For the past two months I have been participating in a teacher training called the Colour of Woman (COW) method, an intensive healing and transformational program of sacred painting and intentional creativity founded by visionary artist, teacher, author, and publisher, Shiloh Sophia McCloud. The course is designed for women who want to infuse their lives and work with the mysterious and ancient powers of the creative principles of the Sacred Feminine; she who is known by many names and forms; She who is the mysterious source of life that births both the feminine and masculine; She who has been honoured and deified by many ancient cultures as the bringer of life, growth, decline, death and re-birth; She who is the wellspring of creativity.
The Colour of Woman method directly resonates with my burning desire in recent years to incorporate the creative principles of the Sacred Feminine into my art practice. I live by Her principles and have felt this divinity alive in my art but I had hesitated to fully reveal and express my spiritual self, to bare my heart and soul to others through my art. Until now I had been only tentatively showing others my creations for fear they would think differently of me, not like my work at all, or think I was just plain weird. My inner critic too often won the day. This deep inner conflict often paralysed my expressive creative self and left me scrambling for content and context.
While touring Crete last year, however, something deep within ignited. I had embarked on a truly transformational journey. After literally delving deep into the earth into the fourth and deepest, pitch-dark cave in Skotino and communing with spirit, I emerged with all of my senses telling me that creativity would become the most essential element in my transformation. I realised that my renewed self would no longer be afraid to express herself openly and candidly. I was now free to live an authentic life, true to my life-long calling to art, fully honouring my wise, courageous, inspirational, adventurous, daring, and wild self. And this was only the beginning…
I stumbled across the Colour of Woman Method, or maybe it stumbled across me, through ‘Painting Herself into Being’ course I had enrolled in after returning from Greece. I fell in love with Shiloh’s magnificent work and the work that her students were producing. Women who had never even picked up a paintbrush were among those who created some of this incredible work. I saw pure magic that lit up all of my senses. When I read about the teacher training program every cell in my body screamed “YES YES YES!!!” The Colour of Woman Method is not only about painting. It offers the tools for artists, healers, teachers, writers, coaches, therapists, visionaries—whatever the calling, to access unique internal imagery, guided by each individual’s inner wisdom. Embracing and connecting with one’s own self-image and recognising art as a sacred practice provides an integral component that allows and fosters individual and social spiritual healing and transformation.
The course is taught in conjunction with the Cosmic Cowgirls, a member-run university and publishing house, owned by women and girls and founded by Shiloh Sofia McCloud. Her lifelong mission is: “to inspire a creativity movement and provide a platform for voices for transformation to be expressed and shared, promoting a vision of wellness, compassion and empowerment for women and girls…the emphasis of Shiloh’s teachings reside in creativity as a healing tool, the activation of right brain/left brain, the cultivation of self honour, self expression, and the work of exploring identity.”
Shiloh has shared repeatedly throughout the course that filling the world with images of the Feminine is an integral part of the healing process and that this needs to occur globally. I wholeheartedly agree. Prior to starting the Colour of Woman journey this had become my own personal mission: to paint images of the Divine Feminine connected to the earth, as I believe that we must restore our severed connection to the earth, the severing of the sacred relationship between humans and their environment as well as the severed relationship between our divine self and others. Through the transformational and healing power of image, visual imagination, music, dance, and words, we can express our stories, making healing and transformation possible. In turn we honour our ancestors, who, since the beginning of time have been astutely aware of these essential connections.
I created this painting using the COW method. Through the process of guided visualisation, images and words are revealed. The symbols, messages, and elements at first seem to make no sense. As I started painting however, this courageous, adventurous “Queen of Her Own Heart” came to me with herstory of oppression and victory. The castle in the clouds represents dreams and desires that can seem unattainable. The ship symbolises the adventurous, risk-taking, free spirit that resides within us all. The Fleur De-Lys symbol was an enigma, it wasn’t until I finished the painting that I looked up its’ full meaning. I knew it was a symbol of French royalty, however to find that Joan of Arc carried a sacred banner into battle against the English that displayed this symbol, the over riding story of oppression and victory coming through made much more sense. The Queen’s heart is aglow, for despite her fear and public persecution, she is the Queen of her own destiny, a fair and honourable ruler of the kingdom of love, unafraid to show her self as the authentic, spirited feminine visionary she is.
I am discovering so much about myself through the 13-step Colour of Woman process by being part of the deeply supportive community of COW sisters and mentors. It is both liberating and humbling to be held within an environment where innermost thoughts and feelings can be expressed freely, being heard and witnessed while wrapped in love and sprinkled with glitter so that we can fulfil our wildest dreams and desires. To be connected to the red thread and to sit in cosmic circle with so many wonderful, wise, and inspiring women is truly an amazing experience. I am overflowing with an abundance of gratitude. I can’t wait to share what I have learned with my local community of women so that they too may unlock their inner creative selves. Nothing is more rewarding, more self-loving, and more powerful than realising one’s own potential as a creative being. In her book Love Yourself, Live Your Spirit, Sonia Choquette reminds us that creativity is “the highest divine right bestowed upon us all”. I couldn’t agree more.
Coming out as a Cosmic Cowgirl has been easy, because for the first time in my life I feel like both boots really fit and I’m not afraid to wear them in public. Yeee Haaa!!!
Jassy Watson, who lives on the sub-tropical coast of Queensland Australia, is a mother of four, a passionate organic gardener, an artist, and a student of ancient history and religion at Macquarie University, Sydney. She runs a small business Goddesses Garden and Studio to keep women’s sacred circles, art, music and gardening practices alive. Jassy will be teaching regular painting workshops and retreats using the Colour of Woman Method from October 2013. Visit her website www.goddessesgardenandstudio.com for dates and venus..