The first post I wrote when I restarted the Ninth Wave Designs blog nine years ago included this quote from Carl Gustav Jung:
“I should advise you to put it all down as beautifully as you can — in some beautifully bound book. It will seem as if you were making the visions banal — but then you need to do that — then you are freed from the power of them. . . . Then when these things are in some precious book you can go to the book & turn over the pages & for you it will be your church — your cathedral — the silent places of your spirit where you will find renewal. If anyone tells you that it is morbid or neurotic and you listen to them — then you will lose your soul — for in that book is your soul.”
I read it again recently and it surprised me – in a splash-of-cold-water-in-the-face kind of way. I was looking back on the blog to see when it was exactly that I started working on the alchemy-themed oracle cards that I am finishing up now, and came across the quote. Sometimes it takes the perspective of time, of looking back through the filter of the collection of events that have passed over months and years, to see things more clearly – only then can you see the way forward. Through that filter it was like reading Jung’s quote fresh for the first time, and the meaning was clear and complete.
The background noise of life has reached a level of distraction that has been hard to manage lately, for all of us I’m sure, and it has been interfering with my ability to hold the focus of clarity that creative work requires. These words from Jung snapped my mind back into sharp focus, and I see now what I have been doing all along, and what I must continue to do. Reading it brought a cascade of images to mind of all the drawings and paintings that I have committed to paper between the pages of my sketchbooks and watercolor notebooks through these unsettled times, created with a sense of urgency and necessity about them – and now I see why. These creations have been the silent places of my spirit, and it has given me a sense of renewal, just as Jung promised. I feel fortunate that I have so many blank pages in these creative books that are yet to be filled, they represent an investment in the continuation of an essential creative process that involves nothing less than saving my soul.
If you keep this same kind of creative practice between the pages of your notebooks and sketchbooks, take a moment to pause and honor that process, and recognize it for what it is:
your place of renewal;
because in that book is your soul.
Here is a glimpse into mine: