The SeedThe feminine divine and women's rights
Born in 1972, my fascination with Gnosticism and the Rose Lineage was inspired by my grandfather, Joseph, Master of a Masonic Lodge, as Freemasonry was one of the ways in which Gnosticism survived as an esoteric mystery tradition following the Church’s violent suppression of it in the 13th-16th centuries.
Then in 1991, whilst studying for my BA degree, I asked the question “Why is God male?” From 1993-96, I spent my summers in a rural village in Southern Italy where I became fascinated by the quasi Pagan-Catholic veneration of the Virgin Mary and Black Madonna, and where I later set my novel The Serpent’s Tale.
In 1995, as a voluntary aid worker living in Cusco, Peru, I became aware of the high levels of alcohol abuse and domestic violence, and the negative social impact of the RCC’s influence on the government’s contraceptive ban which led to a rise in maternal mortality, backstreet abortions, AIDS, poverty & street children.
I was living in the house of a shaman and travelled with him throughout Peru, from the Andes to the Amazon, where I took part in an Ayahuasca ceremony with a tribe, whilst he taught me about the Inca goddess Pachamama, Mother Earth spirituality and shamanic ritual.
The ShootSurvivor & Scholar
Back in London from 1996-9, I struggled with suicidal depression, self-harm and alcohol dependency due largely to the abuse I suffered as a child. I embarked on 8 years of weekly CBT with a Professor of Psychology at UCL whilst completing my MSc degree at LSE in the Sociology of Religion from a feminist perspective.
My MSc thesis compared the role of women and the Feminine Divine within Ancient & Contemporary Paganism, Gnosticism and Christianity, looking at how patriarchal religion appropriated and manipulated the pagan and Gnostic mythology of the Rose Lineage in order to control women in society.
My ensuing MPhil/PhD research, inspired by my experience in Peru, focussed on the reproductive rights of women in the developing world with reference to the Holy See’s Permanent Observer State status at the United Nations, research that was used by Panorama for its documentary in 1999 (#SheDecides 2018)
The FlowerMother, Author, Priestess
In 1999, my post-graduate studies were cut short by the birth of my daughter Sophia Mary who was born with a life-threatening syndrome and multiple disabilities, requiring life-saving surgery at birth and 11 further operations. In the years that I nursed her, I continued to study the Rose Lineage and the archetype of Sophia, Black Goddess of Wisdom, whilst my daughter Sophia took me repeatedly on the Gnostic descent and rebirth of the Soul.
As a creative coping mechanism during those years, I combined my knowledge and experience into the writing of my Gnostic, historical novel The Serpent’s Tale, based in 16th century Italy at the time of the witch-burnings. And in 2001, I began my Priestess of Avalon 4-year training with the Glastonbury Goddess Temple and have worked ever since at the annual Glastonbury Goddess Conference, including 3 years as 1 of the 9 Ceremonialists.
I have created and held numerous ceremonies internationally, from fire rituals to Baby Naming ceremonies to a Bride-To-Be ceremony in Stonehenge Inner Circle, to large Handfastings, to Conferences with hundreds of participants. I also trained as a Spiritual Healer, completing my Reiki I (2002) & II (2006) & the National Federation of Spiritual Healing training (2006).
In 2003, I gave birth to my daughter Jasmine Tara but relapsed into post-natal depression and self-medicating with alcohol. This time, my journey of recovery took me even deeper as I embarked on 6 years of Transpersonal Psychotherapy with Carolyn Proctor, who was trained by Dr Christine Page, author of the Return of the Great Mother and the Handbook of Women’s Mysteries.
The FruitTherapist & Artist
In 2006, I trained as a Transpersonal Therapist (DipTRT), Self-Development Workshop Tutor (DipSDT) and Guided Meditation Teacher (DipGM), gaining the General Qualification in General Hypnotherapy Practice (GQHP) from the General Hypnotherapy Standards Council and membership with the General Hypnotherapy Register (GHR Reg).
I have worked extensively with private and corporate clients and in the voluntary sector, providing 1:1 therapy and coaching as well as writing and running self-development workshops, courses and retreats. From 2006-12, I worked for the UK’s leading mental health charity, supporting sufferers of severe & enduring mental health difficulties.
An expert in the Rose Lineage mythology, archetypes and symbols, I combined my academic knowledge with my spiritual and transpersonal trainings to create an unique and highly effective way of helping clients to work deeply with their psyche, interpreting their meditations using a technique Carl Jung termed ‘amplification’, and give 1:1 Coaching online internationally.
In 2009, I gave birth to my son Zac, who was also born with a rare, life-threatening syndrome and multiple disabilities including facial and oral paralysis, rendering him unable to breathe, feed, speak or smile. I am the only known mother in the world to have a child with VACTERL syndrome and a child with MOEBIUS syndrome, who together I have nursed through 19 operations.
As a creative way of coming to terms with the very challenging years nursing my son, including resuscitating him several times a day, I spent 9 months painting ‘The Healing Womb’ art installation, which had its debut in 2012 and now hangs in The Glastonbury Gnostic Chapel, a charitable company that helps to provide funded workshops for women who are struggling with child loss, childlessness, mothering special needs children and pregnancy termination.
The SeedEntrepreneur, Campaigner & Creatrix
Like all life cycles, I find myself back at the beginning where I started over 25 years ago but now with the strength and compassion from surviving life’s challenges to be able to support and empower other women. In 2014, inspired by my experience with the Quechua women in Peru, I opened my Shop in Glastonbury specialising in the sale of indigenous art, craft and shamanic tools.
I am committed to fair and ethical trade, supporting women’s co-operatives and low-income artisans in Peru (Quechua), Morocco (Berber) and the Sinai Peninsular (Bedouin), as well as the Native American pueblo tribes of New Mexico. I share their wisdom and traditions through my Shop and campaign on their behalf.
At Beltane 2018, I founded The Glastonbury Gnostic Centre, which hosts my Events as well as those of other practitioners inspired by Gnosticism. Along with my fellow directors, Fiona McWilliams & Zoe Wigan, I also founded The Glastonbury Gnostic Chapel, a Charitable Company which offers low cost therapeutic services to vulnerable people in need. We are currently raising funds to expand into larger premises in order to deliver more services – all donations are gratefully received.
I remain passionate about campaigning on women’s rights through my book, talks and blogs, especially in relation to patriarchal religion, as well as challenging the stigma associated with mental health difficulties and special needs. I am an experienced speaker and use my personal experience to inspire & campaign. Please contact me to discuss the possibility of me giving a talk at your event.
The Glastonbury Gnostic Chapel is raising funds to be able to expand into larger premises in order to deliver more comprehensive services to vulnerable people in need within the community. All donations are gratefully received.