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january 2024 blog post

A Beginner’s Guide to Developing a Spiritual Practice in Your Art Journal

Follow these simple steps to begin a spiritual practice in your art journal and discover how aligning your creativity with the moon can bring clarity, purpose and peace.

In these trying times, my spiritual practice can sometimes feel frivolous but in a world that seems increasingly chaotic and unpredictable spiritual practices do help. They are not always the answer or the action that needs to be taken and, depending on how you’re being impacted by world events, not everyone has the privilege to practice their spirituality, but our spiritual practices do have an important place.

They cultivate inner resilience and emotional stability, which are crucial for navigating anxiety and stress. By connecting with a deeper part of yourself, you can find a sense of purpose and clarity that acts as a guiding light in dark times. Deepening your spiritual life can also be a form of quiet resistance against the external chaos, a way of asserting the enduring power of peace, love, and understanding in the face of adversity. It’s a reminder that despite the turmoil in the external world, you can cultivate a place of tranquility and wisdom within yourself, which can also radiate out to others, hopefully contributing to a more compassionate and resilient society. And let’s face it, society is not exactly compassionate or tolerant these days so yes, your spirituality matters.

My spiritual practice happens to be art journaling with the moon.

This practice involves aligning my art journal activities with the phases of the moon, each of which carries its own unique energy and symbolism and practicing my moon rituals, spell work and seasonal observances in my art journal. The act of drawing, painting, or writing in my journal during different moon phases allows me to align with the lunar energy, enhancing my intuition and connection to nature’s rhythms. It opens up avenues for practicing magic and ritual and it facilitates deep emotional healing. By reflecting on my emotions in sync with the lunar cycle, I can process and release emotional baggage, leading to greater self-awareness and emotional balance.

It’s a way of honoring and connecting with the natural world, celebrating the cycles of life, and finding harmony within myself and with the environment.

Plus, I LOVE expressing my spirituality through my creativity. It suits my intuitive, flowing nature who doesn’t like rules or things having to be a certain way. I like to be flexible, adaptable and like the moon, change my own guidelines when it feels right. Practicing my spirituality in my art journal also allows me to explore and express my innermost thoughts, emotions, and spiritual insights in a tangible way. It’s a colorful, playful way to do the deep work of introspection, prayer, meditation, divination and worship. It also provides a way to channel spiritual energy and insights into physical form, helping to ground abstract spiritual concepts into my everyday life. And it’s a way to honor and connect with my spirituality on a regular basis, keeping my spiritual practice vibrant and alive.

Whether you’re new to art journaling or a seasoned journaler, aligning your practice with the moon’s phases adds a magical dimension to it. As you move through each lunar cycle, you’ll find that this practice helps you understand your emotions better, gives you clarity on your path, and brings a sense of peace and grounding. It allows you to connect with unseen realms, aligns you with natural cycles and regulate your nervous system with nature. It’s a beautiful way to blend spirituality and creativity.

To begin, it’s best to keep things simple. Focus on ease and comfort, allowing your creativity to flow without getting bogged down by too many choices.

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Choose a Journal and Gather Your Supplies

Choose a journal that resonates with you. It can be any size that feels comfortable, but something portable is ideal. Look for a journal with good quality mixed media paper that can handle a variety of mediums, especially if you’re planning to use watercolors or ink as you’ll need paper that can withstand a lot of water without distorting.

You don’t even need an art journal to get started. You could make your own from paper you have laying around – like in grade school when you would staple construction paper together to make a book. You could even transform a novel you no longer want into an art journal. The options are limitless and so many of them are explained step-by-step in the millions of helpful YouTube tutorials you can access whenever you need them. Don’t be shy about looking to other people who art journal on a regular basis to inspire you or get you started.

Start with basic supplies and expand as you go.

If all you have laying around is wax crayons, use those. Personally, I like using supplies that are portable and versatile. I like to move from my studio to the couch so I like using ink pencils, watercolors, watercolor pencils, and paint markers. These tools are great for finishing pages anywhere, whether I’m at home or on the go. They allow for a mix of precision and fluidity in my work, perfect for capturing the essence of the moon’s energy. Ink pencils are great for detailed work and can be used dry for sharp lines or with water for a more blended effect. Watercolor are deal for creating starry, cosmic backgrounds. They can also be quite therapeutic to work with and are perfect for expressing emotions and I love using them for scrying.

