Unpacking My Library: The Artist’s Way

Tuesday May 29th 2012
Andrew Holmes

Hammersmith Bridge, Andrew Holmes

Most self-help books have about three ideas in them which are padded out with a lot of white space and bullet points. But there are a few which are absolutely brilliant. Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way has sold about a gazillion copies in the two decades not because it’s fashionable, or because it tells us something we want to hear, but because it works.

Cameron’s personal life has had it’s ups and downs. She comes from a privileged background, was briefly married to legendary film director Martin Scorsese and spent a few years in a drug-and-alcohol fog. But when the fog lifted she started to teach “creative unblocking”, and what is more, she sees it as a spiritual pathway.

For me, following this book day by day for weeks on end opened up my own creativity wonderfully. What’s more it gave me a handful of intense experiences. I’ll never forget watching dawn on the Thames by Hammersmith Bridge. The Artist’s Way turns life into a game for a few weeks. If you’ve lost your sense of play, spontaneity, joy, this is the book for you. You don’t need to be a budding poet to benefit.

I don’t know Cameron’s birth time, but it comes as no surprise to see that she has the Sun in imaginative Pisces, and the Moon (probably) in ambitious, make-it-so Capricorn. Pisces has the vision and Capricorn gets things done.

Her whole chart shows a wonderful balance of all four elements. Look at that lovely mutual reception between Uranus and Mercury. She likes to talk to everyone – age, class, colour, culture; there are no barriers to communication.

Then she has Venus in fiery Aries – a pioneer in the arts. Mars and Saturn in playful Leo: life should be fun and hard work is fun. Jupiter is in its own sign Sagittarius – a very big view of thing, and again no barriers.

There’s much more to look at here but just notice the North Node in Taurus. It’s sandwiched between Venus and ground-breaking Uranus, and it’s opposed by Chiron, the healer close to her South Node. For her healing is a default mode It comes so naturally, she doesn’t have to think about it. But I bet she could only start healing others after she’d been through the ringer herself.

Her life has become a perfect expression of that North Node. Taurus is ruled by Venus, the planet of art, but Taurus is practical and real. She has made a practical book about art that heals.

One thing I would add though. I think this book works better for writers and people who work with words than visual artists. Someone needs to do the purely visual version.

Main pic courtesy: Andrew Holmes

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  1. Opal says:

    I love that book! And I totally agree, it’s one that actually works. What a chart she has 🙂

    I have to disagree though about its efficacy for visual artists – I have Saturn in the 5th, and although I did nothing but draw and sing while a child, somewhere along the way it all atrophied. I came across the book while doing a foundation art course a few years ago, yet another attempt of mine to kickstart my artistic side.

    After one day of doing the exercises I was able to complete a half-assed still life that had been hanging on my wall for weeks. I’d no problem with ideas, but was terrified when it came to actually putting paint on canvas. The Artists Way stilled the fears and opened the door not just to a freedom, but also to an incredibly fertile visual imagination that I didn’t even know existed in me.

    I notice though, that her Pallas is exactly sextile my Sun, and my Pallas is closely conjunct her Ascendant. And I also have a Mercury/Uranus reception (Aquarius and Virgo). So I guess the synastry provides another hook into her work…?

  2. Christina says:

    Yay – wasn’t sure about the visual side because there’s quite a lot of writing involved. But great endorsement from you. Just goes to show creative flow is just that, whether it’s words or pictures.

    I agree: I think the personal synastry is important. Her Sun is close to mine and her Uranus (the awakener) is on my Moon-Jup conjunction. Don’t forget I haven’t got the birth time though, so the Ascendant is just for noon.

  3. Sabrina says:

    Wow! she was born few days before my Mom (a painter, intensely and wonderfully creative and quite histrionic).
    I’m already peeking via the ‘look inside’ feature, and I’m getting that book. What she is saying about creativity and spirituality hit home. I grew up knowing that/or being taught that. Either way, I feel it’s true. I’ve found myself in a creative ‘limbo’ the last few years, and I can’t think of a better read than this…thanks!!!

  4. Opal says:

    Ok, didn’t notice that. But have since looked at it again and there are some important conjunctions that kick off my all my Venus Moon Jupiter aspects so yes, very enlightening!

    Uranus on Moon/Jupiter though….sounds awesome 🙂

  5. Julie says:

    Flora Bowley in Portland, Oregon is doing some amazing artwork and courses Christina. I’m about to join one myself when she’s in Aus. I’m going to incorporate it into my work with children and families. It’s also incredibly useful working this way with people with addictions.

    As a double Cancerian, The ‘brothers’ are going to hit the ruler of my Ascendant, the Moon along with Mars at the moon/mars conj in libra conj IC and my Cancerian Sun.

  6. Louise says:

    I started reading this a while ago and did very little with it, but I was thinking about it again a few days ago. Thanks Christina, you’ve given me the required nudge to open it up and stay with it this time *disappears off to find book* 🙂

  7. Willemina says:

    Thank you for your wonderful blog! There is a lot of synastry between my chart( 7 May 1948, Amsterdam, 6.40 am GMT) and Julia’s. I am an astrologer and an artist and I teach painting and drawing. The book has been very helpful releasing people’s creativity, whatever their occupation or talents, I found! Your Moon/Jupiter is also close to my Venus/Uranus, I suppose!