This is a ten-part series in reviewing and experiencing through art experiential’s, the book by Cathy A. Malchiodi, The Soul’s Palette, the book we are studying in my Intro to Arts and Healing art therapy course.
Chapter 5: Visual Symbols as Messengers, Guides, and Friends
This chapter was a lot of reminding and reaffirming things that I practice or had practiced at some point over the last few years. Having Cherokee heritage in my ancestry and a deep interest in Eastern spiritual modalities that honor ancestors, it was nice to read and learn about different ways that symbols could be utilized in art therapy.
The way the author writes about intuition made me think of it as an entity on its own. In a way, that makes sense, considering many spiritual paths consider the intuition to be the means the Divine alerts the soul, and in turn, the person has answers that are being sought. The story in the section on intention and the crows that kept appearing gave me pause. I had to reflect on ways that intention has benefited me in the past. What really caught my attention was that the body could communicate through drawings. Combining intuition and intention to help bring healing to oneself is exciting.
I decided to try this out. My hands have been in severe pain and while waiting for blood test results, decided to apply what is described for myself and see how effective intuitive drawing is, after setting my intention with communicating with my body. For several days I asked my hands often, why do you hurt? What do you need? I ended up drawing a hand in pain but then switched to a non-dominant hand. I ended up drawing a cockatoo. Looking up the meaning of the cockatoo as a spirit totem, it was on par with something I have been struggling with in my spiritual life. Cockatoo is a spirit guide when needing to overcome the fear of being spiritually free. As I prayed and meditated on this, the pain in my hands went down and I was able to enjoy more in my day after a deeper connection with my higher power.
Art therapy is so much more than what I first thought and this chapter really drove home how important the spirit-mind-body connection really is.