By Angi Sullins | Posted 6/20/07 | Updated 10/22/21
Today, as I sat down to this keyboard with hopes of speaking Swahili, or at least translating it, I stumbled upon this collage. It's a piece I did recently as I considered my mentors. I had an assignment to paint or collage a homage to my spiritual and/or creative mentors.
When I received this assignment, I was in a writer's gathering and we had two hours to complete it. YIKES! My first hour was spent in panic. Just who were my mentors, I wondered. As I searched through my life history for an influential person who opened my spiritual and creative doors, my mind came up blank. There were several women who, though I had never met them, influenced me deeply through their own expression of soul.
Christina Baldwin, in her book Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest, prompted me to ask the deeper spiritual questions when I was twenty five and beginning a quest to find my True Self. She later wrote Calling the Circle which helped me form a corporation based on circle (shared) leadership and then she wrote Storycatcher, which helped me begin assembling the pieces of my beautifully broken history on paper.
Tori Amos called me deeper into my soul quest by singing (did someone say Siren?) to me of the feminine power and my distinct, unique potential as a woman. And then there was Clarissa Pinkola Estes and her role as cantadora, the storyteller, guiding me on the path to myth, archetype and the world of the psyche. For me she resurrected the Deep Feminine and its mighty forces of transformation, while showing me that story can be both tapestry and loom.
But real life mentors? Flesh and blood guides? None. Not one. My mind, as I considered who and what would adorn this collage, was a wide, white canvas. I decided, while others were busily cutting, arranging, writing and pasting, to take a walk. There was a path outside the door of the meeting house, with little fairy lamps embedded in the mulch. The hour was approaching twilight so as I walked, the little lights magically lit up, and as they did, the answer appeared as clearly and surprisingly as the sparkling lights. I did indeed have a mentor, a precious one!
I rushed back into the meeting house breathless and itching for a pair of scissors. "Collage I will!," I thought, as I raced toward the magazines and the glue. I have had one of the finest teachers on the planet and a homage is the least I can do to show my gratitude. And there, on the wooden floor of an octagonal shaped room in the middle of the woods, I honored my internal guide and mentor for the first time. While Christina, Tori and Clarissa had served as lamp-bearers on my path to self discovery (much like the fairy lamps that lit the path in the gathering dark) it was Intuition who served as guide. My mentor, my hero: INTUITION! YES! YES! YES!
"Intuition as Muse and Mentor, I honor you. I thank you. While on this path, some have held light and I thank them as well. I name them now: Christina, Tori and Clarissa. Thank you for singing the song, weaving the fabric and telling the tale. You have helped me catch my story. Intuition, though, you are the voice in the cornfield, the wind across my heart, the center of my circle. Though you have directed me into WHAT without knowing WHY and often dumped me in the middle of I DON'T KNOW, you've multi-handedly given my tree her roots, my egg her legs and my caterpillar her wings. FLY! FLY! FLY! Love, Angi."
It's rough, ok? The glue fumes, the time limit and the sappy Celine Dion-ish music in the background all took their toll on the art. Da Vinci it's not, but it clearly tells my story, and hers as well. While my life did not provide the wise old grandmother or the generous school teacher or the mischievous yet wizened neighbor, I did have Intuition and she has never failed me. She's constantly uplifted me, and taught me down right told me which direction to go when in doubt and if I was willing to listen, she poured insights and ideas straight into my creative channel. I don't know how many human mentors can claim the same.
So I ask you, who are your mentors? Who has guided, chided and goaded you into your unfolding? Who has asked the questions that sent your soul searching? Who has shown you it can be done? And who has helped you define what 'it' is?
This might be a good time to send them a bouquet, write them a love letter (whether the being is alive, passed or imaginary, the letter still works. Come on, we don't have to go into the This Realm vs. That Realm speech do we?) or make your own homage in their honor. I didn't even recognize my mentor until this assignment was given.
So here's yours: Identify and celebrate your mentors. Dance, paint, write or sing your appreciation. They'll feel the blessing, but you'll LIVE it.
©2007 Angi Sullins. All rights reserved.
Angi Sullins is the President of Duirwaigh Gallery, representing mythic and fairytale artists around the world. She's the author behind A Knock at the Door, the little film that continues to make a big splash on the Internet. ...