A number of years ago, on the sandstone cliffs of Gadigal lands, I once had a particularly mythic dream. I was riding my bicycle when I passed an elderly woman – wrapped in rags – who suddenly stumbled to the ground. I immediately hopped off my bike, and before I even reached her, I knew she had died.
But as I went to crouch beside her, she disappeared into a miniature plasticine figurine sitting on a piece of paper. So I instinctively cupped my hands around her and summoned for Hecate (Greek Goddess of magic and crone of the underworld) and Prometheus (who crafted humans from clay and gifted them with fire) to assist me in bringing her back to life.
At once, she started to grow again in my hands, but what emerged from the swaddled rags was not the same woman. Instead, she had morphed into a crying baby, who I brought to my chest and cradled as if she were my own.
Though there are many different methods for interpreting dreams, at the heart of this imagery for me is a glimpse into the mysteries of death and rebirth. As it turned out, I was embarking on my own rite of passage, encountering what felt like a second adolescence in my mid thirties, returning in psyche to complete rites that I had no model for when I was a teenager.
It’s no wonder then that the Greek myth of Persephone, the archetypal story of the transition from maiden to queen, had been floating around in my poems, dreams and waking symbolic encounters.
I decided to look into this further, pursuing studies in myth, fairytales & folklore, researching stories of the transformative trials the young heroine undertakes in finding her own sense of self, power and place in the world as an adult. In order to do this, Persephone must greet the full spectrum of herself, learning to marry dark and light, in order to hold the great paradox of spirit and matter in her everyday life.
My interest in ways to creatively facilitate this transition with contemporary and cultural relevance also led me to training in rites of passage using ceremony, ritual, and nature-based practices. It was during this 9-month process that the loose threads of my inquiry began to weave together into a container for my unfolding self.
And so it is from this place that I offer my first collection of poetry. Gathered from my journals over the past five years, this collection of 25 poems speaks to the themes that run through the Greek myth of Persephone and her journey through the transformative waters of the underworld.
One of the key components of many rites is the presence of community, and I could not have brought this chapbook into being without the support of you, my friend, over the years. Having readers is no small thing to a writer. Thank you for walking with me along the way, and may these words offer something back to your own mythic journeys of transformation.
With kalimba tones and the pitter patter of winter rain,
// Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke
// Do not move stones by Rose Riebl
// Big Weather exhibition at NGV
// Dreams by Marie-Louise Von Franz