Sharon Blackieis creating tools and practices for cultivating the mythic imagination
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My name is Dr Sharon Blackie, and I'm an award-winning writer (of fiction: The Long Delirious Burning Blue, and the forthcoming Foxfire, Wolfskin; of nonfiction: If Women Rose Rooted, and The Enchanted Life), a psychologist, and a mythologist with a specialisation in Celtic myth and folklore. This rather unusual combination of skills and academic qualifications gives me what I hope is a unique approach to working with the mythic imagination: my passion is to help people explore authentic and meaningful ways of being which are founded on a deep sense of belonging to place, a rootedness in the land we inhabit.
I've spent many years living on the wildest Celtic fringes of Britain and Ireland. After several years as a crofter on the remotest shore of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, I've now returned to the hills and lochs of the Connemara Gaeltacht (an Irish-speaking area) on the far west coast of Ireland. This is the magical place where, in early 2017, I decided to focus on offering academically sound, up-to-date, and personally transformative teachings in the mythic imagination, and in the native culture, folklore and traditions of the Celtic lands. It's the culmination of a life's work; the vehicle for bringing the teachings in my books in a practical and focused way to as wide an audience as possible.
My work – firmly rooted in a decades-long creative, therapeutic and soulcentric practice, and in high-level scholarship and careful study – is focused on the development of the mythic imagination: on helping people to uncover their own unique mythopoetic identity. Through explorations of personal myth, fairy-tale narratives, archetypal imagery, journeying, alchemy, symbolic frameworks such as tarot and astrology, and dreamwork, we can find our own unique bridge to the imaginal world: the mundus imaginalis of ancient tradition. And in so doing, we can reveal not only a deeper sense of meaning in our lives, but a deeper sense of belonging to this beautiful, animate Earth.
The journey is ultimately one of soul initiation: the long, hard work not just of uncovering the mystery of our soul’s calling, but of embodying and living it.
These ideas, and that journey, are fundamental to our indigenous heritage, our oldest spiritual traditions, here in the West. And I believe they're deeply needed in these challenging times. In Western societies we are seeing more calls for a return to native wisdom, but we can’t live by the worldviews of other cultures which are rooted in lands and histories that are different from our own. Fine as they are, we don’t need to look to the myths and traditions of others for role models, or for guidance on how to live more authentically, in balance and harmony with the planet on which we depend. We have our own guiding stories, and they are deeply rooted in the heart of our own native landscapes. We draw them out of the wells and the waters; beachcombing, we lift them out of the sand. We dive for them to the bottom of deep lakes, we disinter them from the bogs, we follow their tracks through the shadowy glades of the enchanted forest.
It’s time to reclaim those stories. They ground us, and teach us; they show us how to find and follow the trail of breadcrumbs which will lead us to our own unique calling. And from that place of grounding in the traditions of the lands we inhabit and have come to belong to, we can more easily appreciate, and openly embrace, the traditions of others.
In all my work, I’m very clear that my interests lie in the traditions of these lands where our feet are planted, here and now. Learning how to become a good ‘citizen of the world’ begins with learning how to become a good citizen of your place. However you happened to find yourself there, if you live in a place – maybe just for a little while, or maybe forever – that land’s dreaming is the dreaming you’re part of. And if these European lands are your ancestral lands, its stories are your stories too – wherever in the world you might find yourself now. Welcome. Pull a stool up to the fire, and open your ears and your heart.
If you'd like to know more about my work, please visit my website.
I'm a writer, and like most writers, I can't make a living from writing alone; the courses I offer help to pay the bills. But all of that doesn't leave much room for anything else. And I'd like to be able to cut down on some of the currently necessary but time-consuming administrative things I do to pay those bills, freeing up time to offer more resources on cultivating the mythic imagination, and on native western spiritualities, which are freely accessible to everyone. I'd like to be able to offer more free writing on my blog, The Art of Enchantment, and in my weekly subscriber-only newsletter, 'This Mythic Life'. I'd like to spend more time on my podcast, 'This Mythic Life', and to offer more interviews with people who are choosing to live well in these troubled times. I'd like to make more videos about the mythic imagination. Compile a database of useful articles on a per-topic basis, reading lists, and lists of useful links.
But, as a writer, I don't have the necessary skills to do everything myself. If I'm going to achieve any of the things I've outlined above, then I'm going to need help. So that's where, I hope, Patreon comes in. To help provide the funds to pay others to help create and edit content, maintain the website, and expand its outreach.
- To pay for the editing, production and dissemination of my podcast, 'This Mythic Life'.
- To cover the costs of creating community around my work on the mythic imagination, and free reader/book group resources centred around my books.
- To help cover the costs of web hosting and maintenance.
- And ultimately, to allow me more time not just to develop my programme of courses, but to focus on my writing and teaching in the field of myth, wild mind and enchantment.
... is that all of the funding received through Patreon will go towards making my work more accessible to more people, and to producing content – original writing, videos and podcasts – which is free to everyone, and which brings an understanding of the importance of cultivating the mythic imagination, and the value of our native myths and traditions, to as many people as I can.