“copyright © March 7, 2003 by Jennifer Wagner – All Rights Reserved”

Meselech Amente at The Healing Arts Studio, 2002

Synopsis: This experience is for enjoying yourself! This simple, and often surprising, technique invites you to you leave ‘chronos’, or chronological time, and to enter that time outside time, ‘kiros’ time, where being present, being engrossed, is all there is.

Here, you can experience yourself at the level of your uniquely exquisite personal and mythological field of being. You may newly mirror familiar and new perceptions of your current quest, of your life’s journey.

This experience is not about making art as a product. Yet, often this experience inspires non-artists to discover, or recover, being an artist. It’s about experiencing your self deeply, through line, color, shapes, and thoughts.

The Process: The directions below add steps to this experience. Basically the technique of ‘stepping into the face-vase image’ centers around tracing around your own face looking one way, then the other. Studying, completing, and reflecting on each of the two facing countenances you create is a magically reflective time. By imagining and journal-writing about their conversation, relationship, and response to a particular personal question, you may clarify or bring news to inner and outer personal conversations – and, to your life’s quest!

Face-Vase Perceptual Puzzle

As in all relationships, the intangible or invisible relationship between these characters is a transformative space. As is the ‘kiros’ space-time in which you are working in this technique. This is the space of abundant possibilities and so, reflective of the generosity and regeneration attributed to The Holy Grail. Interestingly, in Buddhism, the archetype of The Mother is expressed as “ma” – the principle of the pregnancy of negative space.

Materials: On a tabletop or floor, arrange a candle and matches, a ballpoint pen and writing paper, art paper and colors – crayons, watercolor pens, tempera paints, brushes, cups of water, and paper towels. A 14” x 28” poster board allows both characters to be placed on one page.

Ancient Wisdom Systems: As a second lens for reflecting on the characters you create, you might wish to have at hand an ancient wisdom system - an indigenous text such as the Mayan Calendar? The Bible’s Old Testament or New Testament, the Bhagavad-Gita, I-Ching, Kaballah, Rune Stones, or Tarot? Selections from these wisdom systems are available on this site. Some selections follow a chronological order; some do not.


Women at The Festival of the Goddess - a Day Celebration in Tacoma, January 31, 1998


Time: For an individual experience, set aside an uninterrupted, silent hour and a half for preparation, completion and art supplies clean-up. For a group experience, set aside 15 minutes more for each person to optionally expand their experience by sharing. And, more set-up and clean-up time.

Setting Safe Space: Determine that you may choose to, or not to share the drawings with anyone. This is deeply personal work, and freedom to contain the information for assimilation, or completely, will assist your freedom in the art experience. For a group experience, be sure it is clear that sharing the drawing is optional. It would also be helpful if the group agrees that the person speaking about their drawing can invite, or ask for no comments on the drawing from others in the group.

Remember: This art process is deeply self-revealing. Its power is in assimilating, within yourself, information you receive in the experience. I recommend sharing these drawings only with those people whom you know will respond lovingly. This experience is not about producing a piece of art, it’s about experiencing yourself – and, all artists are sensitive! And, I recommend assimilating information for a while before sharing the drawings, or not asking others what they see in your characters’ faces. If you ask, know that each person sees everything through their own life story’s lens, so what they see may not be your truths.

Becoming Centered, Setting a Question: 1) Light a candle for focusing and for setting sacred space. 2) The process is best completed in a continuous flow of silent time. 3) Begin by journal writing about a life question or situation, or to become more present. 4) Sit quietly for a 5-minute silent meditation, breathing deeply and easily, relaxing body tensions, letting the question/situation settle in, change, or disappear. Trust that what emerges in the art experience will be congruent. 5) After the meditation, and anytime during the art experience, taking time for journal writing may be helpful.

Reflections Using a Wisdom System: Before or after completing the art work, you might randomly choose reflections from a passage, card, or stone from a favorite wisdom system. Perhaps, note these references at the corresponding points on your drawing.

Before the Art Experience: Choosing to reflect on a passage, card, or stone before doing the art work will influence the art process. You may wish to journal write about these choices.

After the Art Experience: By choosing to reflect after the art work, you will enter the art experience free of outside influences. After you create the characters, imagine and journal-write their conversation about your question, and what they want to say. Then - to achieve new perspectives, shift from a personal to an impersonal lens. Perhaps there are other possibilities the characters may represent? You may receive more information about your question, more wisdom for your personal journey, a surprising inspiration?!

