Dreamwork and expressive art were two powerful pathways through grief for me. Today the two came together as my dream group and I each created a mask to represent and honor our Dream Self. Here is my Dream Goddess:
Her lower face is midnight blue with gold filigree and her upper face is a cloudy sky. Her eyes are rimmed with gold in the way the ancient Egyptians rimmed theirs with khol. She has a jewel within a labyrinth for her third eye and wears stars and feathers in her hair. Her mouth is green, for she speaks only the truth of my heart (green is the color of the heart chakra).
She is made from a purchased plastic mask form decoupaged with scrapbook paper and embellished with acrylic paint, gold leaves, heart-shaped sequins, rhinstones, gold metallic marker, gold glitter glue, eyelash yarn, feathers and wire garland.
Plastic mask form: $3.99
Hot glue gun and glue sticks: $10.00
Therapeutic Value: PRICELESS
While this was a more light-hearted project for me, mask making can be extremely therapeutic in processing grief. The first mask I ever made was a grief mask. I had a friend create a plaster mask of my face, which I painted and embellished. The journaling and dialogue work I did with that mask was very powerful for me. She became a container for my grief. It helps to be able to pull your feelings out into an object you can stand back and look at. It helps to separate your grief from your identity. Over time, I transferred more and more of my grief into the mask, allowing the mask to hold the pain for me when I just couldn’t do it anymore.
I also created an anger mask while I was grieving. I created it out of a brown paper grocery sack and crayons. I put on some angry music, put the mask on my head and stomped around the house yelling and roaring for about 20 minutes until I fell to the floor laughing. What a great venting process that was!
You can make masks out of paper plates, construction paper, sheets of colored foam, plastic or papier mache forms, plaster cast over a form, or sculpted clay. You can make a mask of your grief, any emotion, your inner healer, your inner child, an animal totem, your spirit guide or anything else you might think of. Use your imagination, tune into your feelings and see what comes out.
Afterward, you can put the mask on and look into a mirror. Speaking out loud, complete the sentence, “I am the one who….” over and over again until you can’t think of anything else to complete the sentence with. This is a great way to get in touch with what you are feeling deeply.
You can also do some journaling dialogue with the mask. Put the mask where you can look at it and with your dominant hand, write a question. Let the mask answer the question through your non-dominant hand (the one you don’t normally write with). Some great questions to ask are, Who are you? How do you feel? Why do you feel that way? How can I help you? What gift do you hold for me?
I hope you will enjoy exploring the magic of mask-making as a path to healing. I’d love to see what you create!
Wishing you peace on the journey…
As always, I welcome your coments here or by email (Claire@DeepWaterLeafSociety.com)
Visit my website: http://www.deepwaterleafsociety.com/