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Intuition and the Sacred Imagination:
The Dance of Co-creation

by Dana Reynolds

"You say God speaks to you, but it’s only your imagination." These are the words spoken by the inquisitor to Joan of Arc during her trial for heresy.

"How else would God speak to me, if not through my imagination?" Joan replied.

You know the story of Saint Joan and her visions and voices that led her to victory for France several hundred years ago. Her sacred imagination was the fertile field where her human self journeyed to co-create with her intuition and Divine inspiration. The marriage of her ingenuity combined with her rapt devotion to her intuition changed the course of history.

You are also blessed with the potential to join forces with the infinite wisdom and guidance of the Universe. When you combine your intuitive urges with your unlimited potential for creative expression, you have the opportunity to birth new projects, innovations, and ways of living authentically. If intuition is the voice of the soul, the sacred imagination and creativity are the hands of the soul. Intuition delivers guidance from spirit. Creativity transforms spirit into tangible form.

Intuition is born in a place of mystery—--a place between your heart and soul beyond the psyche and the calculation of left-brain thinking. It sometimes whispers and occasionally shouts to your senses inviting you to a dance of co-creation. This is a dance of trust.

When intuition calls, you are being invited to embrace the message and take action through your creativity and sacred imagination. You may not immediately understand what your intuition is telling you, but art making offers a way to crack the code imbedded within the message. Setting the intention to engage and to dialogue with intuition through creative exploration will lead you to places of discovery and innovation. This is the dance of co-creation. The partners are spirit and matter.

I was invited to co-create with my intuition three years ago while I was preparing to leave for a long overdue vacation. It was a frenetic day. There were plants to water, errands to run, and suitcases to pack. All morning as I ran from one task to the next, I was plagued by an urgent recurring message being broadcast from that mysterious place between my heart and soul. "Create a collage to represent fire." The messenger delivering this bizarre request was relentless. The messenger was my intuition.

I felt anxious and annoyed by this intrusion while at the same time I had a growing perception that I shouldn’t ignore it. With an intense sense of urgency I stopped my whirlwind of chores, made a sandwich for sustenance, and went to my office to give the inner voice what it had been asking for. The following two hours were spent searching my collection of books and magazines for just the right images to express the power and mystery of the element of fire. After cutting and pasting the various pieces together the collage was complete. I stared at it with relief and curiosity. Relieved that I had silenced the nagging messenger, and curious about the actual meaning of the composite image I had created.

I returned to the busyness of the day but my preoccupation with thoughts of fire continued. I contemplated how I would escape and quickly grab cherished photographs and journals if there were a fire in our home. I thought of the horror endured by those souls who were burned at the stake in medieval times. My mind even wandered to the wonder and hypnotically romantic beauty of a beach bon-fire on a summer’s evening. Throughout the entire day it seemed as if fire and I were engaged in a mystical dialogue.

That night I finished my packing and finally stepped into my p.j.s. It was then that my intuitive voice came calling again. "There will be a fire. You will be okay."

The tone of the communiqué was matter of fact, not alarming but informational and reassuring. I was exhausted and eager to go to bed, knowing I needed to be awake very early to make a morning airline departure.

I remember falling asleep effortlessly that night. My dreams seemed fragmented and chaotic so when I heard the distant sirens I thought they were part of my dreamtime. The sound grew closer and louder, calling me to consciousness from my nightly journeying. When I opened my eyes I was alarmed to find my bedroom washed in a soft orange flickering glow. My senses were instantly charged by the view from my bedroom window of towering flames and the smell of smoke that wafted in like an unwelcome visitor. Across the street on the adjacent block a neighbor’s home was burning to the ground. A tragic occurrence, but fortunately the occupants were away and no one was injured. We live in a heavily wooded area. It was a very foggy windless night so the forest was spared and the neighborhood was miraculously protected.

It wasn’t until the fire was extinguished, and I was in the shower saying prayers of gratitude for safe-keeping that I received the jolt of remembering the collage I made the day before, and the intuitive message before bedtime. I was stunned. How could I have had inklings of this event? Was there something I might have done with the information I had received before the fire? I was filled with awe and confusion. Intuition often confounds us while providing guidance and direction simultaneously.

