This blog post is about the third mask, Golden Solar Plexus Swan created for the Prismic Vision NYE event hosted by the Body Earth Collective in Longmont. Read the previous posts in this series about Rabbit & Skunk and other posts about the beginnings of the process as a whole and the success of the actual event. There will be four more posts, one for each mask. Be sure to Follow my blog to catch all the updates. I am looking forward to sharing more deeply about the process I went through with each mask.
When I began working on the Swan mask I couldn’t fathom a way to clearly signal that it was in fact a swan mask with the face of the animal alone. And so I ended up creating a whole Swan headdress, with the elegant neck and powerful wings in full view. After the Rabbit Mask, the Swan was the largest of the masks. Creating the armature for the head, neck, and wings was extremely satisfying, although it took a lot of trial and error to determine the best course to take.
The Head and Neck of the Swan were made out of cardboard and tons and tons and tons of masking tape to secure all the pieces together. It took several attempts at construction and reconstruction before I was satisfied the silhouette was correct. The body of the Swan was from a balloon. Using a balloon to create the base for Papier-mâché is a tried and true method. I used it for several of the masks, including the snake, rabbit, and skunk. During the drying one of the balloons popped before the process had completed. My carefully crafted globe of wheat paste and newspaper was a floppy mess. After a brief moment of devastation I salvaged as much as I could of the deflated mass. At first I thought these salvaged pieces could become the wings of the Swan, but in the end they weren’t the correct shape and I pivoted to using them for the snake. To create the wings of the swan I instead used copious amounts of tinfoil, which I then carefully encased in masking tape, and then sealed in Papier-mâché.
The Swan was one of the first masks I started and ended being the final mask I Papier-mâchéd; it took forever to dry. In my haste I forgot to paint the mask in primer before attempting to spray paint the base color of yellow. I learned very quickly that the primer of white was fairly crucial. Pressed by the deadline I soldiered on, but I ended up using way more spray paint and acrylic to completely cover the newsprint on the Swan. Despite the complications and setbacks the Swan mask became one of my favorite, and Sara, who aspected the Swan in the Opening Procession wore the mask beautifully.
Working with Swan Medicine and the Energy of Yellow Solar Plexus
I was so ecstatic when Swan appeared as the animal ally for the Yellow Shrine and Solar Plexus Chakra. My partner in conjuring the allies wasn’t convinced at first, as we already had a bird for the Indigo Shrine, Hawk. However I felt that Swan and Solar Plexus were a delightful pairing. Swans are a bird for the Warrioress, and as the Solar Plexus is the seat of will in the world, creating a new story of Feminine Power in relationship to this Chakra was extremely evocative for me. The Chakra Mantra for the Solar Plexus is I am Strong, and Swan’s are certainly a powerful bird.
Golden Swan – Solar Plexus Altar Sketch
Over the course of the project Yellow morphed into a more Golden aspect. Gold is a luxurious and royal color. It glows like warm honey and the shining sun. It radiates a sense of wealth, success, and shining optimism. Stories of the Swan linked to the Golden Egg and Valkyries heavenly armor continued to weave a web of mythic meaning around the Golden Yellow Swan Mask. I especially wanted to capture the sense of the Woman Warrior by evoking the iconic imagery of the Valkyrie’s winged helmet in the placement of the Golden Wings on the Mask.
The Mask in the Space
The Altar for the Swan was in the entrance hall to the event. After transcending into the space through a prismically rainbow stairway the Swan Altar became the first piece of the even participants encountered. It was one of the most stately shrines, and to continue the desire for welcoming and invitation supplies to write New Year’s wishes were provided at the base of the Altar.
People wrote the most beautiful wishes, resolutions, activations, and manifestations on the giant mural provided by the Swan Altar, and I enjoyed revisiting the opening hallway as the night progressed to see how the mural continued to evolve.
Photo Credit: Ethan Green
For the Opening Procession we circulated the energy of the event, briefly traveling outside and then up the Rainbow Stairway into the main space, gliding like a flock of elegant Swans and whispering our Swan Mantras. “Listen to your intuition”… “Find power through graceful and beauty”…”Only through the feminine will we find our revolution”… and so on. It was so beautiful to whisper such meaningful affirmations while witnessing all of the people who had come to enjoy New Year’s Eve at the event.
The words on the Altar were as follows:
Yellow – Solar Plexus – Swan
I will surrender to the flow of the spiral
and trust what I am shown
Beauty, Light & Grace.
Beautiful, Majestic, Powerful, Loyal Swan! Remind me of my own inner grace and beauty. Share with me the wisdom of time and change. To reflect inward, as the water ripples out across time, on how to connect my mind to my heart, my inner landscape to my outer appearances, and my self love to the partnerships in my life. Be here now. -Excerpt from 52 Feathers Zine by Khiri Lee
Through the Feminine will we find our Revolution