Mind – Body Health
Tap Into the Power of Your Dreams
“Listening to Dreams Through Mandala Making”
Sundays August 2, 9, 23 & 30 10 AM – 1 PM
Location: The Healing House, 33 Orange St, Asheville, NC
Register Early, Space is Limited
Price $275 for the series
By request Tayria and Marie are offering their popular Dreams and Mandala series in August. It is short notice, we know, but these are the dates we could find. We sincerely hope they work for those of you interested to join us. Please let us know as soon as possible.
Listening to Dreams and creating Alchemical Mandalas in an intimate group has been providing powerful healing insights and stunning transformations for those who have participated in these workshops.
Tayria works the dreams of participants, using skills she has gained from 40 years of learning the dream language. Marie teaches a technique for making the collage mandalas. These allow you to see more deeply into the nature of issues you are dealing with, and thus clarify them. We literally grow and evolve as we do this work together. The process is exhilarating, fascinating, healing and transforming.
Tayria Ward, Ph.D. is a dream analyst in private practice. She sees clients in her office in the Flatiron Building in downtown Asheville, and also provides phone sessions for dreamers all over the country. Visit: www.tayriaward.com for more information.
Marie O. Davis, MA, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a graduate degree in Expressive Arts Therapy and has a private practice on Orange St, in Asheville. She has studied and practiced Rosicrucian soul alchemy for the past15 years through various trainings and self-study.
– By Marie O. Davis, LPC and Tayria Ward, Ph.D. –
Myths and fairy tales may rightly be understood as the dreams of our collective psyche. They reveal deep archetypal dilemmas and patterns common to human development, experienced in some form by every individual within a culture. As our dreams of the night speak in stories and images that reveal the innermost depths of the psyche, so do myths use similar language. They are the culture dreaming out loud in well-told tales. While sometimes myths feel obscure or irrelevant to the modern person, if we endeavor to understand their world of symbols and allegory, modern humans will find an invaluable guide for living a rich and soulful life.
Witches, monsters and dragons that appear in our myths can represent deep-seated fears, as well as unconscious shadow characteristics. Stories of abduction, separation, love, loss, envy, jealousy, or heroism reveal the psychological situations and challenges we experience. Reading the myths and locating our own story within them can help us to not take ourselves so personally, recognizing the common nature of our most intimate challenges. They show a path to action, acceptance, perspective and wisdom offering tremendous healing value. Myths help in understanding different stages of initiation, the inner experiences and spiritual helpers on the path of personal development and within our relationships.
Eros and Psyche has become a classic story regarding love and romance. It addresses patterns of development in human and divine relationships—both one’s internal relationship to Soul and Self, and outer relationships to loved ones. This myth has been widely used as a subject in literature and art as a basis for psychological and cultural analysis, capturing the imagination broadly since it first appeared in the second century in the writings of Apuleius.
The story is told in varying ways. One version goes like this: Psyche is a princess who is the most fair and beautiful in her whole land, but she cannot find a husband. When her royal parents plea for help, the Gods tell them to put her in a death chamber. They weep with sorrow but do as they are told. As Psyche lay there alone, cold, and fearful, the West Wind comes and swoops her into a castle that is beautiful and has everything, both beautiful and necessary. But she longs for companionship. After the first night, her companion, the God Eros (also known by the name Amour, and also as Cupid) comes in the dark and shares intimate conversation, love, and lovemaking with her. Psyche is finally happy.
In time, she misses her family and asks Eros if she can bring them to the castle. He finally agrees but says they can only come during the day. Once her sisters arrive they are very envious of Psyche’s new life. They incessantly ask about her lover, but come to discover that she has never seen him, since he always comes to her in the dark of the night and never reveals himself. They purport that she may be in love with an ugly beast. At their urging Psyche finally carries a lamp and a knife into the room of her sleeping lover, an act that he has strictly forbidden. The light reveals him to be the most handsome, desirable God, the God of Love himself.
Psyche is startled and spills oil from her lamp on Eros, awakening him. She has broken the rule of darkness, and is banished from the castle. Amour says he can never see her again. Psyche finds herself lost in a wilderness. In despair she pleads to the gods for help.
Aphrodite, Eros’ mother, responds but will only help Psyche if she completes the four impossible tasks that she gives her. Psyche manages to accomplish these one by one, with the aid of natural and supernatural help. At the end of these she is exhausted and collapses. Amour flies down from heaven, revives her and gives her the gift of immortality. They can now be married and have the divine love that began on Earth, in the light of heaven for all time.
