Monday, January 01, 2007

Soul Collage

Tinker mentioned Soul Collage in her welcome comment on this blog. I ordered it immediately, I didn't look at any websites or blogs first; I just felt it was appropriate, and despite coming from a marketplace seller in the US who ships here (UK) and over Christmas it came before I had a chance to blog here again!

The process is actually called SoulCollage® with that registered trade-mark symbol required when using its proper name. So in general I'll just call it Soul Collage.

It has a website - and there are quite a few blogs that are either dedicated to it or that include them in passing, here are some:
And other websites:
Soul Collage cards come from the less conscious parts of ourselves. They are created through collage, sometimes directed towards a purpose and other times in a spirit of exploration.

The main system is based on four suits:
  1. Committee
  2. Community
  3. Companion
  4. Council
Plus a single Oneness card

The Committee cards are meant to be where one creates images of one's inner personalities - for instance most of us have an inner critic and an inner child in one or more guises, etc. It also allows for those parts which not everyone will have - for instance an inner writer, an inner athlete, etc. This is potentially a very large suit!

The Community cards are intended to be places where our outer influences are given images. Friends, pets and others who have had an impact on us. This could also be a big suit.

Companion cards are animal totems associated with each chakra. So for most people this suit would have 7 cards in it.

Council cards are for the archetypes which influence us most. In the tarot these are the 22 cards in the major arcana. One of the joys of this system is that there is no fixed set, no fixed number.

Cards can be made without knowing which suit they will belong to beforehand.

The way that Soul Collage cards are normally made is by collecting images from magazines and then collaging onto a chosen size of card - for instance 5" by 7". It is suggested that each suit, once assigned to a card, is given a different backing using wrapping paper.

My first impression is that this is a very inspiring way to make a personal deck. It is very much in line with what I've been doing with my weekly mixed media collages. It frees one from having to have any set numbers of cards (except perhaps for chakra cards). And there are already people out there working in this way. It seems that most decks do get to be as numerous as standard tarot decks and their variations.

My grumbles about it are these:

I do wish the 4 main suits didn't all sound so alike - Committee, Community, Companions and Council.

I need to think more about the Companions - I certainly have more than 7! Indeed some of my favourite non-tarot cards are collections of (non-animal) companions - for instance the Australian Bush Flower Cards. I also work with chakras beyond 1-7... and have done for years.

The word Neter is used where I'd be inclined to call it Essence or Spirit. Having worked with flower essences etc I've got very used to interacting with energies in this way. I do appreciate the idea of keeping each card's energy pure. That seems very important to me.

I am concerned about publishing straight-forward collage here. I rarely blog my collages unless I've manipulated them so much that their constituent images are no longer recognisable. The book says:
Should an artist recognise an original image of his or hers on a card shown in this book, we want to assure that artist that the SoulCollage cards are not made for resale, and that the recycled image is being cherished.
All very well, but those images are being published in a book and on a website. The book at least is being sold, as are workshops. And the inventor of all this, Seena B. Frost, has obviously seen it as necessary to protect her own interests with all this registered trade mark stuff... this all makes me uneasy.

I'm happy to use found images in my private work (and already do) but am much less happy to publish the work made using them in anyway.

Yesterday I worked on three images. (I'm doing all mine using digital glue - a lot less messy!) I've printed them out but will only blog one here as the other two are still too clearly a collection of other people's images. For me this is a sign that they are not yet finished.

I've decided on a format of 5x7 inches. This makes for very big cards compared to my normal decks. I expect that I will print out a smaller set that is more shufflable later.


Anonymous said...

Very comprehensive & interesting post on SoulCollage. How I do agree with you about her use of Neter - I tend to see that as Inner Essence, or Spirit too.

I also get uneasy about publishing work these days that obviously include other people's images. Sometimes unavoidable, I think. I'm intrigued that you are digitally altering your cards, a process that I enjoy too. But somehow for me the cutting and pasting of images for the SoulCollage cards seems a vital element of the process. I guess we all work differently, and I'll be interested to see how you get on.

Linda x

Caroline said...

linda - thanks - it felt appropriate to review SoulCollage here.

I cut out images and play with them - its just the paste part that I do digitally once I've scanned them. I love making "real" collages but for the last year or so I've really got into digital versions - its currently very much my medium.

Thanks for returning my visit to your blog!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're enjoying the Soul Collage process. Strangely, though I've been visiting Imelda (Greenish Lady) and Tammy's sites, as well as the actual SoulCollage (R) site (sorry I don't have the registered trademark symbol on my keyboard, so this will just have to do), for quite some time - I'm a bit embarrassed to admit - I have yet to read the book! Something I intend to remedy in the near future.

Caroline said...

Tinker - maybe the call of the cards hasn't quite reached you yet... though if / when it does I know you'll find them both fun and amazing.

Alison Bradley said...

I can speak to using other people's images as we spoke in length about at our SoulCollage(R) facilitator training....
If you wish to publish the images you use, try keeping your camera with you and using some of the photos you've taken. Also you can purchase stock images through various websites so that you own the right to use the image in a public way. In Seena Frost's lastest version of her book she has made sure to do as I've listed above so that she didn't get into issues with publishing other people's work.

Caroline said...

Alison - glad that this use of others images is being taken seriously. Thank you for commenting.

I take photos all the time and I also publish quite a lot of them with creative commons licenses that allow them to be used with manipulation for non-commercial purposes on Flickr...

But its funny how my work goes in phases... I've a feeling it may be time for Soul Collage again soon (well probably later this year)... especially since I've had an important change in my chakra 3 guardian... but as yet no appropriate pictures and this is one I think will present itself to me to photograph when the time is right!