The following article was recently published in Psychologica Magazine’s special edition on Trauma. I’ve included a link to the full magazine, lots of great articles on trauma treatments, both from a clinical perspective as well as personal. Hope you might find something that resonates.
Tag Archives: dreams
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spirit and matter…
a blue painted feather.
“…think of the bird as a teacher. Approach it with curiosity and patience, as if it were the most important thing right now. you do not have to worry about getting it to do something. The bird invents itself and is not dependent on our conscious egos. We must give it our time and space, though, if we wish to learn from it. Allow it to move and change as it desires. You may have the wish to ask it questions, as that is our usual method of finding out about things. Sometimes images do talk, but not always. The important thing is to realize though that it already is what it can convey. The image is a complete statement in and of itself”.
Mary Watkins, Waking Dreams, pg. 109
Birds Appearing In A Dream
One had feathers like a blood-streaked koi,
another a tail of color-coded wires.
One was a blackbird stretching orchid wings,
another a flicker with a wounded head.
All flew like leaves fluttering to escape,
bright, circulating in burning air,
and all returned when the air cleared.
One was a kingfisher trapped in its bower,
deep in the ground, miles from water.
Everything is real and everything isn’t.
Some had names and some didn’t.
Named and nameless shapes of birds,
at night my hand can touch your feathers
and then I wipe the vernix from your wings,
you who have made bright things from shadows,
you who have crossed the distances to roost in me.
by Michael Collier
The Little House of Lost Play (Mar Vanwa Tyalieva) by J. R. R. Tolkien
We knew that land once, You and I,
and once we wandered there
in the long days now long gone by,
a dark child and a fair.
Was it on the paths of firelight thought
in winter cold and white,
or in the blue-spun twilit hours
of little early tucked-up beds
in drowsy summer night,
that you and I in Sleep went down
to meet each other there,
your dark hair on your white nightgown
and mine was tangled fair?
We wandered shyly hand in hand,
small footprints in the golden sand,
and gathered pearls and shells in pails,
while all about the nightengales
were singing in the trees.
We dug for silver with our spades,
and caught the sparkle of the seas,
then ran ashore to greenlit glades,
and found the warm and winding lane
that now we cannot find again,
between tall whispering trees.
The air was neither night nor day,
an ever-eve of gloaming light,
when first there glimmered into sight
the Little House of Play.
New-built it was, yet very old,
white, and thatched with straws of gold,
and pierced with peeping lattices
that looked toward the sea;
and our own children’s garden-plots
were there: our own forgetmenots,
red daisies, cress and mustard,
and radishes for tea.
There all the borders, trimmed with box,
were filled with favourite flowers, with phlox,
with lupins, pinks, and hollyhocks,
beneath a red may-tree;
and all the gardens full of folk
that their own little language spoke,
but not to You and Me.
For some had silver watering-cans
and watered all their gowns,
or sprayed each other; some laid plans
to build their houses, little towns
and dwellings in the trees.
And some were clambering on the roof;
some crooning lonely and aloof;
some dancing round the fairy-rings
all garlanded in daisy-strings,
while some upon their knees
before a little white-robed king
crowned with marigold would sing
their rhymes of long ago.
But side by side a little pair
with heads together, mingled hair,
went walking to and fro
still hand in hand; and what they said,
ere Waking far apart them led,
that only we now know
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
What is animal presence? Why do animals visit in dreams? James Hillman, founder of archetypal psychology wrote that from a depth perspective of the world
all things are displays, and imagination and perception, invisible and visible, intuition and sensation do not fall apart when discerned with an animal eye (Animal Presences, Spring, 2008).
So what is an animal eye? What is it like to look at the world with an animal eye? Hillman speaks to using another kind of vision that moves beyond the usual correspondences, symbolization and metaphors that we usually impose on animals in attempting to define their meaning. Through leaning into the mysterious otherness of animals, by
bringing our superior postures to the level of the creature, kneeling to it, condescension, we begin to see as they do; a transposed eye […] to see with the creaturely eye is an act of imagining the world so that it appears in continuing animation, in a continuing play of creation with which human consciousness participates by means of imagining acts. (Hillman, 2008)
Here the creative imagination is not a gift that is bestowed upon us in order to create great works of art, images or ideas. Animal vision is a way of releasing what already exists. When we see with the animal eye we are able to see and connect with creative process that is ongoing and the possibilities that exist in play. Hillman emphasizes that
the human imagination is not the creator, does not create; it sees the creative, creatively (Hillman, 2008)
Seeing creatively with the animal eye is a way to open, improvise and play your way into creative process.
With their whole gaze
animals behold the Open.
Only our eyes
are as though reversed
and set like traps around us,
keeping us inside.
That there is something out there
we know only from the creatures’ countenance.
We turn even the young child around,
making her look backward
at the forms we create,
not outward into the Open.
R.M. Rilke, from the Eighth Duino Elegy
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