I facilitated a special mask workshop for women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction in 2001 at the Chrysalis Women’s Rehabilitation facility in Oakland, California. The purpose of the experience was to bring awareness and compassion to the addict self by making that part tangible; to see addiction as a mask of our true self; and to bring healing to that part using the alchemy of art.
Utilizing a combination of modalities that included movement, theater exercises, music, & singing, Kathleena crafted a program that culminated in a mask ceremony, “Removing The Mask of Addiction.” With the support of other participants, each woman experienced her face being cast with plaster strips during a guided meditation to create a personal “shadow mask.”
The sensation of the hardening strips of plaster on the face provided a powerful metaphor for the suffocating effects of substance addiction. Subsequently, the masks were painted and adorned creating an alchemic opportunity for the captured shadow soul fragments to be transformed into beautiful pieces of art.