Watercolor pencils are similar to ink pencils and they combine the precision of colored pencils with the fluidity of watercolors. They’re perfect for adding vibrant details and I LOVE watching what I’ve colored turn into a painting when I add water. Paint markers are great for adding bold and bright elements to your journal. They’re also handy for writing words or drawing symbols. The goal is to express yourself and connect with the moon and your spirituality, so choose materials that make you feel comfortable and inspired.

As you progress, you can always experiment with new tools and techniques.

Create a Sacred Space

Once you’ve gathered the supplies you want to play with during your moon rituals, it’s time to create a sacred space.

Creating a sacred space means setting up a special area that is dedicated to your spiritual practice. The idea is to make this space feel distinct from the rest of your surroundings, a place where you can disconnect from everyday life and connect more deeply with yourself or your spiritual beliefs.

The process of creating a sacred space is very individual. It often involves choosing a quiet and comfortable spot in your home or outdoors. In this space, you might include items that have spiritual significance to you, such as candles, crystals, plants, or images that represent your spirituality. These items help to create an atmosphere that supports your spiritual practices.

 

The key to a sacred space is that it feels safe, peaceful, and conducive to introspection and spiritual connection.

It doesn’t have to be elaborate or large; even a small corner of a room or a few pages in your art journal can be transformed into a sacred space. The intention behind the space is what truly matters. It’s about creating an environment where you can retreat to nurture your spiritual health. If you like setting up altars, try creating one in your art journal that you can flip open to when you need it.

Clear

In this step the goal is to clear your physical, mental and emotional space. There are many ways to do this. Ring a bell. Play a crystal bowl. Meditate. Say a prayer. Chant. Spray a mist of moon water and essential oil around the room you are performing the ritual in. Light incense or your favorite herb and move it around to clear your physical space, your mind, your heart and your energy. Listen to a guided meditation or close your eyes and focus on your breath.

Do whatever works for you to step out of your everyday busy thinking mind and drop into a more relaxed, open and receptive mind.

Try your best to release tensions, worries, negativity, anxieties, fears and stress. You can even ASK FOR HELP with this step. Ask your spirit allies, your ancestors, the wind or whoever you pray to to take your worries, anxieties and negative thoughts away. Release feelings of unworthiness and self-criticism. Do whatever works for you to clear away the mental clutter and any fears you may be hanging onto. Ask for your mind and emotional body to be cleansed and relieved of what no longer serves you. Ask the Divine for help to prepare your body, heart and mind to open to connecting with spirit and practicing your spirituality in your art journal.

Consider what you enjoy doing or what makes you feel taken care of. Some days spraying moon water and saying a prayer is enough.  Other days life weighs heavy on my mind and I need more. On those days I slow down and spend more time in this step than I normally would. Effectively nurturing your heart and shifting your mental and emotional state is more important than robotically going through the motions of each step. Listen to your body and your heart and do what you have to do to shift your heart and soul into that sacred space.

Clearing energy using counter-clockwise spirals in your art journal is a simple yet powerful spiritual practice. This motion is believed to hold spiritual and magical properties related to release and cleansing. To do this, start by drawing spirals in a counter-clockwise direction on a page of your art journal. It can become the background of the art your later create or you can paint over it or you can create your spirals with your fingers or a brush dipped in water if you don’t want the marks to show.

In many spiritual traditions, the counter-clockwise (or widdershins) spiral is associated with undoing, unbinding, and reversing. It’s thought to be effective in unwinding negative energy, breaking down barriers, and releasing what no longer serves you. This makes it a suitable tool for clearing out old energy.

Draw or paint spirals to clear or invoke energy.

As you draw these spirals, focus your intention on letting go of any negative thoughts, emotions, or energies that may have accumulated since you last sat down to practice your spirituality in your art journal. Visualize these unwanted energies being captured in the spirals and dissolving away. I like to think about clearing energy from myself, my environment, my supplies and from my art journal. This practice can be particularly helpful if your journaling involves processing difficult emotions or experiences, ensuring that your journal remains a clean slate for positive and nurturing expressions.

Remember, the effectiveness of this step lies in your intention and focus. It’s not just about the physical act of drawing spirals but also about the mental and emotional release that comes with it.

