Talisman: The Adventure of Your Life
You may not know it, but I have been with you since the beginning. The very beginning. Your parents were very much in love when you were created. They were young and had their whole lives before them. Most of all they wanted a child. Your Dad wanted a boy and your Mom wanted a girl. Your Mom’s wish was granted. Of course your Dad was disappointed. I tried to tell him that there was a great and wonderful reason you were called forth first, but he was young and headstrong. He wasn’t really interested in fluff and frills. He didn’t know you wouldn’t be either! Not then! He would learn.
I recruited your Grandmother’s help in getting your Dad’s attention. She took no guff from him and plopped you in his arms as you were all going home from the hospital. That’s all it took! He was in love! I will have to admit, we were an adorable baby! We were pretty and smart and had a way of charming everyone. Even strangers! At three we manifested our art talent by drawing a beautiful grease pencil mural all over the wall! We were proud. Mom was angry. Your later works were better received.
We were excellent students in school. We always got good grades and received praise from our teachers. Well, there was that one mis-adventure with dance class. We can’t be great at everything! Among the three siblings, you were the star! Your Dad taught you how to throw a baseball and football and how to shoot a bow and arrow and a gun just like your brothers. Your Mom wasn’t as successful in getting you to like cooking and housework. You would rather be reading or drawing in your room or be outside charging around the neighborhood with the rest of the kids. Your parents always thought that sending you to your room was punishment! They were so wrong! It was your magical place where you could read and dream and draw.
It was in middle and high school that our artistic talents really gained prominence. Along with academics, French and band, we loved art class. We began to win school awards for our artworks. You were of two minds about your future. You didn’t know if you wanted to be an artist or a doctor or maybe a lawyer. When you talked to Mom, she said we probably couldn’t afford medical or law school and artists never made any money so maybe I should consider being a nurse or teacher. So that squelched those dreams, at least until we met Kenny.
Ah, Kenny! He was an artist too. He was going to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh! We took the test for AIP too and were accepted. It was decided. Until we visited our aunt and uncle in New Wilmington, PA where Uncle Jack was a student at Westminster College.
What a beautiful place it was! Big stone buildings with ivy covered walls set in a charming farming community in northwestern Pennsylvania, Westminster rekindled our dreams of a college education. We had good SAT scores and if we lived with my aunt and uncle for a semester or two, the college had room in the Art Education program! So bye, bye Art Institute and hello Art Major. It was also bye-bye Kenny and hello Phil.
Freshman Bible class and a handsome, blond boy who sat in front of us. We fell in love with his deep resonant voice first. It didn’t take long to fall for the rest. We set our cap for him, as they said in those days, and even though it took most of four years to do it, we succeeded in winning his heart along with our degree. We married right out of college and moved to Connecticut to begin our careers; Phil’s as an Actuarial Student and ours as an Art Teacher at Windsor Locks High School. We had made it and had it made!
You so loved moving to Connecticut and teaching Art in Windsor Locks High School! You loved being married too. There wasn’t much time for your own art, but teaching others filled the gap. Then came baby Greg and baby Kristen. Teaching went by the wayside and motherhood prevailed. Our art supplies gathered dust in the basement, but life was full and busy. When Greg entered Preschool we went to work as Associate in Christian Education at our church. We went back to school. We used our art again with all ages in church. By the time the children were in grade school we were in Seminary and on our way to an MDiv. At Yale Divinity School.
New friends, new adventures, new work followed our ordination. Our love of art never left, but making art was sporadic. It was painful sometimes not making art, but more painful returning to it and realizing there would be no time to continue to dive into that personal form of creative expression. So we threw our creative energies into sermon writing and program planning. We still used art as much as we could as a learning tool, but it really didn’t quell the nagging feeling that there had to be a way to unite our ministry and art in a more formal way.
