Sylvia Linsteadt

is creating fiction and poetry

Select a membership level

Pleiades
$3
per month
In the Green Language Studio & Library Archive:

 * You will receive one new poem per month as a pdf download. *
Holy Breadcrumbs
$5
per month
In the Green Language Studio:

In addition to your monthly poem, you will receive a downloadable pdf worksheet of mythic context, prompts & some suggested reading material, like breadcrumbs through the forest, related to the month's theme!


From the Library Archives:

In addition to one new poem per month, you will also receive one pdf of a short 500-word prose piece, most often a brief re-envisioning of a Greek myth rooted in the Minoan world.
Inner Sight
$9
per month
In the Green Language Studio:

In addition to your monthly poetry & worksheet, at this level you will receive a guided audio meditation to take you deeper into the month's arcana, to take you past your mind and into the wild landscapes of your soul & imagination.


From the Library Archives:

At this level, in addition to the monthly pdf poem and pdf prose piece from the previous two levels, you will also receive access to my monthly Dispatches from Crete—blog-essays that explore daily life, seasonal changes, traditions and history on the island or in my research, complete with a video!

128

patrons

$1,547

per month

About


Welcome to my Patreon Studio and Library!

I am Sylvia V. Linsteadt, a novelist, poet, scholar of ancient history, myth and ecology, and artist.

The Green Language Writing Studio
A new monthly offering starting April 2020

There is a story singing itself up through your bones, from the marrow of your ancestors and your bright soul. There is a story the birds are singing down into your bones through your open window, from the wind and stars. Where this inner story and this outer story meet, is a map, a key, that leads to a doorway into the mythic terrain of your own life, your life right now, on this Earth, in your place—your feet like roots, your mind like branches that touch the stars of your specific country, the country of your physical being and also the country of your soul.

Words are  threads of magic and of meaning, and stories the woven ships they build, that bring us back into relationship with the living, speaking, soul-filled world, and with our own vast imaginations. Our imaginations are one of our most precious birth-rights— that landscape where we dream, where we See, where we hear the Green Language of all things, where we join what is within with what is outside, and see that we are actually always inside the Earth's language, and dream.

The term "a green language" comes from medieval alchemical texts, and referred to the language of birds, which alchemists believed was also the language of all being.

I hope this virtual writing studio can foster the Green Language of being in all of you!

“When words do what blossoming apple trees do, and what stars do, poetry is what you read and hear," wrote Canadian poet & essayist Robert Bringhurst. 

Join me, & may your words blossom & shine!

** So what exactly am I offering?**

In short, I am offering a space to explore your own creativity and mythic interior, through a combination of inspiration-invoking material and actual guided writing prompts. It's a little like my Witchlines course from a couple years ago, but more streamlined and simple, and more focused on you generating your own creative material and grounding in the land where you live. 

So, each month I will share a new "arcana"; a new bundle of material all tied together by a central mythic symbol from the soil of Old European cosmology. I like the word "arcana" (most commonly known from the major & minor arcana of the tarot) as the container for each month's offerings, because it invokes elixirs of healing, secret hidden treasures, and arks. 

"Arcana are profound secrets. At its Latin root, the word means chest. One kind of chest is a storage box where, as in the Ark of the Covenant, a sacred text might be safely kept. 'Arca also refers to Noah's remedy against the Flood, a baot inside the ribs of which a remnant of terrestrial life could survive. In alchemical thought, 'arcana' refers to another kind of remedy, a marvelous elixir for the prolongation of life. Linking these senses of the word, we find the themes of containers [...] that save from disaster. In the case of alchemy, the vessel is an alembic, in which a remedy is produced."

- from Motherpeace: A Way to the Goddess through Myth, Art & Tarot, by Vicki Noble

I hope for each month's bundle to both inspire you, guide you, and invoke the creation of your own personal material within each "ark," written (or painted, or sculpted, or sung, or dreamed, or planted, or scribbled) material that connects your imagination and mythic terrain with the land right where you live, and the beings you share it with.  

