I was honoured to join the circle of women from around the world who answered Jill’s call to create the deck, Awakening to Your Divine Self. I think the beauty of the deck began there with a brave woman listening to the call in her heart and speaking that call out into the world.
Or maybe it began even further back with women who were drawn to Connie’s side to express and experience creative freedom with her Fearless Painting. The genesis of a creative act can be carried back far further than chronological time reliably records. Who inspires or sparks whom is like a generative cycle that really has no beginning.
The oracle cards have worked a similar generative cycle in my work with them in. After Jill and her amazing team had compiled printed and published the cards, I began to work with them here in my home town of Whangarei. Whangarei is a town in the North of the North island of New Zealand and we are lucky enough to have a community arts hub called Quarry Arts which a visionary 60’s potter named Yvonne Rust left as her legacy.
About a year ago I decided to put out the call for women to join me for a 2 hour journey of self-exploration every Monday morning. The idea I held space for was that this time and space wasn’t about making something beautiful, rather that we turned up bravely for ourselves, on our own side, gained insight and offered solace to ourselves, exploring our inner landscape through the medium of journaling.
Each week we work with a card drawn the week before. We notice how the theme of that card appears to us during the week; we notice how our dreams and the symbols and images that arrest us during that week impact on our understanding of the theme of the card and therefore on our lives as women.
We gather in circle and discuss what the theme has revealed to us. We do not offer advice or still a woman if she experiences sadness, rather we trust that each member of the circle is wise and strong enough to hold her truth.
I often offer up a technique related to the theme and then in silence each woman attends to her page. Noticing and trusting what arises, taking care of herself. There is a wide variety of art supplies available which I deliberately keep to the craft end of equipment. I want to encourage women to work in their journals at home, not needing to have expensive equipment or tools.
Each time we leave the space each woman has been transported to her inner landscape. She has been strengthened by her own inner gaze.
The magic of the cards is immense. Cards have risen to support women in times of struggle and joy. On the week before one of our members went in for IVF we drew the Incubate card. On a day when a woman who has a brain injury was mourning her loss we worked with Restore. The cards are like medicine. Sometimes the ones whose meanings are not immediately clear draw the most insight. The cards that are soft can provide comfort and the cards that are strong offer gentle strengthening and shedding.
For me often when a card arises I recognise the work of a friend and feel their presence in the room. I feel supported and held by the wairua (spirit) of that woman that comes through the card.
In this way that which was made by a creative collaboration collaborates with women on their journey of self-reflection as individuals, it connects to the wider woman’s circle we hold and across the world as it reaches from the creator of the card to the heart of the woman as she creates.
Allowing the cards to open a pathway to transformation by giving them space to speak has been a transformative process and one I am intend to hold space for, for some time not just because the process is powerful for the women who come with courage but for me too. I love being in the presence of magic.
Jane Cunningham is a conduit for Love and a creativity activist. She lives in Aotearoa New Zealand and works as an artist, teacher and soul worker.
You can read more about her work at www.numinousjane.com