Witnessing the Soul by Noelle Remington

I first saw a SoulCollage® image in the Dancing Man Gallery in Santa Cruz, CA in 1991. I wandered the room awed by the collages created by Seena Frost, the originator of the process, and her students. Each image drew me in and reflected an aspect of the artist’s soul. The images were beautiful, mysterious, and deeply personal. I felt like I was allowed to see something I shouldn’t be seeing -- something that most people kept undercover, wrapped close to their hearts, and even hidden. I knew I wanted to do this process and knew, too, that I was afraid to reveal myself. I took a flyer and tucked it away in my filing cabinet where it stayed for the next ten years.

But SoulCollage® never fully left my consciousness. Every once in awhile, I would run across the flyer in my files and think about how I’d like to learn the process, but Seena was in Santa Cruz and I had moved to Seattle where I was starting my Creative Life Coaching practice. Then two years ago, I found the flyer again when I was looking for a way to bring more hands-on creative practices to my work with clients.

I googled Seena’s name and found the SoulCollage® website displaying dozens of beautiful cards created by Seena and her students. Seena had just published the SoulCollage® book about the process, which I found at a local bookstore and read cover to cover that same day. I was deeply moved, and once again afraid to take the next step.

I was working with Energy Coach, Tamra Fleming, and thankfully, Tamra got me out of my head and into action. I contacted Seena via email. She replied immediately and put me in touch with one of her longtime students, Suska Davis, who now lives in Olympia. Suska was offering an introductory workshop at her home that weekend and I attended. Synchronicity was happening!

I remember what it was like to create my first card. It was as if something that was stuck inside of me for a long time had finally broken loose. The card depicts a person wearing a headlamp going into the dark. My early notes capturing the voice of this card say, “I am the Lightbearer. I am the one who is not afraid of the dark places. I am the one who walks into the shadows, who searches for treasure, who finds the light in the dark. I am the one who leads the way.”

I began setting time aside on Friday mornings to create cards. Sometimes I would have an idea in mind for a part of me that I wanted to express; other times the card would create itself and surprise me. My next two cards were The Female Shaman and The One Who Is Immersed in Creativity. I didn’t realize it then, but these first three cards would be my guides as I explored SoulCollage® more deeply. The Lightbearer isn’t afraid to go into the dark places and find the treasure, the Female Shaman retrieves lost parts of the soul and facilitates transformation, and the One Who Is Immersed in Creativity delights in the creative process.

I remember sending an email to Seena around this time telling her that SoulCollage® had ‘helped me get my spark back’. I felt like my creative fire was lit again. I wasn’t just being creative by creating the cards, I was freeing up my creativity by giving voice to all of my parts through the cards.

I knew I wanted to facilitate workshops, but first I wanted to experience the group process for myself. So I invited eight friends to join me in a peer SoulCollage® support group. At our second meeting, we shared the cards we had made between sessions, passing them around the circle. I remember when the first card reached me I was moved to tears by my friend’s creativity and intimate expression of her soul. It was the same way I had felt at the show in Santa Cruz ten years before, but this time I didn’t feel the doubt, fear, and resistance I had felt in the past. This time I felt joy.

I still feel that joy with every new workshop I facilitate. I am always awed and inspired by each person’s unique creation. Last April, I invited everyone who had taken a workshop with me over the past two years to participate in a SoulCollage® group exhibition. Twenty artists replied! Our vision for the show is to share our work in community, give voice to who we are, and be honored and celebrated as artists. And, to give viewers the experience of being touched by these personal reflections of soul, just as I was twelve years ago.

This article was first published in the December, 2003 issue of Verve Magazine.

About the Author

Noelle Remington, CPC, is a SoulCollage® Trainer, Creative Life Coach and the founder of Life Doula Arts, specializing in empowering women to listen to their hearts, find their voices, and give birth to their dreams. Her work is grounded in her educational roots in Art and Women’s Studies, and her passion for creativity, self-expression, and transformation. She has been Facilitating the SoulCollage® process since 2001.