creativity Archives - Dr. Mary Pritchard

Healing through Creative Expression

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 4 Comments

A few weeks ago, I was asked to be part of a panel discussion for artist Rick Bartow’s exhibit The Things You Know but Cannot Explain. During his lifetime, Mr. Bartow often referred to his art as “affordable therapy.” During the panel discussion, I was asked to comment on the role of creativity as a mechanism for healing. I found the question to be an interesting one, as I myself have used art as part of my therapeutic healing process on more than one occasion. For example, after finalizing my divorce, moving, breaking my heel for a second time in a year and turning 40 – all in less than a month’s time – I found myself picking up a canvas and a paintbrush for the first time in over two decades. I painted my divorce – literally. I painted my pain, my sadness, my sense of loss, my sense of hopelessness. I painted with a vengeance – not because I had any aspirations of being a great painter, but because the more I painted, the more I noticed the colors that I was using started to brighten. I felt more hopeful, less defeated. With each stroke of the brush, it’s as though a little part of me moved forward, moved on.
I painted consistently for about six months after my divorce. Then life happened, and other things took priority. Since then, I have painted off and on.

But this past year, I have found myself drawn more and more to the paints. I’ve come to think of painting as a tool – not just for healing, but for processing – akin to my love of journaling for the same reason – and as an important part of my self-care.

Sometimes I have no idea what I’m going to paint when I sit down at the kitchen table. Quite often, I have more than one painting going at one time. As I wait for the paint to dry on one canvas, I’m starting another. Or as I’m waiting for inspiration to hit, I’ve moved on to another canvas with a different inspiration, knowing in time I will come back to the first. Or not. That’s the beauty of painting for me – there’s always a do over button (thank you gesso!) and there’s no real deadline.

There’s no stress, no rush, no “I must get this done” feeling about it. Sometimes I finish painting in a few days; sometimes it takes me months. I find it very soothing and peaceful, almost like a moving meditation.

But here’s the truth: I don’t consider myself a painter or even an artist. Why? Because I’ve never had formal lessons outside of grade school, and I wouldn’t call a mandatory grade school art class a formal lesson. I was actually talking with my artist/art teacher friend Tahirih about this a few weeks ago. First, she assured me that yes, I am an artist and I could tell my inner critic to keep her opinions to herself (you can see why I love Tahirih so much!). She said she read somewhere that our opinions about our talent and even our skill set as an artist can get “frozen in time” when we first receive criticism about our artwork. Neither one of us has actually looked at the research to back that up, but it makes sense to me. I don’t feel like my art has progressed since early junior high when: a) art classes got replaced by science classes, and b) I was told I wasn’t good enough to be in the school art show.

Yet, this conversation was the fuel I needed to make some changes. You see, the more I paint, the more I wish I knew more about painting – about how to get the image I see in my mind onto the canvas and have it look like how it looks in my mind. Thus, I’ve wanted to take art classes since I started painting again a few years ago, but I’ve never been able to work them into my schedule. So during that same conversation when Tahirih and I were talking about my art getting “frozen” in early junior high, I asked her if she would be willing to take her art classes online so I could fit them around my schedule and develop a more consistent practice around my painting. She agreed to do it – to teach art in an online class format. (I think I might’ve done a happy dance in her living room when she told me that!)

I spent my weekend buying painting supplies and am looking forward to diving into my first lesson. If you also want to learn more about painting and painting technique, check out Art Party Online.

In the meantime, keep working on whatever process you use for healing. I’d love to here where creativity fits into your healing and self-care in the comments below.

Featured GODDESS: Gaia

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gaiaGaia

Mother of All

“Hold yourself high and take good care of yourself, for you are a child of my womb. By honoring yourself, you honor me.”

 

 

 

 

Traits Gaia Embodies:

 

  • Mothering
  • Nurturing
  • Creativity/creation
  • Balance
  • Self-care

 

How to call on Gaia:

 

In the beginning were the four Elements: Earth (Gaia), Water (Pontus), Air (Chaos), and Sky (Ouranos) (some say Gaia emerged from Chaos and then gave birth to Ouranos and Pontus). As Gaia was the only female, she had the pick of the litter, so to speak. Ouranos caught her eye and they wed (Note: incest was not a problem for the Ancient Greeks). They were a busy pair! Gaia had somewhere between 30 and 50 children, depending on the tale. I bet she was tired! Call on Gaia when you need help nurturing yourself or with any projects you are creating or birthing.

 

Prayer to Gaia:

 

Gaia, Mother of Us All,

Hear my Prayers

In this gentle time,

The time to go within,

I call upon you.

I ask for your help with ______ [insert your issue]

May I create/birth what is for the highest good of all

And my I take exquisite care of myself while doing so

Thank you Gaia!