Jennifer, Vern, Priscilla (Chris in background)
The Festival at Jean Houston’s Mystery School, 2001

To Use a Wisdom System: For points of reference, make random choices from the wisdom system you use. As a guide, 5 choices below suggest one or several selections of passages, stones, or cards.

Number of
Reference
Points

 

Reflecting_______

1 An Overview
2 Each Character
3 Each Character/ Their
Relationship
4 Characters/Relation-
ship/Overview
5 Characters/Relation-
ship/Overview/
Foundation

 

Or, improvise!

The art experience begins by tracing 2 silhouettes of your own face and head:

1) With your shoulder off the table, place your head on the page, ‘ear to the ground’ – facing left, or right. Feel the edges of the paper around your head, to make sure your head is completely on the page. Focus your sight on some far point; notice how you are holding your face. Relax.

“Kaffe” and “Morgaine”

2) In the hand you are facing, remember to hold the pen high on the shank, to be sure to keep your fingers out of the way of the pen as you make the curves around your nose and forehead. 3) Beginning at your throat or the nape of your neck, gently and slowly experience your face and head by tracing its silhouette. 4) Facing the other direction, trace similarly.

Kaffe and Morgaine are characters I never completed, liking them as they are. By the time I’d traced them I’d traced maybe 50 sets of faces, so expect your first silhouettes to be rough. Honor them, I had an extraordinary experience completing my first, rough silhouettes.

Elaboration: 1) Take generous time to study and honor these countenances, and your responses to them. Completing the first several countenances may produce very rough images – the tracing process is awkward and is always different, which is one of the reasons it works. These first drawings may hold some of the most important information you will receive doing this process. 2) Journal-write about your first impressions. 3) Then, the next steps are wide open for innovation….you may wish to complete each character with features, hair, clothing, jewelry, perhaps a hat? - Perhaps, use your trained hand to embellish one character and your untrained hand to embellish the other. By expressing with each hand, you will access different types of information. 4) As you embellish these characters, honor both the intentional and accidental lines, the colors and shapes you create, let what happens on the page lead your next act. 5) Pay attention to developing, or not, the space between them, in place and time.

Amplifications After Completing Art Work:

1. Journal Writing / Conversations: After completing the art work, you might take more time to journal-write. Some questions to consider answering are: 1) What happened in your thoughts as the characters and their environment developed? 2) Who do they remind you of? 3) What types of people do they represent? 4) Who are the characters? 5) Do each of the characters suggest their own names? 6) How do each of the characters and their relationship answer your original question? Perhaps, journal- write their dialogue. Perhaps write for one character with your trained, and one character with your untrained hand. 7) How does their relationship address your life story? 8) Do the characters pose questions or statements, themselves? 9) Ask these characters to discuss any subject.

2. Looking Again – see above:
Reflections Using a Wisdom System
? After the Art Experience
? To Use a Wisdom System

Wildwomen Summer Solstice Celebration
Chinook Learning Center, Clinton, Washington, 1995

3. Becoming Acquainted with the Characters, Over Time: Pin and leave these countenances for a couple weeks, or more, on a wall you often pass by, or that you see from a favorite chair. You will experience more insights!

4. Creating a Series of these Drawings: You may wish to create a series of these drawings, using a favorite wisdom system. Discovering this technique I experienced my relationship to the Creative Cycle’s 22 aspects of wholeness – and, perhaps, to the 22 parts of the soul: The Journeyor . . . Inception . . . Birth . . . Maturity . . . Harvest . . . Death . . . .Transformation. So, in this wisdom system, perhaps you might wish to complete a series around a 4- or 11-card Tarot reading? In another wisdom system, improvise. I haven’t completed a series except following Tarot, so I’d be happy to hear from you about your experience of another wisdom system.

Grounding: After you finish the process, it will be helpful if you can do something which will be grounding. Being in ‘kiros’ time and space can be disorienting. Perhaps take a walk, talk to a friend on the phone, do the dishes, the laundry, something that will return you to ‘chronos’ time, where we operate most of the time.



Class: Michele and Alesia at Stonehouse Learning Center, Kirkland, 2002\

E n j o y !