In you is a warp that reaches back 10,000 years. In you is a weft that sings your motherline song, womb to womb to womb. No matter the traumas or losses of lifetimes, the thread remains unbroken, the thread remains intact. It is dyed with the blood of birth, with the steep of vision, with the mordant of dreams.
In you is a motherhouse whose floors are full of your foremothers' bones, whose walls shelter the looms and spindles where your motherline still spirals, waiting to be woven all the way back to health. The fire in the hearth of your motherhouse has not gone out in all these tens of thousands of years. Even in the most difficult of seasons, there has always been an ember under the ashes, waiting for your breath. Even in the most devastating of eons, the bones of your grandmothers have not stopped chanting their love for you from the walls, and all the old things their hands knew about life, and love, and death, and birth.
Come, at the root of the winter solstice, at the hinge of this dark season of mothers and the rebirth of light, into the Motherhouse with me, the Motherhouse of Old Europe.* Here, I will share with you a story, a telling of my own motherline, as it winds back through Puritan New England, to Yorkshire, and then deep into an imaginal but archaeologically-rooted past in a pre-patriarchal Europe.
I will weave us a Motherhouse out of words to sit in together and, after the singing of my own motherline song to you— the part of it that I have written up until now, for this is an ever-evolving epic within each of us— I will lead us through some writing exercises to bring us into our own Motherhouses, so that we can begin to tend, and weave with, and be supported by, the foremother threads sheltered within.
Come in to be held, to be spun, to be nurtured, to be rooted, to be revived.
This workshop space is open to all who identify as women or who have a womb, and to participants of all ancestries— I speak of a Motherhouse of Old Europe simply because that is my ancestry, and therefore the space I can prepare and welcome you into.
* Motherhouse, as a term, is one I created (although I'm sure I'm not the first) while researching the social structure of Minoan Crete, combining the theories of Jan Driessen about household sizes and ancestor worship with those of Marija Gimbutas and her extensive work across southern and eastern Europe. I will explore this historical framework within the workshop and within the storied, word-built Motherhouse I will recreate around us.
** A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to Rodakas, a wonderful oral folklore and storytelling organization in Rethymno, Crete dedicated to the preservation of traditions around music, architecture, stonemasonry, ceramics, women's textile arts, and more.
December 19th 2021
10:30 am - 12:30 pm (PST)
The image used in the poster was taken by me at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. It is a small effigy of an ancestral woman, priestess or goddess within a house--temple, crowned with the Minoan horns of consecration, from the 18th-17th century BCE, Galatas.
There is a hearth in you made from the spark of your original ground. Your εστία. In Greek, the name of the goddess Hestia means not only the home as hearth— literally, the goddess is the hearth— it also means "origin." The point from which something begins. The word itself has pre-Greek roots. This means it is pre Indo-European; pre-invasion; pre-conquest. It points to a εστία as primordial as peace.
So, this hearth in you is made of your peaceful origins. The ones that are ancestral, and the ones that are of soul. Your ancestors from long ago are gathered around this fire singing their creation stories back to you, reminding you of who you are and what ground you are made of. What literal, ecological ground— of root and mineral, tree and animal— and also what inner ground.
Even if everything around you crumbles, this hearth and its original ember remains. Even when the fires tended by the Vestal Virgins of ancient Rome were quenched, still their flames remained lit inside the wombs of all mothers and all children, all those who create, and dream, and love, to this day.
It is this inner εστία that can provide sanctuary and nourishment and kindle light for us, again and again, even when all seems lost.
In this mythic writing workshop at the cusp of autumn, we will venture deep into our inner origins, into our bones, to listen for the creation songs being sung around our origin-hearths. Through an exploration of such historical themes as the House-Temples and hearth-shrines of matriarchal Old Europe and their thematic continuation among the Vestal Virgins of ancient Latium, we will give thanks to Hestia, and begin to re-story ourselves back to home ground.
We will begin to set the stones— or branches, or mudbricks— back in the walls of our inner sanctuaries from where they have fallen due to disuse or destruction. We will retrieve the embers and set them at the center, and listen for the way of tending them that keeps a balance within and without, a way of tending them that keeps us warm and nourished no matter how the winds blow. A way of tending that weaves the wild back in.
A Zoom link to the live class (specific to the date you registered for) will be sent to your email in October, along with a pdf download of an essay of mine called "Hestia- The Origin," which is helpful background reading for the workshop
The workshop will be recorded for those who can't attend live
*a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the Aegean Seed Bank, a project of the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation