Sunshine Coast, Goddess archetypes and other stories…

Living

I’m still away on holidays, sitting in our apartment that overlooks Maroochydore beach. I can’t see a thing because the sun hasn’t come up yet, but I can hear the waves kissing the shore and the whine of the occasional car as it passes by on the road underneath us. I can’t see out the window yet, but I know, even at 4:30 a.m., there are joggers and cyclists hitting the pavements. Soon the more sedate walkers will appear (I fall into that category), the ocean kayakers will be dragging their kayaks into the ocean, the cafe staff will be setting up for the day, and in a couple of hours, when the waves start curling, the surfers will appear. The sun rises at 5:30 a.m. at this time of year, and by 9 a.m. it is already getting hot. Summer comes early on the Sunshine Coast.

I don’t think I have ever had the opportunity to get to know a place that is not my home like I have here, simply because I have complete freedom to do whatever it is that I want to do. All of this alone time is intensely enjoyable and nourishing on a deep level, something I am well aware not everyone needs or appreciates. To have my only responsibility be to take my mother to her course in the morning and pick her back up in the afternoon generates an enormous amount of space and connection. So, what have I been doing?

Most days, I have been introducing myself to this place, hanging out, getting to know all of her nooks and crannies, and basically falling in love wherever I go. I have watched sunrises, gone on early morning beach walks, followed rainforest trails, hugged trees and spent entire days in hinterland towns, unhurriedly investigating shops, parks, forests and creeks. I’ve gotten lost and found more times than I can count and driven through three humdinger afternoon storms. Mum and I have transcendental conversations over meals on our balcony – my mother, a Sagittarian Scorpio, likes things deep and meaningful – the elephant shit rather than the bird shit, as she said to me the other day :). What else is worth talking about other than spirit, connection, growth and living our best lives?

Yesterday I spent the day in a little hinterland town called Maleny. I had been looking forward to meeting Maleny all week; I’ve heard such good things about her, you see :). The Sunshine Coast hinterland has to be seen to be believed. It rises up off the coastal flatlands onto a plateau, its height creating not only vast and intoxicating views, but also generating an otherworldly feel, like maybe you have slipped into a different dimension. OMG I love this place so much :). Anyway, I arrive in Maleny, and of course, I am thoroughly charmed and seduced by it. I mean, this town has three bookshops! Organic cafes, a healthfood shop co-operative where I could buy handmade homeopathic medicines among many other things, great op-shops and just a gorgeous, laid back bohemian vibe.

So, as is my wont, I am poking along, looking in all the shops, fondling books and generally enjoying myself. I walk into a shop, and the woman serving me straight away noticed my two sacred geometry tattoos, one on each ankle; then looking me over, she tells me that in fact, she likes the whole look of me :). We start chatting and I tell her that I am from the Coffs Harbour area and visiting Maleny for the first time. Oh! she says, great, I need to ask you a question then. I’m going to Nambucca Heads on the weekend. My eyebrows lift – that’s a beach-side town in my little valley, about 8 hours drive from here. Yes, she continued, I have a family reunion to attend at Taylors Arm, and I was wondering how far it is from Nambucca, and which town I should go to first. Now I am really gobsmacked, because as you may know, gentle reader, Taylors Arm is the tiny little village where I live. Bullshit! I exclaim involuntarily (I blame my Aries rising for my potty mouth, do not discuss). That’s where I live! She laughed. Great! We must be meant to be friends then! She stuck out her hand: My name is Kyla. And then she sold me a gorgeous goddess dress that was so divine I could not resist it and sent me off back into the street, feeling like the deep connection I had to this place had just been confirmed by the Universe.

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View from Maleny south to the Glasshouse Mountains, so named by Captain Cook because they resembled the glass furnaces in his hometown of Yorkshire.
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A gorgeous, funky collection of tiny cafes in Maleny with outdoor garden seating.
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The Angels booted me out of bed and sent me to the beach to watch the sunrise. Boy, I was so happy I went 🙂
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Hugging a tree in Mapleton Falls National Park.
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At Eumundi markets, watching a jewellery craftsman make a ring to order, for me <3.
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My Mum, happy as can be on one of our morning walks <3.