We could say that Psyche in the earlier stage of the story is an idealized, not-yet-initiated aspect of the Soul. It is hard to find a functional love relationship at this stage. First we must undergo a death ritual, a dying to innocence. When Love then comes to us, though we may think that we are happy, Love’s true face is unknown. We are in a gripping unconscious situation. When the time comes to shed the light of consciousness on our relationship, all sorts of disasters occur. The God of Love disappears from us. The Goddess of Love sets out impossible tasks for us to achieve in order to reclaim love. Each of the tasks requires the aid of natural and supernatural, miraculous, helpers. Persistence is necessary. Just when we have given up in exhaustion, Love returns. We become immortal and mortal at the same time, an initiated human in relationship to divine powers.
Each of psyche’s tasks is highly symbolic. In one she is confronted with a huge mound of a wide variety of seeds, which she is told to sort into separate piles before dawn. It is an impossible task, until an army of ants comes to assist her with the sorting. Magically, the task is accomplished. When we are in a “seed sorting” phase of love’s initiation, we may find that we have to sort out the seeds in our psyche in short order: these are thoughts about love or responses learned from family, these from the culture, these from a couple of failed relationships, these are what I actually think, these my friends want me to think, these my partner insists upon and so forth. It can be necessary to sort it all out very quickly in order to salvage the relationship but if one persists, seemingly magical assistance occurs.
In another task Psyche must steal golden wool from violent sheep. She is sure to be killed by them, but a reed gives her good advice. She is able to gather the wool stuck in briars at the end of the day rather than be exposed to the danger directly. This advice from nature can be life saving at a psychological level.
While learning to navigate the relationships in our lives—whether romantic, familial, friendships, colleagues—all of these stories from the myth may come into play. There will be a loss of innocence required as a relationship matures. Psychological separations, tasks, challenges, and helpers arrive. Receiving guidance from the symbolic and mythic dimensions of the psyche can be salvational.
Marie and I have developed Dreams and Mandala workshops that greatly assist participants in developing communication with these soulful dimensions lying just behind the veil of more rational or conscious thought. Dreams of the night are always speaking to us from this realm, offering timely, healing, personal, and wise guidance. In these workshops we learn the language of the dream together. I have been studying dreams for 40 years now. Years of extensive investigation of the world’s religions, followed by earning a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology where I learned approaches to dreamwork developed by Freud, Jung and archetypal psychologists, have uniquely prepared me to work with people’s dreams.
Dreams are your ‘visions of the night’ that speak the language of myth and symbol. They may seem like an undecipherable mixture of random characters, events and images, but a trained ear can locate their system of logic, which is invariably a strong medicine for the heart and spirit. Once a person begins to write down his or her dreams and muse with their messages, life becomes a meaning-filled adventure of psyche’s development, a journey for the soul with access to new maps.
Marie uses alchemical mandala-making as a structure which helps uncover archetypal beliefs, feelings, and actions that we habitually ‘fall into.’ Working the dream messages while making these mandalas offers an opportunity to be more deeply present to life during situations that may ‘wake us up.’ In this technique, we collect collage images that express the issues, challenges and movement in our inner life. By ‘ensouling’ these images with meaning, placing them on paper where we can see and move them around, something alchemical occurs, internally, which improves our spiritual, emotional and psychological situation. We work through fixities, see our patterns and figure out ways to develop new skills in relationship to the issues.
The alchemical mandala is a different approach from making Eastern mandalas. The structure places pictures that represent different internal thought patterns, creating an objective way of looking at the Self and areas of life where we may feel stuck. By choosing images to represent soul gestures, we take our ‘problems’ and place them outside of ourselves to gain a different perspective on the challenging life events, giving us an opportunity to develop ourselves, change beliefs and find new responses and behaviors, especially in our relationships.
When we do the dream and mandala work in a group, each person’s narrative adds insight, texture and richness to our own. A rare kind of community is formed. The dramas presented in ancient Greece were for similar purposes—telling mythic stories that help wake up audiences to realms of meaning, mystery and magic that inform our lives.
We love this opportunity to share with others the fascinating combination of dreams and mandala work. Participants in our workshops have reported life altering experiences of insight and healing.
Psyche and Eros – Soul and Divine Love – these are the muses that give purpose and richness to our everyday lives. It is a love story we all participate in, each in our own way. Relationships form the fabric of existence; no one can do this life alone. Working with the Psyche and Eros myth, finding techniques to engage its meanings and messages, is a gift that helps bring the immortal dimensions of love and soul into the mortal arena of human existence.
