photo - 1997
Guinevere's Grail - Jennifer Wagner
An Everybody-Is-an-Artist technique by which to create an inward quest for surprising and profoundly deep self-knowledge
Invitation to a Ceremony . . .
Thank you for walking through this windy winter evening, up from the rich meadow of your life through thickets of moss under dancing trees in swirling, mist-laden air to reach this sacred hillock, huddle around the circle of this ceremonial fire, and be blessed by this sudden stillness and this star-sprinkled midnight blue sky breaking into night. Around this fire I am honored to tell the story of a vision quest, the journey on which the vision sent me, and to give you the gift the journey has given me; an art technique through which you can create a timeless bountiful cup, or grail, which holds infinite revelations about your personal life story.
Questing for a meaningful life in 1978, lost between the pasts and futures of my life, I found two trails - one back to my true self and one forward to the central question of my life: a search for God and to learn the infinite secrets of my Soul and the Universe. Like so many people I met in the '80s who quested for lives of meaning or personal identities somehow lost in what I can now call a cultural trance, I avidly searched for clues. Queen Guinevere's story beckoned - her name the origin of mine. Here I found another Eve and searched for, and found, here exoneration. I learned that the Holy Grail is a cup of arguable description and origin, yet is commonly understood to be regenerative and nurturing. Eventually, I found such a cup in discovering the art process I call "Guinevere's Grail."
In a dream I returned to a palace as royalty and met my brother, a Black Prince. Touching together gemstones twined in braids on each side of my head and touching them to the door, I opened a gigantic brass vault. With a throng as audience I received from the Prince the gift of a golden filigree brooch in the shape of a silhouetted woman's head with a gemstone as the cranium. When I brought the gemstone toward my eyes, it flooded my vision with rays of brilliant light. I was then challenged to choose to be true to my life.
Later, the meaning of the brooch with the woman's profile came to life when I discovered the Guinevere's Grail art technique. I learned that Keats' poem, "An Ode to a Grecian Urn," is about two people eternally moving towards each other but who will never meet because they're carved on a vase in stone - exactly how I felt about meeting the animus described by Jung.
The basic technique is simple, yet quite surprisingly profound! It begins by tracing a silhouette of one's own head - one facing left and one right. Trace hour head "ear to the ground" on a large piece of paper at a table - looking one way, then the other. Study these countenances, embellishing them, then put their faces "in conversation" and see what happens. Between faces - in real life or in these tracings - is the transformative space of possibility!
In my first drawing two women, an ancient crone and a serene matriarch, appeared and have continued to teach me. Studying, embellishing, and reviewing these tracings always generates spontaneous recognition and new depths of understanding - at perceptual, archetypal and soul-levels. I now see the true quest to be both growing into and reclaiming aspects of our true selves.
Jennifer Wagner teaches the Guinevere's Grail technique and other empowering experiences in individual and workshop sessions, offering two series in Seattle this winter. You can contact her at 206 305-4835 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org