The seat of the soul is where the inner world
and the outer world meet. Where they overlap,
it is in every point of the overlap.
Novalis, 1798, (Charles E. Passage, Transl.)
Here is an exercise for “non-artists” and artists alike, that will help to develop a healing relationship and rapport between your conscious mind (your ‘ego’) and those mysterious, parts of yourself, your subconscious and Superconscious.
Imagery is the language of the soul.
Is making art healing? How so? What kind of art? And, what about those who consider themselves “artistically challenged?” Or those for whom the chiding of an inner art critic too often precludes them from even beginning to creatively express themselves?
Here is a simple, fun, (and often mysterious!) exercise by which, sooner or later, you are likely to find answers to those basic questions posed above. In fact, if you can hold a pencil and aren’t terribly afraid of the dark (the unknown, the mysterious, the subconscious), you may find answers to personally relevant and soul-revealing questions of your own — answers to important and life-enhancing questions that you might never have thought to ask.
Instructions for “scribble drawing:”
This simple endeavor involves some actual closing of the eyes and then a bit of metaphorical groping for the light.
Procedure: Close your eyes and scribble on a page, without lifting your pen or pencil from the paper. When you feel finished, stop. Open your eyes and examine your work. What do you see? Turn it in any direction. Explore the page until you keep coming back to the same image that is forming in your mind, that you are beginning to see in the scribbling, i.e. until you really start to “know” what it is. Draw, color, or paint the image in. Let the image talk to you. Write a complete sentence or more about it. If you journal, use a journal page.
For any scribble drawings where the image you’ve generated particularly resonates with something in you, you will benefit by consciously pursuing this new budding relationship between your conscious outer self and your inner image-making self. You may want to journal further by directly, consciously, lovingly asking questions such as those below. Your desire to develop this relationship, along with your conscious inquiry and your humble and purposeful receptivity to answers from your image-making self, is the master key to a wonderful wealth that results from an on-going harmonious relationship between these two parts of yourself: your conscious everyday self and your soul.
Does the drawing you have created remind you of any story, myth, or character?
Does it bring to mind an actual dream or a particular image from your dreams?
Is it more than a picture or a doodle, but a symbol, with a wealth of meaning and metaphor that you might explore?
Remain open to answers arriving in your journaling session or beyond — open to the answers as images arriving in your dreams, in your regular waking life, during creative visualization, through serendipity, or life’s synchronicities. These answers arrive in their own time in their own way. You will know them by their richness and nuance, and by a deep understanding which they instill in receptive hearts, as they are ripe with meaning and feeling–the soul’s domain.
“The unconscious does not merely react to consciousness, it also contains a plan for the development of our lives and personalities…. We can discover and cooperate with our own intrinsic Divine Plan by consciously honoring and relating to our inner images.” (John Sanford, Jungian Analyst & Episcopal Priest, from his book Dreams and Healing)