Channeling the Divine: A Creative Process by Brenda Edgar

Last year, I completed a life-changing yoga teacher training and spiritual development program at Supreme Peace Yoga and Wellness in Louisville, KY.  One of its components was the creation of Soul Collage cards which were prompted by facilitator Jodie Tingle-Willis’s guided meditations.

The Soul Collage process is not only a profound way of connecting to the divine within and around us; for me, it is also a powerful vehicle for channeling poetry from this same source.  My results from this multi-step creative process have led me to explore some pleasantly surprising spiritual terrain.

As an example, the card above was created after a visualization exercise around the idea of community—specifically, the small cohort of women in our training program, and the influence they had on me as we worked and learned together:

After some time had passed, I revisited the card and asked it once again to inspire me creatively.  The result was this poem, which evokes an indigenous vision quest—an experience I have not had outside of this creative journey.


Together, with great solemnity,
we eat the green buttons
we have foraged in the desert
wilderness.  It does not take long:
in the sky, above a crushing waterfall,
a beautiful woman appears
near the disc of the sun;
she turns her body
toward the celestial archer
as he takes form opposite her
in the sky, the fiery orb
between them.
She softens her face and opens
her gown to him,
baring her breasts,
inviting his piercing arrow
into her timeless heart; he
releases the tension in his bow
as she receives the divine wound,
her blood pouring down,
mixing with the churning water.
We drink of the sacred stream
from gourd cups, and our
singing becomes one
with the chants of the ancient ones,
who live forever in the sand
below our feet.
The goddess smiles upon us
as she throbs with the pain
of our holy ecstasy.

My poetry often seems to happen through me, rather than by me; Soul Collage has been a way for me to engage with something beyond myself, to tap into a collective unconscious that lies beyond the senses.  Creating this way allows me to invite communication from the realm of the powerful divinities who create us, even as we (paradoxically) create them.  The women in my circle had inspired me through their warrior energy, their earth-wisdom, and their radiant benevolence, and they all came through in this mind-expanding creative endeavor.

Another example is this card, generated by the same meditation exercise; the prompt invited me to consider how I might be an inspiration to the same circle of women in my training program.

After enough time had passed for me to gaze upon the card with fresh eyes, it yielded this poem:

Dead Cow

Across the scrubby pasture,
I am surprised to see
the corpse of a cow, her
life cut short by a hungry wolf
whom I have startled; he sulks
silently into the margins, his
quarry still warm.  I draw
near. I am struck by
the peace in her face, her eyes
closed, her jaw slack.
The fatal wound, fresh and moist
in the slant sunlight,
presents itself frankly.  I lie
down beside her on the dewy
ground, the smell of her skin
and fur like a song of earth.
The still-warm milk
in her still-pink udder
begins to curdle; her
dull, grass-stained teeth
are forever stilled. 
There is a bell around her neck.
Her soul must have risen
as the bell rang with great
urgency.  I place my hand
gently on her side,
and say a small prayer
for this humble body
that once held within it
the entire essence
of almighty God.
And then I leave her
to the holy violence
of the gathering, drooling pack.

This poem teaches me that my connection to darkness and my friendship with death can and do inspire those around me. 

One final example: this card was a response to a meditation exercise around the idea of inspiration. 

And here, the poem that this card generated:


They stoop, burdened
with the riches of the earth,
laying down their precious
metals, fragrant resins,
and sacred herbs as they
remove their heavy crowns
and kneel before their
sleeping God.  They utter
foreign prayers
as the stiff fabric
of their weighty cloaks
creases in the winter air.
The jewels in their pendants
glow in the flickering firelight.
Their eyes grow moist
with their overwhelming
devotion.  But I know

only poverty and passion
as I slit the throat of this earthen
lamb on my humble
wooden altar.  My earnest,
primitive song joins
with the lamb’s gurgling cries
of pain and desperation.  Please,
accept my bloody gift,
this creature made not
of gold but of flesh
and bone.  I have nothing
to give but my violence,
my love.  Please,
pity me, simple wretch,
with your deep, impassive
eyes.  See in my sacrifice
that I love you
more than all the kings
and wise men
put together.

As an art historian, I am drawn to images that represent diverse religious traditions, including Hinduism, Paganism, and Christianity.  My own spirituality is informed by all three.  This poem led me to a surprising place where I was able to imagine a ritual sacrifice of greater energy and significance than any I could muster within the confines of any of these traditions in isolation.

BIO: Brenda Edgar is an art historian, poet, and yoga instructor in Louisville, KY.  Her free monthly public talk series, “Art History Illustrated,” is offered at the Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, Indiana.  She also gives frequent talks and teaches classes virtually for Morbid Anatomy in Brooklyn, New York.  More information about her work can be found at

Her first book of poetry, Dead Flowers, will be published in late Summer 2023 by the Main Street Rag Publishing Company.  It can be pre-ordered at a discounted price through the Main Street Rag Bookstore.

3 thoughts on “Channeling the Divine: A Creative Process by Brenda Edgar”

  1. Like you I am image based and i think images lead down to the heart of who we are if we allow them to – as you have. For me nature provides me with the images I need to work most creatively – it is different for all of us – yes?


  2. The creative process is a mysterious and wonderful thing. I teach an in person workshop “Discover Your Inner Diva” and what is revealed before, during and after the discovery and creative process (in this case painting your Diva, your portrait) is a tremendously fulfilling activity for the participants and for me witnessing their process. I recently completed a 52 Diva series based on this process with exhibits in US and Costa Rica.
    Whether it is Brenda’s soul collage cards, Sara’s Nature images and my Divas, we all come to a similar point that expresses our truth…and how wonderful is that?!


  3. Thanks for sharing your poetry and your Journey Brenda. I too have that sensation of poetry coming through me rather than from me. I’m very inspired by nature, art, and the sea outside my window.


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