We are being lived by powers we pretend to understand    W. H. Auden                                    

Creative Aging   from The Casual Alchemist                           April-May 2019

Creativity is not about “art” but about finding ways to keep making our lives meaningful.

In what ways can we become regenerative for ourselves, our families and  our community?            

Practicing creativity eases  the difficulty of the many, tidal transitions of being human from birth

through growing up, aging and the bumps of jobs, war, physical and spiritual wounds.

SYMPTOMS of Transition: PORTALS  SHIFT.  There's an Imbalance.

There are changes in mood, sleep, body, vision, hearing, memory, centrality, responsibility, visibility.

“Who am I when I am no longer doing, no longer productive, no longer indispensable to so many others?

No longer wearing the masks? Where does my attention go? Am I shedding objects, clothes, books, body? 

Am I grumpy, angry, annoyed, foggy, sad?”   

WHAT TO DO?    There’s been a loss, yes, but what’s opened up, awakened?  

Needs are Changing. There’s a Spiritual Hunger. It can be fed, adjusted.  You Can Do It.                  


Trust Curiosity.            Distrust Discourse.       Trust the Body.

Be with Children.         Be with Nature.            Make Things.    

Take Small Risks.        Make Order.                   Make Time for The Holy.


Try this Four-Fold Approach                    Start Anywhere!

Be Quiet: introspective, interior, patient. Remember dreams. This is private, meditative activity. It’s a form of Mindfulness.


Be Active:  intuitive, expressive. Find things to make, fix, build, care for. Learn a new skill. Use your Body


Be Public: engaging, explorative; Work and Play with others; Mentor, Volunteer. Share a skill you know.


Be Digestive: reflective, incorporative; Revisit these other activities. How did they work and feel? Keep a record. This is a “Grimoire”  Look it up.


Find Activities that feed you:     ASK, if what you are doing or who you are with:

1. Quiet Musings via curiosity, memory, imagination, patience, solitude, hunches, accidents…

Do a Thumbnail Description of YourselfJust 50 words, or less           

Be with Nature  Wander  Bare Feet?  Notice Seasonal Changes:

Stay casual   This is an exploration, not a debate or argument or sales pitch.

Recall Stories of your experiences in Nature: with animals, insects, weather…

The gods are in the diseases    Your Symptoms? What Spectrum are you on? 

Follow Present ThreadsWhat’s presenting? What lingers, vexes, haunts, peeves, annoys ?   

     Welcome Them as Directional,s Clues, Puzzle Pieces to your Unconscious.

       They are not “Problems”. They are Your Familiars.

Survey Needs: for Story, Awe, Feral, Making,       

Consider New Ways, Models for Thinking: The Mosaic, The Kaleidoscope, The Loom, The Tapestry,

       Organic Thinking,  Browsing, Cooking, The Ellipse, Tides

Review your Lineages: Who are your people?  Ethnic, family, spiritual, karmic, archetypal, clan.

    What tasks were you born with?  What doe you know about your Birth Experience?

2. Matterings: A wordless language of Material into Meaning via pattern and re-pattern

    to bolster/adjust/materialize Stories from The Unconscious, 

    Allow for the power of the indistinct to emerge as tips, clues, hints. 

    It’s cooperative participation, not control of the process. This is MAGIC:

     ways to access playful, provocative, hidden energy

Make Marks    Use Pounded Pigment from stones, mud or flowers. Try Rubbing on various  textures;  

     Try: mark-making with the smoke of a candle.  

Make Tools  (Wands/Talismans)  Find 2-3 Things: feathers, shells, leaves, sticks,

     Connect with yarn, dental floss, rubber bands; Add color,

Make Things to Wear    Particularly Hats, Masks, Jewelry

Make Gifts    for friends, family, enemies     Just Leave Them Somewhere

Use Fragments and Empties:  Blocks, Jars, Envelopes.  What can you put in them?

Simple Activities :    Twist ties, Blocks, Rubbings, Balancing, Make Piles, Bundles

3. Launchings: Public Ways to share discoveries, Make The Story Visible;      

Find Ways to Share Your Stories  Vlog? Website? Pinterest?  Give Gifts to kindle Others. 

Find others who share your sensibilities?

Find a Community Volunteer Project   a mural or a deck of cards that many people contribute to?

Go Visit 3 Pines at the Community Center and see how you can engage

4. Review/Digest Often  

What’s Repeating/Appearing? Are familiar themes appearing?  Do Family members/memories appear? 

