An Enlivening Practice

with Portals of Presence: Faces Drawn from the Subtle Realms

An Enlivening Practice

When I published SoulCards in 1995, the deck
took on a life of its own. SoulCards 1&2
continued to thrive and are now embraced
by a new generation. For all these years, another deck  hovered in my awareness. I have long had a practice of drawing faces in unique settings – sacred sites, natural environments, and with wisdom teachers from many lineages. Each drawing is an expression of a unique presence. As this body of work developed over the years, I sensed it had a purpose beyond my personal creative practice. A selection of these faces is now available to the world as the Portals of Presence deck.

All my images are created through Touch Drawing, a simple yet profound method of making marks through the touch of fingertips on paper. I have been using this process since it came to me in 1974. To draw a face, I center and open my interior awareness. Attuning to a subtle presence, I invite it
to take form through felt-sense patterns impressed upon my inner face. As I move my fingertips on paper that lays on an inked board, the pressure of my touch makes marks on the underside. It feels like translating a subtle presence into the familiar language of the human face. It can be seen upon lifting the page.

These faces can be used to attune to subtle realms — nature spirits, elemental forces, wisdom beings and spiritual allies. The Portals of Presence deck provides a way to develop subtle senses and open to relationship with more dimensions of life. In this era of accelerating planetary challenges, the possibility of collaborating with beings other than human offers hope. We do not have to face these challenges alone. To illuminate the context, I asked my friend, mystic philosopher David Spangler,
to share his thoughts. David’s life work is to develop
partnerships between those of us incarnated in the
physical world and beings who inhabit the non-physical or subtle realms.

“Deborah’s Portals of Presence card deck offers a unique tool. In the past, interaction with beings in the subtle worlds has been characterized as seeking verbal guidance from a “higher” realm. While communication will always have a role to play, going forward what will be needed is collaboration and partnership: a sharing and blending of vital, creative energies from both sides of “the veil” in service to the world. The overriding understanding will be that, whether we are physical or subtle beings, we share in the life and well-being of a single planet; a world whose greater ecology has both physical and non-physical aspects. We need each other and the world needs what we can co-create and generate between us.
For this collaboration to take place, we must acknowledge that the subtle realms exist, that they play a vital role in the health and wellbeing of the planet, and that partnerships are possible. We have to learn how we can form energetic alliances that are mutually rewarding. Though inhabiting very different orders of reality, both physical and subtle beings share an overlapping field of energy. We are both part of a sacredness that is more than physical and more than subtle. This creates an imaginal field common to us both.
In this quest, Portals of Presence offers a direct way of using this imaginal field to contact the energy fields of subtle beings. What these cards are saying in a variety of ways is “Here we are! Can you feel us? Does it awaken in you our shared kinship in the life of the world? Does it awaken the subtle dimension of your own being that can match our own?”
These cards are more than just pictures; they are projections of the energy of a living presence passed through the lens of a shared imaginal realm. When we meditate upon these images, we are drawn into that realm as well. We may find within ourselves a resonance that is much more than a simple communication; it is a felt sense of partnership as fellow sacred lives. Through understanding and internalizing this deck, you will find a portal that can open to those subtle colleagues with whom you would wish to partner in a sacred alliance of mutual empowerment.”




In this spirit, I invite you to experience a simple yet essential approach to Portals of Presence. Begin by closing your eyes. Bring your attention to your body, becoming aware of any sensations. Can you feel the radiance of your own presence? Open your eyes and softly gaze at the face on this page. Allow it to fill your visual field. Pay attention to the shapes, textures and colors. Keep gazing beyond your habitual comfort zone. Can you sense a living presence looking back at you? There is no need for words or meaning. Simply open to resonance between you and the presence in this face. If words rise out of this non-verbal connection, write them down. When you feel complete, offer gratitude as if you are completing a visit with a friend. Close your eyes and bring your awareness back to yourself. Can you sense your own presence more fully?
Open your eyes and bring your attention to your environment. Walk around your room or go outside in a state of receptivity. Gaze at something — a tree, rock, plant, cup. Can you feel a subtle presence beyond its physical form? Relax into a state of flowing connection between you. Take note of new ways you experience the world.
Once you have a sense of how to enliven these cards, you can use them in many ways. Combine them with other decks to bring a new perspective. Take them outside and choose one that expresses the qualities you perceive in a tree. Give them voice through song. Create an altar and allow their presence to permeate your day. Practice seeing everything as a sacred portal. My hope for Portals of Presence is that it helps renew our communion with all of life.

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