Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Step Three: Recovering A Sense of Power

Blue Anger ©1998, Jamie Alaine Hulley

Anger is a great force. If you control it, it can be transmuted
into a power which can move the whole world.
— William Shenstone (1714-1763)

This week, we begin the third step of our twelve-step recovery, healing the artist within us. This step focuses on “Recovering a Sense of Power.” Julia tells us that in this part of our journey, we may find ourselves, “dealing with unaccustomed bursts of energy and sharp peaks of anger, joy, and grief. You are coming into your power as the illusory hold of your previously accepted limits is shaken. You will be asked to consciously experiment with spiritual open-mindedness.”

I am joyful but also a little concerned, that one of our fellow travelers, Star, is taking the daring step of showing her artistic creations this week. I am thrilled for her, but I also know that many of us are, at this stage, in fragile territory. As we step into our power for the first time, we may be quite vulnerable. You may find that as you begin to spread your artistic wings, you simultaneously experience exhilaration, fear, despair, anger, and even a sense of coming home to yourself for the first time.

Maybe you felt this earlier and have already moved past it, but one of the first emotional responses you are likely to experience in this work is anger. I have to admit that as I read about the ways that so many of you suffered as tender, budding dreamers and artists, I got really angry. And I find, as I am working my own steps now, my fuse is much shorter than usual.

I hope you’ve allowed yourself to get good and mad if you’ve needed to. I learned a long time ago that anger, unpleasant as it may be, is a fierce friend. It is what forces us to make the necessary changes we might rather not. Anger teaches us where our boundaries are, and when they have been violated.

I grew up in a very dysfunctional situation, where boundary violation was normal, and anger about it was harshly punished. For many years, being in touch with my anger was a dangerous threat to my survival. I suspect that may be true for many people, especially women.

So it took me a long time to recognize that anger is not always destructive; that being nice, and swallowing anger come at a terrible price, especially once we are adults.

Julia writes, “Anger is fuel. We feel it and we want to do something. Hit someone, break something, throw a fit, smash a fist into the wall, tell those bastards. But we are nice people, and what we do with our anger is stuff it, deny it, bury it, block it, hide it, lie about it, medicate it, muffle it, ignore it. We do everything but listen to it.

“Anger is meant to be listened to. Anger is a voice, a shout, a plea, a demand. Anger is meant to be respected… Anger points the way.. In the recovery of a blocked artist, anger is a sign of health.”

Has your artist self felt angry yet? Would you feel okay telling us about it?

More tomorrow!

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  • April 14, 2009, 10:54 am Queen of Swords

    I was furious at someone, and both the person and the resentment I was feeling was really cramping my style over a long period of time. I made some very angry art pieces. Once I made these, I felt ambivalent about that work, but continued on with other work that was more interesting to me, and kept at that. I ended up dismantling most of the angry work. Only one of these – the most beautiful- ended up in an exhibition. So I’m in favor of making hay out of your experiences–but in favor of editing!

  • April 14, 2009, 4:18 pm Star

    I discovered my angry inner artist many years ago when I went through a spiritual crisis and began to rebuild my life. I have been working with that part for most of the past 15 years and written pages about this in my journals and done many letting go rituals and much sharing with supportive friends. That is probably why I feel somewhat more empowered now as I discover the ‘next step’ to finding a path for my artist. Yes, I was neglected and moved around so much that there was no time to create and develop the talents that were flashing messages to my parents to “get her music lessons, send her to art classes, make sure she has a place to sing, and show up to support her art, singing, swimming, ice skating and tennis!” There was only time to pick up the pieces and survive until the next move. At the age of 57, I am FINALLY in a stable home and safe space to begin to express that creativity that has wanted to come out for 50 years or more! For now, at least, I am not in purely survival mode. I am so grateful for the concern and support of you, Beth Owl, and the others on this path. I’ll let you know how my “debut” goes. The jewelry is pretty simple in style and I make changes each time I sit down to do another piece. I know my personal style will evolve as I continue, and for some reason, I am okay with sharing even the simple stuff and allowing myself to observe the evolution of my art with outside feedback now.

    Today, despite the rain and economic chaos, life is good….I have a safe space, an art studio (of sorts) and a desk and materials dedicated to creating! I discovered I have been collecting the materials to do all this creating and am now beginning to use them! They were taking up lots of space and I often wondered if it was worth it to drag them around each time I moved (8 times in the last 14 years). The answer is YES! The universe was bringing me to this time and place and path!



  • April 14, 2009, 4:40 pm Thalia

    Gee, I thought it was just discovering Radical Feminism a couple years ago that was making me an angry person. 🙂

    No, really, anger is something I never learned to express until recently. I had always been so, so, fearful of pretty much everything. But anger dispels fear right quick. I am grateful, now, to have access to my anger and have found it very very helpful in establishing and enforcing boundaries, and in ensuring that I take good care of myself. Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment (a checkup) and after going over everything she was like, okay, then, and she tried to rush me out the door. But I got immediately irritated and was like, no, hang on, let me think, I might actually have another question for you–and then I remembered something. If I hadn’t learned to be angry I never would have said anything.

    I am so grateful to be able to be angry.

    I think my anger right now is mostly tied in with my sense of self-respect and self-worth. It feels very healthy.

  • April 21, 2009, 10:39 pm Anonymous

    All i find is the hungry ghost