Seasons of a Woman – November Body Map

NOVEMBER – Cailleach (Crone Goddess)

by TFC

My Body Map Story

 

 

Cailleach (Crone Goddess)

 

When four women gathered around me and drew my body outline I noticed I fell into a deep attentional space. With this I became aware as I sat back that the outline of my body perplexed me. I sat and sat and stared and felt the panic arise. These outer edges were shapeless and heavy. I couldn’t begin. Slowly I became aware of the pulsating sensations of the aliveness of my skin calling me to find a way to express them. It wasn’t until the end of the first day that the urge to use glitter appeared.

 

The prickly, protective nature of the glitter material bulked me out like a protective layer. I wondered at this…what needed protecting? At the same time I observed I felt no resonance with the inside of my body. It seemed empty. As I acknowledged this, a strong feeling of panic arose in me. In a flurry I drew internal organs in an attempt to make the internal body look ‘normal’ and found to my surprise that I produced a ‘most beautiful yoni’[1] (as it had been described by a workshop participant).

[1] Sanskrit literal meaning ‘womb’ or vagina.

However, on returning home I found myself physically removing this ‘most beautiful yoni’ from my map. I noticed that I could not relate to this place without a strong sense of ambiguity arising in my body in a push/pull quality. This place felt dangerous. I felt perplexed and knew viscerally that this danger was not connected to my personal history.

 

It was three months later that I came to know it as seated instead in my ancestral history. When the BBC news reported a most heinous crime against women and children (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-27681076) I knew immediately this was part of my own history. I now began, for the first time in my life to get in touch with the origin of the danger I can feel around being a woman.

 

The news reported that 800 bodies of babies and children were found unburied in a home run by nuns in Tuam, Ireland. They had died between 1925 and 1961 in this place where unmarried mothers were incarcerated during pregnancy. My mother lived close by. She herself had become pregnant outside wedlock in 1957 and had to move to London.

 

My grandmother in Ireland on the other hand had married young and had nine children. Each week for 18 years she turned up for Mass at different stages of pregnancy and was told by the priest that she was a ‘blessed woman’.

 

I could feel my anger pulsate somatically in and through my skin caused by the hypocrisy of incarcerating unmarried mothers whilst calling my grandmother ‘blessed’.

Also a mysterious truth awoke in me; I knew somatically the trauma of incarceration or impregnation as if I had undergone the injustices myself. It seems that I have always been able to be with both my grandmother and mother’s experience.

 

This process has awoken Cailleach in me, the Irish Crone Goddess of pagan times who existed long before the madness of the theocratic Catholic Irish State. Her deep energy is part of my heritage too; just from further back. She is known to bring light and life just as darkness seems to be winning; she births feminine knowing stirring the earth’s womb and inspiring hope. I hold her close to me and listen as she speaks. I have now been able to place my ‘most beautiful yoni’ back in place and, in doing so, I notice the glitter veneer begins to fall away as the sense of danger subsides in me as a deeper connection with the feminine arrives.

 

 

 Women Glow

In near history

I was incarcerated when pregnant

Or

Impregnated every ovulation

Women cannot glow here

This ancestral trauma passes down

But

My rage lights up deeper truths

I am also the ancient Cailleach

Mother of all tribes

I roam with dagger in hand

Keeping all humanity safe

Peace and spiritual wisdom reappears

I stay vigilant

My body pulsates as

Women glow

To the Om of the universe.

 

 

 

Seasons of a Woman – October Body Map

OCTOBER – Transfiguration

by Natasha S

My Body Map Story

 

 

Transfiguration |ˌtransfɪgəˈreɪʃ(ə)n,ˌtrɑːns-,-gjʊr-,-nz-| noun

A complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state: ‘in this light the junk undergoes a transfiguration; it shines.’

 

I began my body map process a few days before my 38th birthday and I returned nine months later to complete it. My life was in a significant period of change, grief and loss.

 

My father had recently passed away and I was in the early stages of separation from my husband of 15 years. I was also attempting to create new work for myself, one that would support my life with my three daughters as I had just lost my job, too.

 

Despite the ‘future dread’ thinking that plagued me I strangely knew, even though I felt scared, I was not afraid. In fact, I felt more awake amongst the pain of all the uncertainty than I had felt in a long time. At least more honest. I wanted to explore this sense in myself further.

