I'm off again to the central coastlands of my native California, this time as a magical group of eight to celebrate the season of Beltane, which begins May 1st and marks the mid-point between Spring and Summer. Light your own mighty fire for fertile prosperity and I'll tell you all about my adventure when I return.
I've interviewed someone precious to me to hold you over until I come skipping down the lane, flower garlands and maypole streamers clinging to my gown. I digress.
What I love most about Stevie Ladd, of Owl and Crow, is that she has fearlessly created something she'd always had in her. Her book, In the Lap of the Goddess: Connecting with the Divine Feminine, contains the meaty questions we've all been faced with-the ones that seem to come up again and again, but she takes you down into the deeper levels for new insights. I'm so proud to share her with you.
What inspired you to create your SoulWork book, In the Lap of the Goddess: Connecting with the Divine Feminine?
Since I moved from California to North Carolina almost 3 years ago, I was determined to find a more creative way to do my work as a psychotherapist. I wanted to open up more as a writer and artist and find a way to bridge the two.
Both you and Leonie Allen have inspired me in the way you have built a strong following through your blogs and have created your art and other products that are so tied into who you are and your evolutionary process. It's so fun to watch and be a part of. I ordered Leonie's Creating My Goddess Year e-book and got inspired to write my own e-book about my favorite subject from an archetypal psychology point of view.
So I designed this book to be interactive, to help women plumb their own depths and find their way into the lap of the goddess by doing soul work.
Can you tell me more about what you mean by soul work?
I mean the deep questioning and exploration of our psyches, our purpose, life's meaning, our past, present and future. Ultimately, it is the work of connecting to our Self, with a capital S. And our higher Self is but a reflection of the divine feminine--the goddess of your choosing, or the goddess that chooses you.
I love the idea that a goddess figure would choose me to work with her. Which one called to you first as you went about beginning this book?
Well, when I got to North Carolina, I kept meeting Yemaya. Rob (my husband) had brought back a handmade Yemaya doll from New Orleans about 10 years ago and she had been packed away for a long time. I put her on my altar in my studio in North Carolina, surrounded by shells and other things I found at the ocean.
Yemaya is a mermaid and I kept being drawn to mermaids. At the same time, I was feeling this oceanic, watery energy calling me to create and flow. I made several dolls, SoulCollage® cards, and a shadow box, all with mermaids. I started looking into Yemaya's qualities and realized she was a Creator archetype and that's what was being activated in me. I started this book with her guiding me, acting as a muse. I feel I have gotten to know her quite well and have a relationship with her that helps me feel guided and protected.
What other goddesses make appearances in the book, and what drew you to them or them to you?
Kali was actually the first goddess I did a chapter on because I needed to clear out some old garbage before I could move forward with Yemaya and the book I had started. I had gotten stuck and needed help.
Remember how our teacher, Irene, used to say that when she created her retreats, whatever theme she chose she had to go through it herself, as she was preparing to teach it? That's what happened with me. I had to face some old creative blocks, so I worked with Kali, the Destroyer goddess, and she helped me burn up these fears and let go of some old ways of seeing myself and my work.
I've been exploring the Triple Goddess since I got here, too. I chose the Greek triple goddess represented by Persephone, the Maiden, Demeter, the Mother, and Hecate, the Crone because I love their story. The maiden and mother have been strong with me as I have watched Chloe (my daughter) transform from a 12-year-old girl when we first moved here, to a young woman of 15. There's been a little grieving involved with that, and I've revisited and healed some more of my own relationship with my mother in the process.
And then I've got one foot in the Mother and one foot in the Crone since I had Chloe late in my childbearing years. So Hecate has helped me own the wild woman and the wise woman. I love her magical, witchy, medial nature. She is truly the dragoman of the Soul.
What do you hope women will come away with by doing the exercises in your workbook?
I hope they will have an experience of how the goddess lives within them. I offer suggestions for rituals, totems, and altars so they can work with the goddess not only internally, but externally. It's important to create and surround yourself with likenesses of her when you work with goddess energy to make it a richer, deeper experience.
I've used a lot of pictures in the book because images are the language of the soul. Metaphor and archetypes allow us direct access to the soul as well. So I'm hoping women will have fun exploring some themes of feminine psychology through the goddesses presented in these pages. It's really a stepping stone, a way in. They can then take the relationships they develop as far as they want. I hope to expand on these goddesses more over time.
Who is likely to get the most out of your book? What does this reader look like? If I may be so bold to ask.
I think fearless women who like to journal and create will especially enjoy getting to know themselves better through these goddesses, and those who want to discover or explore their inner yearnings and their own divinity.
I'm starting to feel like Oprah here. How do we get the workbook? Because I want it now. It's Kali the Destroyer my inner wild woman needs to hang with. I've already been chosen! I know my wild self is tied to experiencing Kali as a creative-destructive-creative superhero, embodying the Life-Death-Life cycle I write about so much here.
It's available for download as a PDF on my blog, on the order page for In the Lap of the Goddess. You can buy single chapters, or the whole book to download and print.
I'll have copies ready to mail by May 20, and accepting preorders now, but if you order it before then, it's $22 instead of $24.
And there are 3 free audio versions of the guided journeys in the book that anyone can download and listen to available on my blog.
Ooh, I'm exploring your order page now-well done. Easy. I love it. I'm so excited about this book, and I'm loving that you're offering it as a PDF. All I need is more paper around here. Thank you for doing that-being as green as can be. I may want to print some of the goddesses images and hang them about, however. What else can you share with us?
I would love to know how women use the book, and what they get out of it, so feedback is welcome.
And thank you, my dear friend, for featuring me on Pink Coyote and sharing my book with your wonderful circle of wild, creative and fearless women.
Stephanie Anderson Ladd is a Marriage and Family Therapist, SoulCollage® Facilitator, and an amazing, awakened wild woman living her creative life in Chapel Hill, NC. I call her Stevie, as all of her sisters do. All I needed to know about trust, relationship and communication began with our longs talks and mountain walks, during what seems like a lifetime ago. Everyone needs a Stevie. I know I do. I hope you'll be as inspired by her work and stories as I am.