Several days later, seeking wisdom and counsel I called a dear friend, Christina Baldwin. Christina is the author of Calling the Circle and a consummate wise woman. I shared my story and angst with her and she replied, "Your collage was a visual prayer." She went on to explain that she believed I had somehow tuned into a frequency advertising the impending fire. Christina believed that the creation of the collage was a response to my intuitive guidance through creativity. This in no way magically protected me or my home, but rather my art-making created an energetic intuitive field heightening my awareness. The intention to dance, to engage, and to co-create with my intuition led me to a deeper exploration of the internal messages themselves.

Because of my day-long dance with fire, I was prepared for conscious action in the event of imminent danger. If the fire had spread, causing me to evacuate my home, my head would have been clear to collect the few precious possessions I had categorized earlier in the day. I even had a mental map of my escape options. I had been readied by my intuition for the possibility of such a traumatic event. My intuitive/co-creative interaction with the concept of fire had centered and equipped me for the happening itself. It wasn’t until months later that the deeper spiritual meaning of the experience would emerge—a new inspiration and direction for my life’s work.

As a result of this singular intuitive experience, visual prayer, has become a central focus of my writing and my workshop/program development for women. Visual prayer has grown to include not only collage, but any visual creative expression that is rooted in the intention for deeper spiritual understanding, or a desire for healing/transformation. Creating altars and devotional spaces, art making, gardening, arranging touchstones with intention, all of these things and more are visual prayers.

The encounter my intuition and sacred imagination experienced with fire, led me to create workshop experiences to share the gift I had been given. The gift was an understanding that the integration of creative energy with intuitive guidance holds the potential to enrich soulful living, initiate healing, and facilitate transformation.

Intuition, the frequency my friend Christina referred to, is not some obscure ethereal vibration available only to those who possess special psychic abilities. Rather it is a constant source of wisdom and guidance from within available to anyone who is open to sacred mystery and discovery. Listening and awareness are the dials for tuning in to our inner radios. When an intuitive message is received your sacred imagination offers you a myriad of possibilities for expressing the information you have been given. The additional spiritual component is the choice, the free will, to accept the invitation to begin the co-creative dance or to refuse it.

Consider how history would have been written if Saint Joan hadn’t listened to her voices, trusted her intuition, and called forth her creativity to save her country. Intuition and the Divine spoke to her and she responded through her sacred imagination.

The next time you hear your inner voice offering guidance, nudging you here, inviting you there, step into the mystery and join the dance. Call on your sacred imagination and let the music begin.

Copyright© 2000 Dana Reynolds. 

For ten years, Dana Reynolds has been facilitating women’s spiritual presentations and retreats nationwide. Her work as a Spiritual Midwife, one who assists women as they birth their creative gifts into the world, is the foundation of all her endeavors. Her background as a visual artist and writer enriches her Spiritual Midwifery: Birthing the Feminine Soul workshops.

As the creator of an art making process known as visual prayer, Dana teaches women how to combine ritual with sacred intention to create altars, collages, spirit dolls, and other touchstones. The creation of sacred spaces is also paramount to the Spiritual Midwifery experience. Her web-site http://www.sacredimagination.com offers samplings of her visual prayer collages, poetry, and a workshop catalogue.

Dana is the author of the whimsical and colorfully illustrated book, Be An Angel, a co-creation with illustrator and graphic designer, Karen Blessen, (Simon & Schuster). Her essay, Visual Prayers is included in the anthology, Our Turn, Our Time: Women Coming of Age, edited by Cynthia Black, (Beyond Words Publishing).

A trained labyrinth facilitator, Dana incorporates the labyrinth and other spiritual wisdom into her retreats and workshops. She recently traveled to Chartres and Vezelay Cathedrals in France to gather information pertaining to ancient sacred mystical traditions. She currently lectures on such topics as spiritual midwifery, sacred journal keeping, feminine spiritual wisdom, and the early Christian women saints and mystics.

Dana’s life follows the spiral path from rim to center and back again. She looks for the sacred in forgotten places and openly embraces the great Mystery of life. Guiding women to the discovery of their creative inner gifts is the passion that fuels her soul.


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