'I'm not feeling creative today,' I began to write, half-lying. Am I actually not 'feeling' creative, whatever that feeling entails? (Aren't I, in fact, just being a little lazy?)
In last week's remarks, I described Venus's hot pursuit of Mars, how she's following closely behind him throughout much of 2004, leading to an eventual meeting in December in the sign of Scorpio. In characterizing the energy of anticipation in the air due to this configuration, I spoke of a collective feeling of being on the verge of major creative release. Since having written that, I've been thinking about creativity and what I mean when I bat that term around. When I give personal readings to clients, I find I bring up the importance of 'being creative' a lot.
When you search out 'creativity' on Yahoo! or Google, the first site to appear belongs to Crayola, the crayon manufacturer. It provides a poignant example of that automatic leap of cultural logic we take in linking creative expression with childhood. As if the joy of creation for its own sake is abandoned necessarily upon assuming responsibility for other more pressing tasks.
Creativity is also reserved for the lucky and/or talented few among us who end up in 'creative professions' (advertising? marketing?), for which a particular sort of training and expertise is required. The rest of us leave creativity by the wayside as we 'mature' into discovering our drawing of a tree doesn't look a real tree, into following rules that dictate never beginning a sentence with a conjunction nor ending one in a preposition (the very sort of rules I break every day).
In college, I'd get annoyed when we were given open-ended writing assignments and my classmates would all hem and haw about not understanding 'what the teacher wanted'. (Read what I wrote about it at the time here.) I didn't relate to that anxiety. Isn't being able to write whatever you want the best type of homework there is? But so many of my peers were frightened by such freedom, such expectation of creative feedback. Apparently these students equated education with approvalfrom professors (in the form of good grades), parents (in the form of conditional kindness due to good grades), and future employers (in the form of getting hired because why? they'd gotten good grades?)reflecting lives oriented toward achievement, rather than frivolities like adventure or experimentation or expression.
Why draw or write or dance if you aren't really really good at it, gifted or accomplished? Why bother being creative?
Because we can, and because it brings joy and emotional release. Two great reasons to bother. Creativity, the ability to create and the process of doing soit makes us special. Being creative is creating things and stuff only you are capable of creating in just such a fashion, and only you know what this means. Paintings, sculptures, novels, performances. Art. Food. Beautiful experiences, for yourself and other people. A child, a wholly new life. All examplesand certainly not an exhaustive listof the types of products that come from being creative.
Creativity yields exceptional products. (And yes, it yields some rather unexceptional ones, too.) But it's the process itselfthe creative processthat provides the release, that captures and transforms the emotion, that facilitates the expression and the healing and the joy. It doesn't matter so much if the drawing of the tree looks like a tree, or if a poem ends up in The Paris Review or stays unpublished among the scribbles in a spiral notebook. Sure, there are artisans among us who strive for products of the highest quality, who allow our achievement-oriented selves to become invested in what we create. And yet, with glowing review or Whitney retrospective or not, don't underestimate the power of being present in the process.
Creativity converts urges within us into items or experiences outside of us. Creativity involves pulling never-before-seen things out of thin air. As such, creativity is magic.
If you don't express yourself, the unique energies that represent you remain stuck inside. Maybe you forget what these energies are. Though you can't ever really stop being who you are, perhaps you stop acting as who you are. What then does it matter who you are, if you're not acting like you? Isn't expressing yourself tantamount to being yourself?
One of my main goals as an astrologer is to assist people in unleashing their creative energies, in building regular creative expression into their lives. Astrology and creativity are a good match, since astrology helps us learn more about ourselves and creativity enables us to express what we learn. Astrological work of all types is ultimately creative in nature, as the interpretations astrologers provide are nothing if not reflections of what we uniquely see within the patterns of the planets.
And creativity is so great because it thrives off tensions that otherwise threaten to unsettle us if not channeled properly into some avenue. Tension itself is generally fearfully categorized as a bad thing, though 'creative tension' is valued. This week, Venus and Mars traveling almost exactly a sign apart generate just this sort of creative tension with Saturnwhat Mars is doing easily supports our attempts to discipline, while Venus mischievously coaxes us away with fiery challenge. As far as I'm concerned, this rub is just what was required to get me out of 'not feeling creative' and into getting my creative work moving ahead. Isn't this evidence enough?