4. Shape Shifting Ritual.
After the journey, it is time to create a mold for the mask, from the client’s own face. Intentions are stronger, and the transformative energies are at their peak, so it is the perfect time to bring the journey here into the Middle World by performing a shape-shifting ritual. The mold is created to capture the energy of the client and the energy of the power animal that is being channeled.
Before the mold is created, the client sits in front of the mirror in dim candle light, and then we go through some guided visualization and meditation that enables the client to further bond with their power animal. This is done by visualizing that his/her face is transforming into that of their power animal. Sometimes, changes can be observed in the mirror, especially around the eyes. This is a good sign that the shape-shifting is occurring.
I then start to create the mold while the client’s eyes are closed. Again, clients are encouraged to visualize themselves as their power animal. How the animal moves, perceives, how it eats, how it hunts or grazes, are all great things to imagine while the mold is being created. The materials I currently use are plaster gauze strips. Once the mold is dry, I am ready to design and create the mask.
5. Design Stage.
For a couple of months after the journey, I meditate on the power animal, and see if anything else comes through, feel out what images and ideas are going to make it on the mask, and then start scribbling away! Ideas and impressions tend to start brewing and fermenting, boiling down into more concrete visions. During this time I check out photos of the power animal, any accompanying symbols and sigils, make rough sketches, and get a feel for the forms and angles of the animal’s features. You can check out my Pinterest page to see what inspires me, offering another insight into the work I do.
I also love visiting the nearby zoo. It’s always good bring a sketch book and camera as well. But the main goal is to sense its movements and personality, and feel what it might be like to be that animal. Sometimes I catch myself unconsciously mimicking the animal as I am sketching. The kids around me think it’s pretty funny, while their parents tell them to give me a wide berth! Once I feel confident that the design is complete, it’s time to get messy with the mask!
6. The Creation of The Mask.
I start by shopping and searching for whatever stones, crystals, feathers and any other objects that were divined during the journey, that are needed on the mask. These amplify the mask’s power, and help to anchor the right healing energies that the mask will be channeling.
I then sit for hours, staring at the mask, visualizing the animal’s face super-imposed over the mold. considering what materials will be needed, and how to create the desired forms and features. It’s a multi-media project. Plaster gauze, papier mache, wire mesh, electrical wire, beads, glue, sun-glass lenses, mirrors, straws, are all plunked on until I get the desired basic form. I then use a finer material, like clay, or super sculpey for the details. Beads, and crystals are usually introduced at this point, and I tweak it til it feels right. The next step is to choose the color scheme, again going with the theme of the mask as much as possible.
During this whole time of design and creation, I am journeying and holding space for the client. I am always startled and amazed at the synchronicities between the features I am working on and what is happening for my client at the same time. It is often clear to me and the client that there is a direct link between the mask’s progress and the client’s inner process.
Once the mask is painted and complete, the client is free to retrieve it, and use it in whatever fashion feels right. This is by no means the end of the journey, and the mask will be a constant companion and channel for healing and growth.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and that it helps answer any questions you may have. However, it won’t cover everything, and ultimately, the mask is a very personal thing. I am way better talking about it than I am writing, and so if you want to have a chat feel free to call me. Here’s the number again: 808-419-1780.
Or Skype: whiteravenma
Here’s what one client has to say about her masks:
“Gavin is one of the most powerful healers I have met. The energy he channels through the masks now breathes in our home like a gentle ocean breeze; subtly yet profoundly uplifting our spirits and infusing our daily lives with greater presence, ease, protection, creativity and playfulness. Our three young children are deeply connected to the masks and often insist that they accompany us on overnight journeys away from home. The thought of Gavin’s masks living and breathing into the hearts and homes of people all over the world is very hopeful and inspiring.”
Jaime Smith, CO