I have always been drawn to paper, ephemera, all manner of art supplies and writing instruments. When I sit with an open journal made with paper that loves my pen as much as I do, I feel instant grounding - like settling in to myself. Papercraft, and writing of all kinds, have been constants in my life. It's easy for some to dismiss craft as inane hobbies, art journals and scrapbooks as silly or trite. I think much of that is rooted in sexism, but that's a different blog post. A devoted journaling practice has revealed to me that my journals are altars, and my pages are prayers. And I get to define the significance and meaning of craft in my life. You get to do that, too. And your journal can also become an altar.
Through 20 years of a career in trauma and healing work with communities, children and families, my most restorative form of self care has been keeping several art journals, diaries, notebooks, and agendas as spiritual practice. My journals and other paper projects are tools of self discovery, vessels that hold all of me, portals to new worlds, and prayers for the liberation and justice that I yearn for, for all of us.
I am white. I will always be in deep relationship with healing beyond the harmful habits of white supremacy that all white people in America were socialized into. This is a choice, one that requires commitment, devotion, tolerating discomfort and coming back after making mistakes. I will never "arrive." I will always be in relationship with unlearning whiteness and growing into anti-racist practice. What does this have to do with my Journal As Altarpractice? Everything, actually. My journals document my commitment to the collective, my commitment to myself and my loves, and act as accountability reminders. My journals hold pain, joy, healing, reflection. People from diverse backgrounds and experiences vibe with a journaling practice - no one "owns" papercraft and journaling. Much of my practice is fueled by my commitment to undoing the harm and healing the trauma of my ancestors. Your Journal As Altar practice may be fueled by something totally different, but I know your practice has the power to hold you.
I invite you to light a candle, hold your favorite pen in your hand and imagine it a wand imbued with the magic that only you can bring. Remind yourself that Journal As Altar is a freedom project, not an assignment that you pass or fail. Glue bits of packaging that you love, dried flowers, and other bits to your pages. Save stickers that are pleasing, gather water colors and stamps. And, I offer you this writing prompt:
*What might it look and feel like to develop a regular journaling practice that encourages my wholeness and supports me to take action towards building a more just and caring world?*
Life is short; write with great pens.
Check out my 5/2/21 workshop with Seagrape: JOURNAL AS ALTAR: CREATIVE CRAFTING FOR ABUNDANCE & PLEASURE
Catch me on instagram: @journal.as.altar