If you have been following my Blog, you all know how important the Image is to me.

As part of the creative process, many Posts suggest themselves, and are driven by image before the written word is applied.

Whether in clip art, fine art, paintings, sketches, statuary, all speak to me.

It is no wonder I became a Sandplay therapist, and am continually drawn,

(no pun intended)

to how the image amplifies, contains, and fulfills a concept.

Lately, I find myself pulled to photography more and more.

(it is probably time to step up to a new camera)

I came across a new Application:  Waterlogue.

It has transformed many of my photographs into Monet inspired watercolors!

(speaking of, Huguette Clark’s Monet just sold for $17 million)

Here is a sampling of my own Little Monets!


Painted in Waterlogue



Painted in Waterlogue



Painted in Waterlogue


Waterlogue lends itself best to landscapes and still life photos.


Painted in WaterlogueThe Ashland Library.

Painted in Waterlogue







Easter Eggs.

Sometimes, human subjects turn out well…

Painted in Waterlogue

My grandson, Soren, Painter of Easter Eggs.  And Mad Scientist (with friend).

Painted in Waterlogue Painted in Waterlogue

And his little Brother, Sacha.

Painted in Waterlogue

(suitable for framing)

Vox Anima,







My Big Backyard

One can’t always be living down in the depths,

one has to ascend to the topside world once in a while!

Today’s post is about a place in my big backyard.

Ashland Oregon.

I live at the border of Far Northern California and Southern Oregon.

A mere 30 miles away to Ashland, and I am on a mini vacation.

The Ashland Chamber of Commerce certainly does not need my assistance in promoting their community.

However, Ashland has been, and always will be a Soul Place for me.

I began frequenting Ashland regularly in 1997.

The year of the big flood.

The year I met my beloved Sandplay therapist, Sue Haskell.

I became familiar with the many good things Ashland had to offer,

and I am quite sure it had something to do with my healing process.

Do any of you, dear readers, have such places?

Good food, good books, and beauty are all on my Soul’s menu of necessities.

Here are a few photos from last Saturday’s Sojourn…

Upstairs at Bloomsbury Books.IMG_3512



Keep an eye on the kiddos when you are in the cafe.

The following was quite a tempting recommendation to order a little something to go with my cappuccino.


Um, I think I’ll pass on the daily special.

IMG_3521Downstairs at Bloomsbury’s.  One could get a little lost–happily.

One of my rituals after seeing my beloved Sue,

was to bring home a loaf of bread for dinner.


The Village Baker

And, a stroll in a nearby neighborhood.


The Library with the statue that proclaims:  “Light the Way”.

And sweet artful businesses…



It was a good day.

Vox Anima, SDM

Photo Credit:  My Trusty iPhone 5SIMG_3535

Shadow Child

The tyranny of the past is never greater than when we do not recall.”

~James Hollis

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), "Spring Flowers," 1969


On this lovely spring morning, with Robins dancing about, it seems like torture to muse about the Shadow.  Sigh.  But as Jung taught, what does not come to consciousness, comes to us as fate.  The Shadow is tricksy enough–I’d rather chip away at it…




The Shadow, as Jung understood it, contains the best and worst parts of ourselves.  And it is a psychic function that these parts remain put away, hidden, in the shadows as it were–hidden away from ourselves by ourselves.

(what a phenomenal trick!)

One of the early major tasks of recovering from childhood trauma, is to retrieve the Child.

Left in the shadows, swimming in the old trauma soup, I had to find mine, bring her up, and love her for all that she is.

In the beginning, once we met, it was quite tender and positive.


Overindulged sometimes.  Spoiled sometimes.



In re-reading “Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life”:  How to Finally, Really Grow up” by James Hollis, I realize that the child is quite alive and well in me, and that perhaps I had over identified with the positive side of the archetype–leaving the negative, shall we say to the Shadow?

(there I go again!)

Somehow, I wanted to make her Divine, which is mixing metaphors, archetypally speaking.

(I hope I am making sense here)

Hollis writes in the section titled Becoming Who We Think We Are about the inevitable existential childhood woundings of Overwhelmment and Insufficiency.  

I was quite familiar with Insufficiency, but my Ego disallowed Overwhelmment as a possibility.  When I reviewed the stratagems of this wounded aspect,

(it took me 5 disturbing read throughs to get it)

I saw my Shadow Child there.

 Sulking.  Wanting.  Power.  Control.  Hiding Out.


Hollis advises:  “After all, these adaptive stratagems experimentally evolved to help us survive, and without them we might not have gotten out of childhood.  But can we readily give our lives over to these conditioned reflexes now that we know they are there? … “









He further states: “Go ahead, defend that child as one should, but do not give it the power of choice in your adult life…learn anew that the adult can manage so much more than the child.”



Vox Anima, SDM



Art Credit:  Norman Rockwell


The New Testament of Mary

This post is about a book.

“The Testament of Mary”, by Colm To’bi’n.

