Joseph Anderson

Soul Cartography

Four simple drawing exercises to help you on your way

This five-session class uses the four simple diagrams above as a vehicle for reflecting on the contours and directions of an individual’s life. The class also improves visual thinking skills, uses journaling to cultivate deeper self-understanding, and draws on the wisdom of depth psychology and the patterns of nature.

Creativity, courage, and imagination required – but no artistic experience needed.

The class was developed by Joseph Anderson and delivered several times in 2016 and 2017

Class sessions:

  1. Introduction: getting oriented to the work.
    Class activity: An overview of Soul Cartography: what the process is and how it can help you. We’ll use some simple exercises to help activate your visual thinking skills. This session also includes a slide presentation by Victoria Scarlett, Director of the Center for Sacred Art, that looks at forests as places of journey, landscape, and narrative – a wonderful jumping-off point for our exploration of the depths of our life stories.
  2. I Am: identifying sources of power and protection
    Class activity: create a Personal Mandala, a circular diagram that surrounds you with energy and inspiration (this blog post has more on the activity)
    At Home: create a year-by-year Life Inventory (this blog post has more on the activity)
  3. I Was: looking at direction and continuity in your life path so far
    Class activity: create a Life Pathway, a continuous line onto which you map important life events (this blog post has more on the activity)
    At Home: explore your life in relation to patterns in the natural world
  4. I Grow: looking at the patterns and themes emerging in your life
    Class activity: create a Pattern Map of significant themes and recurrences in your life (this blog post has more on the idea of patterns, especially patterns from nature, in our lives)
    At Home: explore how the natural world inspires and challenges you; consider your aspirations for the future
  5. I Will Be: setting intentions for the future, and energizing them in the present moment
    Class activity: create a map of The Road Ahead and identify the inner available to help you move forward (this page has more on the activity)

What is my commitment? To help deepen and enrich the experience for you and everyone in the class, I ask you to make these commitments before registering:

  1. Attend all class sessions.
  2. Do class homework (at least one hour per week during the course of the class)
  3. Do daily journaling exercises (ten minutes of writing each day during the course of the class)

How much does it cost? $125 for the series, including a personalized one-on-one coaching session (either in person or by phone)

What else do I need to bring? Please obtain an 11×17 sketch pad (it’s bigger than you can find in most stores, but the larger size is important – these pads are available at art or craft supply stores like Michael’s, Blick, Artists & Craftsman, or Hobby Lobby), a notebook or journal, pencils/pens/erasers (colors ok but not required).

Student Comments

  • “The Road Ahead exercise helped me break down what seemed to be a frustrating and untouchable goal into a feasible achievement. I really liked this exercise!”
  • “I loved the maps! I greatly appreciated the way you gave us a lot of flexibility, so I could tailor an exercise to my own ‘ways’ – and so we could spend time on those activities we felt most drawn to. Very allowing and encouraging. I loved your creativity in designing evocative maps and activities.”
  • “I had never considered that the winter season, the prairie, the bare trees [of my childhood] had anything to do with who I am, but I can see now that everything plays a part in the journey.”
  • “I learned there is more ‘connective tissue‘ woven around and between the various times and events of my life.”
  • “Themes of creativity, healing and finding my true voice emerged…and I was surprised to see just how far back those themes go in my life (and how far forward they are poised to continue!).”
  • “The Life Inventory was an excellent way to get in touch with the sweep of my life.”