I’ve had 47 trips, so far, around
the Sun. I only speak and teach
about what I’ve experienced Myself.
Prayer Works. But it involves a
generous amount of Faith, and
Letting Go, Surrender- and Trust
in Divine Timing… It’s Simple, but
it’s not always Easy. I can attest to
that. I’d like to share with you the
highlights of My Journey in
the Creation of Plant-a-Prayer™.
THE CALLING: In 2016, I heard
the Voice of what we call Spirit,
whisper a phrase to me that began this journey to Create a simple Prayer Tool, one that can be employed by Anyone, no matter the Religious or Spiritual Beliefs, even when one has none of either. The Words spoken to me: “Plant-a-Prayer”.
I pushed this away, again and again, every time they came back to me. I knew it involved papermaking. I knew it involved the paper being embedded with a plant material of some sort. I knew that they must be circular in shape. In 2017, I tried my hand at making paper at home, with a blender and scraps of newspaper, and a window screen for drying. I worked at a florist at the time, so I mixed some dried flower petals into the pulp. When it dried, due to my high sense of aesthetics, I was disappointed with how it came out. And, I gave up on it. But, it came back again and again, like a mosquito that wouldn’t stop buzzing around me.
ANSWERING the CALL: “Fine!” I said, to Whomever it was (Lol- Spirit), and I began to research papermaking classes. I found a workshop in my area, but the date of the workshop had passed, and it was no where in a price range that I, as a single mother, could afford. I was going to give up again- permanently.
Then, in the beginning of 2018, I was filled with an unexplainable urge to try again. I applied for a scholarship for that summer’s papermaking workshop. I was awarded a scholarship that covered half of the costs. The rest of the money came to me.
LEARNING PAPERMAKING: The workshop was hard! Not necessarily the papermaking itself, but anyone who has done this before knows that it is labor intensive. It involves heavy equipment, heavy lifting and a lot of water, I mean A LOT of water. Paper pulp will clump and will not form a sheet without sufficient quantities of water, and it must be thoroughly and evenly beaten/mixed. Then all of that water must be thoroughly drained. Water in, then water- out! Paper is comprised of the Elements of Earth (the Cotton) and Water. Very Feminine Elements.
By the 5th day of 9-5 learning I was exhausted. I could barely move. I showed up to finish the workshop with my classmates, but I couldn’t do anything but lay outside on the cool cement, where the pottery department kept their outdoor kilns. But, I felt excited, a renewed sense that the creation of this Prayer Tool was Divinely Guided, and something that was absolutely necessary, somehow, to be manifested into the World.
MAKING the COMMITMENT: In November 2018, I filed for a business certificate at my local County office, with $35 in rolled up coins. The rest of the creative process began to pour through Me, with a Force like a giant waterfall. Also that Fall, I began collecting, with the assistance of my son, that season’s Dandelion Flower puffs, from the 2nd blooming season, and stored them in paper bags. I tried to book time at the papermaking studio where I was taught, but there were no bookings available until the following February (2019). Again, I felt like the timing wasn’t right, and again my Faith began to get low. I wanted to move as fast as my enthusiasm from that summer’s workshop had filled me with. “Patience” was the Guidance. I, like other humans can have a bit of trouble with that, especially when we want to strike when we feel the iron is hot. But there were more important preparations I needed to attend to…
CIRCULAR SHAPE: I knew they had to be circular in shape, so I started to experiment with creating this in our play time after each day’s lesson. I brought some pancake molds with me for this. Normally, the deckles (basically like a picture frame, with fine mosquito netting glued on) are dipped into a large vat of the beaten paper/water mixture. This paper pulp/water has to be stirred around with the hands before each dip, so the finely beaten cotton pulp is evenly distributed throughout the water. Then, after a successful dip, the deckle is tapped lightly (so the pulp doesn’t move) against the side of the vat to make the cotton fibers knit together. Then, the deckle has to be set aside to let the water drain. If it’s not drained enough, the paper will be too watery and will stick to the mold when it’s turned over onto the felt.
The dip has to be fast, and sure handed, because once the beaten cotton fibers knit together, that’s it. It can’t be fixed or changed. I heard said in class, “Paper has a mind of it’s own.” (Sounds very feminine, doesn’t it! Lol.) So, you get one chance to form a good sheet. If you mess up, it has to be sloughed off into a waste bucket. The knitted pulp fibers cannot be re-added to the vat, otherwise it causes clumping and ruins the rest of the finely beaten pulp in the vat. Like I said, you get very wet, and very cold throughout this process. And, that’s just part of the process. For a beginner, it can leave you in a mess of tears on the wet, cold cement studio floor!
But, to use the pancake molds, I needed to pour the paper/water mixture into the center of the pancake molds, which were laid on top of a normal, square deckle. In pouring paper, again, you only get one chance. The pour has to be controlled and steady. If you pour too fast or too hard, you can wind up with holes, or thin spots that can’t be filled in without ruining the sheet.
The pours into the pancake molds went well, but in removing the mold from the surface of the deckle, more times than not, I was left with an oblong, orbital shape. Not quite the vision that I was given. And, knowing that I would eventually have, once I was able to rent the studio for the project, two 5 gallon bucket-fulls of paper/water pulp, I needed to find another way.
MOLD CREATION: So, since I had many months to wait for the only available time available for the studio rental, there was still the issue of finding applicable circular molds. I researched all over the internet, all of the papermaking suppliers, Amazon, everywhere. I found nothing circular. I realized that I HAD to Create them!
Then came the flurry of ideas on how to create circular molds for the Plant-a-Prayer Project. I researched all kinds of circular objects. I wanted each Prayer ‘Wheel’s finished size to be at least 3’ in diameter, a nice fit in the palm of the hand. (The finished ‘Wheels’ are 3.5” in diameter.) Each time I found something online, I executed the design in my mind from start to finish. I did this obsessively- until the Big Inspiration came! It hit me like a lightening bolt! “YES! This will work!” I ordered the materials and set to work on Creating the custom circular paper molds, right down to the wire, with two weeks to go ‘till studio time, until I had two dozen. They were all ready for use when the Big First Day came to Begin the Creation Work in the studio. I hadn’t tested them live, because I had already tested them in My Mind. I knew they would work. That first day was February 20, 2019. The molds were a success!
I would like to Invite You to Share in this Divine Calling With Me.
Let us All “Be the ‘Johnny Appleseed’ of Prayer” ©, and Seed and Infuse this Beloved Earth, literally, With Blessings and Our Prayers. As the Dandelion Seeds (so lovingly Collected and mixed and formed into the paper) Grow and Turn to Seed (Puffs)- let these Puffs, still Imbued with the Energies of Your Prayers and Blessings, be Carried Far and Wide Upon the Winds, finding The Places where they will Seed Themselves, and Your Prayer Energy, Once Again. One Prayer, One Blessing, Manifested A Thousand Fold.
From My High Heart, I Thank You for Being Here.
Rev. Ursula Carrie
Creator/Channel for Plant-a-Prayer™
Midnight ~ March 31, 2020