month marks the debut of a monthly column by Dana
Reynolds, a visionary Spiritual Midwife, who devotes
herself to helping women birth their creative gifts
into the world. We're very pleased to have her
joining our Soulful Living Community!
"Sacred Spaces Invite the
Muses of the Soul"
For the past ten years I have
been repeatedly awestruck by the creations birthed from
the sacred imaginations of the women who have attended
my workshops and retreats. Sacred imagination is that
place where the intention in your heart and soul meets a
Divine spark of inspiration. This marriage of Divine
inspiration and holy intention results in the conception
and birthing of sacred expression in a myriad of forms
from gardening to quilting, making altars, collages, and
creating sacred spaces.
Initially in our women’s
circles, however, there is always some degree of fear
and trepidation expressed when we begin to talk about
creating sacred art.
"I’m not an artist."
"I’m not creative…"
These are the deep-rooted
feelings of many women stemming from inappropriate
signals delivered by teachers, parents/individuals, and
cultural programming at various times throughout our
lives. Giving ourselves permission to explore our sacred
imaginations is the first step to birthing creative
expressions beyond our imaginings.
The second step is to
create a sacred space in preparation for what will be
birthed. Contemplate the way a baby’s room is made
ready before the baby arrives. For the mother-to-be this
place that was just a room before being transformed into
the nursery, has become a sacred place of anticipation
and dreaming of the new life that will arrive soon. As
women anticipating and dreaming of birthing our creative
gifts, we too need sacred spaces, dream chambers,
altars, as safe containers for our creative laboring.
Several weeks ago, I knew it
was time to create sacred space in my courtyard garden.
I have always dreamed of having an outdoor meditative
space where I can sit and journal and dialogue with my
muses. To be in the garden with the flowers and birds
and God’s creation is to me a holy event. My sacred
imagination is fueled by nature. When June arrives to
the central coast of California one is naturally drawn
out of doors.
My friend, Susan, was visiting
from Houston. Her sacred imagination is alive and
thriving and she inspired me to begin the creation of a
stone labyrinth in a corner of the courtyard. Space did
not allow for a labyrinth large enough to walk upon, so
we made the outer circle for a labyrinth that will serve
as a focus for meditation.
Susan gifted me with beautiful
slate blue river stones from a local quarry and together
we formed the outer circle. When Susan returned to
Houston, I completed the labyrinth pattern based on the
labyrinth sacred geometry of the Chartres Cathedral
labyrinth in France. The process was mystical and
blessed with birdsong and the fragrance of lavender and
rosemary from the garden. I say it was mystical because
the design is very complex and at times I felt guided by
unseen hands as I placed stone beside stone to create
the intricate pathways.
The labyrinth is next to a
shrine honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Divine
Feminine. These two sacred symbols side by side remind
me of my pilgrimage to Chartres two summers ago. A time
filled with spirit and ecstasy. This little corner of my
courtyard is now Mary’s Garden.
Click to see full-size image.
I go there periodically
throughout the day. Sometimes in the early morning to
meditate and write in my journal. Often I go there to
eat my lunch or to take a break from my writing. It’s
a wonderful place to co-create with the Divine as I make
sketches of future projects or simply daydream while
contemplating the labyrinth.
Bonnie, a kindred spirit and
member of my women’s circle had her sacred imagination
stirred by the sight of the meditation labyrinth.
"Sticks," she said excitedly. "We could
paint and decorate long walking sticks to move along the
labyrinth path." She has inspired a future project
for our circle, a way we can actually walk the labyrinth
even though it is to small for us to physically explore
it as a footpath. Sacred spaces are holy places that
Today, begin to think of where
in your living space you might create a place for
birthing your dreams, visions, and visual prayers.
Before we can begin to manifest our creativity into
tangible form, we must have a place to explore our ideas
and space for breathing life into them.
If creating a sacred space
feels like a big step, perhaps you would like to create
a meditation garden bowl as a place for birthing ideas
through your sacred imagination.
Purchase a large terra cotta
saucer from your local nursery and a bag of
"play" sand. Gather your favorite stones,
shells, and twigs. Place a large stone in the bottom of
the saucer to cover the hole and fill the bowl with
sand. Arrange the shells, rocks, and twigs. You may also
want to insert a small shallow container to fill with
water. Other optional additions could include a votive
candle, fresh flowers, crystals, and other touchstones.
Imagine your bowl garden as a
place you can walk through. Each time you go there
rearrange the stones as shells and other elements as a
meditation. Invite your creative self to meander the
tiny pathways and to dive into the pool of imagining.
