Introduction | "Then again, if it’s love you’re after, or love you have lost, come to the fig, always the fig."
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 storyteller Dr. Martin Shaw and poet Alice Oswald, I am excited and delighted to begin sharing again.
I don’t yet know the form this will all take, and there is a thrill in the not knowing and accepting whatever comes down the stream of the unknown in the spirit in which the gods may offer it - to paraphrase Freya Stark.
I imagine the stories and writings that choose to be here will reveal themselves in mysterious ways and my commitment can be only to listen with the reverence of a lover and a hunter’s precision.
Every Sunday you will receive a new piece directly to your inbox, along with an audio recording of each post for those of you who prefer to listen over a cup of coffee or a good old glass from Dionysus’ vine.
There is a free version and a paid version of this publication. Please note my writings in the free version are more infrequent.
Becoming a paid subscriber supports my fieldwork and independent research while giving you full access to my findings, as well as early access to chapters from my upcoming book The Bee Cult in Greek Myth and Ancient History. 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 spiritual traditions of pre-patriarchal lost lineages in Europe and the Near and Middle East.
A special thanks to subscribers who pay for my publication.
I hope you will consider joining me here.
With every best wish,
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Inspiring. Inviting. Sensual.