 

Tribute to Gaia:

 

The best way to honor Gaia is to take care of yourself! What can you do to take care of you today?

Featured GODDESS: Hathor

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Hathor

Egyptian Goddess of Creation, Love, Beauty, and Sexuality

 

“You are a sensual, beautiful woman. Never forget that. Call on me when you need a reminder to love the skin you’re in.”

 

Traits Hathor Embodies:

  • Fertility
  • Creativity
  • Self-love
  • Sexuality
  • Beauty

 

How to call on Hathor:

Mother of the sun god Ra, Hathor was the Mother Goddess in ancient Egypt. Women prayed to her for fertility, to have a healthy pregnancy, and for help during childbirth. As the embodiment of the Divine Feminine, Hathor was known for her beauty, dance, and musical abilities. More importantly, she taught the ancient Egyptians about the beauty and wonder of the female form. Call upon Hathor when you need to remember how beautiful you are and what a miracle your body actually is.

 

Prayer to Hathor:

Hathor, Mother of All,

My form is your form,

My body your body.

Help me explore my sensuality, sexuality, and the wonder that is my body.

Help me realize my own worth.

Help to recognize the miracle of my body, my life

The Divine wonderous gifts that you have given me.

Help me celebrate my curves, my femininity, my breasts and belly

For they hold the keys to life.

In this I pray.

Thank you, Hathor!

 

Tribute to Hathor:

Known as the cow goddess, Hathor may be honored by giving up beef for the day. As she was also the Goddess of Music and Dance, you can honor Her by dancing under the moonlight or singing your favorite song.

 

Featured GODDESS: The Muses

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muses

The Muses

Goddesses of Inspiration

“Get unstuck and feed your fire with us!”

 

Who are The Muses?

  • Calliope – epic poetry
  • Clio – history
  • Euterpe – flutes and lyric poetry
  • Thalia – comedy
  • Melpomene – tragedy
  • Terpsichore – choral song and dance
  • Erato – love poetry
  • Polyhymnia – sacred poetry and songs
  • Urania – astronomy

 

How to call on The Muses:

Daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (Memory personified), the Muses were the embodiment of their chosen art form. In ancient Greece, before beginning a new song, dance, or poem, artists would call upon the appropriate Muse, asking for Her words/dance to flow through them.

 Prayer to The Muses:

[Note: decide who to call on and what you want to ask for first – I am giving an example for Thalia, but you can choose your Goddess and words of devotion particular to your situation]

Thalia, Muse of Comedy

Bring a little laughter into my life

Inspire me to find joy and humor in all things

Help me to surrender my ego and learn to laugh at myself

May I bring your wisdom and musings to all I see.

Thank you, Thalia!

 

Tribute to The Muses:

As Muses were known as teachers of the great arts, they would be best served by donating an appropriate gift (journals, musical instrument, brushes and canvases, costumes) to a local art school (or the art teacher at your child’s school).

 

Come Out and Play!

By | Walk the Path, Wisdom Blog | No Comments

Woman Running in Surf

 

 

As the dog days of summer come to an end in the Western hemisphere, now is the perfect time to get in that last minute vacation or staycation before shipping the kids off to school. If you’re suffering with the heat of summer (100 degrees days and poor air quality due to forest fires out here), plan a trip to the beach or find some water to play in to stay cool.

As Summer turns to Fall, this is also a perfect time to release any pent up emotions or unfinished business from earlier in the year. Perform this quick ceremony near a body of water and enter Fall knowing you’ve released what no longer serves you.

 

 End of Summer Release Ceremony

Supplies:

Pen or pencil

Paper

Match or lighter

Instructions:

Write down any leftover emotions or experience that you still need to let go of. It could be someone you need to forgive, releasing old hurts, or getting closure on a project. Write it all down. There’s no right or wrong here, just let whatever comes out be. When you are finished writing, say the following prayer (or something similar – let the prayer come to you as well):

Goddess [insert name of any Goddess you feel drawn to or leave it generic], in the Heat of the Summer,

I release old hurts, old wounds

I seek forgiveness for myself and for those I feel have wronged me

I let it all go into Your loving arms

And trust that you will give me Peace.

Burn the paper and let the ashes float downstream [if you’re not near water, then just flush them down the toilet]

To the water I give my hurt, my anger, my resentment

To the water I give my pain

Transform my hurts into my greatest gifts

My pain into my lessons

In this I pray.

Thank you Goddess!

Now get out there and play! Release that stored up energy you just generated in a fun, creative way. Dance, sing, draw, paint, enjoy life. If you’re not sure where to start, Call on Sarasvati – a water Goddess and Goddess of Creativity for inspiration.

Enjoy what’s left of your Summer!