So, for example, in April 2020 our "arcana" will be the Golden Thread
...in May it will be the Bird Woman
...in June the Tree of Life
and so on.

There are five different levels at which you can participate. The full Green Language Writing Studio bundle, at $19 / month, includes all 5— 

- a monthly, live-streamed writing circle one Saturday morning mid-month, where I guide you through several prompts to help you generate your own mythic material. 
-an original poem
-a worksheet detailing mythic context, related prompts & suggested reading
- an audio meditation
- a traditional Cretan song

Your membership can be cancelled at any time. Material will build monthly, but can be joined at any point as well! Note that you will automatically receive access to my Patreon Library, almost two-year's worth of carefully and lovingly crafted writing, videos and audio content. (See below)


The Library

This is an archive of the collected work I have created and offered in this space over between October 2018 and March 2020, from my time living and researching Minoan and Old European culture while living in Crete. It is a rich library of material, and includes
- poems & short prose that explore and retell Greek myths from a pre-Hellenic perspective, rooted in the Cretan landscape and also explore my own spiritual, emotional and psychic journeys
- traditional Cretan music recorded especially for supporters
- essays and Q & A videos about local Cretan traditions, ecology, Minoan archaeology and more
- all 13 of my Gray Fox Epistles as pdf downloads (these are a collection of short stories based on ancestral fairytales that I set in California, where I am from, to "rewild " them, as it were)


October 2018 Original Patreon - Creation Text

I am moving to Crete for the next chapter of my life, to deepen my study of Old European women's ancestral traditions in this raw, momentous time, and to write a new novel.



I spent two weeks this past August and September in Crete, and the experience was truly profound. Intense, illuminating, searing, and beautiful. The stones and caves and mountaintops of Crete still hold the voices of 5000 years ago, of a time before Greece was Hellenized and patriarchy was not considered inevitable or native to the human condition. The stones of Crete still hold an older way; the voices of women and men echo there, dancing the pleasure of life, the worship of the senses, of earth’s justice, of honey, oil, wine and sea, of ancient pine forest and mountain deer, of dove and octopus, of labyrinth and holy bull. Here, the ways of egalitarian, earth-worshipping Old Europe are still alive, not only in the ancient stones but in the mountain villages and sacred springs to this day. The protection and nurturing of life-force—of the carriers of life, the bearers of life, the makers of life, and life itself—still resides at the center of this ancient place.

It became clear to me while visiting that this is where my path next leads, both as a writer and as a woman in this time. And I'd like to bring you with me, into this deepening of story and poem and vision in my life, into the land of Crete and beyond, to wherever my writing path leads next.


If I’ve learned anything over the past six years making my way as a writer nearly full-time, it is that we need each other, and that intense self-sufficiency really only gets you so far, before it begins to break down. I think we are seeing this everywhere. A book, a woman, a country—all are webs of interconnection, interdependence, and vision, and they cannot exist isolated. A community of readers not only helps a writer pay the bills so she can keep writing; what’s just as important is that you also provide that unseen net of interconnection, the net that keeps the writer moving forward, knowing that there are hearts and minds waiting for the next chapter, the next poem, the next tale—that these things matter, that they are alive for others, and therefore alive not only in my imagination, but necessary in the world too. 



For those of you who don’t know my work already, I’m the author of The Wild Folk (Usborne June 2018), a middle-grade fantasy novel, the short story collection Our Lady of the Dark Country (January 2018), Tatterdemalion (Unbound, May 2017), a post-apocalyptic folktale cycle featuring paintings by English artist Rima Staines, as well as two works of non-fiction about the history and ecology of the San Francisco Bay Area, where I’m from—Lost Worlds of the San Francisco Bay Area and Wonderments of the East Bay (Heyday, 2017 and 2014, respectively). My short story “The Midwife of Temescal” won the James D. Phelan Literary Award from the San Francisco Foundation in 2014, and Lost Worlds of the San Francisco Bay Area won the Northern California Book Award in nonfiction this summer, 2018.