Tayria Ward, Ph.D. is a dream analyst in private practice. She sees clients in her office in the Flatiron Building in downtown Asheville, and also provides phone sessions for dreamers all over the country. Visit www.tayriaward.com for more information.
Marie O. Davis, MA, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a graduate degree in Expressive Arts Therapy and has a private practice on Orange St, in Asheville. She has studied and practiced Rosicrucian soul alchemy for the past 15 years through various trainings and self-study.
For more information call Marie @ 828/273-5647 or Tayria @ 828/329-0853
By Marie O. Davis LPC and Tayria Ward Ph.D.
One of the joys of sports, whether individual or team sports, is the consistent challenge to perform at our best. We measure that best by looking at other’s performances or by exceeding our own previous attainments and striving to improve skills with every try.
When it comes to playing the game of life, there are numerous ways people endeavor to enhance performance and develop new proficiencies. How do evaluate ourselves and make the changes that we long for? Spirituality, therapy, self-help, journaling, reading, yoga, and multitudes of programs offer assistance. When we want to change our soul life performance – in our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors – there is a need for an objective way of testing and challenging experience.
In sports athletes learn their skills, train and get feedback from coaches and trusted sources. How do we get such feedback while learning life skills? We are suggesting a couple of means to do this. Your dreams of the night are ever offering consistent, reliable, insightful feedback to you from a higher source of wisdom and knowing. Additionally, an alchemical mandala-making process can show you visually and with felt sense how well you are doing, and what needs tweaking next. We have become fascinated with the efficacy of bringing these two methods together in classes and workshops we are now offering.
Try this. Try writing down your dreams of the night, no matter how ordinary, mundane, bizarre or random they may seem. You’ll most likely find that as soon as pen comes to paper and the intent to listen to the language of the dream is activated, another dimension of your psyche starts speaking, offering insight and assistance in its own mysterious language. Your dreams will function like a good coach, the best coach, the one who knows you way better than your conscious mind knows you.
When life keeps coming at us with challenges and we keep missing the same hurdles, falling into the same emotional and psychological patterns, attracting the same opponents, miss opportunities for advancement – dreams of the night, and the dreaming dimension of the waking psyche are consistently offering to us the most pertinent, relevant, timely, healing advice about how to understand our obstacles to improvement and how to master them. Because they speak in a language that modernity has tragically forgotten, dreams are most often, sadly, ignored. Every person and situation in your dream is a symbol, every person and situation in your life is a symbol. Learning the symbolic language of dreaming will help any person to improve performance and satisfaction in the game of life.
I (Tayria) work with clients to help them recover the language of dreams – both in person in my lovely office in the Flatiron Building in downtown Asheville and also by telephone for people who live a distance away. And I am enjoying teaching workshops and classes now with Marie Davis combining her work with the “dreaming awake” work of making alchemical mandalas.
I (Marie) learned a method for making these mandalas from Dennis Klocek, an avid student of Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy. The technique uses collage images to express the issues, challenges and movement in our inner life. By ensouling these images with meaning, placing them on paper where we can see them and move them around, something alchemically occurs to us that moves and improves our spiritual, emotional and psychological situation. We work through fixities, see our patterns and figure out ways to develop new skills in relationship to the issues.
When we use alchemical mandala’s, different than Eastern mandala’s, the structure of placing images that represent different activities we do creates an objective way at looking at the self and areas of life where we feel stuck. The soul activities that we look at are how we form beliefs, engage in a process, get our beliefs challenged, and gain insight. By choosing images to represent soul gestures, we take our ‘problems’ and place them outside of ourselves to gain a different perspective on the life events that are challenging us, giving us an opportunity to develop ourselves, change beliefs and find new responses and behaviors.
In sports, top athletes visualize themselves doing certain actions over and over again as a way of preparing their body to perform the action in the best possible way. Similarly, when we make an alchemical mandala, we are imaging/imagining how we are performing certain life actions –thinking, feeling, or doing – and evaluating how we think it is going and what we think we might do differently. Achieving excellence in life is just like what athletes do in sports. We practice in our imagination how we would like to perform.
