Archive for Myth

One of my favorite goddesses is Brigid, from Celtic mythology. She is a three-fold goddess (meaning she embodies Maiden, Mother, Crone) and is often represented as Goddess of the Forge (fire) and Goddess of the Well (water). As Goddess of the Well, she is healer and poet and the part of the creative process that arises from intuition and dreams and love of the work. As Goddess of the Forge, she teaches the martial arts and is a patron of soldiers (brigands), but also is the part of the creative process that is passion, determination, and commitment to the work.

With both fire and water, Brigid is a perfect role model—and patron goddess—of Read More→

Today is a New Moon in Scorpio. Three words that express the energy of Scorpio are sex, death, and transformation.

Those words, in one way or another, signify loss and change.

To experience the true power and intimacy of sex, you must allow your boundaries, your sense of self to blur, soften and disappear. There is no true union without the surrendering of self. But it is in the surrendering that you become most vulnerable, most exposed in every sense of the word. And, in that vulnerability and openness, you emerge changed, sometimes in small ways, other times in big ways.

Death in physical terms is, of course, a great loss and change, for the one who dies and the ones who remain behind to grieve. Other types of death or endings, such as divorce, job termination, and injury or chronic illness, all result in change and a need to adapt to a new normal.

Transformation means loss of the old self or situation and a change into the new. It is shapeshifting in both the mythic (human to wolf) and real sense (pregnancy, old age).

The Moon is a powerful symbol for change, as well, as it moves through its phases. The New Moon is that magic place between endings and beginnings, also a place of transformation. It is also, like the Aces of the tarot, the seed beneath the soil, full of undetermined potential and possibility.

This New Moon in Scorpio offers an opportunity High Priestess to begin a new chapter or book in your life and/or in your writing.

The archetype of the tarot who guides you into the journey of this New Moon is the High Priestess.

She is the Gatekeeper who sits ready to pull back the veils between the worlds, ready to lead you into her realm of the unconscious, symbolized by the water.

One of Scorpio’s ruling planets is Pluto, god of the Underworld, which includes treasures both seen and unseen. For your journey, you must take only what is necessary, so preparation requires letting go–of old emotional baggage or outworn beliefs. Because you’ll need room to bring back newly discovered treasures of wisdom, insights, and intuitions. For new directions. New stories.

The journey is often a challenging one that calls you to face shadows and the demons that may hide in the dark. But, facing those demons, the hero’s journey that Joseph Campbell talks about, elicits the most powerful transformations–and the best stories.

What you do with those stories is up to you. So, whether in your life or your work, will it be a new chapter or a new book?

Fire is a good companion for the mind.
~ May Sarton ~

Fire. Not the element you’d normally associate with spring. And yet, if it wasn’t for the heat, the fire of that ever-nearing sun warming the Northern Hemisphere, snow and ice wouldn’t melt and fill the rivers, and lakes. And the moisture in the air would fall as snow instead of rain.

At this time of year when it is often still too cool to do without heat, Bob and I warm the house with fires in the woodstove, nicely contained.

Yet uncontained, unrestrained fire can destroy a home, a community, or a forest and take lives with it. Like all of the elements, fire can be both friend and foe.

In the tarot, the element of Fire is usually represented by the suit of Wands, candles symbolizing the aspects of spirit, creativity, career and work. In the Northern Hemisphere, it represents the direction of the South, source of more heat from the sun. And, in the zodiac, the fire signs are Aries, sign of spring, Leo and Sagittarius.

Thinking about Fire, he appears as a wonderful Read More→

We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We’re all carried along
By the river of dreams
In the middle of the night

~Billy Joel, River of Dreams~

In classical Greek thought and other ancient world philosophies, it was believed that the simplest parts that made up the world were the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Each of these four elements was believed to have certain qualities and characteristics associated with it. This post  and three future posts look at these elements and how you as a writer can use your awareness of the element when developing characters, setting, conflicts, and themes in your stories. And how they are represented in your creative process.

These four elements are present and represented in each of the four suits of the Minor Arcana of the tarot. Water is represented by the suit of Cups and is associated with three of the 12 signs of the zodiac, Read More→

Copy of Travel & Writing- Flights of theFor the next 24 weeks, you are invited to join Beth Barany and I as we share with you about the magic of travel and writing. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, novels, short stories, personal essays or keep journals, we will offer information, tips, techniques and tools for using travel to inspire, inform, enrich and empower your writing. Starting today, look for posts from both of us at and every other Wednesday. And get information on our destination retreats, Beth’s in Paris, mine near Delphi, Greece.

For this week’s post, Beth and I thought we’d share with you why we’ve chosen Paris, France and near Delphi, Greece for our retreats.

