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Painting from the Wild Heart Workshop Example
Chris Zydel Interview : Page 3 of 5

Creative Juices Arts goddess Chris Zydel

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Q: In looking at your website, I noticed that you are open to a work exchange program, or bartering. Can you talk a little about that piece of it? What does a work-exchange entail? What are some of the things people have offered to barter in exchange for tuition at your fabulous retreats and classes?

A: These workshops and retreats actually involve a great deal of physical work to set up because most retreat centers don't have an art and painting studio as part of their accommodations. They usually have large meeting rooms that are used primarily for conferences or lectures and they will often have a room that is set up for yoga or dance. But I have yet to find a retreat center that has an existing painting studio… so I have to create one! And I need help with that.

What I offer as a work exchange involves a student taking on the role as my studio assistant (and I generally have more than one person filling that role). That means getting to the retreat early and helping me to build the studio. I usually have between 12 and 14 participants at my retreats so I need to have easels for everyone plus plenty of paint, paper, brushes, palettes and smocks. I also put up lights, so that the studio is extremely well lit. I mix paints, pack up all the supplies and then transport everything to the site. There's a lot of packing, unpacking and arranging that needs to happen.

A studio assistant helps me with all of these tasks. During the week of the actual retreat I also might ask an assistant to mix some paints, repair an easel or run a supply errand. At the end of the retreat, I need people to help me break down, clean up, repack supplies and then store my supplies until next time. It's definitely work, but it is very gratifying to stand in an ordinary room that has been transformed into a bona fide painting studio.

Q: How does your knowledge of astrology effect or impact a coaching session, retreat, or painting class? Are certain astrological signs more inclined towards one medium or mode of expression? Do you look at the charts of people you're planning to work with as you schedule classes and activities?

A: Whenever I work with someone, either individually or in a group setting, I always ask for their birth data so that I can have access to their natal astrology chart. I find the information invaluable in being able to understand my students more deeply and to work with them more effectively, to not only encourage their gifts but also to help them understand any challenges and potential pitfalls represented in their chart.

I practice a type of astrology known as Evolutionary Astrology that has been developed by the well-known husband and wife astrology team, Steven and Jodie Forrest. Your astrology chart is essentially a blueprint of the soul's lesson plan for how to achieve your optimal growth in this life. Your natal chart paints a picture of your inner world that can help you understand your needs, desires and motivations. But it also helps you understand why you are here, and what specific tasks you need to undertake to fulfill your unique destiny, what lessons you're here to learn, and the challenges that you need to embrace that will allow you to live your life with purpose and meaning.

When I am working with a client or a student, those questions about life purpose are uppermost in my mind. Since I work with a lot of creative types, I'm always particularly interested in how their creativity supports their life purpose.

Q: I'm a Pisces-Aquarius cusp baby, with a Scorpio moon sign. I was born in the Chinese year of the Dragon. What can you tell me about my creative work, passions and pitfalls, and my future as a writer and artist? Could you give me a general "capsule forecast" for the next 5-10 years based on that information? I'm trying to tease out the ways that an astrological counseling session can benefit artists and other creative professionals.

A: When I looked at your chart from the Evolutionary Astrology perspective, I asked myself certain questions, like: "What does Molly need to do in order to grow into her full creative potential?" As a Pisces Sun you are a natural mystic, which means that you need to spend plenty of time going into altered states where you are connected to the invisible worlds of soul and spirit. You need regular doses of immersing yourself in the realms of pure energy and consciousness (which can look like formal meditation — or it can look like staring out the window at the passing clouds! It can also look like allowing yourself to go into a creative trance state, where you are visiting other dimensions and simply channeling creative ideas without analysis, assessment or judgment. It's practicing being in surrender to your creative muse. Pisces gets in trouble when they don't give themselves enough of this inner world time. When that happens you could find yourself getting lost in fantasy or other types of escapist behavior which serves as a distraction from your true creative work.

Your Pisces sun is in the 6th house which means that your work is a huge part of your identity and you need some form of creative work where you feel like you are of service to the world. Being of service doesn't mean that you are supposed to hide in the shadows. It's difficult for you to shine and take up space around your creativity. With a 6th house Pisces sun and Virgo rising you have a horror of being considered "egocentric." You need to find mentors and role models, people who you admire, who shine brightly with the radiance of their gift, not their ego. You also labor under the illusion that your own creative work is never quite good enough.

Your Scorpio moon means that the mood of your soul is one of deep, passionate psychological intensity. You are drawn to what is hidden, buried and taboo. You are fascinated by emotional complexity, and by issues that pertain to death, rebirth, and spiritual and emotional transformation. You need to spend regular time visiting the underworld of your psyche — if you don't go there intentionally, you can find yourself dragged there by irrational feelings and mysterious "bad moods." Your ultimate evolutionary goal is to learn to creatively communicate from the depth of your unconscious and your authentic emotional experience. But you don't always trust your feelings or your intensity. You can be overly cautious when it comes to fully expressing what you know to be true. Your emotions sometimes seem weird or strange to you and you can often feel like an outsider or that you don't fit in because of your emotional perceptions.

Your cosmic job description is to learn to express yourself from your own direct experience. You need to develop the courage to express your own voice, and your own unique perspective on things, but part of what is unique about you is your willingness to creatively communicate about what is painful, scary and disturbing. Express what you think, believe and know even if it seems weird. Your goal is to become willing to speak the truth even at the risk of making people uncomfortable with the power of your perceptions. What you know, what you see, what you express and what you communicate will not always be pretty or pleasing. Take more risks with your depth, with your truth, and with your intensity. Your greatest edge of growth is to communicate from your heart and to use your creative gifts of language and perception to make people feel!

What you know doesn't always come from rational and logical places. What you know sometimes comes in dreams, flashes of intuition or insight and psychic hits. What you know doesn't always make logical, rational sense… but you need to develop faith in this alternate way of perception, and practice trust in your unique way of knowing.

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