Soror Mystica

The Magic Circle

“Chased by seven ravens down to the Great Below,
I limp on my broken ankle, surprised at how the soul
grows more beautiful every time the body suffers …”

Dear Poets and Dreamers,

I’m delighted to share that Soror Mystica is also the title of my new book (2023), which presently can’t decide whether it wants to be a memoir, a poetry collection, a series of Jungian themed essays, or, wait for it, a novel! Or maybe it will be a new book genre of all four! I’m sure Soror Mystica will lead the way. Blessings always, Deborah. 

© Deborah Gregory 2022 – Extract taken from my upcoming new book, Soror Mystica
Image: The Magic Circle, 1886 – John William Waterhouse

28 thoughts on “Soror Mystica

    1. As I wrote earlier, thank you so much bookworm for your truly fabulous response! Love and light, Deborah. PS. I’m always here scribbling away in the background if needed, just drop me a line. x

    1. Many thanks Mother Wintermoon! It’s funny I was only thinking of you a couple of months ago as I tried to create a page for my loyal readers, like the “Cove” section on your old website but WordPress doesn’t like content being moved about so I gave up and came up with the idea of fledging older posts instead instead. Blessings always, Deborah.

  1. A beautiful poem in form and words and an excellent one in meaning and wisdom. And yet we must receive the joy and sorrow with open arms, just like life and death! Thank you, Deborah, my lovely and wise friend.

    1. Thank you so much dear Aladin for your beautiful reply! I hope the merry month of May finds you well. Indeed, the circling orobourus around the dark sorceresses’ neck, reminds us all of those never-ending cycles of death, destruction and rebirth and how we need to learn how to hold the tension of the opposites, above and below, within and without. Love and light, Deborah.

  2. “…shimmering with stardust, minerals, metals and heat…” What a perfect description of this stunning art and the feminine essence of the alchemical opus it depicts. Your magical mix of words that create the perfect mood, tone, and theme of this mystical work (both inner and outer) is inspiring. It reminds me to heed my soul’s call to avail myself of the healing properties of the creative arts as I dig myself through my own rabbit holes. Blessings on you and your new creation. Jeanie

    1. Thank you so much dear Jeanie for the gift of your own shimmering words! Waterhouse’s alchemical art deeply inspires and it was down my rabbit hole that I first came across this painting, shaken by how much it resonated in the dark caverns of grief. And then it came to me, the title of my new book “Soror Mystica”, the title I’ve been searching for, for years, ever since I wrote the first part of “The Animus Diet” only that title just didn’t fit my book. So, when the title came I knew I had to write a poem for Her, in honour of the Muses and their precious gift. Indeed, I couldn’t agree more re the healing properties of the creative arts.

      Wishing you happy rabbiting and wholing in your burrows, I’ll miss you! May it be a time of deep release and deep relaxation. I hope you know my dear friend that I’m always here scribbling away in the background if ever needed, drop me a line. Love and light, Deborah.

  3. What a delightful onion of a story this is (in case you’re wondering, onion is my highest level of praise), full of layers to peel back. You describe a rich and tantalising journey.

    The key things I picked out on the first read, the ravens, the darkness, the serpent hold another meaning on my second read, because I’m finding other points of focus. How full of images and archetypes this is. Glorious. Love your illustration.

    1. Oh, I’m truly delighted to have won your “Onion” award! Thank you so much Cath for such rich, multi-layered feedback. Firstly, I must give credit to Waterhouse’s alchemical art as this painting, “The Magic Circle” inspired me hugely whilst down, down, down in “The Great Below” (aka my Jungian rabbit hole that I tend to disappear into from time to time). Secondly, it’s great to hear that the images shift and transform themselves on subsequent readings. I guess this is what happens when a writer invites those enchanting archetypes in?! Love and light, Deborah.

  4. A wonderful poem Deborah, full of dark mystery as you step onto the path of healing and making peace with death, finding ways to balance joy and sorrow in both hands.

