Montage mirage (MM), as a transpersonal pathway to spiritual & psychological growth, is an easy, fun, concrete method for self-knowledge. Used as an art therapy form by people of all ages, alone or in groups, discoveries & re-creation of personal mythology happen through dynamic, artistic engagement.
The creative process is the HOW of it, the way it happens. Personal mythology is the WHY & WHAT of it, the pattern operating in the person’s life. Make it as small or elaborate as you like, a one-time MM or an ongoing, ever-changing mandala.
Using vivid images, evoke & consciously create powerful archetypes (like Mother, Father, Child, Visionary, Skeptic, Mystic, Doubter…). This sets up a 2-way dialogue with the unconscious that allows you to work through (gestalt) dream images in the waking state. Themes develop that resonate with your feelings inside. A pictorial representation of emotional, psychic, spiritual, physical & mental energies emerges. Dreams, wishes, desires, fixations, traumas, blocks will intermingle and relate to each other.
Meditate on it with eyes open, then, be receptive to what you see. You’ll get insight into the relationships of one pattern with another, a sense of how they all fit together to create synergy or instead disrupt harmony. You’ll get info about yourself in colorful, easy to understand pictures.
MM provides an outlet for the Inner Voice. The soft whispers of the intuition are acknowledged, amplified and recognized so you can choose to act on it or not. Find images that attract and “touch you” rather than thinking about what to display. Let your feelings lead. Experiment. What effect does it have on you when you’re through? How does it make you feel?
Act out your fantasies in a safe way. Express different parts of yourself that are hidden inside, not usually expressed or disregarded by picturing them in the MM. For example, if the little child part of you always takes a back seat to the responsible adult, find images that represent letting the child be free & spontaneous, alive & curious. Put your childhood photos into a background that you’d love to have now & allow your imagination to make it better & grander than you thought possible. This changes the way you see yourself & opens you to alternatives not considered before. Your belief system is expanded about who you are & what you want, deserve & can accomplish. Move past old self images into new territory of untapped potential.
Let your imagination heal your problems. Cut & paste images that fit how you feel & where you are in your life now. Then, study it. See how you’d like to change. Remove what you don’t like & add what you aspire toward. Each image speaks through the MM – some more loudly than others. Which themes dominate? Do some need more room, some less, for better balance? They all communicate their own messages individually & collectively. How do they relate to each other? How can they be improved? Create the energy patterns you desire through the pictures you select.
Observe them, their relationships & progressions. Feel their impact on you, enjoy them. Listen for their promptings. Ask yourself, “Do I want this on my montage? Or only a part of it? What effect could it have on my life if it manifests? How does it affect the surrounding images? Is it harmonious? Does it enhance or detract? What feelings does it evoke in me? Where does it fit in? Try several different places until you’re sure where to locate it. Which pictures stay & which are discarded? Let go of attachment to old, worn out images. Open to fresh, new images. When you’re removing an old picture, trust that it has done its work & continues to be incorporated into the whole scheme of things.
I consciously, visually program myself through careful selection & placement of images. I allow my internal guidance to show me where they belong. I put life affirming, uplifting, inspirational images up to motivate me toward my dreams. MM becomes a positive world view support system, a meditational tool & effective means of developing intuition.
Repressed emotions can also be processed through MM. I displayed a fire-breathing dragon, then, for several weeks, found myself giving vent to an angry voice inside that I had been denying. I stomped around my room, screamed into pillows, journaled my anger, dialogued with the dragon & the angry voice until it began to change & evolved – resulting in emotional growth. Once an issue has been worked through, I get an impulse to replace it with the next generation. This applies to single images & whole sections. I find the replacements before taking any away.
You don’t need to know how to draw or even to read or write! (That’s why it works well for children.) Find images that suit you in magazines, cards, photos, books, then, cut & paste onto poster board. So simple, so profound. It’s imagery for the realist. MM provides a way for the non-verbal parts of you to speak clearly.
To transform energies, begin with where you are, how you feel, your present goals, important events, relationships, etc. Upgrade these by improving the qualities over time (represented by new, more fulfilling images), & you might upgrade your whole experience of living.
Paint a visual picture of your world as you want it to be. Dream consciously, while you’re awake. Feel what wants to come forth from the inside, then add & enhance as you like. Take what you’ve got & develop it carefully with attention to detail.
Consciously evoke archetypes (like Lover, God, Angels, Knight, Queen, etc.). Create your own to fit your particular tastes, desires, ambitions, feelings… Energize them with the pleasure you receive as you contemplate what you have made along with the joy of making it. Play like a child. Be curious about what will emerge. Trust your internal sense. Do what pleases you most.
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. Visit Amazon.com to pick up your copies of Gwen’s books.
Photo Source: Microsoft Clip Art