The Rituals of the Creative Life

“In filling the well, think magic. Think delight. Think fun. Do not think duty. Do not do what you should do—spiritual sit-ups like reading a dull but recommended critical text. Do what intrigues you, explore what interests you; think mystery, not mastery.”

~ Julia Cameron

This week’s zine focuses on the devotional, ritual, BOLD, and playful practices a creative person can weave into their lives, such as yearlong painting processes or weekly Artist Dates, which provide the novelty and inspiration that our creativity needs in order to thrive!

Use the jumplinks below 👇🏽 to Choose Your Own Adventure

Alive! Awake! Aware! by Color of Woman Student, Susan Voss

Community Highlights

A Year with RITUAL
By Guild Coordinator, Virginia Mason

I sometimes struggle a bit with new habits. I give them soft edges and a wide margin, making them easy to set aside for something “more important.” But my longing for a nurturing, creative practice made committing to Ritual irresistible.

Joining Ritual felt like a big undertaking. Practicing beside my sisters in the Guild and following the lead of Shiloh Sophia for a whole year was daunting. But I showed up as much as I could, painted with passion, and allowed the work to guide me.

And it was so damn worth it.

Spending time in myth and magic, I was carried away into a story that unfolded and unfolded and continues to unfold. This story has revealed so much about the girl I used to be, and I am glad to know once more.

Almost from the first brushstroke, my Wild Twin began sharing her version of my life journey with me through her feral eyes. She stripped away the veils of life that have informed many of my decisions. The beliefs of inadequacy, the way I learned to make myself translucent, so it was easy to become what others expected, and, more importantly, the most magical, wild, feeling parts of myself I had put away because they made me feel unsafe.

She became my oracle, revealing the truth of my Self. Each visitor, color, and shape she requested I add to the canvas revealed more of my own truth.

I’m so grateful that Shiloh states clearly,  from the outset, that we should “go rogue” whenever we feel guided to do so. That simple statement allows such creative freedom and is the reason, My painting is as rogue as one can go and I’m sure that we will see a rich tapestry of “rogue” creations in the Ritual Musea exhibit. Each piece will be a peek into the diverse and colorful hearts of the women in our community, and I can’t wait!

The Gossamer Girl – A Wild Twin Story

In a tiny cabin sitting in a sliver of sunlight at the edge of a dark wood lives a girl. She is a quiet girl living a quiet life but somehow manages to make her way into many gossip sessions happening in the village nearby. The pub owner thinks her blue eyes and silver blond hair are lovely, almost coming to blows with the shopkeeper who insists her eyes are green and hair a strawberry blond. It seems everyone sees her as a reflection of their own desire, and she, unaware, carries on with her comings and goings until one fateful day.

Gathering berries for her supper in the early afternoon sunshine, she caught her dress in the brambles as she leaned into the juicy abundance. Setting her basket down to free herself, she heard the sweetest sound. Like the song of a mourning dove, soft and melancholy, it drifted from the dark woods and settled on her ears. Entranced, she left her basket to seek the origin.

Peeking out from the thick trunk of a grandmother oak, she spied the singer. Was it a woman? The dappled shadows made it hard to tell. The songstress was entirely naked, her skin the color of moss, and wore a crown of twigs, decorated with brambles and berries, perched on her shoulders, like brooches on a dress, were a raven and two tiny chickadees!

Who was this wonderous creature, so wild yet so familiar, like the delicious memory of a lush dream?

Slowly stepping from behind the tree, she watched the singer complete her song and, smiling, lift her hand to beckon the girl forward.

She heard the singer whisper, in a low and deliberate voice, “I SEE you” and, without hesitating, stepped toward her and into the mystery.

The RITUAL – Revealing the Hidden Self Museum Show and Exhibit Opening is TOMORROW at 4 pm PT! Virginia’s painting ‘The Gossamer Girl’ will be one of the featured images. We invite you to Claim Your Complimentary Ticket to the Museum Show

Creative Connection and Artist Date Image by Musea Member, Lila Sweet

Member Letter

Novelty for the Muse and the Power of the Artist Date

A Story and Invitation…

by Amber Gould, Musea CoCurator and President

Dear Musea Members and Guest Readers,

Today’s letter is really a story. A story about finding ourselves through creativity, and finding that creativity makes a few important demands of us, most significantly of all, to pay attention – to our longings, to our world, to the beauty around us, and to the often unspoken desires of our hearts. This is also an invitation to consider taking  up a fun practice this month, that of the ARTIST DATE as conceived of by Artist and Writer Julia Cameron.

