Riding the Dragon: Spirit Mentors

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.


In this exercise, I’m to consider who I might view as a “spirit mentor.” This is interesting. I recall many times being asked for role models when a teenager, and having none. I don’t think I ever even had a movie star poster on the wall in my room. So for me, reaching to people – real and fictional – is a big stretch.

Spirit mentors:

  • The Doctor – recalling his advice on traveling did help me through a panic attack in Iceland.
  • Leonardo da Vinci – he expanded his mind every way possible; the man was near extra-terrestrial in his genius
  • Vincent van Gogh – part of me just wants to go back in time and be his friend, but I know the reality would be too hard on me.
  • Mae West – she was witty, sexy, and quick to upend social expectations that were just plain stupid.
  • Queen Latifah – outspoken on subjects that very much matter.
  • The members of the Polish Underground – they rebelled for a cause, and I want to have and use that kind of courage every day of my life.
  • Jean d’Arc – I’m still a bit rocked by my experience at her shrine in Notre Dame. Usually saints and gods have something to say to YOU – it was strange to have something to say to a saint, and to have it heard. I’m thinking we shared something across the priestess resonance.
  • Dorothy Parker – she did some great things, and got pressed down on for it. I can relate, and I think I have more and better tools to fight with in my time than she did in hers.
  • I suppose Julia Cameron is a de facto spirit mentor for me.


I think every single one of these people did some kind of creative work every day, whether it was writing, painting or praying. I’d need to study each one to know the entirety of his/her habits – of course I’d prefer to avoid clinical depression, being burned at the stake, winding up on some blacklist – but really, those are the results of crazymaking and not the results of creativity.

The qualities these people/characters share?

  • Outspokenness.
  • Courage.
  • Commitment – to craft, art, or God(ess.)
  • Love. Every single one of these people experienced and shared so much love, and much of it transcending strict societal definitions.


5 small steps to bring these elements together:
1. Write something daily, or as close to it as I can manage.
2. Write the hard things, and let the things I might otherwise scratch sit in the manuscript for awhile.
3. Recognize the hardships these personas all faced – and all of them did; consider their experiences when facing my own experiences. This is especially true of the personal dramas.
4. Create a spirit mentors shrine or collage to remind me of what I can learn from them.
5. Speak up more about my own accomplishments.


1 thought on “Riding the Dragon: Spirit Mentors”

  1. I had a poster of Maverick from Top Gun on my wall and also a Michael Jordan poster. I don’t think I’d even seen Top Gun, since it was 5 when I came out.

Comments are closed.