Visual Imagery

In my classroom and workshops I have made it a practice to encourage participants of all ages to practice guided imagery in the form of a fantasy journey. The guided imagery provides a frame for students to safely travel down a fantasy road. It offers a chance to indulge imagination and improve creative writing skills all at the same time. Let me share the practice.

We gather in the classroom, around a big table in the library, around my kitchen table here at Carnforth, the home of the Soul Food Cafe. Participants are asked to bring an item which is of great value to them so that they can make a metaphorical offering to Calliope, the muse of creative inventiveness.

A table is set with a cloth, some shells and a candle. We talk about the nine muses, each with a specific creative field, each bearing a unique gift of creative energy. Reminded that nothing is free we each take the time to think about what we are prepared to give up in exchange for the laurel crown and the staff of fluency. Participants have to search deep into their inner being and consider what they really will relinquish. After one such session I destroyed my curriculum vitae and resolved never to take leadership positions which would drain away my creative energy.

To begin the fantasy journey we imagine a tranquil physical space. I provide a scenario. For example!

It is high summer and you are lying in a corn field. You are feeling happy because you have no work to do and the weather is hot. You can hear the corn sway from side to side beside you. The noise of birds, whistling from the branches of the trees that hide the house vibrate within you. Lying flat on your back you stare up into the unbroken blue sky falling over the edge of the corn. The wind, after the warm rain before noon, smells of rabbits and cattle. You stretch yourself like a cat and put your arms behind your back. Now you are riding on the sea, swimming through the golden corn waves, gliding along the heavens like a bird. Now you are in giant sized boots, springing over the fields. You rise to your feet and wander out of the corn to the strip of river by the hillside. You put your fingers in the water, making mock sea waves to roll the stones over and shake the weeds. You make up a story as the fish swim past. It tells of a drowned princess........

After we have listened to the imagery participants write in their writing notebooks, notebooks that we have covered with special, symbolic images, images that remind us that this is a haven to retreat to. We write for twenty minutes, not worrying about grammar, spelling or if our piece makes sense. After we have finished writing we share what we have written.

You can find a collection of the guided imageries I use here at the Soul Food Cafe. You can read some more fantasy pieces in Lemurian Landscapes, a collection of writing taken from the Lemurian Writing Retreat. Travel well! Join the forums and add your writing.