call the etcetera closet. Well it’s been awhile since it got cleaned out. Guess what she found? Besides the mail from 2007 that I had never received or opened, there was still old dried mouse poo from 2011 back there. Kind of embarrassing but kind of hilarious too.
Cleaning the closet with Wendy Lyn Phillips
As you first look at that pile of STUFF from your “closet” in awe and disbelief, don’t follow your first inclination which is going to be to stuff it back in. You heard me: DON’T DO IT!!! Your Muse will not let you rest if you do. And the next time around the mess will have doubled. Instead laugh your a__s off about the mouse poo, shred the bills from 2007 (isn’t it great that you don’t owe them anymore?!!!!) and grab your paintbrushes and pens and RUN as fast as you can for your studio or your writing desk. Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back, on the way, that rather than spending time vacuuming up dried mouse poo you’ve been leaving a legacy for your family and the world by painting or writing into being the glorious wisdom and healing images and messages that arise from your soulful and DIVINE self. Once you arrive at your studio or writing desk let the fun begin! This is where you get to become the creator and the alchemist of your own existence. All that STUFF that just came tumbling out of your psychic closet, the guilt trips, the broken vows, the shattered dreams….all that is the composting pile for your life. Even before it begins to stink, it is rich with treasures that are worth digging for. Since your “shovel” is a paintbrush or a pen or marker and your fuel is the creative fire that lives in your heart and imagination, you won’t be needing any heavy equipment.
Just your intention and your willingness to show up and toss the prima materia, your psychic garbage heap into the alchemical fire of your creativity.
The creative fire that lives inside your heart
Leave the judgment and the expectations at the door. Open to the magic of this process and the gift that you are giving yourself by being willing to dig for the treasures. It really is true when they say Art Will Save the World and first it will save you. You are worth it and you are the alchemist of your own existence.
“I believe when we engage intimately with works of art, who we are and how we view our world changes. The creation of art and the viewing of it, allow for us to reconfigure our thoughts, and to make our ideas and abstractions concrete. All art germinates from a need to see, understand and communicate. Like alchemists, great artists distill and transform. For me then, art becomes an experience and a lens through which to view the world. The alchemy in art is that it allows us to see stars where once we saw only dust.”
Yes you heard correctly. Stars where there was once only dust. What does that mean? It means that there is sparkle even in the midst of mouse poo. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not necessarily easy to see that, especially in the moment. Still let’s consider this….the things that embarrass us the most about ourselves are also part of the ingredients that can be added to our alchemical mixture, our elixir of life, our “prima materia,” and that intentional creativity is the match that sets our souls on fire. The first step towards transformation begins with awareness so yes we need to bring those old stories into our awareness first. We can then CHOOSE consciously what to release. Sometimes even that first step of bringing it into awareness is enough to shift the whole story and move your self into a new way of showing up and being in the world.
The COLOR of WOMAN process that Shiloh Sophia, our fearless and brilliant leader, has developed called “Talisman” is a profound catalyst and process for this alchemical transformation. Our old stories, our mouse poo are literally the lead that can be transformed into the spiritual “gold” of enlightenment through intentional creativity with a nice sprinkling of prayer, visioning, ceremony and community thrown in. Shiloh teaches us that painting is one of the few places that we can be truly scared but never get hurt. Kind of makes you want to become an artist, right? What I would add to that is that it does not matter what your level of artistic skill is, the healing process still occurs, transformation happens and lives are forever altered in ways that are exquisitely, soulfully beautiful. Psyche means butterfly in Greek and it also means soul. The etymology of the word psyche as defined in Widipedia is life in the sense of breath. It is within this that the divine spark and breath of life, of our very spirit, exists. Yes in our psyche, within our prime material.
“When Time Stood Still” by Elizabeth Gibbons
‘Psychologically speaking the mysterious prima materia represents, and is to be discovered in, the parts of the psyche that we deny, dis-own and marginalize, the aspects of ourselves that we feel ashamed of, revulsion for and turn away from in disgust. In Jung’s words, this “means that the thing which we think the least of, that part of ourselves which we repress perhaps the most, or which we despise, is just the part that contains the mystery.’ We typically want to get rid of the shadow aspects of our personality, but the alchemists understood that our wounded, inferior and unconscious parts aren’t an accident or an error, but rather, has a value and cosmic perfection to them that is stunning. Our wounds, the base material of the work, are indispensable for the accomplishment of the opus, for without these shadow parts there would be no way to make the alchemical gold.”
The ‘famous secret’, and the basis of the alchemical opus is the unique prima materia, which is the chaos and raw material out of which the refined substance or ‘gold’ is produced. To the alchemists, there was a spirit hidden in the darkness of the prima materia, a divine spark buried in the darkness of matter.”
I want to say this again in case you didn’t hear it the first time. Your wounded, inferior or unconscious parts (that mess in your psychic closet) has a value and a cosmic perfection to it that is STUNNING. As an artist I consider myself to be both creator and alchemist. Art is how I illumine my life, how I make sense of it all. Creating art for me, has become the container that helps me to integrate the whole human experience, the beauty and the ugliness, the light and the shadows, the coexistence of opposites. It allows me to exist in a space in my being-ness that is always expanding. Everything can be thrown into the mixture and as the alchemical process of transformation does it’s magic, even mouse poo turns into cosmic stardust that ripples out on the waves of laughter that shimmer forth from this legendary and wondrous place that I call “The Palace of the Soul Divine School of Glitteracy.”
What places and stories in your psyche are you shoving back into the closet because you are afraid of the mess?
How can your creative process help you to be more compassionate with yourself and more peaceful and expansive in the process of transformation?
What practices and which people support you the most as you work with your “prima mature”?
And how can you bring more of that support and those practices into your life in 2014?
Can you think of instances where a new awareness and insight has shifted your story?
What old stories want to arise now that are willing to be released?
If you are looking for a fun, divine, enchanted inspirational transformational creativity playshop taught by your truly, scroll down to learn more about what is being offered at the Palace of the Soul. To be launched in the very near future a new web-site that will give you all the juicy details. Stay tuned for http://www.thepalaceofthesoul.com