In 1994, I wrote this poem:
Escape humdrum realities
With Montage Mirage fantasies.
Paste your dreams upon your door
From fairy tales to mythic lore.
Montage Mirage could be the key
To set your imagination free.
Cover the wall before you’re done,
Montage Mirage for everyone.
No drawing needed, cut and paste,
Montage Mirage an empty place.
Your aspirations, bold & free
Become alive for you to see.
Find true love or a win a race,
Don’t forget to add your face.
Collect pictures that state your dreams,
Then put yourself into the scenes.
I was fascinated with the process of evolution I was witnessing and living at the same time. I saw the type of images gradually change from worldly, material possessions or attainments to etheric, spiritual, visionary pictures blending the real with fantasy and myth. I went through my personality concerns to deeper levels of experience. I began with many words, phrases and captions. They decreased greatly over time.
Colors became much more vivid and intense depicting emotional states and passion. I kept replacing old images with new ones, better ones. They had to be beautiful or meaningful to me in and of themselves. Then, had to fit with the pieces immediately surrounding it and finally, it had to merge into the overall balance & harmony of the entire montage.
Through the process of continually perfecting the montage, I realized it had taken on a life of its own & was “broadcasting” to me! Images I had been collecting and putting together in a magical way were now telling me stories about myself I had not understood before – because there weren’t adequate words in our language to describe them. For example, my childhood love of fairies, elves & mythical creatures showed me that they were alive and dancing in my imagination still. The images touched my feelings, evoked responses & put smiles on my face.
Another insight I received from the “exploding star” picture (discussed previously), was that I tended to look up to the stars & out to space. The cold & loneliness there disconnected me from people able to nurture me. After that, I made a conscious shift in my orientation. I focused horizontally to include people more & connect with them through the heart rather than “escaping” to outer space.
Creating the MM was a totally intuitive process. My inner voice did the card buying, selected the images to be added or discarded. Often, I had no idea what it would look like when I was done but I’d keep working. I’d stand back & would behold, in surprise, what I had created. Illusions & visions became real & unmistakably present.
After seeing all the manifested material things already described (including riding a camel at a zoo with my son), I deliberately began creating more spiritual, archetypal, universal images of light, inspiration, heart openings, self expression, wisdom, knowledge, magic, power, vision, love, peace and fulfillment. I also became increasingly more artistic as that part of me was allowed free reign. I had always enjoyed art but practical matters usually overshadowed it.
Finally, the integration of various aspects of me that I have been working on over the years came together. My internal psychotherapist could now analyze what my freed up artist had created. My intuition guided the process & acted as the glue that held everything together. My mind rested while my body worked automatically in an altered state of consciousness.
I found myself creating a new, personalized mythology. I’d take part of one symbol & integrate it with another. I’d cut the silhouette of an image, its essence, & reposition it onto a different background to represent a new archetype. For example, I took the head of a powerful, dynamic woman & crowned her with a hat made of a pile of money! I placed pictures of myself along side of goddesses & under waterfalls. A sleeping baby safely nestled among the cobwebs was lovingly tended by fairies, addressing the childlike part in touch with other dimensions.
After the death of my friend (mentioned earlier), my feelings of sorrow were expressed through the montage & were able to transform into a more holistic perspective of life & death. I didn’t wonder where I was in the process. I had a clear picture, a visual map of my progress. The montage resonated with my internal experience. It expressed the inexpressible, defined vague & subtle feelings & allowed me to step back & comprehend it all.
My world view was enlarged by the juxtaposition of foreign, unlike, antique & visionary images woven into a new fabric of possibility. Boundaries were crossed that don’t exist in the imagination. Mute components of me bubbled up from the unconscious depths enriching me with their nutrients.
Author: Gwen Sarandrea has authored numerous books including Counseling Case Study & The Healing House, The Gift of Dad’s Final Years. She is also a portrait montage artist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gwen has a love of helping people cope with the aging and death of parents and other loved ones. VisitAmazon.com to pick up your copies of Gwen’s books.