We human beings are all part of one magnificent tale...SoulCollage®is a process that helps us look at our own stories, without getting caught up in them. The images give us an opportunity to bear witness to our inner worlds, sometimes bringing light to secrets we didn’t know we held. As a teacher of yoga, art and Jewish spirituality, I am on my own soul journey, always exploring the ways these three aspects of my professional and personal life intersect. SoulCollage® is not a religious practice but a powerful tool available to anyone who wants to take a closer look at their life. That said, it reminds me of a Jewish technique called Cheshbon HaNefesh. This Hebrew phrase translates to “Accounting of the Soul”. Rabbi Mendel of Satanov wrote a book titled Cheshbon HaNefesh in the early 19th century describing this method in great detail. His intention was for us to turn inward and take stock of our attitudes and actions, to be accountable for destructive habits and embrace our beneficial attributes. When translated into English, however, we can take the root of the word, “account”, and add another dimension of possibility. “Giving an account” means, telling a story. SoulCollage® takes us to the heart of our personal narratives and presents them right before our eyes. A SoulCollage® card goes a step further than a written journal by becoming a visual bridge, spanning the divide between spoken and unspoken words. This allows us to reframe the deep-rooted myths that limit our potential.
A SoulCollage® card reading is an opportunity for a sacred listening encounter, opening us to another person, to God, to our own essence. Like yoga, it can take us deep into our bodies unlocking emotions and intuitive wisdom we’ve carried in our flesh for a long time. I call this “soulular knowledge”. In mystical Judaism, the human soul expresses itself in five fluid layers, often compared to the five different colors visible in a single flame. The outer layer,Yechida, joins the individual soul to God, (this is represented by a Sourcecard), but the first four belong to the realm of sentient beings.Nefesh, the innermost portion corresponds to the body,ruachthe heart,neshamathe mind andchaya, the spirit. These in turn align beautifully with Seena Frost’sSoulCollage® suits. It is interesting to note that in Judaism, animals are also endowed withnefesh. In SoulCollage®, the Companion suit is associated with the totem animals that accompany the chakras (energy centers in our bodies).Ruach rests in the heart, the seat of emotions. This aspect of soul correlates well to the Committee suit, all of those inner-parts pulling on our heartstrings.Neshama, the soul level of the mind is tied to the Community suit. The people who support and challenge us help inform the ways we think.Chaya connects us to spirit, a clear link to the archetypal guides of the Council suit.
This brings us to another key concept Judaism shares with the SoulCollage® process: “the One and the many”. As illustrated above, from a Jewish perspective, each human soul has many facets, yet all of these facets belong to one soul. Likewise, every soul belongs to an individual person, and all are unified in the One. The One has many faces and many names, but remains one.
I think this is what every soul longs for. A sanctuary in time and space where we can experience joy, tell stories from our unique perspectives, know that we have been listened to and discover how we fit into this enormous puzzle of a universe.
Traditional SoulCollage® Suits (developed by Seena Frost) Source- nothingness from which all is birthed Companion-this is the energetic realm of the chakras. Each chakra has an animal companion or totem that you will discover. Committee-this is the psychological element of the process. Your many "inner voices" speak from this place. Community-these cards represent the people and pets in your life who support you-whether as living beings, or memories of loved ones. They may include people you have never met but have influenced your life and guided you at times, none-the-less. Council-this is the archetypal realm. Unseen beings of collective consciousness who guide you with or without your awareness. Correlating Levels of Soul These aspects of Soul come from mystical Judaism. They align well with the suits listed above. Ayn Sof-without end Nefesh-physicality (this is an aspect of soul we share with animals Ruach-emotions Neshama-thoughts Chaya-lifeforce
PARDESis an acronym-it also means orchard and is the origin from which the English word Paradise comes. P’shat-simple meaning Remez-hint Drash-midrash/interpretation Sod-secret/mystical meaning Elements EarthWater Air Fire
My life is filled with many joys, including: living on the edge of the woods where I spend as much time outdoors in nature as I can, exploring creativity through photography and writing poetry, prose, essays and music, singing, teaching mindfulness meditation, coaching others as they unlock their own soul's creative expression or sitting with them as together we connect with Spirit, living with and loving my husband, daughters and our two remaining animal companions. I also live with a chronic illness, Multiple Sclerosis. I’d been sick on and off or at least 12 years before being correctly diagnosed with MS in 2009. (This is not unusual with an autoimmune disease.) I feel as though MS has changed me for the good. That might sound strange, but somehow as the neural connections in my central nervous system decrease, my compassion toward my own lived experience and toward all beings increases. For this I am grateful far beyond words. I offer this prayer to YOU: May you be blessed with chessed (kindness). May you be blessed with rachamim (compassion). May you be blessed with simcha (joy). May you be blessed with shalom (peace). May it be so for all beings.
I am the one who gaurds the secrets, tends to the wounds of jealousy and fear. I am the one who hides anguish and rage behind masks and doors...I am the shadow sister who lives despite your denial of my existance. I give voice to the words you dare not speak aloud, I give darkness a place to reside within you. Do not be afraid of my presence, see me as a truth unearthed in times of confusion and justified rage.
Dear Ones, e-mail your SoulCollage images to me and any text you want to include and I will post it here on the site for you!
If you've never created a SoulCollage card before-why not give it a try? If you can flip through magazine images cut with scissors, wield a glue stick and listen to your heart you're most of the way there.
Feeling unsure about the process? Send me a message and we can do a one on one session over the phone. First consult 45 minutes absolutely free to get you going.
If you want more time to explore SoulCollage one on one with me, I offer Neshama l'Neshama guidance- $50 for a forty-five minute consultation.
Coming Soon Rosh Chodesh Tele-Havurah Stay tuned for details!
Each month we will welcome the New Moon, opening to possibility, honoring both the dark and the light aspects of Creativity and Spiritual Awakening.
We will open with a kavannah-an intention for our gathering.
• Connect with a diverse community of Jewish women. • Explore text from a soul-centered perspective. • Open to the imaginal realm of our Imotenu (Mothers) as they offer timeless truths, providing new themes for each month. • Create Intentional SoulCollage® Cards to Share with our Havurah through the inter-net. • Listen to your heart and the wisdom of our shared stories through SoulCollage® readings. • Expand your mystical understanding of the Aleph-Bet as we explore deeper meaning in the Hebrew names for each month. • Stay in touch throughout the month and share your thoughts, writings and images on our members page. • Aguided visualization will complete eachhour long tele-havurah to carry us gently into the new month.
SoulCollage images are created from magazine photographs. They are for personal use only, and are never to be bartered or sold. I gratefully acknowledge the skill and artistic talents of all the photographers and artists who have unknowingly inspired me to create the SoulCollage Cards you see displayed on this blog. A special thanks to my teacher Seena B. Frost, foremother and midwife of the SoulCollage process.