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The Fragrant Muse?

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Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, United States
I'm a Creative Soul and Happy Person. I have a passion for my Family, Aromatics, Fairy Gardens, Pugs, SoulCollage, Miniature Worlds, Visual Journals.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Interview with Seena Frost, Founder of SoulCollage®


Seena Frost, Beloved Mentor and Creator of SoulCollage®

Readers of this blog may remember a post I wrote earlier this year entitled Aromatic SoulCollage® in which I shared my great love for this amazing creative process.

Seena Frost has just completed her second book on SoulCollage®, entitled "SoulCollage® Evolving".  You can read more about her book here and order it here.

Yay Seena!  Those of us who are in love with this work have been hungry for another book. 

When I learned that Seena would be doing a blog tour, I jumped at the chance to interview her and ask some specific questions that had been rattling around in my head.  Her answers were, as was expected, very insightful and soulful.


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Liz:  Thank you for joining me today Seena!  It's an honor to have you as my guest here at The Fragrant Muse and a delight for me to pick your wonderful brain!  How about we start with the basics:  What is SoulCollage®?
Seena:  SoulCollage® is both a creative celebration of the complexities of Soul and, at the same time underneath this complexity, is the honoring of our Spirit’s unity with Source. It’s a process emphasizing Both/And; Spirit and Soul; One and the Many. To honor the forever-evolving, amazing dance of our Souls, we create many collaged cards using found images to depict our unique parts. We give names to these parts, dialogue with them, and embrace them, even the ones that are shadowed and acting out. Giving a card its own name and allowing it time to say what’s wrong and what is needed often helps these inner parts heal. The inner part is able to find new ways to express its special energy so it has a positive place.

Liz:  Tell us the story of the origin of SoulCollage®.
Seena:  Many roots in my past eventually joined and grew into the blossoming and above-ground “plant” we now call SoulCollage®. These are too numerous to identify here, but in 1989, there came a moment at the end of a three year program with Jean Houston, when an integration occurred, and I made my very first cards. I called them Neter cards and these were all cards that now would be in the Community Suit of my deck because they were all for people. Over the years, and with input from others, this first project eventually evolved into people creating cards in the four suits, symbolizing the Manyness of our Souls, and one card, the Source card, as a symbol for the Oneness of all created forms.

At first I used these cards as a therapeutic tool in clinical support groups; then, because everyone loved creating them and found much inner wisdom through them, I introduced the process into other kinds of community groups. It can still be used as a therapeutic tool by licensed therapists, but it also can be used individually as a spiritual practice and in groups as a transformational ritual.

Liz:  Do you see a specific personality type in the people drawn to SoulCollage®?
Seena: This is an interesting question, and I’ve given it some thought. Actually, if there is a SoulCollage® type, it’s a person who is visual and who is interested in looking inwards at their own Soul. As to the Jungian personality types, there are parts of the process that appeal to introverts, especially the silent and intuitive choosing of images. And there are parts that appeal to extroverts—the speaking aloud from the images. In readings I’ve found that extroverts find it hard to be silent witnesses while introverts find that easy; but then extroverts can go on reading from an image forever. Sensates like sitting and doing the collaging part. Thinkers have to be patient and wait their turn, but it does come after the Feelers have had their time to feel out the energy of an image. Intuitives obviously love most all of it.  So, I would say there is some activity in the process to please all the types, but, at the same time, there is a stretch for what Jung calls our inferior parts that need exercise to grow stronger.

Liz:  Though SoulCollage® has a wide audience, it seems to have a strong appeal to women over 40.  Why is this?
Seen: You’re right about that, thus far in our history. Let me talk about the gender issue first and the age issue second. There is no doubt that women are more naturally drawn to collaging images, and to diving into their inner life to examine and work with it. And women are drawn also to share this inner exploration with others.

Men are usually more externally active, preferring to participate in action sports or watch them. Men like to work with solutions and goals and products that have overt value or significance in their world. Generally they do not want to dive into their inner life issues unless there is a huge reason like a mental or marital problem. Thus, the idea of sitting and collaging images, and then pretending to be the image may seem silly to men. And gatherings to do this in groups might seem a waste of time. Not for all men of course, and men, when they experience SoulCollage®, often are intrigued. It can be as if they just entered an interesting, foreign land.

