Julia’s book was written as a 12-week program, mirroring the 12-step recovery process of Alcoholics Anonymous and other similar programs. Well, it took me more like 4 or 5 months, not 12 weeks, when I was working through it my first time.
I am not sure how long it will take us, but I am certain it will be more than 12 weeks, just because of the way that I post – Mondays are my Tarot Card of the Week, and weekends are dedicated to other voices, like essays, poetry, videos, and other works. Not to mention the occasional diversion of observing the sacred holidays, current events, or other magical topics that demand a detour.
Therefore, if there are references in Julia’s text to her weekly organizational system, I will probably change them, substituting instead more general terminology about the duration, and I may or may not bracket my changes. If you are following along in your own copy of The Artist’s Way, you will certainly notice this discrepancy. I did this in yesterday’s contract, for instance.
So today we begin with the first step of our recovery: recovering our sense of safety. “This [first step] initiates your creative recovery,” she explains in the introduction to the chapter. “You may feel both giddy and defiant, hopeful and skeptical. The readings, tasks, and exercises aim at allowing you to establish a sense of safety, which will enable you to explore your creativity with less fear.”
Let this set the tone for how we will be approaching this work together, establishing this as a place where we can share freely, safely with one another. I know the Internet can be a weird, anonymous place sometimes, but I hope you will feel comfortable here in our nest, discussing your process.
Julia begins, “One of our chief needs as creative beings is support. Unfortunately, this can be hard to come by. Ideally, we would be nurtured and encouraged first by our nuclear familiy and then by ever-widening circles of friends, teachers, well-wishers.
“As young artists, we need and want to be acknowledged for our attempts and efforts as well as for our achievements and triumphs. Unfortunately, many artists never receive this critical early encouragement. As a result, they may not know they are artists at all.”
The number one rule for all of us, as we meet here day by day, is that we will support and encourage one another: for our attempts, for making the effort. We do not demand results, much less success. This is for you to find your own pace, your own creative voice. And I will guarantee that means you (and I) will have to make a lot of mistakes and flubs along the way.
Therefore, consider this your safe space for sharing, where you can receive the support you need, in whatever ways you need it.
Tomorrow, we’ll examine something I see a lot of in my Tarot practice, something Julia calls “Shadow Artists.”