Let me tell you all about it…

Back in my early 20s I was contemplating becoming more creative. You know what I mean, like, one of those artsy people. The fact that I was contemplating in and of itself was in fact ‘artsy’. So, well on my way, was I.  I did consider myself a to be creative at least to a degree, because from a very young age I had always been writing poems, playing music, and sometimes painting beautiful pictures to share with my momma. This creative feeling was getting deeper and stronger in me though. It wasn’t something I could put aside so easily or just dust off once in a while. It felt like… like creativity wanted to possess me, and take me somewhere! I could sense it was going to be a catalyst for big changes I was so hungry for. My inner knowing and intuition was starting to speak up. I somehow knew that I needed to allow my creativity to shine through, to be conscious about it and devote more time to it. I just wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. I had always been creative in bits and spurts, feast and famine, sometimes creating a lot in one day or one week, and then going a couple of months without creating anything at all. It felt to me like I needed something consistent, something that required devotion and focus. Maybe even something radical and new!

Serendipitously, right around this time, my mother handed me a book called The Artist’s Way – The Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. The title itself was so intriguing and invited me to dive into its pages immediately. By reading this book, I was acknowledging myself as an Artist – I was reading about the Artist’s way after all, so I must be one! That was a good feeling. I also really appreciated the spiritual aspect of this book and was quite curious about what accessing “higher creativity” meant. Was creativity some kind of pathway to self actualization? Within one chapter of the book I was learning that the answer was most undoubtedly yes! Creativity is powerful – almost spooky – in its ability to move us along and up in the spiral dance of our lives, to that higher place or frequency of being and seeing and doing what matters to us. Until I read Julia Cameron’s book, I didn’t know how potent creativity was in shaping our life and experience of ourselves. I also learned that untended and unfocused, it can turn into a wildfire and cause unwanted damage too!

There are two major takeaways from this book for me, the first was the practice of morning pages, in which you sit down each morning regardless of how you feel, and write, stream of consciousness style, three full pages of text. It doesn’t have to be a big journal, they can be small pages. The key is three pages – no excuses! It’s a ‘let the pen move’ kind of experience, in which your strange ideas, thought fragments, and untethered feelings have a chance to be expressed however they want to be expressed. It often starts off as a blur of information that seems nonsensical or disconnected, and then all of a sudden your creative coffee kicks in and stuff starts to show up on the page. Morning pages, as taught by Julia Cameron, are a way to see one’s own inner landscape, often leading to awareness of what is causing latent despair, depression, hesitation, or blocks in our creativity. If you are frozen, morning pages are there to help melt the ice.

Once I started I couldn’t stop. Everyday I found myself being revealed to me on the page in ways I had never encountered before. I was in the midst of a very difficult ‘bad’ marriage, I was unhappy, much heavier physically than I was comfortable with, creatively starving, and there was so much more that I wanted for my life. That “so much more” included more creativity! I knew that I had songs in me, paintings, wild dances, slam poetry, and so much flamboyant diva-like artistry that wanted to bubble out and through. I knew it. With all my heart. And yet I was afraid, holding back, because it meant I would need to face a lot of my fears. Maybe. Probably. Um, yeah… definitely. That was scary in particular because I didn’t have creative practices to hold and support me in transmuting my fears. So. Well, you get it. All this to say, I am so grateful for morning pages because they opened a door for me to begin a path of deep self honesty that helped unlock my creativity and gave me a new and profound sense of curiosity, wonderment, and determination to live an Artist’s life.

The second powerful take away from the book was the author’s suggestion of taking yourself out on an Artist Date! Woooeeee – doesn’t that sound like fun? Anyone know what that is?! Well, let me tell you, an Artist Date is something special. It is an opportunity for you to curate an experience for yourself that is solely based on satisfying your inner muse, delighting your creative senses, and honoring your desire for beauty, novelty, and maybe even luxury. It translates into a unique experience for each person. It doesn’t have to cost anything – a slow stroll down a familiar street lined with cherry blossom trees listening to the Memoirs of a Geisha Soundtrack might suffice (did I just give myself away?). The most important part of an Artist Date is that it is JUST for you, that it activates your joy, satisfies your Muse, and fills up your cup! This is about accessing the stuff that lends itself later to creative inspiration.