Have you ever gone to a place and had a strong, unexpected connection to it?

Loving

Elizabeth Gilbert: ‘You’re never going to please everyone. There are people who think the Sistine Chapel is gaudy.’ Photograph: Rex Shutterstock @ The Guardian
Elizabeth Gilbert: ‘You’re never going to please everyone. There are people who think the Sistine Chapel is gaudy.’ Photograph: Rex Shutterstock
@ The Guardian

This interview in The Guardian with Elizabeth Gilbert: Chasing Perfection is the enemy of all good things.
I loved it all, but especially this part:

You say in Big Magic you were a fearful child. Are you braver now?
I was born a really fearful kid, really anxious, supersensitive. Other words you could use would be “a pain in the ass”. I grew up with a mother who was really strong. It was an interesting collision of these two characters. My mother’s biggest fear was raising daughters who wouldn’t be able to take care of themselves. She knew bad things happened to women who waited for other people to do stuff for them.

We did have this pretty serious battle of wills when I was younger. A psychologist might take issue with her tactics – she certainly wasn’t about embracing vulnerability, talking out my feelings. It was: “Too bad, you have to do this.” More like a coach.

In adolescence, I got bored of being that person who kept trying to prove her weakness and fragility. What a weird battle: to be trying to defend your weakest point! It came to a point where I thought, I don’t want to die on that hill. I owe my mother only everything and nothing more than that.

She could be describing the relationship between me and my daughter. Oh the relief! Great interview, and I am definitely looking forward to reading her new book. It’s up next on my to read list, that’s for sure.


12032939_920659627981855_5490428487282676505_nGosh I’ve loved the trees and the forests on this trip away. Wherever I’ve gone I make sure to seek out the creeks, park-lands and trees. I always love them, always have, even to the extent that I thought I wanted to be a National Park ranger when I was younger – before I realised that I just want to hug them and admire them and be in their presence <3. Not everything you love has to become your job, I have belatedly realised!


This week, while I was away, my son was invited to speak on ABC statewide radio, along with his Principal Sarah Landers and technology/music teacher, Terry Simpson. It was all arranged without me being there, even ;). The radio presenter was doing a show on teaching computer coding in schools, which basically means teaching kids the language of computers so that they can build websites, games and programs instead of just being technology consumers. Our school does that, and Nick was chosen to be interviewed because of his good understanding of computers. I couldn’t listen to it because that particular program doesn’t stream online, but my second Dad recorded it and emailed it to me – clever huh? Nick was great – way less nervous than I would have been in his place! So proud 🙂

Learning

  • How to find my way around, on my own, in an unfamiliar place. It involves getting lost a lot, apparently :).
  • We have all been learning – mum and I, and the family members we have left at home – how to do without each other. My menfolk are okay without me, although it’s definitely more work for the Bear (as well as Pop and the children’s Godfather) but my little girl was a bit sad. We have used facetime to keep in contact, and I told her that she could call me any time she wished (knowing that I had to be be in reach of wifi for it to work on my ipad). She hasn’t abused this privilege at all, and it has been very reassuring for her to see my face every day. I know it’s been reassuring for me as well. Also, you know, absence not only makes the heart grow fonder, but it builds resilience and gratitude as well.
  • This week I have had a sudden obsession with Goddess archetypes, spending some hours researching them. I love archetypes, you see – identifying and working with archetypes is one of my talents. Archetypes are what I love about astrology, numerology, homeopathy and ayurvedic doshas, basically because they are a source of guidance and insight. I am always seeking to know myself and others better. Briefly:

Persephone: Mystic, healer, writer, seer, sensitive, empathic, guide to the Underworld – needs lots of time alone. She is required to acknowledge and visit her own underworld: this is how she will come to maturity. She will experience great suffering until she faces and transcends her own darkness.

Aphrodite: civilised, charming, sensual, passionate, drawn to relationships, love and loving rather than marriage or mothering, loves the arts and everything that belongs in that world. You may see her as muse for a creative and charismatic man, hostess, in interior design, modelling, fashion, show business and the like.

Hestia: Independent, autonomous, focused on the spiritual world, impersonal and detached energy, flourishes in a spiritual community, does not need a man to complete her. Keeper of the hearth.

Hecate: Goddess of magic, witchcraft and the cross roads. Independent, untouched by passion, feels strongly about her causes and principles, especially for victimised women, the homeless and the abandoned.

Athena: Goddess of wise counsel and war. Identifies with men, appreciates rational thinking, will and intellect. Avoids emotional/sexual entanglements with men, but enjoys working with them. Thrives in business, academia, science, military and political arenas.

Demeter: Goddess of agriculture, wheat and bread, fertility. Nurturing, relationship-oriented, maternal, dependable, unconcerned with status, likes to be needed.  Instinct to care for the helpless and needy. Matriarchal consciousness – Earth Mother.

Hera: Wife and family matriarch. She values marriage, especially to a powerful husband, which gives her status and power. Completion of self through marriage. In the ideal of this archetype, Hera represents the sacred marriage, the union of masculine and feminine within herself.

Artemis: Goddess of nature and the hunt. She is practical, adventurous and prefers solitude. Self sufficient, feminist, environmental activist, learns from nature – requires periodical retreat into nature to recharge her batteries.

We contain all of these archetypes, although we will favour 2 or 3, depending upon what stage of life we are in. This is only the briefest summary – to find out more, go here. Which archetypes do you identify with?

And that is it for this week my friends – apologies for the late publishing of this post – circumstances conspired against me! I am home now, welcomed lovingly and thoroughly by my family, and looking forward to being re-domesticated again :). Blessings <3.

32 comments

    • I know right – fancy our kids being able to be awesome without our coaching, guiding or presence! I actually find it very reassuring :). It would be terrible if my presence was required for all expressions of awesome!
      I had such a good time Elysha, thank you xo

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  1. The pictures you posted are lovely. I just got back from a four day weekend in Charleston, South Carolina, where they had “one in 1000 year” record-breaking rain. A lot of flooding. Had to ride in a school bus to get to the airport, as that was the only thing they can get through the water!

    Thanks for the rundown on goddess archetypes. I’ll have to study that some more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh no, a holiday disaster! One in 1000 years, that is insane. I think you were lucky to be able to leave!
      Truly, I felt quite possessed – I just had to read about the Goddesses and summarise them before I could rest. They feel very accurate and meaningful to me. I want to start on the Gods – male archetypes – next.

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      • Okay, I’ve had more time to think about this. First, I just guessed at my affinity based on the descriptions, and then I took the quiz. Results? In this order:

        My guess/sense: Athena, Hecate, Persephone, Artemis

        My score: Athena (Heavily), Artemis, Persephone. (With an underlying Aphrodite)

        (Sometimes the first goddess didn’t quite describe it so I had to added a secondary score)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting! I took the quiz too, which backed up my intuition of being heavily Artemis with a solid back up of Persephone and Demeter. I thought I might have been more Persephone than what showed in the quiz.
        It’s fascinating to imagine all the different combinations…there are so many different types of women, and all the types are valid. You have a very strong combination, Georgia. Formidable, one might say!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello, Sara. It’s Monday morning here, but before I dive into the week’s work I wanted to spend a little time living vicariously through you. 😉

    I have so enjoyed reading about your trip and your wealth of solitude. Wanting to spend time alone is something I have a hard time admitting. There is such heavy guilt that accompanies even the thought of wanting to spend time alone when I could be spending it with my loved ones. But, I have a faint memory (it’s been that long) of how nourishing it is to have even just a little time to myself – time that is not tainted by work or domestic duties, but spent doing only what I want to do. I have never traveled alone (except, years ago, for business), but your recent posts have made me wonder if it’s something I should try. I know you’re not entirely alone, but even just having the days to yourself. What a treat!