 

I found refuge in the workshop that first weekend. It was a sacred space for us all. Connecting with the other women helped me reflect on the many stages of life unique to the feminine experience we go through.  I felt challenged to be true to myself. I noticed my own silent ways of self-betrayal and people pleasing habits. This led me to explore a more authentic place of self worth, with curiosity of who I am and, more importantly, how I would like to show up for myself now.

 

The process of working with our bodies, our themes, and the materials increased my flow of creative energy. I felt a fluid connection between my thoughts feelings and actions whilst creating my body map. All the stories of my body, just seemed to unfold and it became a very precious conversation for me.

 

Every fingerprint of paint became a new discovery of who I am, as did every colour, every texture and every curve. My hair felt like a mane of power untamed, released and free. I could feel my energy moving, shifting around, even dancing around inside my body. I felt vibrant within and I understood why I wasn’t afraid. I was, in fact, excited. My life was changing shape but so was I.

 

I began with the word ‘Transition’ to describe my current life. At the end of the workshop a new and unfamiliar word came to me: ‘Transfiguration’. I later discover its meaning (see title).

 

In the following nine months, my life continued to change and I welcomed the experience even when I felt scared and challenged.

 

When I returned to my body map during a second workshop I was drawn to the outer space and my map took on another layer of meaning. Most intriguing and life affirming for me was the golden shadow that literally appeared in the process. She is my reminder I am not alone on this journey, even when I think I am. At completion, I understood I was ready to move forward:

 

Ready to be in the world, and ready to leap and live fully as I am.

Seasons of a Woman – September Body Map

SEPTEMBER – Sculptured Integration, Renewal and Female Power

by Laura Forman

My Body Map Story

Introduction

I came to Body Mapping through a growing awareness of the power of working with my body in many ways, to heal and liberate by looking at creative ways of discovering the language of the body.

 

Over twenty years ago I came across a chapter, ‘The Body’s Poetics of Illness’, in Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore. This marked the beginning of my lifelong exploration, a creative, poetic dialogue with my often painful symptoms, encompassing and uncovering the forgotten. Often this process revealed early trauma and pain.

 

I embarked on the first session in order to consciously begin and embrace a new transition as a woman, coming in to the elder chapter with the changes and ending of menses and the beginning of a new phase.

 

Process & places

This body map came into being over two weekend workshops separated by a period of six months. The first was during the month of November, which mirrored my entering the winter season of age, as I prepared to enter my 50th year. This time in a woman’s life offers her tremendous change – physiological, spiritual and cultural. Life invites us to be conscious. Being present to the body in the midst of such potent change is tremendously enlivening, and for me there is sorrow and loss too.

 

From the beginning, body mapping helped reveal my deeply held patterns of illness – shown in the central area of the body map, the throat area and the head. Working with the other women in the group was integral to its creation and form, through my connecting with their reflections and where they each were in their own lives and bodies. The intimacy of having the outline of your body drawn with care by another is a wonderful way of being reminded of your interdependence and connectivity.

 

These early creations on the map brought alive my symptoms of nausea, headache, vomiting, collapse and feeling overwhelmed, which connected to my having been in a coma for three weeks as a small child. It was very powerful for me to transmit myself onto the map and find self-expression through different forms and textures. At first, I created the interior of my head with white netting, nails, and sharp pine needles. On having the map erected, to view as a mirror reflection, elements of it fell away to the floor, including a clay circle in the throat, a red piece of wire being the last of my blood and the full interior of the head leaving emptiness. What fell away was significant. And it is still unknown to me.

 

I hung the Body Map on my bedroom wall, and left it there for six months allowing dreams and visions to arise, as well as time to be with the emptiness, the incompleteness. As I increasingly recognised this incompleteness, I greatly welcomed the opportunity to continue with the map. This follow-on time was in May – Spring, the time of new life emerging. I felt a different energy, a new emergence, and connection with the map. I spent much of my time integrating the whole body map, with delicate pale pink paint providing a connection to its different parts and giving an interior to the whole. I felt a strong desire to bring a sense of connection and form to the inner and outer worlds. The heart area took new form, as did the head area.

 

Interestingly, I brought back the original netting, the original interior of the head that had fallen away, and used this as an element integral to yet separate from the map. I found myself adding new elements, softening it a little with paper and painting the paper.

 

Living the body Map

I spent some time towards the end of the second body map session just being with the map, quietly contemplating the integration I had achieved, my sense of renewal and power and movement. Since returning home with the map I have looked at it only a couple of times. The headaches and sickness seem to have lessened. I believe I have more to share and it is still unfolding.

 

Message to the world

Whoever looks upon this: Where does your eye travel? What do you see? Does the map find you?