I (Marie) also work with clients in body-centered therapy. In this work, one is supported and guided to explore automatic or habitual movements that are made when talking about specific issues or challenges in life. By paying attention to the story that our bodies are telling, the client is able to begin to access the internal “map maker” who formed certain beliefs that may no longer serve us. This level of working with movements and ‘communications’ that our bodies are making that are beyond our awareness is also a deeper form of seeing that parallels dream work and mandala making. By making conscious the limiting beliefs that we are still holding onto, we gain access to more of our human facilities and skills at our disposal.
For example, if we believe “my needs don’t matter”, we may go through life avoiding acknowledging our basic human needs and feel deprived of love, connection or support. By revealing this level of belief to the conscious mind, we are finally able to gain awareness our specific needs and then can take productive action to get them met.
Similar to learning to improve our game in sports, we look to utilize improved skills that will make us more effective. Having helpful and empowering belief systems allow us to excel in life. But if there are unproductive or unhelpful belief systems that hinder us from getting the most out of life, how do we become aware of these and change them? Dreamwork, mandala making and body-centered therapy radically help a person in processes of self-discovery.
Like any sport, the game of life is both exhilarating and exhausting, dangerously challenging and ecstatically rewarding. Any way to learn new techniques, increase skills and challenge ourselves to develop strength and awareness is a blessing. We think these techniques are effective, exciting, fascinating. They will offer your psyche and your heart all new ways to engage in life.
For information about upcoming fall series, please contact Tayria or Marie by phone or through their website.
Tayria Ward, Ph.D. is a depth psychologist and dream analyst in private practice who does telephone sessions as well as face-to-face work with clients in her office in the Flatiron Building in downtown Asheville. Her telephone number is 828-329-0853, website is www.tayriaward.com
Marie O. Davis, MA, LPC, is an expressive arts and body-centered therapist in private practice in downtown Asheville and is a part of the Asheville Healing House collective. More information about her and her work can be found at: www.bodysoulspiritasheville.com or by calling 828-273-5647
By Marie Davis, MA, LPC and Tayria Ward, Ph.D
“At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before.” ~ Warsan Shire
The concept of life as a journey is not a new one. Spiritual seekers of all ages speak of it as a journey of returning, a quest to find their true home. Home is a metaphor and a symbol at the heart of numerous writings describing the inner quest.
Marie: In my work, I find that metaphor and symbols allow people to talk about experiences and feelings that elude concrete description. Home is one such symbol. At one point in my life, when traveling to different places every month, I began to realize that home was where I was, a state of being that resided within me.
When I met Tayria, we clicked right away on our love for the language of images; we immediately felt at home together. Collaborating with her in our work has been affirming, stretching me and deepening the work that I do with my own clients. Through exploring how my life has been speaking to me in dreams, I am able to discover myself on a deeper level, bringing me closer and closer to “my true home.”
I grew up in a family that outwardly appeared well put-together, but was actually chaotic. While I knew that my parents loved me, I didn’t feel like I had a home, a safe place for me to unfold. Even at a very young age, I had a vivid dream life where my feelings of not being safe and protected showed themselves. I dreamed of being chased, of dark looming figures following me, of searching in a dark maze for something; I didn’t know what.
I would find myself in apartments, houses, condos, skyscrapers—various images for home—always exploring, searching, or looking for safety. Sometimes there would be people around, other times I would be alone, yet images of “looking for a place to live” were ever present.
As an adult, I began searching for ways to heal the wounds and insecurities of younger years, realizing a need to create a home within myself. To accomplish this, I had to re-parent myself so the “I” inside could unfold. Using psychotherapy, mind/body medicine, and spirituality that incorporated symbology, I began healing and my dreams changed. As I did this deep inner work, the weather in my dreams cleared; furnishings inside dwellings improved; people became more welcoming and friendly. Consequently, I began to focus on using dreams and symbols/images for healing.
Tayria: The function of dreams in general is to bring one home to oneself, to what is really going on inside, which isn’t always apparent in the outward gaze of daily living. Dreams speak a symbolic language. Every image, even the seemingly mundane, carries an important message from the unconscious to help the dreamer become aware of what the conscious mind does not yet know, but needs to: something relevant and important, something to bring balance, well-being and healing. By working with our dreams and their images, we begin a process of coming home deep within ourselves, the home we have been longing for.
When I met Marie, she lit up when she learned that I am a Jungian-oriented psychologist who works with people’s dreams. She described the powerful work she does creating mandalas, which seems a potent way of dreaming while awake. The mandala images, and the relationships among them, emerge from the same realm of the psyche as dreams do—the in-between land of dream-time.