    I was delighted by your serendipitous meeting of your new friend, and felt a little thrill at your mention of trees. I have a story to tell about a spectacular and very special tree that my beau and I rediscovered this weekend. It may take me a bit to find the time to properly write about it, but I promise I will and I’ll give you a heads up. I have a feeling you’ll fall as much in love with this tree as I have.

    As for goddesses – I am always interested in learning more. I finally (it’s only been two weeks, but it feels like ages!) unpacked my books last night, including a small collection of titles on goddesses and magick. As I found them new homes on old shelves, I made a note to return soon to actually open their covers and take a little virtual journey. Soon … soon.

    As always, so lovely to be here. Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip. I’m inspired. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Jamie, it’s early Tuesday morning here, after a public holiday Monday, and I can feel the need to be productive nipping at my heels too. Still…😊
      I know exactly what you mean – holidaying alone, or at least a holiday with large tracts of alone time – is not a common thing if you’re a woman, and if that woman should have school age children, well. I kept on thinking that I must be being rewarded for some very good work that I had done :). And yes, I did have to process not bringing my family and the guilt associated with leaving them, but when I think how much time I dedicate to them, I realise that this isn’t too much to ask. I thought they might be cranky or resentful, but they were all, including my partner, just so happy to see me. They could see, I think, that I had totally filled up all my wells.
      So, no, this kind of thing doesn’t just happen, much like a creative life doesn’t just happen. It’s strange, but fun and creativity both need discipline and hard work to become a part of a productive life. And courage too, I think – to break free from the ancient idea of women never having any time to call their own, and moreover, it being wrong to want such a thing. It didn’t feel wrong, that’s for sure!
      Enjoy your week, Jamie xo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Sara, I always feel like I have so much to say after reading your posts and have to narrow my comments down to the few, most, pertinent and interesting ones!
    First of all: OMG, A VACATION BY YOURSELF?? The thought is nothing less than orgasmic. I know so many moms with elementary age kids who would never give themselves “permission” to do this. And now I am also dreaming about planning trips with my own mom (uninterrupted conversation about the most meaningful things that happens more than every couple months? Ah!)

    Secondly, I have just begun my journey into Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book “Goddesses in Everywoman” – wow. (I am beginning to hold new moon women’s circles and wanted to start weaving in the archetypes.)
    And next on my reading list is “This is Woman’s Work: Calling Forth Your Inner Council of Wise, Brave, Crazy, Rebellious, Loving, Luminous Selves” by Dominique Christina
    (Listen to a passionate interview with Dominique Christina that will blow your spiritual and wild divine feminine socks off: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/weeklywisdom/?page=single&category=IATE&episode=10857

    Lastly, THIS interview with Elizabeth Gilbert by her good friend Rob Bell on “The Robcast”:
    http://robbell.podbean.com/e/episode-36-elizabeth-gilbert-returns/

    ❤ ❤ ❤
    Much love and thank you again for sharing your life with us. You are an inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lulu, there is so much goodness in your comment, that I just want to squeeze it 😊.
      Firstly, orgasmic is very close to how I felt on my week away. I could feel my energy flowing and buzzing almost all of the time. The fact that I was spending such quality time with my mother was such a treat/education/benefit – she works full time and is often difficult to get hold of on the days that I’m available, so to have all of these conversations (uninterrupted like you say omg) was so wonderful, we have vowed to gave a Goddess week every year at this time, bringing my daughter along when she starts menstruating.
      Your links sound fabulous – I knew that Rob had interviewed Liz Gilbert on his show, but I hadn’t gotten to it yet…I will today. Same with the sounds true link (I have to put in some serious housecleaning catch up work 😳). This will make it fun. I will check out the books too – thank you for all of your recommendations, I really appreciate it it!

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  4. I love this post…that sounds like my kinda vacation!! I felt like I was right there with you. I lived in Australia for just over a year back in 2008 and loved it so much. Wish it was closer to I could visit more often! 😉 Sounds like you had a rejuvenating, heart-nourishing, soul-nourishing vacation. Yay! As for the goddesses, definitely the first three on your list – Persephone, Aphrodite, Hestia ❤ Aleya (PS, can't wait to read Big Magic either!)