       Remember, it’s all about MAterial/PAttern

Light Touch! not full arguments, but allurements. Take Small Risks

         Poetry often enters through the window of irrelevance.   M.C Richards

Try Small Scale Objects: How little of something is needed to make meaning? 

Find Your Surreal name  an anagram of the letters in your name.

Start a Grimoire:  your record, journal of your Casual Making. Your discoveries.

    In what Ways are you a Legacy Carrier?               What Talents Emerging!


Earth is Element of Old Age      from the North

"the time to give yourself away, to learn to dwell in timelessness and to tend the youth." (Andy Fisher) . 

The Time of Balance, Autumn/Winter, Body, Material Abundance, stability, health, hearth, home and Quietness.    

Earth Energy is Cool, Dry, Feminine: Venus, Saturn, Earth, onyxjade,, amethyst, lead:  Dull,  no sparkle, heavy           

Evoked   by any stone, dish of soil, salt, ochre, ivy. brown-black-green, darkness, thickness, bile, melancholy 

Divinities     DemeterCeres, the HoraePersephoneProserpinaHadesPluto.                            

Spirits:  gnomes, Fauns, Goblins, Satyrs, DryadSylvestres         

Animals:  Owl, Cat, sphinx, bull, stag, dragonwolf,                                                                                

Plants:   earthy-smelling, Grains grow near or in the soil: nourishing, hi-calorie, stored a long time      

Reactions after recent Workshops               5.1.19

 What Stories, Thoughts, Reactions from Week?                  Why Come Back?               

  Did you Take Any Small Risks?      Make Cards?          Loose Parts              Your Altars?              Ikigai

WHY do this?       Is this Familiar:

   Unexpected Turbulence        Things May have Shifted        Menu has changed           

   Third Eye blinks                       Top Chakra Opens                      Contact with Spirit


GUIDES/PRACTICES  to the powers of the Creative Unconscious

 to help “give yourself away, learn to dwell in timelessness and tend the youth.”   Andy Fisher

1. Keep Revisiting NEEDS (wonder/awe, nature/feral, skill/making, story)                   Use Ikigai 

     Ikigai: the source of value in one's life;  the things that make one's life worthwhile          see visual

    Personal Inventory: YOUR earned history. Take responsibility. For better and worse

    What Stories are appearing?    Eliz reading Ch Bks

2. ASK  ”Do these People,  this Activity,”  Stimulate Joy. Wonder, Awe? 

   Make you Feel Playful?  Competent?    Connected to Nature?  Community?,

   Recognize/Welcome Emerging CLAN    Your Trickster, Greenman, Caretaker            Archetypes

3.Be in Nature: “the enticing beauty and repellent brutality of nature”  Francis Jammes

  Explore Organic language (vs non-organic, heroic, egoic technical, binary)

    Where Mysteries, confusions, anomalies, ambiguities not Problems but normal growth:

     a Fruiting. Ripening, decaying, a dormancy, Welcoming Experience with:

   The Chthonic of the Earth, below, hidden, alive, decay/compost. Just outside Ego control

   The Feral = Illicit, marginal, outsider, animal, off-center, out of comfort zone

   CHAOS: rising/falling action,  disorder, decay, through which the next form emerges.

   Transformative  All are affected.  There are no sidelines   

4. Allow PLAY! Seek Children as Guides But Aging is not a return to being a child.          

  Loose parts   Materials that can be moved, combined, taken apart, put back together in  multiple 

      ways. No defined or directed use, Loose parts allow personal, idiosyncratic critical thinking.    

 Take Small Risks/new competencies: the other way home  Coming to this group?

     Changing Pattern-Material-Meaning                                                      Be Curious: “What If I…”          

 Let Go of Words         try Maps, Images, What’s on your cellphone? Instagram,          

    Explore new “skills”  or How To’s  in Practical and Spiritual matters

    Try Haiku   Now-mood-contrast- with Objects                                                                      Pinterest


MORE:  hikeintohistory   MakingMeditations.  CreativeAging     Grimoire     

David Brooks, The Second Mountain                aarp.org/health/dementia

Suggestions for play/work at Home

www.thecasualalchemist.com                  James Hillman, The Force of Character

Donald Hall, The Third Thing                         Robert Frost, The Road not Taken

Robert Atchley, Everyday Mysticism            Andy Fisher,   https://andyfisher.ca/