(the punctuation marks should be directly over the letter o and i — I do the best I can on my  Mac keyboard)

I normally have a number of books that I am reading at any one time.  A kind of rotation.

Mainly, nonfiction, poetry, fairy tales, and some fiction.  I find true stories and biographies more compelling than other genres.

I purchased this book well over a year ago after hearing Terry Gross interview the author.

To’bi’n’s portrait casts a spell.

In a strict, unsparing narrative of 81 pages, he presents her as a solitary older woman seeking to understand the events surrounding and after the crucifixion.  In a latter life stage individuation task, she judges herself and others harshly.

From the cover note:

“This woman whom we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone.”

I found this self-effacing study of the human Mary to be gripping, enigmatic, and a testament to Self Honesty.  Toward the end,  Mary shares dream material, which demonstrates the veracity of the Dream and how the Dream brings Truth.


I first saw this Pieta at the De Young Museum in San Francisco.

Massive in size and impact.

And as I read The Testament of Mary, the painting returned to me,

again and again and again.


Vox Anima,  SDM

Art Credit:  Adolphe William Bouguereau, Pieta  1876


Apples and Oranges

Paul Cezanne
Paul Cezanne

In the interest of transparency…here goes…

(what you just heard was the sound of swallowing hard)

Have you ever caught yourself in the act of comparing yourself to others? I found myself caught in the shadow’s grip (again!) of looking at someone else’s lovely oranges, while my own lovely apple was in plain view.


I thought, it is a permutation of Little Envy, my shadow sister.  She’s quite a little monkey! And, she loves bananas.




But last night, in my dreams, Envy appeared as a man.


Burning Man Bandit Photo by Robert S. Kline
Burning Man Bandit
Photo by Robert S. Kline

A red-haired, mustachioed Bandit.  He was trying to kidnap me…

(as Jung said, look no further than the facts of the dream)

The dream resolved with me singing to Bandit, and eventually, he softened, melted, and sang along with me.

(Dream endings aren’t always so neat and swift, by the way.)



In Cinderella and Her Sisters:  The Envied and the Envying by Ann & Barry Ulanov, they make the point that the act of envying objectifies the one being envied, and, in essence, robs them of their humanity.

I thought of it much like turning one into a sex object.  Horrors!

I have also been on the receiving end of envy.




And I can tell you, it feels CREEPY.

And, no matter how I protested my humanity to the one envying me, I could not be seen, heard, or understood for who I am.  Terribly frustrating and nonproductive, too, I can tell you.

I think the best I can do, any of us can do, is catch ourselves in the act.  

BYU College of Fine Arts
BYU College of Fine Arts

And then, seeker that I am, ask my Self about this need or deficit that I am picking on in the act of comparison?  And do so with love, and forgiveness in this business of being human.

Who was it that said:  “Nothing human is alien to me.” ?

Wiki (the ultimate source) quotes Terence, the ancient Roman Playwright”:

“Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto” or

“I am a human being, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.”



Vox Anima, SDM

About Face III

I was going to title this post:  From the Neck Up.

Dr. Frederic Brandt
Dr. Frederic Brandt

Does the face say it all?

Would you trust your face to Dr. Brandt?

A New York Times article claims that many people do.

As many as 30 patients a day @ $7000 a pop.

You might recognize a few of his famous patients here.


…Returning to James Hillman on The Force of The Face…

and just in the nick of time.

(and no pun intended)


Hillman discusses the ravages and pain of cosmetic procedures,

and the loss of connection with one’s identity in the process.

He quotes Joyce Nash, Ph.D., who describes her face lift in detail:

Most patients underestimate the amount of pain and physical trauma involved in cosmetic surgery.

They are also unprepared for the depression that may ensue.”

Trauma? Besides the acute postoperative distress, which passed in time,

there were long-term effects:

Nash had trouble wearing earrings,

because her earlobes were sutured to the surrounding skin.

Her glasses no longer held behind her ears.

Her jaw was permanently discolored,

and she had the sensation that a strap was cinched tight under her chin and over her skull.

“What I saw was disturbing.

 It didn’t look like me,

and it didn’t feel like me.

Something was lost.

A sense of sadness welled up…

The frown lines, the sleepy look, the sagging cheeks and neck were gone.”

Hillman continues…

Nash’s “improved appearance” treats the face as a new and improved product,

according not only with the younger age she feels,

but with standardized notions of appearance.

(sound familiar ladies?)

Her postoperative image adapts to convention imagery;

is that also the image of her character?

Has she abandoned her uniqueness, sold her soul?

It is the effects in the face, the transmission to it of the passions of character,

that Marilyn Monroe hoped to have the courage to face.

Marilyn Monroe, actress, New York City, May 6, 1957

Anna Magnani, the great postwar Italian actress of passions,

supposedly told the makeup man doing her face for a scene:

“Don’t take out a single line.  I paid for each one.”

magnani 3Magnani3600full-anna-magnani

Vox Anima, SDM

Photo Credit NY Times – Mike Trebay

“The Man Behind the Face”

Other photos credited to Tumblr & Public Domain

Woman Without a Past

Jeremy Lipking
Jeremy Lipking

In my very first post, Priming the Pump,  I wrote about Source, or the Wellspring from which creativity and life flows…and my beloved Wilsonia.


My family of origin, through trauma and tragedy lost all photographs and memorabilia.  It was, in effect, an obliteration of the ancestors.  The family history.  And, as time went on, it was as if some part of me, or my past had never existed.


When I stumbled onto the art of Jana Botkin, a kind of photographic memory in my psyche was constellated.  And the realization that without the reflecting mirror of the image, the effect was akin to being a woman without a past.  No wonder, at times, I have been so orphaned and bereft!  No mirror in people, places or things to remind me of who I was, where I came from, and how far I have come!


Stimulated by photos and drawings of my dearly beloved childhood sanctuary, helped me to remember myself.  


It is through the image that healing takes place:

jungreading“The great problems of life…are always related to the primordial images of the collective unconscious.  These images are really balancing or compensating factors which correspond with the problems life presents in actuality.  This is not to be marveled at, since these images are deposits representing the accumulated experience of thousands of years of struggle for adaptation and existence.”  C. G. Jung


 It is through the artful image that body and soul are released and restored.





bubblesVox Anima, SDM

Art Credit:  Robert Vickrey

Post Partum

Postpartum Pamela Parsons
Pamela Parsons

Birthing a blog is like birthing a baby.

While they are two vastly different things, there are similarities.

I will spare you graphic comparisons.

Yet, the creative process is the same.

After launching the blog last week, I found myself saying out loud:  “This feels like postpartum…”

Drained, distracted, pleased, and wobbly.

Like a little colt, after birth, I have found my legs now–slowly.

I’ll be taking my B Complex vitamins.

Maybe I’ll take the Guiness cure like they do in Britain during postpartum confinement.

No sooner had the first post been published, dreams brought in what I used to call The Committee.

Now, I have lovingly reframed this august body as The Faculty Senate.

Maccari Cicero
Maccari Cicero

In the dream, this academic committee was meeting to discuss my qualifications for the job.

As Jung said, one need look no further than the facts of the dream.


And, in the dream, I stood up to those assembled, and gave them my understanding of my capacity.

This is clear evidence of the phenomenological world of the Psyche.

And the tru-ism that as one proceeds on the path, so to speak, one will surely encounter inner adversity as something new wishes to be created.

I guess the good news, is, The Faculty Senate meets only a few times a year.

Vox Anima, SDM

Gypsy Madonna Titian
Gypsy Madonna

Priming the Pump


Priming the pump is generally defined as:

a government action taken to stimulate an economy during a recessionary period.

I borrow the metaphor for the creative process, to get the juices flowing, as it were, after a lengthy period of —

Stagnation?  Stagflation?  Incubation?

At any rate, some sort of,  “-tion”.

Another way to look at the metaphor is the hand water pump.

As a child, my first experience of the water pump  was on the deck of the family cabin in Wilsonia, CA.

Jana Botkiin  The Cabins of Wilsonia
Jana Botkiin
The Cabins of Wilsonia

Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains at 6,617 elevation, our cabin was a refuge from Fresno’s blistering summer heat.

Built by my Maternal Grandfather’s family, the cabin served as my wild sanctuary.

I remember photos of these men in model T Fords crawling up those hillsides, like bugs, loaded with building materials!

The cabin was bare bones primitive.

A common room, with stone fireplace and built in dining table and benches (which held storage of games, cards, and books about mythology) was the heart of the place.

My favorite piece of furniture was the the suede fringe chair by the big console radio.  The mammoth photo of a snarling mountain lion hung over the couch nearby.  I preferred my distance from the cat.

Jana Botkin The Cabins of Wilsonia
Jana Botkin
The Cabins of Wilsonia

A tiny kitchen, the size of a small closet, was the place for meal preparation and clean up.

3 Bedrooms, with strange wall art that the family had accumulated in the Southwest–very Georgia O’Keefe.  Patchwork quilts made up the old brass beds.  Each room had a chamber pot, in the event one did not wish to make the long trip  outside and down the steep stairs to the outhouse.

The only running water to be found was out of that miraculous marvelous hand pump on the deck.

After minutes of pump priming, freshets of icy pure mountain water would emerge, never failing to delight me.

When the plumbing upgrade happened, bringing a shower and running water inside, I was deflated.  Perhaps, the reconfiguration away from the source was drying to my little soul?

…C.G. Jung utilized the image of the riverbed as a way to describe archetypes.

 The riverbed may dry up at times, but the water surely finds its way back to the grooves laid down over eons.

Perhaps, the beginning of this blog is like that initial trickle of water from the aquifers of the Soul.

I invite and welcome your comments as we prime the pump together.

Vox Anima, SDM

Aquifer Melody Johnson
Melody Johnson