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  5. Sara, I like your vacation and the way you brought me along through your descriptions. I must admit, i particularly liked the storms. I can understand why you love those places. And what an odd coincidence it was to meet Kyla and to find those connections with her. The place that had the most powerful impact on me is Hawaii, but from what you say, I think Australia would be wonderful too. Will it seem strange to acclimate to your normal life? I think it’s wonderful that you were able to spend that time with your mother. She seems like such a cheerful person in her picture.

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    • I liked the storms as well! They seemed like they were bringing vitality in.
      It’s interesting; I haven’t found it difficult to adjust back into my everyday life, apart from cooking and cleaning, that took a bit of time getting back in the swing of things! It didn’t help that daylight savings started the day we arrived home which mucked around with my sense of timing. I really like my life, and I enjoyed coming back to it. It was so nice getting to know somewhere different and spending so much time with my mother, but I didn’t feel like I was escaping like I might have felt when my kids were toddlers and preschoolers.

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  6. Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book is on my list too! As is Brene Brown’s “Rising Strong”. Currently reading “Everyday Grace” by Marianne Williamson! And, funny enough, I took a career test in high school that said I should be a park ranger. 🙂 Probably based off the fact that I would rather be outdoors than anywhere else.

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  7. Hi Sara, long time no see. 🙂
    I love how you described your vacation and what was really tickling your senses because it felt like I was there right along with you. I’ve yet to go to Australia but have heard so much about the beautiful natural scenery and multitude of places to visit. It’s a long way from California but hopefully I can make it there sometime in the near future!
    The way you talked about falling in love with the nooks and crannies of a place describes so well how I felt about London when I was there studying for a year. Even the hustle and bustle didn’t bother me as much as it normally does in other cities. Even before I left, I’d felt this strange pull to the city and nearly as soon as I arrived, I started falling in love. It’s hard to describe but I know you understand what I mean. It was unexpected and absolutely amazing. Just thinking about my time there makes me feel happy.
    September has been a tough month on me but I think I’m slowly making adjustments to transition into a better frame of mind. I’ve missed reading and interacting with you here but as always, your posts have so much wonderful energy that I can’t help but feel better after reading every time. Hope you have a great week ahead. 🙂

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    • Hi Lillian, you sure put a smile on my face too! I love it when you visit, but I know how it is, and how life sweeps us up sometimes. I’m glad you enjoyed my travel stories…and isn’t it strange how the most unexpected places grab us? I certainly had no inkling the Sunshine Coast was going to feel like ‘my country’. In fact, I’d always been prejudiced against Queensland – too hot, too many cyclones and weird politics lol :). Boy was that box dismantled :). Enjoy your week Lillian, be well.

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  8. I’ve holidayed solo so I really understand how wonderful replenishing time and freedom to do as you please is. And what a beautiful place you had to experience it in. I love the story of the new friend you made. It’s wonderful when people chat, whether it’s to ask where a piece of jewellery or handbag came from, where you got your hair cut or as happened with you they feel empowered to make a deeper connection. At the same time it’s great that you were able to maintain via the wonders of technology the connections with your family, as well as nurturing time with your mother.
    Interesting, Ardys asked the same question… my first answer that pops into my head when asked this, as the experience has stayed with me, is Broome… flying over Broome and landing felt like going home. My second was Taylors Arm… ten years ago when the Pawlonia trees were in bloom like they are now, I knew I was coming to a place that already felt like home 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dale, lovely to read you ❤️
      My need for solitude certainly doesn’t seem to be decreasing as I get older, that’s for sure…but I love being connected as well. It was very important to feel connected to my family; I didn’t at all feel that I was trying to escape from them, I was just taking an opportunity to spend time with my mum in a place I didn’t know. And freeing! Omg solo travelling is the best!
      Yep, the Paulownias are in full bloom, stinking hot, but with a southerly blowing in now, thank goodness. Great that you picked TA rather than Broome 😊