For me, I have had a life-long fascination with Greek myth and I even took a course on it in college. The stories of the gods and goddesses of the Greeks have influenced much of Western culture, including art and literature, over the centuries.

And Greece is the home of the Muses, those nine demi-goddesses who gifted mortals with inspiration in the fields of music, poetry, story, theatre, and science.Ruins of Apollo at Delphi

Here, too, is where the famous oracle, the Oracle of Delphi gave messages to those who came seeking her wisdom.

When, as a writer, you write from your deepest knowing, you write from that place of myth, that place of symbol and metaphor and meaning.

So it felt natural to lead a writing retreat at the home of the gods and goddesses of ancient myths. After all, what better place to connect clearly with the Muse through sleep and conscious dreams, to perform ritual and ask for insights from the Oracle, or to call up your best story, your most meaningful and imaginative words? All while being soothed by warm ocean breezes and nourished with the delicious foods that Greece has to offer.

Greece is an ancient source of story and creativity. And a great place for an intimate writing retreat.

You can get more information about my retreat here.

And check out Beth’s post on why Paris here.

Brigit is one of the oldest known Irish or Celtic goddesses, worshipped as a triple goddess, i.e. maiden/mother/crone. Temperance

As goddess of the forge or smithy, Brigit is the patroness of metalworking and other crafts. Her element is fire, the fire of passion and inspiration, and her celebration, February 2nd, includes the lighting of hearth fires and candles.

As goddess of the well, her element is water, and she signals the arrival of the waters of spring, of snow thaw and rain. Through the element of water, Brigit is the patroness of healers, and has many healing springs and wells dedicated to her throughout the British Isles. Water is also associated with psychic Read More→

“Are you content now?” said the Caterpillar.
“Well, I should like to be a little larger, sir, if you wouldn’t mind,” said Alice: “three inches is such a wretched height to be.”

Remember when, after Alice in Wonderland falls down the rabbit hole she discovers a doorway that opens into a lovely garden but the doorway is less than a foot high? And Alice can’t fit through it—-until she discovers a bottle that says “Drink me”, which she does, shrinking herself to only ten inches high.

Then she realizes she might need the door key which lies on the table now high above her head. So Alice eats cake to get larger, uses a fan to get smaller (almost drowning in her own tears) and so on.

All of this in order to get out of the rabbit hole (even though there were plenty of books!) and into Read More→

Categories Creativity, Fairytales, Myth

I don’t remember the first time I heard the story of Sleeping Beauty. Some fairytales enter your lexicon and mind before you’re aware of it, and feel like they’ve always been there.

I do remember, though, when the fairytale pulled me in to let me see its deeper aspects and meaning.

One day in the early 80s, as I rocked my youngest son to sleep for his afternoon nap, his warm body tucked into mine while I crooned one nursery rhyme after another, my mind discovered itself inside Sleeping Beauty’s castle. I was deep in the Prince’s point of view. I could hear the measured breathing of the sleeping servants and nobility, echoed by the feeling of the castle walls breathing with them.

Slowly, quietly, the Prince paces through the rooms and halls, looking for Read More→

When I teach of group of people how to work with their dreams, I ask each of them to remember a recent sleep dream to practice the process on.

Charon the Ferryman

“What if I don’t remember my dreams?” is a question that always comes up.  Every time.

“Think of a recent waking dream you may have had,” is my response.

What is a waking dream?  Well, a waking dream is something that happens to you in waking reality (i.e. when you are not asleep, meditating, doing trance work) that has the slightly surreal feeling of a sleep dream.

A waking dream is that experience of thinking of someone you haven’t seen or talked to in years and then running into them on the street.  Or being alerted by your dog to the blue heron standing in the small stream next to your driveway and then watching him walk out of the stream to your driveway to stand at the edge of the road, look both ways and then cross before taking flight (really happened).  Some experience out of the ordinary that Read More→

Categories Creativity, Dreams, Myth, Writing

You know the story of Persephone, daughter of Demeter, who is kidnapped by Hades, god of the Underworld. Mad with grief, Demeter, goddess of harvest and crops, causes a famine until her daughter is returned to her. However, since Persephone has eaten a pomegranate seed while in the Underworld she must return each year to spend a third of the year with Hades.

That’s the common version of the myth. I prefer an earlier version. Seeing the confused spirits of the dead haunting the world of the living, Persephone, feeling great compassion, chooses to enter the Underworld and become its Queen. She helps the spirits adjust and offers them pomegranate seeds, the food of the Underworld. Demeter doesn’t want her to go, but Persephone knows her calling.

Persephone’s quandary is one that creatives, especially women, deal with daily. The quandary of Read More→

Categories Creativity, Myth, Seasons