Part of the reason for the age difference is that the process began with older women (like me!) and so spread most quickly among us. Probably another factor is that women over 40 are no longer chasing little children all over the block, or just trying to break into careers where their masculine aspects must be emphasized and their feminine aspects minimized. At mid-life, there comes a yearning for more time, and a new freedom to be more feminine (not like the ads tell us to be), which is to be creative, intuitive, empathic, collaborative, supportive, noncompetitive, and loving. And also there often is a yearning to explore the inner life so as to find more balance and purpose and happiness. 

I truly believe that we who are doing the process now will reach out to younger women, and also to men as time goes on. SoulCollage® is a practice that can produce changes in the Souls of all people, changes that our world needs right now. In fact, without change towards more heart language, more collaboration and more learning to listen and empathize and imagine, we won’t make it. Young women, especially those who are stepping into leadership positions all over the world, could use this practice. It does not need to be very time-consuming, to honor (alongside their masculine ‘find the solution and act’ aspects), those feminine aspects of their psyches that are so needed to change how we deal with each other and the natural world. And men who come into our community may find help in discovering the value of their own feminine aspects and vital ways to integrate them with their masculine aspects. Let’s see if we who are women over 40 can be inclusive enough to make this happen.

Liz:  As you know, in my own personal SoulCollage® deck, I've added a unique suit to honor one of my life's passions, essential oils.  I call this my Aromatic Suit
Neroli SoulCollage® Card
Liz's Neroli SoulCollage® Card

Each card honors a specific aromatic, the significance it has for me and my personal story with that essential oil as well as it's energetic or therapeutic value.  I use these cards frequently in my work as an Aromatherapist.   What are your thoughts on expanding one's personal deck beyond the standard 4 suits to honor a unique passion?
Seena:  I think this is a fine thing to do as long as each of the oils has a personal significance for you, is a Neter of yours and can speak to you from its special energy. If there were just a couple of oils that were important in your psyche, I would suggest having them in one of the four suits, perhaps as Council archetypes. However, since you are an Aromatherapist and every oil is unique and important in your life story, then a new suit is appropriate.

My problem with adding extra suits to the four basic ones is that it may complicate your deck beyond what is helpful. Sometimes people decide to make a new suit and put in it all the Neters that are traditionally listed in some category, such as the archetypes of the Major Arcana or all the Nine Muses. Doing this gives one’s mind the job of choosing who to include in the deck, and does not leave the choice to the Neters themselves. Each of us is unique as to the collection of Neters that are in our decks, and no external list should dictate our choices.

Sometimes we will recognize the activity of a Neter in our lives… “Aha… that voice was my Advising Self, or that action was from my Warrior archetype, etc” …. and so we set out intentionally to find images and make a card for this Neter. This is perfectly fine too, but the Neter is the one whose energy has alerted us to its presence within our Soul.

Liz:  What advice would you give a SoulCollage® Facilitator who has an individual that regularly meets with a card-making group, enjoys creating the cards but doesn't want to participate in the "inner work" of interpreting the cards, journaling or doing readings?  Is the person still receiving value from the SoulCollage experience?
Seena:   If the person comes regularly, collages cards, listens to others doing their processing, then certainly some inner work is already happening. Resistance to going further with the process is the Neter in charge just now and is to be respected.  Encourage her or him to make cards for all their inner voices that are instructing about when and how to participate. Certainly encourage her to continue. Let him know how valuable to everyone a good listener is.
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Thank you so much Seena for taking the time to answer my questions.  Your new book is fabulous and I can't wait for others to discover the life-changing adventure known as SoulCollage®!

5 comments:

Deb said...

Wow,wow, wow!..So much great info here. I'm reading a book on the blessings of introversion now and am fascinated by it. To read Seena's explanation of the soul collage process is too wonderful. Thanks for sharing Liz. Hope this means we'll see more of your gorgeous soul collage cards soon.

Sue Gelber said...

I love your creative questions, Liz. They sounded inspired by your unique perspective and experience. Thanks for bringing up the Blog Tour "caboose"! It's been a wonderful journey for me. I added your questions to my Blog Tour index. Sue

Lisa said...

This is a wonderful interview! Such unique questions and of course beautiful wisdom from our dear Seena.

The Fragrant Muse said...

Deb: I miss my SC cards as I haven't done one in many months. I have all the images for my Clove Bud Card and was waiting to do a video showing me making the card. Time just gets away, doesn't it?!

Sue: Thank you, it was an honor and a delight to connect with Seena like this.

Lisa: You are so kind! Seena has a grace and wisdom that makes her seem youthful and ancient at the same time.

Andrea Butje said...

Beautiful interview, thanks for sharing. I love your blog!