Protect

Next, I like to protect my sacred space. I establish clear, firm boundaries of love, stating that only those that are here for my highest and greatest good are welcome in my space. I also invite my spirit allies to protect my boundaries. Lately, a helpful spirit animal keeps showing up to support me in this way. It reminds me, even with the simple things, we don’t have to do it all on our own.

When you perform this step you can also create a circle around you with items like stones or yarn or oracle cards to affirm your boundaries. What I try to achieve in this step is a very clear boundary within myself and within my physical space by being very clear about what kind of energy and intentions I want to hang out with as I art journal with the moon.

Creating a protective circle in your art journal by drawing a clockwise circle and circling its edges three times is a symbolic and spiritually significant practice. To do this, draw a circle on the page in your journal you will create on using any medium you prefer, like a pen, pencil, or paint or again, your finger or a brush with water if you don’t want it to become part of the art you create.

As you draw the circle, move in a clockwise direction, which is traditionally associated with bringing in positive energy, protection, and blessings. This direction is often used in various spiritual and magical practices to attract and manifest desired outcomes.

Once you have drawn your circle, go over its edge three times, reinforcing the intention of creating a protective barrier. This act of circling three times can be seen as sealing the circle with strength and purpose.

The number three is considered powerful in many traditions, symbolizing the triple-goddess, harmony, wisdom, and understanding among many other things.

As you draw, focus on your intention of creating a safe and protected space within your journal and around your spirit. This circle acts as a boundary, keeping out unwanted energies and influences. It’s a way of ensuring that your art journal remains a sacred space where you can express yourself freely and securely. This practice can be especially meaningful if you use your journal for spiritual or emotional exploration, as it symbolically safeguards your thoughts, feelings, and artistic expressions.

Invoke

I like to think of this step as an invitation. I prepared myself and my space, I quieted my busy mind and entered into a receptive state. Now all I have to do is invite Love and Spirit to join me. I’ve been lucky enough to witness the many miracles that unfold when I invite my spirit allies such as my ancestors, the elements and directions, goddesses, gods, Great Mother, animal and nature spirits, my Spirit Guides and angels to participate in my rituals with me. This step is crucial in saving me time and effort.

What I can do alone is nothing compared to what I can do together with my allies in the unseen realms.

A simple way to do this is to create clockwise spirals. I often include these alongside or draw over the counter-clockwise spirals I drew or painted in the clearing energy step.

Invoking your spirit allies, the elements, directions, nature spirits, and ancestors in your art journal through the use of clockwise spirals is a practice rich in spiritual symbolism. To do this, start by drawing spirals in a clockwise direction on a page in your art journal. The clockwise motion is traditionally associated with positive energy, attracting good spirits, and manifesting desires. This direction is often seen as a way to bring things into being, make connections, and honor the natural order of the universe.

As you draw each spiral, you can focus on inviting different spiritual entities into your space. For instance, while drawing one spiral, you might focus on calling in your spirit allies, visualizing them joining you in your creative process. In another spiral, you might concentrate on inviting the elements (earth, air, fire, water) and feel their energies infuse your work. Similarly, dedicate other spirals to inviting the directions (north, south, east, west), nature spirits, and your ancestors.

While doing this, it’s important to set clear intentions. Be specific about who or what you are inviting into your space and for what purpose. This could be for guidance, protection, inspiration, or support in your creative and spiritual journey.

The act of drawing these clockwise spirals serves as a ritual to connect with these entities, making your art journal a sacred space where spiritual communication can occur. It’s a way of blending your artistic practice with your spiritual beliefs, creating a deeper, more meaningful experience in your journaling.

My method of calling in Spirit is very simple. I create my clockwise spirals while speaking an invitation by saying,

“All those in Spirit that are here for my greatest and highest good, thank you for being here.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom, healing and guidance with me. Thank you for helping me receive your Divine messages and/ or healing clearly and effectively and with ease and grace.”

Then I pause for a moment and consider specifically who from my team of spirit allies I would like to invite. I speak their names and invite them to join me. I do this in an informal way and speak as I would if I were on the phone with a friend asking them to come over. I thank them for all the help they’ve ever given me in the past and gently ask them to guide me as I create with the moon in my art journal.

Align

Aligning with the seasons and the moon before creating in your art journal can deeply enhance your creative and spiritual process.

Align with the Seasons: First, consider the current season. Understanding where the Sun is in its seasonal cycle helps you connect with the Earth’s rhythm. Each season carries its own energy – spring is about new beginnings, summer is for growth, autumn is for harvesting, and winter is for introspection. By acknowledging the season, you can tailor your journaling to reflect these themes, creating a harmony between your inner world and the outer natural world.

