Using rituals and art therapy for soul growth is something many neuroscientists around the globe have opened up to in the past years. Indeed, not only can these mindfulness-based artistic therapies help us get rid of depression and anxiety, but they can also empower and awaken our creativity. For this week’s interview, I explored these themes with Moroccan energy healer and multi-talented Ritual Artist Sanaa Abouayoub of Arts + Rituals. Read ahead!
Sanaa Abouayoub’s quest is to bridge the world of art and healing through rituals. Since dedicating her life to her spiritual quest, art has become central in Sanaa’s spiritual practice. A way to connect to her inner realms and make sense of the world around her.
I connected with Sanaa a few months ago, online. What I instantly loved about Sanaa’s universe and persona is her ongoing quest for identity, her longing for depth and truth; as well as her experience of the sacred in the mundane. Sanaa Abouayoub is also a certified art therapist, energy healer and the founder of Joy Of Arts.
Hi there Sanaa! I’ve been looking forward to having this conversation with you today. Let’s begin by introducing you to the readers.
My name is Sanaa Abouayoub. I’m a flower (sensitive and soft), a cat (lazy and self-absorbed) and a tiger (in times of awakening and disruption). I am a ritual artist; an art therapist and energy healer.
What’s your Big Three placements: Sun, Moon and Rising?
Sun in Virgo, Moon in Scorpio and Aries Rising.
Love how we both share that Virgo Sun! As a creator and art therapist, could you describe your artistic approach?
My artistic approach is centered around rituals. Rituals for me are not a set of rules, dogmas or techniques but a reverence to the sacred in life (the body, the beauty, the magic, the divinities). They connect me to my inner wisdom and body. It’s a sacred and safe space to surrender and explore my self-expression.
I can express myself through dance, visual art, photography, performance, poetry, singing and the interplay of different disciplines. Magic happens at any moment and I become both the creator and the witness of something beautiful and healing.
Love that! How did your art change throughout the years?
My artistic journey started 9 years ago for my own healing through painting and collage. Since then, It evolved radically in unexpected ways. In 2015, at the end of my art therapy studies, I noticed that my practice was more embodied, integrating my physical expression through performance, dance, channeling, using my voice… It looked more like a shamanic experience.
Then, when I accepted to fully embody the artist in me (not just the healer), I went through another initiation to explore deeper my creative gifts. Through a very painful experience, I started to sing, to write songs, to explore different medium and to write more consistently. It was a time of releasing deep sadness, despair and anger. It felt good and liberating but it was not all I had in me.
As challenging as it is to move through uncertainty, I am happy to see how life is directing me towards joy, pleasure and play. This is the other side of the emotional spectrum that I’m exploring.
As an artist and healer myself, I view art as a form of medicine for the Soul. For the readers who never heard of art therapy, can you describe what it is and how it fits into your universe?
Art therapy is a healing modality that uses art to explore the psyche, to release and express emotions, to identify the patterns and the stories we tell ourselves that hold us in a state of pain, depression, confusion, emptiness etc. One of the intentions of art therapy is to create a safe space for the wounded self to express her/himself.
My practice as an art therapist is to support people in re-connecting with their creativity. I see the creative process as a reflection of the way we live our life and when we bring more awareness to the creative process, we connect to our inner creator and find the solutions within to impact our inner and outer reality.
Can you tell us a little more about your program JOA – Joy Of Arts?
JOA (Joy Of Arts) is a social enterprise where I offer workshops and initiations in art and creativity, in person and online. This project was born after some art therapy missions I’ve done in East Africa.
The intention behind this project is to spread the message around the healing power of art and connect people to their creativity. Part of the profits is directed to support me to offer free art therapy workshops to vulnerable populations in Africa.
What artistic project or path are you currently walking, exploring and integrating?
My focus lately has been around consolidating my ritual art practice, seeing it evolving and integrating organically the different artistic and healing modalities in my rituals. My intention is to offer a deep healing experience through art and performance.
I know you work very closely with the energies of the Moon as you host Lunar Rituals every month. How do you use and integrate Astrology in your practice?
Connecting to the cycle of the Sun and the Moon is a key component in my healing and creative process. It allows me to be more connected to the cyclical rhythm of life, to know when and where I need to put my focus on and to rest in order to replenish for the next cycle.
Since I’ve been following the moon cycle, I feel hold in a structure that it’s more in alignment with who I am. I host moon rituals and guide women to connect to the cycle of the moon.
What are some of the spiritual or artistic goals for this upcoming chapter in your life?
In terms of spirituality, I am meditating on this question: What does it look like to live dangerously Regarding my artistic goals, I want to exhibit my last work, do ritual art performances and finish/publish a book on rituals and a poetry book.
Any last words for the readers?
I believe that there is a lot of “dormant” creative life force in the planet, a lot of souls in denial of their potential creative magic, so if you resonate with my work or words, meditate on this: what kind of creation wants to birth through me now?
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