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Uhm. Yeah. So this is a LONG-ASS post. I trust you’ll find it worth your time though. Because it excavates so much of the anger, grief, shame and fear that so many of us women carry.

May it be a rich exploration into some of your more hidden belief systems and thought patterns. And may it feel soothing to a heart that has felt abandoned and rejected, for being part of the ‘weak’ feminine.

This ‘weakness’ is definitely a belief I realize I carried with me for a very long time… and it spoke its truth to me in two very fundamental ways:

  1. it is only in the last few decades that women have been claiming equality, excelling in ‘male’ professions, and having any kind of financial and other independence.
  2. it is only a few choice women who ever did deeds worthy of being documented and remembered in the pages of history books: Queen Elizabeth, Jeanne d’Arc, Marie Curie…

I had a deep-seated belief – and its accompanying shame and grief – that women had indeed proven themselves to be the weaker gender…

Content to tend the home and allowing themselves to be trodden down in evey possible way. I carried anger – burning, hot, swirling rage – at the weakness of women. I carried rage at the oppression of the few brave voices I’d heard. I carried contempt for the women before me, unable to rise when my own generation so clearly could. I carried shame – bone-deep shame – for being a woman, and therefore, as history had proven time and again, powerless, uninfluential, and just simply not worth the ink.

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So how does a young girl come to these conclusions about the world, and her place in it?


99% of the names we had to memorize for our history exams? Male.

The writers whose books were considered an unshakeable foundation of our society? Male.

The representatives of Divine Will & Godly Authority? Male.

Politicians speaking on the news? Male.

Important public figures, both on the local scene and nationally? Male.

As a teenager in the 1990s in Western Europe, I felt exhilerated and proud, AND deeply conflicted, reading about the sufragettes in early 20th century, and all the brave bold moves that had been made since then, by women steadily gaining ground in hostile territory: the higher levels of politics, corporate management, academics, and skilled independent professionals.

I think it’s important here to really point out the INNER CONFLICT I felt each time I thought, or read, or heard about a powerful woman. I felt elation, admiration (for the incredible guts it took for this woman to stand up for herself and what she believed was right; to not be swayed by all the naysayers and hate flung her way) and relief at the possibilities this opened up for us, as next generations.


At the same time, part of me shrunk in fear and shame and guilt, for surely there was something deeply wrong with these ‘powerhungry women’ (as they were often portrayed) and I shouldn’t applaud them or want to follow in their footsteps… right? Somehow, there was the sense that their blatant pursuit of THEIR desires was subversive, threatening, and irresponsible, to the point where the stability of ‘normal’ civilization felt unsure.

There’s so much more I could say about this. And I know that for many of you, this will sound SO familiar. Sadly enough, it’s left us with not just conflicted feelings… it’s left its traces in our subconscious, in the rules we have unwittingly adopted along the way, rules about what it looks like to be a ‘powerful woman’; how not to rock the boat too much; what kind of behaviour is sure to get backlash; how not to come off as too powerful lest it makes our male whatevers uncomfortable; …. and the overwhelming sense that to make our voice heard was a risky AND uphill battle you’d better be prepared for.


The time I first came across this quote (I can’t remember where exactly. But it did leave one hell of an impression) – I gasped. What a subversive thing to say! That history was man-made, not really that objective or neutral or truth-full at all… that there was BIAS involved in all the wonderful stories good little boys and girls were committing to memory, and dutifully regurgitating at their exams.

Interestingly, “The word “history”—from the Ancient Greek ἱστορία, or historia, meaning “knowledge obtained by inquiry”—is etymologically unrelated to the possessive pronoun his.” (Jane Mills, “Womanwords: a dictionary of words about women”, 1992, p.118, via Wikipedia)

So we can still talk about history, and have that be a perfectly wonderful word. AND. It is time, yes, to point the finger at all history books, everywhere, and say:

"that is just part of the story. here's what's been left out."- Click to read the Full Article: Reclaiming the riches of Feminine History. A soothing of the heart. - From The Priestess Path - kathleensaelens.com

What’s been left out is the voices of the women. What’s been left out is the voices of the oppressed. What’s been left out are the voices of those who lost. What’s been left out …. so much.

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A soothing of the heart.

The deep and aching grief I have unknowingly carried with me for all these years has finally eased. Because as I’ve been reading more, diving deeper and deeper into the web that weaves between women accross the globe – I’ve found soothing in the confirmation that there WAS a feminine tradition, just as rich, as textured, as varied, as multifaceted, as powerful and authoritative and beautiful and life-affirming and future-enhancing and brave – as the male tradition.