At the time, I would have never dreamed of taking myself out on a date just for me. An Artist Date to boot! That sounded… Selfish… Naïve… Dramatic… Like something a DIVA would do. Oh gosh, I can’t be a DIVA! Divas are those women who demand what they want, sing loudly, and lay on top of pianos at jazz lounges, then smoke cigarettes in the back alley between sets with that bright red lipstick that leaves lip marks on the filter! I had a whole thing in my head about Divas, and after a lifetime of being raised inside of an oppressive-to-women religious construct that preached humility, self-denial, longsuffering and keeping one’s head down and hands in service, it felt a bit… out of scope and unfamiliar.

However… there was one important detail that made me choose to take up Julia Cameron on her Artist Date invitation. What was it you ask? Well, that Diva lying on the piano in the jazz lounge with bright red lipstick…. I actually wanted to be her.

It’s funny how we get these ideas in our heads about women. The Diva for instance, so well portrayed by characters like Miss Piggy from the Muppets. I know it might sound like a stretch, but consider what her character represents as a parody. First of all, she is a pig (which has its own connotations), then from that base of characterization, she also is shown as being loud, proud, flamboyant, short-tempered, demanding, self-centered, opinionated, scary etc etc etc. It’s a comedic take, and yet there are real implications for the way people look at women who have, oh I don’t know…

Preferences. Self assurance. Audacity. Dissenting Opinions. Creative Ideas. Bold Esthetic. Confidence. Prowess. Brilliance. Gumption. An appetite for more than just salad(!)

Listen, you all. Being a Diva is not such a bad thing. I think we need to reclaim and reframe that word.

Kudos to you, Miss Piggy, for being so audacious, flamboyant, and an archetype of wonderful DIVA-NESS we can all aspire to!

So, back to the story. I put all of my inner critic judgments aside, and I began to take myself on bonafide Artist Dates. At first it was a simple jaunt down to the local Italian café, complete with unabashed statues of the nude David, marble circular tables, and lots of lively people scattered around everywhere making all kinds of noise. I would bring my journal, and do my morning pages there, letting myself feel how enriching it was to be consciously writing and connecting with my artist self while on an artist date, in an artful place surrounded by seemingly arty people! Art art art art art.  Yes please.

Often my journal pages from these dates would turn into amazing poems, and my poetry started changing, it started to become more raw, piercing, truthful, and satisfying to me! It took on an edge that I needed to connect with. It became darker, more rich, like good soil. After getting comfortable with these artists dates, and starting to make peace with this part of me that just wanted so much more out of life and out of myself as a creator, I started to up the ante! Eventually I would go to the local jazz lounge for a 10 PM jazz ensemble that would play there for three sets on a Saturday nights. I went by myself, I put on a dress, and some lipstick. I would order a glass of white wine, and open my journal, lay out my writing implements, and just… let it all sink in.

Having my journal with me at these Artist Dates gave me a sense of security as it allowed me to appear like I was doing something important to the people around me just in case they were judging – it satisfied my still-very-active self consciousness. However, I was always astonished at how honest I could be with myself when I was out on these Artist Dates! I could write so well and so clearly. Eventually, these these experiences helped me to find myself in very significant ways. I began to realize how unhappy I was. I know that might sound terrible – why would I want to do something that makes me realize how unhappy I am? Well, actually, I found there was a lot of value in that. Creating space for oneself to see what is real and true is crucial if you are going to be able to make changes and create a life you really desire to inhabit. And that’s what I started doing.

It took many years, but I was able to start making important shifts toward becoming an Artist, honing my crafts, and being much more aligned in my life choices. I joined a dancing group. I became a doula. I got a camera and became a photographer. I significantly improved my health. I organized women’s art events. And, yes, eventually, I left the bad marriage! Of course stories are never linear, so I can’t tell you that this all happened in short order and without any bumps along the way or relapses into times of creative doldrums or more bad relationships. But I can tell you that the practice of morning pages, and honoring my muse and  creativity by taking myself on an artist dates is something that changed my life. To this day it these practices are very important to me.

Here’s the icing on this story cake. Artist Dates inspired me to go to Paris! I know, I know that is one pricey artist date, but I promise you all the ones leading up to that had been the cost of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, an gallery entrance fee, or just my feet on the pavement and the weight of a good book! But, I figured the ultimate Artist Date was to travel abroad. I needed to see Paris with my own eyes, to sit and have a picnic under the Eiffel Tower, visit the Louvre, sip café-au-lait in a Parisian café at night while the rain fell. I needed to have more and more artistic, and beautiful and poetic experiences, and Paris was the ultimate destination.