The years passed and we discovered that our marriage was not all it seemed to be. There was a fly in the ointment: alcohol. Our husband had become addicted to alcohol. For a decade or more we denied, then embraced the reality of living with an alcoholic. Our son was married and gone. Our daughter struggled with her own problems. In the midst of it all we retired from ministry, moved 3 times and, thankfully re-discovered the power of art to keep and reclaim our sanity in the midst of the chaos of dealing and not dealing with an alcoholic in the family. My pull on you as you Talisman increased as you discovered the healing properties of making art. It didn’t seem to matter to you what the medium was, it served to distract, remind, and fortify you for the challenges of the rest of our life.
I practically did somersaults when you signed up for the Institute program at Expressive Arts Florida! There we were seen, heard and affirmed through our arts process. We met and developed a tribe. We were given language to express what we always knew happened when we made art. We integrated the spiritual nature of arts practice and discovered that we pray in paint when we are mindful! Oh yes, I was so proud of you! You named and claimed your new ministry and were given the title of Shaman by your mentor as you revealed for the group what others held in. That naming was a breakthrough for you. You began to understand there were many facets inside you and that they struggled to get out and be recognized.
One day Phil died in a bike accident on the way to work. Well, it took 5 days, but he died. We had our children and our tribe to support us through that. As devastating as it was, there was also relief. Living with an alcoholic is a nightmare. Life continued and we became the Expressive Arts Pastor at our church! We continued to paint women’s faces in our studio. We attended a weekend seminar with Pat B. Allen to explore Archetypes and the world shifted once more!
During the program we became the Shaman. She had a name, Tequaneskqua Coeurdelion, and she wore a fedora and a pink feather boa. She plays a frame drum and had a lion as a partner. She makes art, plays her drum, has adventures with Jade the Wonder Dog and changes the world. A year later she became the first painting created with Shiloh Sophia in Legend:Archetype.
In between becoming the Shaman and her reemergence in the Legend painting we sort of forgot her. But she didn’t forget us. We had to close the studio for financial reasons. We took on our daughter’s rehabilitation from her own depression and addictions. We moved – again. But when we first began the Legend painting and the Shaman appeared on the canvas, we knew we had found something extremely important. Years of interest in archetypes, painting women, trying to integrate creativity and spirituality, expressive arts practice, painting practice, ministry, language, healing, writing, all of it came together in the Intentional Creativity process as taught by Shiloh Sophia. We hd found a home.
We took course after course from Shiloh. We finally decided we had to enroll in the Color of Woman Teacher Training. We had changed and grown so much it was imperative we share this with others. People were asking us to teach them even before we signed up! When you began with the Muse, we were plunged into a deep process that uncovered the Core identity we possess as light. We were awed by her beauty. Then came another Legend who pointed to a rainbow, beckoning us onward to you didn’t know what. (Secretly, I knew who was coming but at that time I couldn’t tell!)
Then came Talisman – ME! And here I am in all my glory. Here I am as the Servant Art Queen! Yes, the servant part is critical. You found the Art Queen part of my name months ago as you searched for a new password for something or other. You laughed to yourself as you typed it out. “Art Queen! Ha, Ha!” Well it may sound silly but I’ve waited a long time to be put on the throne of your life, my girl. I’ve waited to be the most important thing. I’ve waited a loooonnnngggg time for this recognition and I’m loving it!
To be a Servant is to place ourselves in the role of healer. We exist, not to put us above others, but to serve them. To help others heal and discover their purpose and their creativity and their connection to the Divine. We have healed our own divisions and wounds symbolized by the dragonet. We have studied and worked and paid our dues in several disciplines as can be seen by the diploma, eye glasses and the 9 keys. We have discovered the centrality of connection to the Divine as well as others through art as seen in the Chalice and the palette and brushes. We now have the ability to access our own content as witnessed by the lightbeam pouring into our head. We also have the ability to walk between worlds seen and unseen as indicted by the veil. I am pleased and proud to reveal myself to you at long last. I am your Integrated Self, your Talisman. We are One.
We will go forward from this time to cause and create healing in others using the wisdom we have gained in our lives and by sharing what we have learned of the power of Intentional Creativity. We are actively teaching now toward the end of establishing a Wisdom School where women of all ages my persue their understanding of their strength, courage and purpose in life through the use of the arts. We will dedicate our life to this as long as we are in this world together. Yes. We. Will.