We begin Week 3 of the Artist’s Way: Recovering a Sense of Power.
Anger is Your Friend
“What is this?” you might ask. “Why are you saying that anger is your friend? Anger is bad! Bad, bad, bad.”
Or at least, this is what we’ve been taught to believe. We have heard over and over how we must hide our anger, control our anger, make it go away.
Not according to Julia. On the contrary, Julia tells us that Anger is fuel. Let’s think about that for a moment. When we are more than mildly miffed, it almost feels as though a fire is burning inside of us – and the more we think about the issue that’s bothering us, the more pissed-off we get. We finally get to the point where we want to scream, cry, throw things or slap someone. We want to and need to do something. But usually we don’t.
Let’s think about the 5 of Swords card in Tarot for a moment.
Here we have a young man with a smug look on his face who perhaps recently bullied the other two figures in the card until he took possession of their swords. Do you think the other two figures are angry? Don’t you think they’d love to put him in his place, the smug little bastard? But they don’t. Why? Because they’re nice people and instead of doing something about their anger, they hold it in, bury it, ignore it, hide it and try to forget about it.
Anger is Meant to be Acted Upon
Julia tells us however, that anger is not meant to be ignored but must be listened to and acted upon. It shows us where we’ve been and signals to us when we have not liked where we’ve been. It tells us that something has to be done – and we have to be the ones to do it.
Some examples of how anger can light a fire under our butt:
“I can’t believe she published an e-book! Why I know more about Tarot than her! (Anger tells you: Then stop procrastinating and get to work – write your own book.)
“Dammit! I had that same idea for a story last year and now he went ahead and published it!” (Anger tells you: From now on, pay more attention to your ideas and take them seriously. No more wishing – there is only doing. Wishing for a book doesn’t get it published – only writing it does.)
“What a crappy class! I could do better than that.” (Anger tells: Create your own class. This was actually the motivation for me to create my computer manual company several years ago.)
Julia tells us the following about anger:
“Anger is the firestorm that signals the death of our old life. Anger is the fuel that propels us into our new one. Anger is a tool, not a master. Anger is meant to be tapped into and drawn upon.”
Julia goes on to say that sloth, apathy and despair are our enemies. Very rarely do these emotions motivate us into action. But anger – anger is our friend. Not a nice one, mind you, but a friend nonetheless. A friend who will tell you when you’ve been betrayed (like the poor gentlemen in the 5 of Swords). A friend who tells you that it’s time to act in your own best interest. In this way, anger is truly an ally of the recovering or newly blossoming artist.
One of my favorite archetypes for overcoming anger and putting oneself in motion is the Knight of Swords – The Prince of the Chariots of the Wind. Here he is, sword raised, charging in full force. He looks like someone who is righteously angry with indignation and is looking to right a wrong. He is angry almost to a frenzy with only one thought in his mind: Doing what’s right. He was wronged and now he’s charging in, fully armed, before more damage can be done. That’s what we need to do. Take on the energy of the Knight of Swords. Be our own advocate. Feel his anger at our sloth, at our negligence to put our ideas into action. Then, charge in, sword raised and change things.
Take a close look at your creative life. Are there novels sitting on the bottom of your desk drawer that just need a simple rewrite? Ideas for stories, poems or novels in your head that have never seen the light of day? A Tarot manual that you’ve been dying to write? A idea for a Tarot deck?
Now spend some time meditating with the Knight of Swords. Feel the anger at your self-betrayal. Feel him telling you that your old life is dying and now it’s time to begin anew. It’s time to get moving. No more betraying yourself – you will instead now begin to honor your creativity and respect your inner artist. Taking on the energy of our knight, decide how you are going to use this anger to create a new life for yourself. Journal about your results. Then take action in the real world.
Artist’s Way Tasks
- Describe your childhood room. If you wish, you may sketch this room. What was your favorite thing about it? What’s your favorite thing about your room right now? Nothing? Well, put something you like in there – maybe something from that old childhood room.
- Describe five traits you like in yourself as a child.
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