Hagitude: Reimagining the Second Half of Life

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Hagitude: Reimagining the Second Half of Life

Hagitude: Reimagining the Second Half of Life

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And I have a friend who has been a midwife into death, and again, sitting with other people and being there at the moment when somebody crosses over seems to be another way of lifting the veil. I’m honestly amazed that someone who speaks out against the patriarchy and who values women’s spaces and who sees how truly marginalized women are cannot see the how her perceived threat - by THE most marginalized segment of society - mirrors the way men under patriarchy are threatened by the women they oppress. My husband David Knowles and I founded literary publisher Two Ravens Press (now under new ownership) in 2006, and in 2012 launched EarthLines Magazine, a full-colour print publication for writing about nature, place and the environment. That long, hard work, which required us to be outside in all weathers, as well as a continuing daily need for long walks to explore rocky shoreline, bog and mountain, has given me a deep and nourishing sense of connectedness to place that I feel drawn to share with others. And these are archetypes of womanhood…talk us through those four and let’s see where we can take that.

And particularly in our fairly toxic, fairly damaged, it has to be said Western culture, where growing old feels – and you say this somewhere in the book – as if it’s it’s a penance and a punishment. But that was the first time, and I know it sounds unusual, but that’s the first time that anybody really close to me had faced death. And so I think that there are real needs and benefits to the idea that we think about how we mark those and how we treat them as initiations. And so I think for the first time I saw a fictional rather than a mythological figure, where somebody had taken that idea and actually given it flesh.And I suppose I had a little bit of a feel for that walking through the valley of the shadow of death, as I think of it, for a number of months while I was undergoing treatment. This powerful and inspiring exploration of the female relationship with landscape turns the diktat around, showing us what may be gained from doing just that. So as always, I went looking for them in the old stories and myths and I found more than I’d bargained for and just thought, well, there you go: There’s there’s my next book. So we have death personified almost always in our mythology as an old woman, and I could go with that.

And that is, you know, very much what my own situation was about, I think, and that passage through illness and looking death in the face was very much about trying to marry those two things. And one of the beauties of menopause, I think, for women; sorry, that’s a little bit probably too much of a sweeping statement.

Just say a little bit towards the end about the wonder of Granny Weatherwax and what kind of a role model she could be. And we’re here today because she has a new book recently published, Hagitude; Reimagining the Second Half of Life.

It is crafted around stories of Baba Yaga, a supernatural being in many Slavic mythic and folkloric traditions, depicted as a dangerous, frightening older woman.

And I think one of the main things, of course, a lot of young people are way too smart to fall into that trap. Sharon: I would say that it is easier to work in that context, particularly in psychotherapy, with fairy tales and folktales rather than myths. I would have liked to hear about women in lower classes and how they connect to nature and their truest selves while juggling two jobs or going through poverty struggles. So it’s very much a middle life archetype where you’re looking for the mystery, you’re looking for what it’s all about. And yes, it was a kind of continuation from If Women Rose Rooted; using the same idea that there are characters in those stories that can… Not provide blueprints for living, but inspiration for how to be in the world and also how to be in a very, very challenged world.

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