Align with the Sun’s Position in the Zodiac: The Sun’s position in the zodiac adds another layer of energy. Each zodiac sign influences the Sun’s energy differently. For instance, if the Sun is in Aries, you might find your journaling infused with themes of leadership and assertiveness. Understanding the Sun’s zodiac position helps you tap into these energies, allowing your art journaling to be guided by the characteristics and qualities of the current astrological sign.

Align with the Moon Phase: Reviewing the phase of the moon is crucial as each phase (new, waxing, full, waning) holds different energies for creation, growth, release, and reflection. Incorporating the moon phase into your journaling can help you align your creative expression with these lunar energies. For a detailed description of the moon’s phases and their spiritual significance, visit this page on my blog.

Align with the Moon’s Position in the Zodiac: Additionally, knowing in which zodiac sign the moon is positioned during your journaling session provides insight into the emotional and spiritual undertone of your work. Each sign brings a unique flavor to the moon’s energy.

Align with the Moon’s Relationship with Other Planets: Finally, understanding the moon’s aspects or relationships with other planets at the time of your journaling can offer deeper insights. For example, if the moon is in a harmonious aspect with Venus, it might be a good time to focus on themes of love and beauty in your journaling. If it’s in a challenging aspect with Mars, you might find themes of conflict or assertiveness coming through.

Acknowledging these elements before you sit down to create in your art journal allows you to align more deeply with the cosmos, making your spiritual practice more meaningful and insightful.

This approach helps you tap into the natural rhythms and lunar cycles, enhancing your creative and spiritual work.

Create

Finally, after all the preparing, gathering, clearing, aligning, invoking and protecting, its time to create. Once you’ve created your sacred space, cleared the energy, invoked your spirit allies, and aligned with the moon in your art journaling practice, it’s time to immerse yourself in the creative process. This can encompass a wide range of spiritual activities, all expressed through the medium of paint and paper.

Scrying, for instance, is a form of divination that you can practice by letting your gaze soften as you look into your art, allowing images and messages to come forth. I explain this in more detail here. You might also use your art journal for other divinatory practices, like drawing tarot cards or interpreting symbols that spontaneously appear in your artwork.

Nature can be a great source of inspiration. You might study natural patterns and textures or create art inspired by the outdoors, which can help you feel more connected to the Earth and its cycles. Honoring your ancestors is another beautiful practice; you can create pages dedicated to them, perhaps incorporating images or symbols that remind you of their presence and influence in your life.

Your art journal can also be a space for prayer and meditation. You might paint while focusing on a particular intention or desire, turning your art session into a moving meditation or prayer. Communicating with spirit guides or deities through your art is another powerful practice. This could involve creating art that you feel guided to make or interpreting messages received during the process.

Expressing devotion and gratitude is easily translated into art journaling.

You can create pages that reflect the things you’re grateful for or dedicated to the spiritual beings or principles you hold dear. Planting seeds of intention in your journal, maybe through symbols or words that represent your goals and aspirations, helps to manifest these desires.

Asking for spiritual help can be done by creating art that expresses your needs and desires, perhaps accompanied by written requests or prayers. Observing and celebrating seasonal observances through your art can help you feel more in tune with the natural world, creating pages that reflect seasonal themes or specific spiritual holidays.

In summary, practicing your spirituality in your art journal with the moon opens up a world of possibilities.

From divination to devotion, each page becomes a unique expression of your spiritual journey, blending creativity with deep personal meaning.

What’s Next

I’ve just shared with you the first steps of art journaling with the moon. But guess what? That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Every Monday, I share my thoughts on the condition the moon is in that week then help you take it a step further by suggesting how to align with her energy in your art journal. This is a daily routine that helps you tend to your soul, practice magic and experience deep emotional healing in a creative and colorful way.

Don’t worry! If you don’t have an art journal yet, pull out some paper and pencil crayons and you’ll do just fine or, if you prefer writing, pull out your notebook and follow along that way. There are no rules here.

Sign up and look forward to my support every week.

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with love,

Dana da Ponte

 

 

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This is a space where art and spirit come together. On the blog, I share art rituals for working with the magic of the moon. I also work with the subconscious mind to lighten your emotional load and follow your creative dreams.

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