Living from the EartHeart


Thank you for visiting. This site holds space for insights about living from the Earth's Heart.We are mirrors of each other. Whatever brought you here and whatever brought my words to you is part of a sharing of presence; an affirmation that we both exist in embodying our own journeys side by side.. an affirmation that we are One.

The EartHeart Journey is a sharing of my experiences from earth, heart, and art. My reflections have evolved on so many levels since I started journal writing when I was 11. What used to be a blog for my art projects and some public musings is now becoming a portal for sharing about consciousness, creativity, sustainability… of light, life, and love. Everything here is part of a sacred journey to oneness within and everywhere. However you resonate, may it reveal to you you inspiration, intuition, or insight for your own life journey.

Note: My new blogs can be found on my Portfolio Site.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Star Lanterns for Dreamers

Last December 14, I facilitated two art making activities for 100 streetchildren. Together with the Diwatas (Goddesses/Fairies) of GINHAWA (Growth in Wholeness and Wellness Associates), we crafted an afternoon themed as "Parol ng Pangarap" (Star Lantern of Dreams) for them. The activity was designed for De La Salle College of St. Benilde as they launch their mentorship program with streetchildren and out of school youths in partnership with their Social Action office.

My good friend Weena who organized the event asked me to do a mandala with the children. I reflected on it and figured the best way to theme a mandala for Christmas season would be the traditional Filipino Parol.

The Parol

Inspired by the Mexican pinata and the Chinese Lantern - both influences from pre-colonial and colonial trade exchanges, the Parol is uniquely Filipino in a sense it draws spirituality (both Christianized yet indigenous-ly still at heart for the stars have been giving guidance to the ancients), craftsmanship, and the evolving creative genius together by weaving in the pentagram, a star as the main theme, with indigenous materials - bamboo, paper, fiber etc with unique petal, leaf, and other geometric designs with light.

Every Christmas season, you will see all these beautifully designed star lanterns in each home (almost all homes will have a parol on the window!) and all the streets of the cities around the country. It has become the Filipino "christmas tree." In our case, it is the star of Bethlehem which the Magis saw during Jesus' birth that is at the core of the Christmas tradition.  It also symbolizes the Filipinos' resilience and hope-filled culture - shining light over dark times.

The traditional parol (image from google images)

The modern parol with electric lights (image from

The Pentagram as Mandala

At the start we planned to have custom made star shaped bamboo frames for children to design around but it turned out very tasking to prepare 100 frames in a few days. So we opted for a cheap yet beautiful medium - Origami stars. In the middle we used parchment paper as a circle for children to draw their dreams on so lights would shine through either through some neon colored sticks or the sunshine through a window.

Child Testing the artwork with Lorenzo, here using the neon light sticks. We decided to take out the light sticks after for safety reasons. 

The whole afternoon's activities were designed to connect to the theme of dreaming and hope. The children from the streets are also orphans, out of school children, with some who have been sexually abused in the past. Staying in several partner centers and facilities, these children are already being taken off the streets and given proper care and assistance.

Inside my head, I play around with styles for designing mandalas. Everytime I design a workshop, I either go Jungian/Expressive or Geometric/Meditative or a mix of both. For this case, because of the workshop design of expressing hope, I decided to focus more on dreams in the middle of the circle. The children were encouraged to make designs and patterns on the pentacles of the mandala star.

The Star Guides the Dreamers

A story and theater play written by Leah Tolentino, Executive Diwata of GINHAWA was a beautiufl weave for the entire afternoon. We acted out the story through lights, projected images, and indigenous music for effect.

Inang Tala (Mother Star), played by Mini, wished to help a child forced to leave home and sleep on the streets because of poverty. Alas because she was so far away, she couldn't be heard by the child who lives in the nosiy and polluted streets of Manila. Asking the guidance of her Creator, she was advised that the only way to reach earth and to help others is to break up into pieces because she is very big and hot for the earth and its beings. And so she did break into pieces out of deep contemplation and compassion for the child. She then became all the many stars we have in the sky.

Are these the alignment of planets? (gives me the shivers)
To prepare the children for drawing, and to connect them to a creation experience, i asked the children to do a non-dominant hand play of colored crayons which they covered with black crayon afterwards for a transformative darkness creation with their pencils. It was only prior to facilitating this activity that I realized they were also drawing the cosmos from within them so I showed them pictures of beautiful nebulas and galacitcal formations taken from the Hubble Telescope. This also connects them to the story of Inang Tala.

The following photos show how the workshop transpired. Step by step we started with a visioning reflection of the meaning of hope and how dreams can be achieved if they believe. Aftewards, we drew dreams on the circular parchment paper so that it can be a transparent suncatcher during the day sans the use of lightsticks for light effect. The last steps were to design patterns on the pentacles and because they were so creative and wanted to play with designs and colors, I did not ask them to do symmetrical patterns which is the usual way mandala making is taught.

Most of the dreams from these children were houses. It tells much of their experiences growing up in the streets

He wants to be a musician

He wants to be a seaman
To close the workshop, we paraded around the college premises which Jonel our volunteer and I led with a jembe drum as we follow Inang Tala around as she asks classroom after classroom to give attention and honor to the dreams of these children.

When we got back to the activity center, we made a mandalic installation with a song by Gary Granada as part of a ritual of commitment from the volunteer mentors (students, staff, etc.) and shelter coordinators in helping foster love and literacy for these children. 
Inang Tala Mini leads the parade around the school

The streetchildren are proud of their dreams

Dreams like a litter of starfish out on the seashore

A mandalic installation to cap off!

click here for more photos !

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