You might also enjoy creating a miniature labyrinth from
small pebbles. This very special sacred space may prove
to become one of your favorite summertime places.
Reading about other women’s
sacred spaces and studying images of art and creations
born from a soulful place and sealed with intention, are
ways to initiate and stimulate our own individual
Consider this column to be a
well of inspiration for your sacred imagination.
In the months ahead Sacred Imagination will offer
suggestions for projects and creations to ignite your
imaginative fire. Each month this column will also
feature a story by a woman who through her sacred
imagination is enriching her life and the lives of
others. The Sacred Imagination Gallery will display
images of the featured artist’s creations.
My prayer is that the world
will someday be filled with beauty and creativity at
every turn. May we reclaim the ancient people’s ways
of crafting and sacred ritual. May we also invent new
forms of expression never before imagined. The sacred
imagination is a field of unlimited potential. Explore
your creativity and welcome your muses. You will be
blessed with gifts for your soul.
invited to submit your story and accompanying
photos to be considered as a feature for the Sacred
Imagination column. E-mail me at email@example.com
Copyright© 2000 Dana
Imagination’s Story of the Month
This month our story comes from
Connie Wiggins of Lake Forest, Illinois. Connie is a
seeker of truth, journeyer, pilgrim, and creator of
sacred art and fabric. You can e-mail Connie at firstname.lastname@example.org
to learn more about her unique fabric/art-making
What is my soul whispering ever
so softly as I hurriedly run through life? How can I
create a sacred sanctuary that will nurture, encourage
and protect my soul’s metamorphosis and birthing of
its gifts into the world? Living into these questions
has been the essence of the past three years of my
From that ever-hungering place
of holy longing, I was led to the experience of
labyrinth walking. A spiritual tool for connecting mind,
body and soul through meditative walking, and a sacred
container for the Divine. The labyrinth swept me into
mystery and metaphor that seemed to whisper a symphony
to my soul. This sacred spiritual tool beckoned me on a
pilgrimage to France, in search of the Divine Feminine
and Divine Mother. The slow metamorphosis of my soul
began a spiraling journey inward. A wild, rhythmic world
full of surprise, mystery, imagination and creativity
opened ever so gently and allowed a ray of light to
shine within. My soul longed and hungered to connect to
the deepest feminine essence of myself and open to the
healing touch and nurturing of Mary, Divine Mother.
Images of Mary were collected and stored in a sacred
container and surrounded by a shroud of mystery… WHY.
Click to see full-size image.
When I returned from France I
was inspired to create sacred space in my home. My home
was becoming a physical container for soul and body to
feel nurtured and held through the continuing inward
journey. Altars were created to reflect my sacred
intentions and journey with Mary. Her presence entered
the sacred space of my home and became deeply implanted
in my heart and soul.
My eternal echoing of soul’s
longing was searching for the company of women to share
this journey. The seeking led to Wellstreams, a local
spirituality center for women. This sacred space became
a container to birth all the many images of Mary and
soon became a creative expression of her on cloth.
Click to see full-size image.
On May 8, 2000 I was invited to
create an altar to honor Mary, woman who has deeply
impacted women throughout her story. Mary along with
several other chosen women were celebrated because of
the profound legacy they left to all women. The
altar I created drew me into a labyrinth of creativity
and immersed my senses into a living breathing
experience of Mary’s presence.
Fabric, trimmings, images were
a feast for the creative juices swirling in me. Ironing
her many faces, through a transfer process, onto fabric
drew me within and into the mystery of her role as a
vessel for the Divine.
Words are quite inadequate to
capture the essence of this creative experience, but I
can say I was drawn deeply into the presence of Spirit
and the divine within myself. A feeling of intimacy with
Spirit and Mary were indelibly imprinted on my soul
through the creation of the altar. A longing to know my
soul more deeply and connect with the Divine
Mother/Father evolved through sinking into the sacred
imagination where the Divine becomes real.
Click to see full-size image.
I continue to embrace and live
the mystery as it unfolds daily in my life. Mary’s
courageous, "Yes" to God’s invitation to
embrace mystery and birth the Divine, has become a model
for my "yes" to God’s invitation to
my birthing the Divine within me… into the world. I
also say "yes" to the sacred longings and
mysteries of my soul.
Dana's Soulful Living Feature Articles:
and the Sacred Imagination: The Dance of Co-creation
Dana's "Sacred Imagination" Columns:
2000 "Cultivating Gratitude: Heart-Hugs and Prayer
2000 "Journey to the
Center - The Sacred Mystery of the Labyrinth"
2000 "The Heart and Craft of Healing"
2000 "Transforming Life’s Challenges into Beauty and Story"
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
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
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.