 

All our internal maps are unique and beautiful, they never stay the same. They are lost and renewed at different times of our lives, just as the rivers and mountains change with the passing millennia, or as man carves his way into the earth for some purpose.

 

Trust what is revealed and speak to it.

Read the introduction to Season of a Women for understand what this exhibition is all about >

Seasons of a Woman Exhibition Introduction

Seasons of a Woman has grown out of the past two years of body mapping with many gifted women.  It opens at the Red Earth Studio this September.

12 Women & 12 Months

Mapping the Seasons of our Bodies and Lives

 

This exhibition brings together 12 women, our body maps and our stories of dropping deeper into the landscape of our bodies and lives. To take stock, to discover anew, to unearth the old.

Each woman’s body map depicts a moment in time, often at the threshold to another phase in her life. It has been created over one or several weekends through a process that combines body meditation, movement, touch and art making in an intimate circle of women.

What unfolds collectively is the ever present cycle of coming to life, blossoming, maturing, dying and rebirthing. The art works and stories – exhibited one by one over the course of one year – beautifully reveal what it means to be living this cycle in and through our bodies.

Month after month, season after season.

 

I will be posting the first Body Map soon.

Please return soon to see the wonderful work.

Walking your own Path – Monthly Series 2014/15

October 2014 – July 2015

new cycle starts in October 2015 – dates out soon!

A Monthly Series For Creative Arts and Body-Centred Psychotherapists starting out (again)

This closed and intimate group is for creative and body-centred psychotherapists who are starting out or changing direction on their path as practitioners.  A series of monthly three-hour sessions (1st Wednesday of the month, 10am – 1pm) offer the opportunity to stay deeply connected to your inner knowing and calling as you step out from formal training and/or former work patterns.

Continue reading

Body Mapping Mentorship 2014/15

September 2014 – June 2015

 

The Body Mapping Mentorship is a 9 month program to guide, inspire and support you as you integrate Body Mapping into your work as a therapist or artist.  Through three weekend retreats in Bristol and two one-to-one sessions over the phone or skype you will develop your particular way of body mapping within the context of your own project or on-going work.

Continue reading

Body Mapping Intensive – 26th & 27th July 2014

26th & 27th July 2014, 10am-5.30pm Sat & Sun

COMING TO FULL BLOOM INSIDE

For Women Only

Body Mapping is a creative therapeutic process that allows you to feel into and creatively communicate the stories that you live in your body.  It involves creating a life-size representation of your body on canvas and using images, symbols, objects/natural materials and words to map out different living places in you:  Places that are full of life, places that pain, and places that hold hope and potential for the future.  In the process of creating the body map you will discover new links between these places in you and gain a deeper understanding of your own power to create health within you and through your way of living in this world.

This Summer Intensive is designed for women only and takes place in an intimate and confidential group setting (2-4 participants). The small size of the group makes it possible for each woman to fully take her place and space whilst being safely held and accompanied during her personal explorations and discoveries.  The focus will be on cherishing our unique expressions of full-bodied life as women.

The Intensive interweaves drawing, painting and sculpting with body work, movement and personal story telling. No previous skills in art making are required. Gentle care and sensitive attention is given to the small and big things that move and shine through us.  I also hold with warmth and confidence those experiences that are stored with pain or lack of feeling in your body.  The process allows for the landscape of your lived body to become more visible, more accessible and more meaningful.  It enables you to gain a new perspective on old habits and difficulties, deeply appreciate your creative power, and celebrate what flourishes in and through you.

Completion of this workshop also allows participants to apply for the 9-month long Body Mapping Mentorship starting in September 2014.

Workshop Fee:  £170 (£80 deposit), inclusive of art materials and coffee break.  Please bring your own lunch or use one of the cafes along Stokes Croft.

For further information please see the Body Mapping page

To register and pay deposit please contact me

Body Mapping Intensive – 12th & 13th July 2014

12th & 13th July 2014, 10am-5.30pm Sat & Sun

COMING TO FULL BLOOM INSIDE

For Women Only

Body Mapping is a creative therapeutic process that allows you to feel into and creatively communicate the stories that you live in your body.  It involves creating a life-size representation of your body on canvas and using images, symbols, objects/natural materials and words to map out different living places in you:  Places that are full of life, places that pain, and places that hold hope and potential for the future.  In the process of creating the body map you will discover new links between these places in you and gain a deeper understanding of your own power to create health within you and through your way of living in this world.

