Friday, 13 January 2012

Pagan 101: Art Affirmations


An affirmation is a declared statement of truth. The idea behind affirmations is that you use the power of positive thinking to draw a positive outcome from the universe. For example, let's say you want to improve your self-image. You make a statement as if what you WISH was true IS already true... so you might say 'I am beautiful.' This affirmation can then be used as a mantra (spoken out loud) or as a meditation (spoken in your head), repeated over and over, with the idea that if you are told something often enough, you believe it to be true... and if you believe something to be true, you can make it so. 

I've never really got on very well with this kind of practice. Firstly, I feel like an idiot chanting mantras out loud to myself, and secondly using affirmations in this way always makes me feel too much like I'm trying to convince myself that they're true, and I never seem able to get past that feeling. 

However, I've recently discovered a way to make affirmations using art that really works for me, and I'd like to share this method with you here. 

Using Art To Make An Affirmation

I use my art journal for lots of things - making lists, trying out different art techniques and materials, brainstorming, and as art therapy (see my last post). Last autumn, just before the time of the autumnal equinox, I felt as though time was going by too quickly and I wasn't ready for summer to be over. I like summer; it's my favourite season, and so I quite often feel like this at that time of year. Feeling pretty down about it, I decided to get out my art journal and try a bit of art therapy to help me.

I set out with a clear intention that this piece of artwork should help me to embrace the time of the goddess, rather than feel sad that summer was over. I started to think about the colours,words and images of autumn that made me feel warm and good and I put these down on the page. Subconsciously, I was making an affirmation, that I was 'Embracing the time of the goddess' and the act of expressing this through my art became both my therapy and my affirmation. 

How It Works

When you make art, you occupy the left side of your brain with the practical issues of physically getting stuff down on paper (the drawing, painting, sticking, mixing colours) instead of it being free to exert its logical ideas (like 'I'm just trying to convince myself here..'), which is what usually happens to me if I try the chanting or meditation methods. This distraction of the left side of your brain frees up the right side to explore and express the subconscious. Because your left side is concentrating on the imagery, symbols and correspondences of your chosen subject, the subconsciousness remains focussed on this subject - i.e. your intent - and so the affirmation gets through and becomes absorbed by the subconscious mind very easily. 


I tried this method of making art affirmations a few times. Here's one I did to help me feel more connected to my ancestors at Samhain:

This time, as well as the colours and imagery, I wrote a certain phrase over and over lots of times to help it become imprinted on my subconscious:

Another time I wanted to become more connected with the earth:

Thinking about it, I've seen this sort of thing done before. Back in the day when women were locked away at home, chained to their embroidery, they made samplers such as this one:

I imagine the making of a piece like this probably helped the maker feel more at peace in their homely environment, and seeing it up on the wall every day enforces those emotions. 

Today, this sort of affirmation is still very popular. Motivational posters are everywhere:

I reckon designing and making a poster like one of these would yield a much better result if you made it yourself. Why not give it a go? And remember art comes in many forms; poetry, music, sculpture, needlework, woodwork.... whatever takes your fancy. I'll leave you with this affirmation: 


  1. Beautiful post. I have daily affirmations, but never thought of infusing them into my art. That'll be a good project, among others, to start for this year. Blessings. ~)O(~

  2. Amazing post- it never occurred to me use my art for affirmations- though admittedly I am an artist- so this is PERFECT for me!!!


  3. What a fabulous idea! This never occurred to me at all! I'm the same in that I feel like a pratt sitting and saying affirmations but to make it into art is such a wonderful idea! And your art is so beautiful too!
    What an amazing post!

  4. Thank you! :) To be honest it never really occurred to me until I found myself doing it... one of those serendipitous moments of life.

  5. Art Affirmations... awesome! I love this!

  6. I love this - I am not very artistic but am excited to try to put this into practise - thank you for sharing x

  7. Your art work is beautiful - thank you - I would have never thought of doing affirmations in this manner. I really think you would connect on a different level to this affirmation and it would be more personal than just a word.

  8. Fantastic post. I have experienced amazing results from using artistic affirmations, and like you I never did with verbal ones. When you want to bring something in that is, at the current moment so - well,unlikely, then you REALLY have to distract yourself and immerse yourself in a creative pursuit so that doubt doesn't sneak in. Magically I also think that positive affirmations are relying ONLY on the will of the witch/magician and so if it is not very strong these will not work. That's why affirmations work for some and not for everyone. I think that those who read "The Secret" were fueled by what they read and their belief in it, and so their will was strong enough to bring results. Usually in magic, you need other energies, not just will- although will is needed as well.

    It was no accident I read this post today. I think I may have some creative work to do! Thanks!

  9. Absolutely loved this post! This is an amazing idea, and the Earth affirmation you created was stunning. =)

  10. I really enjoyed this posting! I usually find myself making dream boards with cutouts from magazines. I'm in the process of taking my old ones down to make room for new ones, new year, I figure, it's time! :) I'm not very good with the whole arts thing, but your post has inspired me! Thanks!

  11. This is a great idea, thank you for sharing! Just like you, I've always felt out of place chanting affirmations to myself. And as I've always loved to paint, glue and create, I'll definitely give this a go!

  12. Great post - I'm just beginning to embrace the use of art as part of my spiritual practices, not because I'm not artistic, I am, but because I always feel I don't have the time. I'm discovering the practice of creating is part of the journey and important step, I'm going to try this with my affirmations now.

  13. Beautiful pages!! I love the idea of using art to make an affirmation. I'm not comfortable repeating affirmations, either, but I bet it would be completely different to create a work of art while thinking on the affirmation. It sounds like it could be a very powerful process, and then you have the final product to look at forever, too!