    Soror Mystica is the perfect name for your next creative adventure – as she stands stirring and nurturing her rich alchemical cauldron so you too have been nurturing your creative ideas in that dark place…and the first of many new poems has been born into light. You must have felt her presence over your shoulder for sure as you have painted such a vivid picture, bringing her to life through your words.

    I’m looking forward to seeing more of your creative flow as you continue your journey of transformation! Many blessings on your journey, Sophia

    1. Thank you so much Sophia for your wonderful, encouraging gift of words here! As soon as my new book title arrived or say we say downloaded itself into my psyche, I knew that I would need to write a poem about John William Waterhouse’s beautiful dark sorceress and Her magick circle. The transition in my book titles from “A Liberated Sheep in a Post Shepherd World” to reclaiming ancestry in “The Shepherd’s Daughter” to “Soror Mystica” aka Mystical Sister feels just right, no other title will do.

      In pure synchronicity, you write about the presence of death over the shoulder while Susan writes about keeping death alive on the shoulder with the “left” representing the side of the Divine Feminine and unconscious. Hmm, as a left handed poet, maybe I was always going to write about these themes?! Learning to hold the tension of opposites seems to be a lifelong task. Thank you again for your constant support on my journey through the landscape of the soul. Love and light, Deborah.

  5. Deborah, thank you for taking us down and pulling back those mysterious veils as you reached a crossroad moment in your life. Your poem is sublime, a hand mirror of pure allegory. I eagerly await your new book ‘Soror Mystica’ and more of your poetry and musings on life. All the best, Anna. Ps. has ‘poetessence’ gone?

    1. Thank you so much Anna for your kind-hearted, generous reply!

      I’ll start at the end by saying yes, I took down the “Poetessence” tab because the free version of WordPress that I use just doesn’t like moving content around. I’m not tech savvy so it was too much of a faff, I’m afraid.

      A crossroad moment, yes, that’s exactly what it was following my father’s death, only nine months after my mother died. Down the rabbit hole I came across this incredible Waterhouse painting which resonated deeply.

      And so a new journey of healing begins. Love and light, Deborah.

        1. Hey, thanks for sharing this link Anna! I just noted that Robin attended the Pacifica Graduate Institute so this could be interesting, even required reading.

  6. What a wonderful poem you have created!
    “Receive joy and sorrow in both hands”, learn to manage conflicting feelings in order to be able to make peace with what exists inside and outside us!

    1. Aww, thanks Luisa for your wonderful reply. As you know I’ve been out of the loop these past three months so it was a relief to pick up my pen and write today. And in doing so, the title of my next book landed. Love and light, Deborah.

  7. I’m bowled over Deborah at the power of your poetic pen that strikes where it does. It strikes me in many ways – a remembrance of a Jungian Analyst at a lecture a long time ago, saying that when we are in the fire, we must stay there, and be burned. Not to jump out of it as may be our inclination. Sit, stand, cower, but stay there.

    I also think of a saying, maybe Buddhist, ‘keep death alive on your left shoulder’ – this has come up for me a few times recently, sort of popped up. I know this saying from a long time ago.

    I love the orobouros. I’ve painted it a few times. I’ve a large canvas of it just needing its eye painted on it, and maybe the Tao sign in the small centre.

    So Soror Mystica – it’s a lovely title, fits you snugly and comfortably.

    Thank you for your beautiful post. Love to you, susan

      1. Oops, I’ve spelt it wrong in my reply! Ha-Ha, never mind. That coiling, looping serpent has many names (and spellings!) I’m sure. x

    1. Thank you so much dear Susan for the warmth and deep magick of your wonderful reply! Sit, stand, cower but stay. Stay! Yes, yes, yes, I must have experienced them all as I waited in the shadows of my grief and sorrow, until I dug down deeper than my parent’s graves and reached “The Great Below” via Waterhouse’s incredible painting of “The Magic Circle”. What else can one do down the rabbit hole!

      Wow, what an incredible Jungian lecture that must have been to describe so well the process of transformation. Although I’ve also heard that Buddhist saying before, today it rings so true for me as “Death” seems to be sitting on my left shoulder of late. Oh, well I shall look forward to seeing your “oroborus” painting in the coming weeks. Yes, finally, the title for my new book landed and I love it!

