Maskmaking

Whether in Hildegard von Bingen’s songs of Divine revelation, Rumi’s poetic immersion in holy ecstasy, or Chagall’s paintings of Hasidic inspiration, the Sacred speaks to us through creative expression. Energy modalities, visualizations, and creativity are forms common to ancient and modern traditions for mystical communion with Spirit.

Engage the Divine beyond, around, and within during these two days of creative exploration and discovery with Kaleo and Elise. Investigate the manifestations of energy through Chi Kung, discover through guided journeying your own deep resources of spiritual inspiration, then create your mask of Sacred awareness.

Kaleo and Elise Ching Classes

Kaleo and Elise Ching teach transformative art classes at JFK University, Wisdom University, CIIS Public Programs, and many institutions in the Bay Area and beyond. They coauthored Faces of Your Soul: Rituals in Art, Maskmaking, and Guided Imagery with Ancestors, Spirit Guides, and Totem Animals (North Atlantic Books, 2006).

The External Resources menu has a link to Kaleo and Elise Ching’s website.

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Pacem Totem

Mask Making at Peace

Pacem Totem was birthed as a means for community discovery and expression of our core spiritual journey through living, dying, rising, and transformation. A Body Mask was created as the canvas on which members of Peace Lutheran contributed personal “statements” in symbol, color, image, and word. Each week new layers were added as different themes of the journey were addressed. We did this art work together, which is so rare in our society.

We began during the season of Lent—a time of stillness and looking inward in order to recognize our interconnectedness with all sentient beings and to discern how to manifest our highest aspirations with compassion and courage. The beauty of Pacem was that it gave us a vehicle to communicate our spiritual longings and dreams. It stirred conversations, insights, and laughter. Because we regularly layered over one another’s work, we had to learn to let go of our own intimate contributions. The children’s gifts were equally valuable. The not-knowing of what Pacem would become or how it would evolve was an intriguing and profound metaphor for our shared life.

Since Pacem was free-standing, it was moved to a new location within worship every week, sometimes by the altar, or inside the seating of the congregation, or by the font. People became attached to this new friend, who seemed to have a life of his/her own among us. One Sunday holes in Pacem were tattooed so prayer scrolls composed by members could be suspended. This dangling movement evoked another sense of presence and life.

On Easter the congregation was surprised and delighted when invited to fill the Inside of Pacem with our creative gestures of what New Life can look and feel like. This initiated another season of imaging what life and death might look like from the resurrected experience of the Christ. Attempts to artistically convey and integrate the complementary opposites of inner and outer, spirit and flesh, self and other, life and death, opened doors of awareness for many. The congregation was charged by the realization that our creativity and mask making is the worship!

 

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Then Pacem disappeared. On Pentecost a photographic image of Pacem was broken into many pieces, like the bread broken at Communion, and distributed to those at worship as a reminder of our invisible yet vital Oneness with all life. There was a sense of loss for the embodied Pacem and yet a renewed awe that the Divine Mystery wants to inhabit us in life, death, and beyond.