Burning journals is freeing. I like to believe that the lessons learned are released in a puff of smoke and flames now free to travel to another in need of creating wisdom.
The flames make reading and clinging to the same old story impossible. Why return to a painful episode in your life’s history just to see if it still hurts? Learn the lesson and leave the rest, as my teacher Sonia Choquette said. Ah, the lesson. Has it been learned? Or does it repeat itself across the journal, or many journals, like a broken record? Once lessons are learned and applied, it’s a done deal. That particular challenge disappears. The soul grows. No worries, lessons will not be wasted on someone who doesn’t want to learn or grow. Trust that they will be lovingly guided to land where they will make a difference.
I have all kinds of journals where I recorded my travels, dreams, guidance received through meditations, predictions, messages meant for others, full-tilt bitching sessions, wondering and wandering thoughts, hopes and desires. When felt it was time to clear out the energy, the past, and be grateful for the lessons that got me to this spot in time, I built a fire.
You might find you enjoy celebrating the lessons you learned in with a hot, bright burn. It can be a solo act with ritual, or a group gathering to share with others ready to toss their journal pages into a fire.
I stack fragrant wood and dried herbs from my garden in the fireplace, light it up, and feed the flames to create bright red coals. I pour a glass of wine, and bathe myself in the heat from the flames. Touching the covers, bindings, and page edges of the journals, I select one to release. I let my fingers feel the pages. The act of writing with ink on paper is sensuous to me. I tend to write in beautiful blank books. I open the journal, randomly scanning for a word I like or a phrase that feels good. Watching with the eyes of an observer, I witness the sensations and feelings that come with the words. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I shake my head in disbelief and other times I say “Ah-ha! That was the turning point. There was the lesson”. I give thanks to the journal, and the players in the lessons, and toss it into the fire. I watch it flame up as the heat turns the pages one last time. It’s a beautiful thing. And freeing. Smoke clears the air around my soul.
There are many ways you can release journals other than burning, of course. One very interesting artwork I saw in a gallery once was created by horizontally stacking 20 years of journals, drilling out the centers for a wooden rod to be placed through all of them as a collection with a layers and layers of encaustic wax poured over the journals forever sealing them in wax. It was then finished with a light polishing and installed on a wall.
The image below is an artwork I purchased in Philadelphia decades ago, and it’s a book that was used as a base to create an image of mixed media, with a vintage bronze sconce mounted right through the center of the book completed with crystal glass pieces and decorative objects. This would also be a beautiful way to recycle your journals!
Engage your creativity; what else can you do with your journals besides letting them gather dust on a shelf?
Are you going to release your journals or do you find it more soothing to keep them on the shelf?