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  9. The views are wonderful, Sara. I love your descriptions of the mornings, it’s my favorite time of day. I get out quite early and always feel alone but at the same time can “feel” the other early souls. And I can absolutely relate to your enjoyment and need of solitude, as I get older my enjoyment and need have only increased. Thanks for the Liz Gilbert interview and highlighted quote, she always is a fine gem.
    Have a wonderful rest of your holiday. Look forward to hearing about it. ❤

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  10. Sara I love your posts, love em to bits. Glad you’ve had a lovely time with your mum on the Sunshine Coast. Maleny, I know (know!) I would love to bits, I’ve just never been there. Some day eh.
    Started reading Big Magic this week…of course it’s awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brydie, thank you so much <3.
      If you could get yourself up there one day soon – you and your camera would go nuts in the best possible way. And not only that, but the town itself is like a hinterland version of Bellingen, but funkier. I loved it :).

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow.. so pleased those Angels kicked you out of bed for that view.. it was worth getting up for.. Good to know you and your Mom are doing ok.. and you are finding your ‘ME’ time so enriching.. exploring a new place and having space can be very fulfilling..
    I can see why your little girl would miss you, good to know she is adult enough to understand with communication time..

    Looking good Miss Tree Hugger you 🙂 And I hope you feel refeshed upon your return xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue! I am such a tree hugger 🙂
      We had such a wonderful time away, although it hasn’t made it easier on my daughter when I leave; even last night when I went to a friend’s house for a little gathering for her 40th, about 5 minutes up the road, Alani cried and didn’t want me to go. Sigh.
      Anyway, it’s an improvement from not being able to leave the room without that response, so small steps!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, my granddaughter was the same when her mum started back at work.. but she is much better now at letting her mum go.. 🙂 It’s natural that she feels more secure when you are there.. xxx

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  12. How lovely to read of your holiday. What special time to soak up space, place, you and your mum. Special indeed. I loved the trees, and tree hugging you. Trees are a sacred spirit for me. Many moments in the bush spent curled in the embrace of tree roots, tree branches. Tree Houses are a favourite kids play space, so I am lucky to share that.

    My unexpected connection place would be Broome in WA, coz on one hand it is SO touristy, busy and bustling. Yet the soul-heart-connection with place and people that I feel for it exists on a special somewhat explainable, somewhat unexplainable level.

    May the magic of your holiday radiate through you and through your life. Celebrating such experiences is key to motherhood, sharing in community and being with children.

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    • Interesting, you were the second person who said that Broome had a special resonance for them – I wonder what it is about that place?
      I spent quite a lot of time up a tree when I was a kid – we had two jacarandas in our front yard that were perfect for climbing, as well as making tree houses out of the she oaks along the river. There is just something very special about them, to me anyway. Funnily enough, neither of my children enjoy climbing trees because neither of them like heights! They get that from their father, that’s for sure 🙂

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  13. Persephone and Artemis. When I was reading Persephone I got a shiver down my back, which is always my clue that something rings true for me. It was a strong shiver. You are making a huge Elisabeth Gilbert fan out of me and I already was one. I sometimes accompany my husband on his business trips and find myself discovering new places on my own so I could relate to your experience. So happy for you and your Mum to have this time together. xx

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    • Again, Ardys, we have something in common. Persephone and Artemis also resonate strongly with me. It’s interesting how some of the others pop their heads up to help me out – Demeter to help me be a good mother, and Athena to help me succeed in my studies. The interesting thing about realising the significance of the Persephone archetype to me, is that I saw pomegranates in all of these unexpected places for days afterwards, which also sent a shiver down my back! We also have a beautiful pomegranate tree at home, which against all odds, is fabulously abundant with pomegranates. I am reading this fabulous book at the moment which you might enjoy too, on this very subject: Goddesses in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen. The one that I am reading is a recent 30th anniversary edition, so obviously it is not new, but the descriptions of the archetypes are wonderful, and it helps me to understand other women and myself too.
      So glad you’re enjoying Elizabeth Gilbert!

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