The Compass Rose

After the incredible and illuminating experience I had during the Reluctant Crone class with Juliana Coles this summer, I was drawn to continue with her soul-searching methods. I signed up for The Compass Rose and set my sails for the high seas, bound for an exploration of the things which ground me on my voyages and the messages I discover along the way. I also took another look at some of the shipwrecks that have occurred in my seafaring career, shedding new light on the gifts they have brought me and the ways in which they have shaped the person I am today.

Notes for the voyage

In this first page, I am exploring the things which ground me in my everyday life as I voyage on the high seas of the inner world. One of the things I love about working with Juliana is the sense of embarking on a journey and never being quite sure where it will take you. I was surprised when the image of a plant showed up on my page, and then even more surprised when it acquired a pair of eyes. Is it a plant or a sea creature? This is the great thing about images: they don’t have to make sense, they just have to feel right.

One of the things Juliana teaches so well is the way in which we can dialogue with our pages to gain further insight. As we do this, the landscape of the page shifts and changes and can often end up in quite a different state than when we began. One of the messages that emerged as I was working was to create a prayer bowl or a bowl of offering. So before I moved on to the second page in The Compass Rose assignment, I got out my air-dry clay and made some prayer bowls. You can see the finished bowls and read about the process of making them here.

Return to the burning world

The second and final page in The Compass Rose class looks at some of life’s shipwrecks with new eyes. I used an intuitive painting technique to find the images to express the two wreckages as I didn’t want to come with a preconceived idea of what they would look like. I love how they emerged and seemed to express something deeper than what I would have imagined. (Note: I learned about this intuitive painting technique from Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd in her wonderful year-long class, Rituals, which I thoroughly enjoyed last year.)

The bridge which connects these two wreckages is the phrase “return to the burning world” which came to me as I was working. It’s as if this is the theme of the movie that both these wreckages occur in. I absolutely love this page. I don’t feel as though I have made it all positive and okay. But I have got to something deeper which feels so satisfying.

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