      Thank you once again my lovely friend for your reply and ongoing support. Love and light, Deborah.

  8. Wow! What a powerful Underworld Daimon (Daimoness?). Mercurius gives good advice. Amazing that you’re deeper down than your parent’s graves and they call out to you with the best advice I know of holding joy and sorrow in both hands. Yet, they don’t seem to have the answers. Is the poem saying the path to your parents is a dead end and you dig to go another way? The smoky Underworld feels like your Soror Mystica lives near Persephone and Hecate–and of course the poppy fields.

    Your Soror Mystica has underworld power with her wand, fire, and Ouroboros. I’m glad she invited you into her circle. May she give you a healing spell, the ability to hold joy and sorrow, and peace with Death. An amazing poem and I look forward to seeing where it leads you. And may your ankle strengthen and heal. Sending you love and light.

    1. Thank you so much my dear friend! I want to screech a very loud “Yeeessssss!” as you read me so well Elaine! Yes, the path to my parents was a dead end, I needed to go another way and dig deeper than their graves. Down, down, down into the pregnant darkness where the never-ending cycles of death and destruction, life and rebirth are to be briefly glimpsed. For to fall into darkness is surely a gift of remembrance, where joy and sorrow are precious soul friends, holding hands and hearts.

      It was down the rabbit hole that I first came across this incredible painting by Waterhouse and quickly became transfixed by his dark sorceress. Finally, as you predicted months ago, the title of my new book arrived, without prompt or ceremony, just a deep knowing as I sat there and typed “Soror Mystica” onto an empty page and waited and waited. Whether we call Her, Sophia, Hecate, Persephone or Soror Mystica, I recognise Her in every soul-sister I have ever known, especially you.

      Sending much love and light across the oceans and oaks between us, Deborah.

      1. What an uplifting response–pulling me right out of my own Underground caverns. I work on my book but feel it’s uninspired–and that I can’t tell what works anymore, so I hope to hand it to Jill Swenson soon and see what she thinks. I hoped for more of the mystical feeling you access so well, but instead came up with a more practical love guide to Monarch butterflies with dashes of mythology and mystery here and there. It will be or maybe it won’t.. Mercury is retrograde until June 3, so I think I’ll send it off for feedback then You’re in the right tunnel to find the Light. I love what you’re doing and love you, Elaine

        1. Could it be true for all us creative types, in whatever form our “art” expresses itself, that at many stages of the work, and most especially at the end, we are plunged into darkness in order to put the work to one side, while our imaginations are re-fired and re-inspired. For me this is often what happens as I get far too close to the work and need to create distance in order to dig even deeper … perhaps emerge from a lamp-lit cave and meet a dark sorceress.

          My dear friend, your Monarch book sounds as though it’s going through many transformations, its birthing process and rightly so! As you know I’m not very clued-up with astrology but I do recognise the wasted energy of pushing against retrogrades. Perhaps pressing pause is best because when we do so, quite often a butterfly will appear over the horizon and find itself in our hands. They’re coming Elaine, winging their love to you, Mother Monarch! x

          (Elaine, I moved your 2nd comment down so it could be read chronologically.)

          1. Deborah, thank you. I re-read what I thought was a mess and it may not be inspired, but it isn’t the mess I thought it was. I need to keep going through the present read (easier sections now) and hand it over. And give myself a long summer’s rest. Milkweed is growing in my garden, but so far not in the field. I haven’t seen a Monarch, so it’s a good time to take a break with the book–after finishing this last read. (Always something more!) Sending you love and joy.

            1. Yes, we must, “keep going” with those early drafts and read-throughs, even when our whole being screams, “No, no, no, it’s just a mess!” Read, then put them far away in a dark drawer to germinate. Take a break, sometimes for months, sometimes for years before we return to them and discover what we once thought was lead has somehow turned into gold in that pregnant darkness. Well, that’s my hope anyway! Dear Elaine, it sounds like you’ve got a great plan in place for the summer. Love and light always, Deborah.

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