Gift Images Add Surprise And Delight To SoulCollage®


Has anyone ever just given you an image – and then an invitation to use it in a SoulCollage® card if you want to?

That happened to me recently at the SoulCollage® Four Directions Conference in the mountains of Colorado, September 30 – October 2, 2016. We met at Peaceful Valley Resort.

A Land Of Surreal Beauty

About sixty SoulCollage® Facilitators came together among the whispering of golden aspen trees and the rushing of clear stream water. The weather was ideal. The program was incredibly rich . . . I could go on and on . . . but I wanted to tell you about those two images I received by chance.

A Den — And Den Mother — For Every Facilitator

With the intention of helping us to get to know each other better, our fabulous conference organizers – Kat Kirby, Barb Horn and Barb Brown, plus a strong circle of Facilitators from the Denver area and others – arranged us into eight groups, each headed by a Den Mother. We had Eagles, Foxes, Bears, Mountain Goats, etc. – you get the idea.

I ended up in the Fox group, with Sue and several other Facilitators.

Artist and SoulCollage® Facilitator Bee Sturgis, who was unable to make the conference at the last minute, created the beautiful artwork for name badges for each den.

In The Spirit Of Seena’s Last Conference

At our first den gathering, our Den Mother, Karen Roper, gave each of us a little black envelope. It contained two images. The first was an image of a fox – a different one for each of us. The second image was “something else.” We each got a different image. We were invited to create a Fox card to honor our den – and use the other image in a card if we wanted to. My second was an image of a woman.

I tucked the envelope away. Maybe I’d get to it later, but there were other pressing things to attend to first. Where was my next class? When would we eat supper?


Mending The Sacred Hoop

But late the next afternoon, after a deep and stimulating keynote address in the morning and a powerful personal medicine shield ceremony in the afternoon, I ran out of gas. I was scheduled for another short workshop that I heard later was beautiful and light — fruit sorbet after a heavy satisfying meal – but I looked at my energy level and begged off. I needed to go back to my room to absorb the rich gifts I’d already received.

The Magical Door To The “Other Side”

Well, after sitting for a while in silence, absorbing my notes, I opened that magical door to the “other side.” Feeling compelled to visually capture the energy of my new medicine shield, I made my first card of the weekend.

And then I came across that little black envelope with those two gift images.

I kind of knew I was being suckered into making another card when I came across a fall background in my personal images. The colors were a perfect foil for the fox image I’d received. I thought I might tear out the fox image, an option to cutting out an image. But it would be an easy project. “Two images and I’ll be done,” I figured, completely unaware of the deeply reflective message it would give me.


I Am One Who goes where she will without anyone noticing. I Am One Who fits in like a shadow and watches. I Am One Who gathers the secrets.

What Am I? Chopped Liver?

Meanwhile, before I could put my fox together, the woman started to talk to me. “What am I? Chopped liver?”

But where on earth would I put her? I decided to give it a few minutes of my time and flipped through one of the magazines I’d brought along. I was immediately drawn in by a two-page ad featuring young people on a strong red background – the same red in the woman’s top. These kids had each done a big project for their community, and the company that placed the ad was rewarding them. The heading underneath the photo of the kids was: “We are our own heroes.”

List 5 People You Really, Deeply Love

Besides the “red,” it was the heading that had pulled me in! The night before, Barb Horn, our first keynote speaker, had asked us to list five people we really, deeply loved. All but three of us had neglected to put ourselves on the list. This included me!  I needed this energy!

I Am My Own Hero

I Am One Who is her own hero. I Am One Who has vision and knows how to get things done. I Am One Who does what I do because I believe in my mission and believe in myself. I Am One Who sets the pace for others.

Yes, that woman belonged with those kids. Each one was his or her own hero. The woman was completely “who she was,” without apology. So I put the kids and the woman together. Then I finished my fox card. And they both became touchstones for my personal work that week.

Those two gifted images: Who knew they would turn out to be so meaningful to me. What a surprise! What a delight!

A Crown Of…Tableware?

I mentioned Barb Horn as the keynote speaker who inspired my “I Am My Own Hero” card. Barb is infamous within the SoulCollage® Facilitator community for her special brand of “headgear.” Barb started her keynote by asking for five volunteers. In her reputed generosity of sprinkling humor like confetti, Barb surprisingly “crowned” us with her own headgear pieces. This was mine.

Have you ever made a card from an image someone gave you? Have you ever given someone an image as a gift? Why not give it a try? Let’s expand the ways SoulCollage® can work its magic with us!

Ann H. Hughes has been a SoulCollage® Facilitator since 2007. She presented a popular workshop at the 2013 International SoulCollage® Conference in Skamania, Washington, and is a member of the American Art Therapy Association. She is also the author of Craft Your Wholeness: How to Make & Use Intentional SoulCollage® Cards for Healing & Living (available from Hanford Mead and Amazon). Read Ann's articles at the SoulCollage® Blog and Craft Your Wholeness.

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