Posted by Julie Elliot
Like kids in a candy store, we approached the Spiritual Collage table to find an array of stunning pictures laid out for us. In silence, we chose the ones that seemed to speak to us and then we returned to our tables with a glue stick and a pair of scissors. Such simple tools for a process that turned out to be so much more than cutting and pasting! Sabina Harpe was our leader in this process and her generosity, enthusiasm and gentle guidance were all we needed to experience the wonder of Spiritual Collage. Our collages were like visual dreams – full of meanings that shifted the longer we looked at them. They were revelatory just like a good spiritual direction session.
Sabina is a gifted leader of Spiritual Collage and she hosts group events in Vancouver. Her invitation says, “We take a few hours to stop and thoughtfully respond to a particular theme. We do this in my home through meditation, visualization and collage. No artistic training or background is needed. The question “What wants to happen?” asks us to take note of our inner urgings, movements and yearnings. What is at work in us? What seems to be emerging that might welcome an artistic representation? This evening is an opportunity to move away from our usual heady ways of addressing these yearnings and to give space and expression through visual imagery. When we bypass language and allow ourselves to respond intuitively, there are often surprises that happen!”
Sabina explains that Spiritual Collage is a spiritual practice where we spend some time quieting ourselves, letting our intuition (or our spiritual selves) guide us towards creating something new. She says, “You might be surprised by what arises and yet when you step back you’re not surprised. It’s a feeling of recognition – oh yes, that’s what’s going on right now.” She goes on to say it’s not about creating a pretty picture. Rather, it’s about allowing yourself to be led – with no expectations – so you can access others parts of yourself.
The sharing afterwards is often very powerful. Participants are encouraged to describe their experience and learning’s rather than need to know what everything means. Sabina says, “Surprises will come because you’ve opened yourself up through this visual medium. You’re allowing yourself to open to other parts of yourself – other ways of knowing – other ways of being.” She guides the sharing without too much direction, preferring to ask, “How was that for you?” She also encourages participants to let their piece accompany them over time. It could be a focal point for a spiritual direction session. It could be hung somewhere in the house where you “come upon it” unexpectedly. That immediate response can be significant. It can be the impetus for stream of consciousness writing where you identify with each part of your collage. “I am a foot of stone. I’m solid and unmoveable. A plant grows out of me; a plant with hands like buds opening …” Above all, Sabina advises, “Your creation comes from inside you and it has wisdom for you. As you reflect on it, remember you’re moving from one language to another. It’s not necessary to know what this means and what that represents. There may not want to be any words. Maybe one word or a title is enough.”
Spiritual Collage is a wide open, creative and yet simple way to externalize what’s happening internally. In this way, it’s a wonderful process for group accompaniment and spiritual direction. If you’re interested in knowing more, please be in touch with Sabina here.
Sabina Harpe is a graduate of SoulGuiding – a two year program in spiritual growth, soul development and the art of Spiritual Direction through the Pacific Jubilee Program. She lives in Vancouver, BC.
Julie Elliot is responsible for Communications for the Pacific Jubilee program. You may be in touch with Julie here.