Knowing how to approach or even think about the topic of spirit allies is a tricky one, especially when I’m trying to explain the concept to my students. I have chosen the term put forward by Kate Wilhelm in her book Storyteller, which is “Secret Partner.”
She says your novelist-within can be programmed to work on the story even while you’re doing other tasks. Students are receptive to the term “Secret Partner,” but lately I find that I also use the term “Wonderful One Within” for my students.
However, that is a simple binary of inner vs outer, and any artist knows the situation is more complex than that. So next, I introduce the idea of The Editor. I have them personify The Editor in writing and in drawing; in that way, they can externalize and begin to make choices about when The Editor does and doesn’t appear.
But the real situation is yet more complex than that. I have learned through Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art to externalize Resistance, which has revolutionized my ability to stay on task. So there we have four aspects of the personality externalized: outer me, Wonderful One Within Me, the Editor, and Resistance.
Then who are the rest of the figures who recur repeatedly in my drawings; for example, Turtle, and the woman named Nightwinds, and the crazy-eyed Cubist screaming head called Teecher, and the Silver Fox who showed me the way to the past and to a new direction in art, and the tiger cub who embraces turtle?
These aspects of the deep personality enchant and empower even as “they” lend “us” –who ARE all these people? 🙂 — their unique gifts that help “us” navigate “our” lives. Secret Partners, Allies from the Dream World where our Night Vision guides the way…