Preparing for the Days of Awe - Journaling with Symbolic Objects

Jacquie Serebrani-Kesner

As part of your ongoing journey in preparing for the High Holidays (the Days of Awe), here’s an activity that will engage you in discovering new ways to make discoveries and extend understanding beyond verbal and written modalities into the language of texture, rhythm, color, movement and sound.

For those of you who have created obsession books or soul collaging, this activity will extend your journaling by incorporating found objects into your story. So, dig in to the corners of your treasure box, keep your eyes open for a beautiful leaf or acorn cap, and open new doors to meaning for a lost and found key. The opportunities are yours.

Journaling with Symbolic Objects can be engaging individually or as part of a group activity, using meaningful objects gathered from participants to create symbolic story driven connections.


  • Variety of writing implements (markers, pens, pencils, paint, chalk, etc.)
  • Stack of pre-cut 8 x 10 paper or pre-made journal
  • Tape, glue tabs, glue sticks or Elmer’s glue
  • Miscellaneous objects, drawings
  • Binding material (yarn, ribbon or string)


I often joke with my daughter that we have the “mini” disease. We love little things and seem to find extraordinary symbolic significance in the ordinary. Whether it’s an old key, a piece of sea glass or any other trinket, each item holds a sensory-filled experience or a memory. While holding your treasures in a shoe box is perfectly fine; there are many ways to use these trinkets as meaningful prompts in journaling.

Gather the trinkets that resonate with your goals. For example, one of my goals is always prioritizing time for reflection, so a piece of sea glass is perfect for this journaling.

  1. Using a glue tab (they are removable) attach one item (in this example, a piece of sea glass) to the bottom of your journal page*.
  2. Write a list of observations. Shiny, smooth, green, etc.
  3. Write uses, recollections, and connections.
  4. Next, begin to make connections to your goals. For example, if I attach a piece of sea glass, I know that experience will help me more keenly observe my surroundings, look for the treasures, and reflect on the symbolism. Glass that was once tossed aside wears smooth and more beautiful with time, transforming from trash to treasure. Or, a key that once brought independence is now unlocking new experiences, freeing old memories, or locking something away. There are so many ways to use small objects as inspiration for writing and deeper thinking.

* If your object cannot lay flat in a journal, create separate pages that can be stacked and stored in a shoe box. 

If you enjoyed this activity, be sure to check out more activities to prepare for the Days of Awe:

The above activities are selections from my upcoming book Life Through a Creative Lens being published by Creative Arts Enrichment in 2017. 

© 2016 Jacqueline Serebrani-Kesner