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Excerpted from The Vein of Gold: A Journey to Your Creative Heart by Julia Cameron. Copyright 1996 by Julia Cameron. Excerpted by permission of Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Our inner resources, often unmined and even unknown or unacknowledged, are the treasures we carry, what I call our spiritual DNA."

Julia Cameron, Vein of Gold, Part 1

The book you are about to embark on is a pilgrimage, a journey of healing. In Native American traditions, you might call this a vision quest. My Celtic roots prefer the simpler term: quest.

Name this journey as it serves you.

Some of you will conceive this quest as a spiritual journey. You will consciously use your creativity to encounter your Creator. For others, the journey may be viewed psychologically. You are questing for wholeness and a healthy autonomy from the expectations of others. Still others of you may politicize your process. You will experience this work as a radical act, a severing of ties with outmoded hierarchies that have subverted your own considerable powers.

The journey I guide you on will be your journey, not mine. I would be lying if I told you the journey would always be easy, or comfortable. I expect -- and so should you -- that other words will apply: fascinating, arduous, magical, difficult, rewarding, and above all, personal.

All of us are far richer than we imagine. None of us possess a life devoid of magic, barren of grace, divorced from power. Our inner resources, often unmined and even unknown or unacknowledged, are the treasures we carry, what I call our spiritual DNA.

When I speak of "spiritual DNA," I am talking about a stamp of originality that is as definite and specific as my blue eyes, blond hair, medium height. Just as our physical potentials are encoded at conception, it is my belief that we also carry the imprint, or blueprint, of our gifts and their unfolding. Often we have far more gifts than we imagine. For example, a love of music may indicate a gift for it as well -- a gift we may not have developed due to the circumstances of our birth. Similarly, many voracious readers are closet writers, afraid to step into the arena of their dreams. This arena, the panoply of a more colorful self, is our spiritual DNA, the treasure chest we bring into the world and are charged with developing.

The tricky part is recognizing it.

For a decade and a half, I have taught a process of creative individuation and emergence, The Artist's Way. (Many of you may be familiar with my first creativity book by that name.) When people ask me what it is like to work with people seeking their creativity, I tell them it's like being a prospector.

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