An inspiring journey of spiritual transformation rooted in pagan mythology, Gnosticism and the wisdom of the Black Goddess Sophia



Set at the time of the witch-burnings in Southern Italy, the land of the Black Madonna, The Serpent’s Tale follows a rural village’s fight to save its wise-woman from the fires of the Inquisition.

On an allegorical level, The Serpent’s Tale explores the Greek Myth of Demeter and Persephone, and later Gnostic Myth of Sophia, inspired by my autobiographical experience of nursing my daughter Sophia Mary through 12 operations, which led me repeatedly on the Sophianic descent and ascent of the Soul.

Through a matryoshka set of storytellers, three interwoven tales lead the reader on an inspiring journey of spiritual transformation rooted in pagan mythology, Gnosticism and the wisdom of the Black Goddess Sophia.

The Mother’s Tale
Following my autobiographical account of my daughter Sophia’s birth, I am sitting beside her incubator, wondering why she has to endure such suffering.

The Nurse’s Tale
In response, an Italian nurse tells me a story that was told to her ancestors by a travelling storyteller in 1645.

The Storyteller’s Tale
It is 1583 and Italy is at the mercy of the Inquisition. Driven by his desire for revenge, the storyteller Alessandro arrives in Santa Sofia and conspires with the villagers to overthrow the Bishop. During the ensuing 7 days, their lives will be changed forever as they fight to protect their wise-woman from the fires of the Inquisition.

  • A truly magical book! The Serpent's Tale is one of those books that lingers long after you've finished it. It was very easy to read and very gripping (I couldn't put it down!). The story is both very personal and very universal at the same time, telling the story of women and men of the old (Goddess) tradition in their struggle to survive in a patriarchal world with so many prejudices and fears to fight against. It's the story of truly believing and, even more, sticking to what you believe to be good and worthy for yourself and the community. A very inspiring book and absolutely recommended!M Van Eupen, Amazon
  • This is a story which sticks to your fingers, I found it un-put-down-able. A beautifully woven tale, full of description which pulls you right into the pages and illustrates the setting. Ever since reading the book, I have found my mind returning to the location depicted and can see it so clearly, such a rare find in a story today. Characters who become friends during the reading, the tale of old and new, light and dark, reflections from our shared past and visions of a future are all held within these precious pages. Highly recommended.Shoshana, Amazon


At least 60,000 wisewomen were tortured and killed during the European Witch Trials (1450-1750), although some estimates are far higher. The Roman Inquisition was a system of tribunals developed by the Roman Catholic Church (or Roman Church as it was then known) during the second half of the 16th century, responsible for prosecuting individuals accused of heresy, including sorcery and witchcraft, mainly in Italy and Malta.

Although The Serpent’s Tale is set in the 16th century, the social issues it explores, such as the subjugation of women by patriarchal religious doctrines; violence against women, including abuse, rape and torture; and maternal mortality, remain endemic in our global society as the following statistics from (2009) reveal.

  • Domestic violence causes more deaths worldwide in women aged 15-44 than war, cancer or malaria
  • 1 in 3 women worldwide are beaten, abused or raped
  • 1 in 4 women worldwide are beaten while pregnant
  • 1 in 7 women worldwide are raped by their spouse
  • 1 woman dies every minute from pregnancy related causes, most of which are preventable
  • 5,000 women worldwide are killed in honour killings each year for ‘crimes’ such as trying to leave an abusive marriage
  • 2 million girls worldwide are forced into marriage each year
  • 6,000 girls worldwide are forced to undergo female circumcision each day
The Gnostic’s passionate adoration of Sophia was known as Philosophia – the love of Sophia – a mystical communication with divine feminine wisdom, having little to do with the strictly intellectual, most often masculine, pursuit currently labeled ‘philosophy’.
Zeena Schreck

Sophia, Black Goddess of Wisdom

Sophia was honoured as Goddess of Wisdom by the Ancient Greeks and Gnostics, gnosis being the Greek noun for spiritual knowledge and mystical enlightenment.

The path of gnosis teaches us that we can return to the Rose Garden of Eden through the Sacred Marriage of our Soul, by healing the wounds that are preventing us from stepping into wholeness and sharing our unique gifts with the world.

Self-knowledge was considered the path to enlightenment in the Rose Lineage spiritual tradition, through which we not only reunite with our Self but also with the Divine as we experience it, be it a transcendent being or inner guide.

Sophia is an archetype of divine feminine wisdom that can be found in all religious and spiritual traditions, thus forming a bridge of peace and union between all faiths.

To the Gnostics and Pagans, she is the Black Goddess of Wisdom. In Christianity, she is God’s wisdom, the Bride whom King Solomon speaks of with such reverence. In Islam, she is Ruh. In Judaism, she is Hokmah and the Shekhinah. In Buddhism, she is Tara. And to Agnostics or Atheists, she is simply a philosophy of life.


The Myth of Sophia teaches us that darkness is not separate from light, that it is within the darkest times of our lives when we experience deep pain, loss and fear that the light of rebirth can guide us towards greater wisdom, strength, love and compassion – gifts that we can then share with our loved ones and communities.

It is a philosophy that helps us to accept and surrender to life’s challenges, trusting in ourselves and in life that every seemingly negative experience is an opportunity for us to heal, learn and grow along our path of gnosis.

Philosophia is the term I use for all my teachings I share on the Black Goddess Sophia, the Black Madonna tradition of Southern Italy, the Avalon Rose Lineage, and the Philosophia Wheel of the Year, inspired by the Celtic Wheel and Rose Mysteries.

Through my programme of online trainings and courses, I invite you to peel back the layers of patriarchal distortion, explore your spiritual and mythological heritage, and engage with ancient soul-development tools and rituals designed to guide you along your own path of gnosis or self-knowledge.

Online & In-PersonProgramme

Heal and empower yourself to embody your full Soul potential. Explore the esoteric teachings of the Western Mystery Tradition. Follow the cycles of the sun, stars, moon & myth. Train as an Avalon Rose Priestess or Practitioner.
© Annabel Du Boulay 2024. privacy policy and terms Photos: Melissa Robin & Jon Hall. Website by S7

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