The first dream of Marie’s that I worked with had a lot of imagery about home. The action took place in different rooms and areas around the house, each of which gave us insight into the “problem” expressed in the dream, along with helpful messages for her.
In dream symbology, “house” is a classic representation of the Self. Its structure represents the structure of the psyche. The front of the house indicates the part of Self that can be seen from the street, from the outside. The back yard is more private, generally known only to friends and family. Activity in the living area points to the more social or public parts of the personality, while the bedroom represents confidential or secret places. In a bathroom, cleansing and elimination are the focus. The basement can represent the subconscious—the attic the higher unconscious. What goes on and who shows up in these areas gives us clues to the inner life of the psyche.
This one symbol—home—is a rich example of how the Self uses imagery to show us what is going on subconsciously. The unconscious runs like a software program behind the scenes, directing everything: our perceptions, interpretations of what is said and what happens, thoughts and feelings, common reactions—everything! When we know how these programs operate, we can update or upgrade them, giving ourselves new choices for living.
Tayria and Marie were simultaneously inspired by each other and now collaborate to combine their complimentary perspectives. They have created an imagery series to explore dream work and mandala-making in small groups, to stimulate creative exposition of the images and tap into the personal and collective unconscious. The investigation of sleeping and waking dreams has been exciting for both.
Marie: By using the structure of the alchemical mandala, we have a form to address the images our soul offers. The mandalic structure is a visual representation of the process of alchemy—the transformation of material from one state to another, higher state. Using our dream imagery, we can help our soul transform the raw material of our unconscious into a higher form, thereby growing and evolving. Each step of this transformational journey brings us closer to our true home.
In our collaborative work together, Tayria and I offer group participants an opportunity to dialogue with their unconscious, using the language of its images. Each week, one or two members explore a dream with Tayria. By asking a series of questions to discover associations, she helps the dreamer understand the message within the symbols and activity.
Tayria: Every dream is personal, and also has a collective significance; archetypes and patterns in the collective unconscious, as well as for the individual, are revealed. Because of this, one person’s dream can become a rich source of insight for each person in the group.
Working with dreams and mandalas together brings the images into consciousness. It is fascinating to realize they are not just products of our minds, nor are they matter—the paper or substance that expresses them. They are actual living things that reside in the intermediate realm between mind and matter. Our work takes us into this “other” in-between realm, where transformation and healing begin. When we address these images in a sacred manner, significant revelations often occur. They offer strong medicine, capable of shifting mental and physical conditions.
A process of inviting the images back into sleep completes the cycle, which begins a further exploration and dialogue with the unconscious. Each symbol becomes a personal guide to further individuation.
“Home is where the heart is.” I once had a dream where I heard the words, “The heart speaks in images.” Much later, I learned that indigenous people say the same thing about the language of the heart. arie and I are excited about this journey to learn the heart’s language and venture closer and closer to its core.
Tayria Ward, Ph.D., a depth psychologist and dream analyst in private practice who does phone and face-to-face sessions. Her office is in Asheville’s Flatiron Building. Contact her at 828-329-0853 or visit www.tayriaward.com.
Marie O. Davis, MA, LPC, is an expressive arts and body-centered therapist in private practice in Asheville, part of Asheville Healing House collective. More information about her work can be found at www.bodysoulspiritasheville.com.
Read this amazing personal story of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker becoming balanced and whole again through Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.
As a licensed marriage and family therapist working for many years with traumatized clients, I feel that I know the vast benefits of therapy. Working with Marie Davis in my own therapy, however, has been and continues to be a life changing process more than I could have ever imagined. Marie utilizes Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, a therapeutic model to really dig deep and address both attachment issues, or issues from our childhood, as well as trauma we have experienced such as an abusive relationship, difficult marriage, accident or even something as horrific as rape. She has helped me to peel back the layers so to speak of my own trauma to address my struggles on a cognitive, emotional and sensory level so I can once again become balanced and whole. Therapy with Marie has brought “new meaning” to “old hurts” so I can move past irritability, depression, anger and even physical pain in my body towards a once again happy and healthy Kelly. If you yearn for things to be different in your life, relationships to be whole again, thoughts to be clear with intention and to move past a history of trauma, Marie Davis can help you reach that place.
-Kelly R., Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Discovering the Body as a Resource Class is a 6 week series designed to help you manage stress and give you tools to feel confident and comfortable in your body.
Marie O. Davis, MA, LPC and Stacey Stone
Marie O. Davis, MA, LPC instructs us how to do this simple and very effective grounding practice to bring more peace and stability to your body, soul, and spirit. Watch the grounding practice video now.
Are You or Someone You Know Suffering From Trauma?
Are you or your someone you know struggling with stress, relationship difficulties, painful emotions or patterns that repeat over and over? Do you feel anxious, depressed, or avoid people and situations that feel overwhelming and too much to handle?
You may be suffering from the lingering effects of trauma. People mistakenly think that to be traumatized we need to have suffered a significant event. While this will likely create a traumatic imprint, there are other more subtle and pervasive forms of trauma that many of us have experienced. If we grew up in a family where there was substance abuse, mental illness, neglect, emotional abuse, a lack of support or underwent medical procedures, we can suffer from the effects of trauma. Chronic stress over a long period of time can have the same effects of one single traumatic event. Especially if these experiences happened in childhood when our nervous systems were vulnerable and forming, can a lasting feeling of trouble stay with us through our life even when there is nothing currently troubling us.
If we are going to heal from trauma, it’s not enough to just talk about it, research is showing that we need to experience feeling and doing something empowering and resolve any maladapative thoughts connected with the past. Experiential therapies, like Sensorimotor psychotherapy or expressive arts therapy, allow you to do just that: have a new experience that can change the way you feel about life, yourself, and your circumstances. Experiential therapies create transformation and new awareness’s that reveal our own inner wisdom and potential. We feel confident, empowered and are more able to make healthy choices in our lives.
Do you or your someone you know experience?
While trauma work can be slow and scary at times, the end result is a greater sense of freedom, hope, and personal power. If you or someone you know suffers from traumatic symptoms, don’t delay in getting help. Resolving traumatic memory and the symptoms that go with it.
Marie O. Davis, MA, LPC is in private practice at Body, Soul, Spirit is an Asheville psychotherapy practice dedicated to helping adolescents and adults experience their innate ability to grow, heal, and feel safe connecting with others. By engaging all three dimensions of our being, lasting change becomes possible. For more information visit: www.bodysoulspiritasheville.com
“Art transforms the sense-perceptual world in a ‘speaking’ manner, creating new meaning. In this sense, it is an epilogue to ancient sacred life, where everything is meaningful. And thus art is perhaps a prelude to a new epoch of mankind, where the human being is giving meaning to existence.” Georg Kuhlewind
In the art making process, for me, I have to enter into a different space than the everyday, get it done space. Sometimes i have to force myself to sit down and give myself permission to make art. Every time I do, I am aware that I am activating healing forces within me. I walk away feeling different, even if I only spent 5 minutes painting a single color, or cutting out one image from a magazine.
As alluded to in the opening caption, art was embedded int he culture of ancient societies. Ritual dancing, image making, re-enactments of individual or collective pathology and their healing involved the entire tribe/community. The inner soul struggle that was the affliction was danced, painted, sung, burned, or isolated until the healing affect came about. Often the intention was to get help from spiritual forces. The rituals were a way of connecting with these higher beings.
Today, neuroscience helps us to understand one dimension of why these rituals were so powerful. Through these rituals, there was an alteration in brain states and neural chemicals. In other words, when engaging in art making, our physiology shifts into a healing state and new possibilities become possible. Through trance, intensification of feeling, and enactments, the unconscious element was made conscious for ancient cultures. Through the ritual and healing, new stories were created, new narratives, and finally changes in the way the culture lived. When we focus our energies on the artistic process, we are taping into powerful healing forces in our brains.
Additionally, when we engage in art making, we are engaging in meaning making. By choosing colors, images, subjects, landscapes, we are communicating something about ourselves and our relationship to the world. Consciously or unconsciously we project our inner struggles and feelings into our art work. By beginning to dialogue with our art in a way that we questions what it is trying to tell us, teach us, we can bring significant questions into that healing space. If we stay open and mindful we can find that answers will come from the world around us in unexpected moments.
Today, so many of us are desiring healing, more meaning and substance in our lives. When we can dramatize our inner and outer struggles through art, we find new forces and new ways of meeting the life tasks that face us. We can find new support, as we open to guidance and answers from a source greater than ourselves.
Marie O. Davis, MA, LPC, NCC is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Asheville, NC. She had been working with adolescents (11-17) and adults for 10 years facilitating expressive arts therapy in hospitals, schools and groups. She uses expressive arts therapy and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy to support new insights and meaning to be revealed about clients and their lives. For more information: www.bodysoulspiritasheville.com