This Summer Intensive is designed for women only and takes place in an intimate and confidential group setting (2-4 participants). The small size of the group makes it possible for each woman to fully take her place and space whilst being safely held and accompanied during her personal explorations and discoveries.  The focus will be on cherishing our unique expressions of full-bodied life as women.

The Intensive interweaves drawing, painting and sculpting with body work, movement and personal story telling. No previous skills in art making are required. Gentle care and sensitive attention is given to the small and big things that move and shine through us.  I also hold with warmth and confidence those experiences that are stored with pain or lack of feeling in your body.  The process allows for the landscape of your lived body to become more visible, more accessible and more meaningful.  It enables you to gain a new perspective on old habits and difficulties, deeply appreciate your creative power, and celebrate what flourishes in and through you.

Completion of this workshop also allows participants to apply for the 9-month long Body Mapping Mentorship starting in September 2014.

Workshop Fee:  £170 (£80 deposit), inclusive of art materials and coffee break.  Please bring your own lunch or use one of the cafes along Stokes Croft.

For further information please see the Body Mapping page

To register and pay deposit please contact me

Body Mapping Intensive – May 2014

10th & 11th May 2014, 10am-5.30pm Sat & Sun

UNFOLDING AGAIN – BODY MAPPING IN CYCLES

 

For Participants with Body Mapping Experience

Body Mapping is a creative therapeutic process that allows you to feel into and creatively communicate the stories that you live in your body.  It involves creating a life-size representation of your body on canvas and using images, symbols, objects/natural materials and words to map out different living places in you:  Places that are full of life, places that pain, and places that hold hope and potential for the future.  In the process of creating the body map you will discover new links between these places in you and gain a deeper understanding of your own power to create health within you and through your way of living in this world.

This Deepening Intensive is designed for women who have previously created a body map and would like to continue the process.  The workshop takes place in an intimate and confidential group setting (2-4 participants) which makes it possible for each woman to fully take her place and space whilst being safely held and accompanied during her personal explorations and discoveries.  The focus will be on entering the evolving and cyclical landscape of our feminine body.

The workshop interweaves drawing, painting and sculpting with body work, movement and personal story telling. Gentle care and sensitive attention is given to the small and big things that move us – then, now, and again and again. I also continue to hold with warmth and confidence those experiences that are stored with pain or lack of feeling in your body.  The process of continued body mapping allows you to sink deeper into the landscape of your lived body and discover its different seasons.  It enables you to gain a longer-term perspective on habits and difficulties and to marvel at your body’s innate wisdom which generates change over time.

Workshop Fee:  £170 (£80 deposit), inclusive of art materials and coffee break.  Please bring your own lunch or use one of the cafes along Stokes Croft.

For further information please see the Body Mapping page

To register and pay deposit please contact me

Body Mapping Intensive – March 2014

29th & 30th March 2014, 10am-5.30pm Sat & Sun

NURTURING THE NEW LIFE WITHIN

For Women Only

Body Mapping is a creative therapeutic process that allows you to feel into and creatively communicate the stories that you live in your body.  It involves creating a life-size representation of your body on canvas and using images, symbols, objects/natural materials and words to map out different living places in you:  Places that are full of life, places that pain, and places that hold hope and potential for the future.  In the process of creating the body map you will discover new links between these places in you and gain a deeper understanding of your own power to create health within you and through your way of living in this world.

This Spring Intensive is designed for women only and takes place in an intimate and confidential group setting (2-4 participants). The small size of the group makes it possible for each woman to fully take her place and space whilst being safely held and accompanied on her unique journey.  The focus will be on nurturing the new life that we as women can bring into this world.

The workshop interweaves drawing, painting and sculpting with body work, movement and personal story telling. No previous skills in art making are required. Gentle care and sensitive attention is given to the small and big things that move us.  I also hold with warmth and confidence those experiences that are stored with pain or lack of feeling in your body.  The process allows for the landscape of your body to become more visible, more accessible and more meaningful.  It enables you to gain a new perspective on old habits and difficulties, deeply appreciate your creative power, and to follow what wants to grow.

Completion of this Intensive also allows participants to apply for the 9-month long Body Mapping Mentorship starting in September 2014.

Workshop Fee:  £170 (£80 deposit), inclusive of art materials and coffee break.  Please bring your own lunch or use one of the cafes along Stokes Croft.

For further information please see the Body Mapping page

To register and pay deposit please contact me

Contact Annette

mail@annetteschwalbe.co.uk
01373 812091
07598 937204

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