Dr. Sharon Blackie Speaks on Women Shape-Shifting in a Discussion of the Animate Earth

Developing Kinship with the Animate Earth with Dr. Sharon Blackie & Karen Doyle Grossman

In the vast tapestry of human experience across time, the power of metamorphosis, shape-shifting, and transformation has captivated minds. These timeless themes, interwoven within fairy tales, mythology, and ancient lore, continue to hold profound significance in our modern world.

Author and scholar Dr. Sharon Blackie adeptly navigates the realms of imagination, transformation, psychology, and ecological awareness in her far-reaching work, shedding light on these universal concepts.

At a recent Garrison Institute forum, Dr. Blackie and Executive Director Karen Doyle Grossman discussed the transformative potential of storytelling and the power of imagination. Dr. Blackie’s multidisciplinary approach weaves together psychology, philosophy, and global myths and folktales, offering a pathway for individuals to navigate the complexities of our world.

Dr. Blackie’s expertise with these themes emerges from a lifelong fascination with tales. “Transformation, shape-shifting, metamorphosis—these concepts have captivated my imagination since my earliest days,” she shared. “My engagement with these stories has extended beyond mere fascination; it has been a professional endeavor spanning several decades—as a psychologist, a teacher, and a writer. The stories of shape-shifting creatures from European traditions have significantly shaped my worldview and perceptions of my place within it.”

Central to Dr. Blackie’s teachings is the idea of expanding our perspectives and embracing a reciprocal relationship with our environment. Through storytelling, she encourages us to listen to the land’s dreaming, fostering a deeper understanding of our interconnectedness with nature and challenging conventional narratives.

Dr. Blackie also delved into a particularly significant variety of myths and stories, including the myth of the seal women (prevalent in European folklore) who shed their seal skins under the moonlight to dance on the seashore. These women symbolize a universal yearning to return to nature—a primal urge lost or subdued amidst societal expectations.

“These stories echo a longing—a desire to reclaim an untamed, instinctual aspect of ourselves often subdued in favor of rational intellect, disrupting our inner balance,” Dr. Blackie emphasized.

The journey of these seal women encapsulates a universal quest for harmony—an attempt to reconcile the rational and the instinctual, urging us to embrace the completeness within ourselves. Dr. Sharon Blackie’s exploration beckons us to delve into our identities, acknowledging the profound yearning for balance and the embrace of all facets of our being.

In essence, her teachings reveal the power of narratives—not just as tales of whimsy but as mirrors reflecting our own complexities, inviting us to find harmony amidst the symphony of inner experience.

Dr. Sharon Blackie is an award-winning writer, psychologist and mythologist. Her highly acclaimed books, courses, lectures and workshops are focused on reimagining women’s stories, and on the relevance of myths, fairy tales and folk traditions to the personal, cultural and environmental problems we face today.

As well as writing five books of fiction and nonfiction, including the bestselling If Women Rose Rooted and her latest, Hagitude, her writing has appeared in anthologies, collections and in several international media outlets – among them the Guardian, the Irish Times, and the Scotsman. Her books have been translated into several languages, and she has been interviewed by the BBC, US public radio and other broadcasters on her areas of expertise. Her awards include the Roger Deakin Award, and a Creative Scotland Writer’s Award. Her next book, Wise Women: Myths and folklore in celebration of older women will be published by Virago in 2024.

Sharon is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and has taught and lectured at several academic institutions, Jungian organizations, retreat centers and cultural festivals around the world.

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