An Introduction to this Publication
Then again, if it’s love you’re after, or love you have lost, come to the fig, always the fig.
- Elif Shafak (2021) The Island of Missing Trees
Hello and welcome.
It is a bright and crisp autumnal morning and I am in Paris. The cafe where I write is nestled into a cobble stoned street and the dappled light of a chestnut tree ripples over my table, reaching towards me like a dream. I’m reminded of Rumi when he writes ما تبحث عنه يبحث عنك - loosely translated from the Farsi as, “that which you seek is seeking you.”
It is from this place, amongst ripples and shadow, that I begin Under a Fig Tree, my Substack. This will be an archive of my essays, poems, independent research, stories, personal writings and pieces by other writers who are my muses and whom I hope will embroider your heart as they have done mine.
After spending the past year with my head down in the initiatory realm of postgraduate study with mythologist Dr. Martin Shaw and poet Alice Oswald, I am excited and delighted to begin sharing my own work again.
My intention for this space is, ultimately, that it inspires you. That it touches the animal, the human, and the angel in you. I write about myth, the imagination and ancient history. And I search for ancient wisdom in the old places in hopes that we can draw from them in these delicate times.
The stories and writings that choose to be here reveal themselves in mysterious ways and my commitment can be only to listen with the reverence of a lover and a hunter’s precision.
So why subscribe?
There is a free version and a paid version of this publication. Please note my writings in the free version are more infrequent.
All my pieces have an audio recording for those of you who prefer to listen, podcast-style.
Every first Sunday of the month, you will receive a monthly newsletter with reflections on myth, the imagination or ancient history, some occasional personal musings, and a poetry offering. In that newsletter, you will also be the first to hear about any of my upcoming events, courses and lectures.
And I will occasionally share a free piece of writing throughout the month.
As well as the monthly newsletter to begin each month, as a paid subscriber you will receive a piece of writing every fortnight, on Sundays.
You will receive 10% off all my online courses (please just let me know you’re a paid subscriber when you’re signing up to one).
And in 2024 I will be beginning The Imaginarium, an online salon that will be free for paid subscribers of this publication. Straddling the intellectual and the imaginal - as is the case with all of my work - it will be part lecture series, part book club, part experiential practice. As a paid subscriber, you will be the first to receive an invitation to this private community. So keep your eyes peeled!
Becoming a paid subscriber directly supports my fieldwork and independent research while giving you full access to my findings. If you have been taking my online classes, the paid publication may be of particular interest as it will give you further access to my scholarship on the wisdom traditions of pre-patriarchal lost lineages in Europe and the Near and Middle East.
A very special thank you to subscribers who pay for my publication! This is the first time I am being paid to write. And it is no small thing!
I hope you will consider joining me here.
With every best wish,
Under a Fig Tree is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.