While there, I made some bold moves. I wanted to embody my artist archetype as deeply as possible. One day while walking in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, there was a man who had set up a bright pink piano on the side of one of the busy streets and was playing for passersby. I struck up a conversation, after giving him a few euros and thanking him for the beautiful music, and he somewhat psychically asked me if I played piano. I was taken aback by the question because there was nothing in our conversation that should have led him to believe that I was a pianist. But he asked me. I answered honestly and told him yes, I had been a classically trained pianist, but that it had been years since I had played. Well, he challenged me, in a big way in that moment by asking me to sit down and play for Paris!

And so there I was, the Artist, the Musician, having my own Diva moment in Paris. Being that woman at the piano doing something bold, something spur of the moment, something audacious, that can only flow from being connected with your creative spirit and trusting in your creative power. I knew that I could connect with creative flow simply by opening myself to it. I sat down at that piano, took a deep breath, examined in a flash the moments in my life where I had said no, hidden, or shied away from being that bold, face forward DIVA that I really am, and I decided to let it all burn down and out through my fingers that day! I played. And I played. Trans-like. The music went on for half an hour, improvised music from my heart. My sister said it was one of the most beautiful moments she had witnessed in our life together. And hey. A bunch of people left me tips in the jar!

What I realized in that moment is that our artist self is a self that we can build trust with through devotion to creativity and a willingness to pay close attention to our inner landscape. When we show up to our journals to speak our heart’s truth. Show up to the canvas to make unruly nonsensical marks. Show up to the manuscript to continue to add one more line, one more finishing touch. When we devote to creativity as a way of life and being, access happens!

As a woman I had been taught to fear the bold, audacious, self confident, sultry, sensual, spontaneous parts of me that I later learned were THE ESSENTIAL parts in which creativity thrives and is able to be channeled. I had dismissed them for so long due to dogmatic religious conditioning growing up, but I eventually was able to claim those aspects of myself as beautiful and powerful. Ten years later my boldness is even bolder, my audaciousness even more audacious, I have less fear sharing my art in public, I am not afraid to assert my creative ideas or opinions, I give my love to those who will cherish it, and I wear a brighter and bolder shade of red when I put on my lipstick!

So, that is my story of building a relationship with creativity, and I hope that it sparks you to take yourself out on an Artist Date! You never know what will happen when you step into novelty, curate beauty, and give the Artist her way.

~ with a wink and a dare

amber samaya

Announcements

Visit our Guild-Led Event Calendar below for a list of upcoming Intentional Creativity events you may enjoy! 

What’s On at the Museum!

RITUAL : REVEALING THE HIDDEN SELF
March 16 at 4 pm PT!

Ritual Exhibit

Musea Intentional Creativity Museum invites you to join us for the Ritual – Revealing the Hidden Self Museum Show and Group Exhibition Opening. This exhibit features exquisite painted imaged created by students of the Ritual yearlong painting class, guided by Shiloh Sophia, over 13 moons in 2021.

Ritual is MUSEA’s 2021 Intentional Creativity Course in Medicine Painting and Mythic Journaling dedicated to healing through calling the whole soul out of exile. This class focused specifically on the ways art-making can guide us towards mending our relationships with ourselves, our body, our community, our family, our lover/s, and our environment. And very specifically, how we organize our lifeways.

We encourage you to claim your Eventbrite Ticket for the Museum show today and invite your friends and family along for a date at the museum! 

Claim Your Complimentary Eventbrite Ticket
CURIOUS ABOUT MEMBERSHIP?

Become a Member today of one of the world’s largest and most well established Art Movements – MUSEA : Intentional Creativity!

“Gather with us. Be a part of our movement. While we can’t yet be together in person, we don’t need to be isolated from one another. Every place a MUSEA Member is, a MUSEA IS, so we are all over the world! Being a member is something to feel good about and connected to as a part of each of our individual stories, as well as our collective story.”

~ Shiloh Sophia, MUSEA Curator

Become a Member Today!

Curator, Shiloh Sophia (center), with Musea Guild and Staff Members at the Vivid 2021 Gathering! 

Have Membership Questions?

Contact Member Coordinators: Chatelle Jeram at chatelle.jeram@musea.org or Marnie Dangerfield at marnie.dangerfield@musea.org.