A Quiet Seething


How the power of symbolic and metaphorical imagery can help catalyze and diffuse emotional states, offering relief, release, and healing.


An exercise in my SoulCollage facilitators’ newsletter today suggested laying out all your cards and grouping them by common themes or repeating imagery or objects. This sounded intriguing and so I took the 50 cards I’ve made over the last 5 years and began laying them out.

Tweaking some of the groupings, I could clearly see the ones that represent my Community suit (2 people from my life); my 7 chakra Companion animals; about 13 or so archetypal Council members that I didn’t feel any emotional connection to, including many that correspond to the tarot, like the Fool, Death, the Hanged One, and the Lovers; a group of 9 “persona” Committee members, such as the Comedian, the Renegade, my Writer Self, and the Saboteur; there were a couple that showed phases of my journey; and about 9 that showed me in states of “waiting for someone or something to show me the way” (thank you, Pink Floyd) and “in counsel” with other aspects of myself (I assume).

SoulCollage card by Linda Tenney

But there was a small grouping of cards I made that seemed to show how I felt, and how I still feel. One showed weariness and another, deep sorrow. But a third one stood out to me today.

When I created this card 5 years ago, I titled it, My Succulent Self. It contrasts a contemplative woman in grayscale against a bright red background of juicy, succulent raspberries. For whatever reason, this juxtaposition needed to be made at the time (such is the mystery and magic of SoulCollage!).

I saw some anger, resentment, and maybe some boredom in her countenance and felt at the time that she was pissed off at being objectified as a “desirable woman.”

Fair enough.

But today, after looking at my many “waiting” and “seeking counsel” cards, I picked up this card and said aloud, “She is so angry!”

As this revelation loosened a stream of tears, I felt the seething below her serene—even frozen—expression. Why is she so angry?

She’s angry because she doesn’t want to be here!

She feels stuck and has been waiting forever for…for what?

Instead of her life being a bowl of succulent cherries, she’s freeze-framed into a black and white existence of weariness, frustration, resentment, boredom, doubt, and isolation.

This is what this card had to say to me today. This is what some aspect of myself needed to express today. Perhaps she’ll have a different message on another day.

Once the emotion was out, acknowledged, and “heard,” the charge had been diffused and I got on with my day.

Such is the mystery and magic of SoulCollage.


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