For three years, from 2013 through 2016, I ran Wild Talewort, a stories-by-mail project in which I sent out rewilded tellings of fairytales set in California to the physical post-boxes of subscribers around the world. I’m also a certified animal tracker and therefore a student of natural history and ecology, everywhere I go, and occasionally a teacher of this beautiful art as well. During spring and summer of 2018, I ran an online & in-person study guild called Witchlines that began an exploration of the indigenous, earth-based traditions of Old Europe, tracing threads from the Mesolithic and the early Neolithic (through the work of Marija Gimbutas) toward the witchcraft practices of the Middle Ages and beyond. It is this work in particular that I will be continuing in Crete, and which will be the foundation for my next book (and possibly a whole series)!



So as I move to a new country, becoming a new woman in a world that feels in more need than ever of new ways of seeing old stories, to work on a big new novel that has been burning in me for nearly two years, I am hoping you will join me in a new way, among the mountaintops and deep caves of this ancient land.



As is the way with creative endeavors, new novels are very tender things, and so I won’t be sharing anything directly from the early pages with you. Such fresh new creations are much like wild animals; stare at them directly, share their secrets too early, and they vanish into the rocky hills, white tails flashing. However, your support through this Patreon page will fuel me to work on poetry and short prose at the same time, connected to the novel’s exploration of the ancestral female traditions of Minoan Crete and Old Europe in general, in continuation of my teaching and study in Witchlines.

Specifically, much of this study and exploration will revolve around excavating the pre-patriarchal roots of Greek myths, both in the written record and in the landscape to this day. In addition to monthly new poems and new short prose stories, I will also be sharing monthly Dispatches from Crete—travelogue-type essays to bring you deeper into my adventures, to ancient sites and modern traditions alike, exploring seasonal changes, ecology, history, daily life, and everything in between, as well as audio-recordings and even, at the highest level, writing tutorials!

I see Patreon as a wonderful place to consolidate many of the different threads of my writing practice and business in one place—monthly stories & poems for "subscribers," blog-essays, and more; a beautiful structure to share together round the fire of old words, in prayer for an ancient, whole future. 

I'll leave you with a poem, and deep gratitude to you for reading this, for being here.  

Artemis

Artemis of the marten
Artemis of the young and growing moon
Artemis of the cyclamen
Artemis of the steepest mountain pool

At dusk the bats rise up
out of what has been lost
The last light dusts the east
in afterglow, the first star
pushing out into night’s central fold
that place of all origination

There is a streetlamp on the beach
under the powerlines, plastic bottles
that wash up on shore, lights across
the water from resorts, the orange airport
runway, windmills on the holy ridge

But still she is close, she is just below
the skin of dusk’s crepuscular falling
its moon of horn and cream

When the crickets give their first cry
and the bats unfurl out of earth’s darkness
you can feel her, it doesn’t take much
only a yearning old as childhood—

there, in the inkswift lope of martens
under starlight, tails a wild
undulation, voices harsh and chattering
white crescents of fur at their chests

there, in the morning hawks
after the storm has cleared
wheeling, in love, above the pines
the silver of their wings
a light that cuts the sky

there, in the steep wet places
where clear water gathers
and the cyclamens spring up
vortices of upblown petal and
a mauve ambrosial perfume

there, where the mountain river
runs pale green as young olives
through limestone, slowing in a pool
where the oldest sycamore grows

I have whispered her name
to the moon’s waxing
to the robin in the olive tree at dawn,
to my own feet dashing along
the hem of the stormborn sea,

to the hawks’ silver wheeling
to the grottos folded with cyclamen
to the rising bats at dusk
to the martens who make tracks
across the sand, like runes
clawed by the setting stars

And I tell you her name still
lives here, so close to the surface
so close to the skin, longing
for the love of its speaking,
for its praise, its singing, its hymn,
to be swallowed whole again.


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