These words are powerful.



What really hit this home for me was an introduction to the work of Max Dashu (links below). Here she was – a female historian who has compiled a HUGE library of female history accross time and continents. Whilst I was sitting in class, confused and abhorred at the apparently uniformly meek and uninspired lives led by women throughout the ages, Max Dashu had been collecting stories and artefacts, reconstructing global threads of feminine spirituality, and uncovering HERstory (a word she doesn’t use herself) for decades already.

So WHY didn’t my (female) lecturer at uni ever mention her name? And, sidenote, why, even as I was walking in and out her office, researching ’18th century feminism’ – why didn’t she ever mention the possibility of alternate resources, beyond what was commonly known and accepted already (the predominantly male voice)? Anyways. Forward.

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Max Dashu’s work (alongside that of many others, I am sure, whom I simply don’t know yet) is eloquent and resonant in SHOWING US that

"the vision of the world as is, is not the only version of this world that has been or can be". Click to read the Full Article: Reclaiming the riches of Feminine History. A soothing of the heart. - From The Priestess Path - kathleensaelens.com

The predominant message I’ve come to pick up from my own immersion and education in society was an overwhelming sense of “this is how it is, for always and ever, reaching back into the past and extending far into the future”.

A girl could be excused for growing despondent with that kind of fatalistic, no change possible narrative.

So here’s my message to you, today:

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The vision of the world “as it has always been”
(mark the quotes. the quotes are important here).

It needn’t be the version of the world we continue to step into for the future.

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“To give the system of male dominance historicity and to assert that its functions and manifestations change over time is to break sharply with the handed-down tradition. This tradition has mystified patriarchy by making it ahistoric, eternal, invisible and unchanging”. from The Creation Of Patriarchy, Gerda Lerner

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The work of Max Dashu, alongside the more subliminal, numinous work of people like Lara Veleda Vesta in helping us reconnect to our ancestral lineages and traditions, opens up a perspective into our past that gives

glimpses of a WORLD ALIVE IN VIBRANCY, sovereignity, deep embodied rich spirituality, and powerful networks of connection between the women of our lineages….

It shows us a version of the world where Goddesses thrive alongside Gods, where women have a deep, felt, connection with the dense soil and the mists of the otherworlds, where the weaving of the webs of life is synchronous with the weaving of the herbal allies into potent medicines. With the weaving of the yarns into life-enhancing cloths, the weaving of the foods and herbs and gardens into life-sustaining meals. It shows us a world where the cyclical nature of women and the cyclical nature of earth were deemed natural, and right, and honoured (as were the male aspects). And the birthing of things was an intricate weaving of that what is known and that what is a mystery. It shows us a world with powerful feminine spiritual authorities – seers, shamans, healers, priestesses, oracles. Isn’t that beautiful? To see evidence that this was once there? As we all know it was – because we carry the memory of this in our blood and bones.

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Now, I want to take a moment here. Let’s just both lean our arms on the scarred wood of this kitchen table. A cup of tea is sending twirls of smoky hot flavours into the space as we speak, telling our stories, sharing our knowings.

I do not want us to go back to what once was.

This is not a naive tale of a long ago history to sigh over, wistfully, as we shake our heads at the state of the world. No. Our gaze is firmly on the future here. And yet, we start by looking at the past.


It is important that we ALL look to the past, and see the traces and remnants and whispers of the cultures of old.

It is important BECAUSE it brings us the relief: that the story we have been told is not the only version of life, of being in this world, of inhabiting its spaces and claiming its resources. We can build with hope, because of this.

It is important BECAUSE we can feel the ancient ways whisper in our bones, a howling sad wind in empty spaces, looking to re-inhabit our bodies and hearts and souls. We can bring them forward, again.

It is important BECAUSE reclaiming women as important historical actors – versus the pervasive narrative that women operated along the sidelines and did not contribute anything of ‘true value’ (but for some rare exceptions) – brings relief to the constant narrative of “NOT GOOD ENOUGH”, having to prove ourselves over and over, and somehow being fundamentally flawed in a way that means we can never truly measure up and BE EQUAL to men. This alone, in my experience, can open up a completely new narrative about the possibilities for our future.

By understanding that women have played roles that were equally important to tribes and communities, and that the disdain we tend to feel towards these female/feminine skills is a CULTURAL narrative,

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we step away from the narrative of
‘not good enough’,
and into ‘equal, simply differently focused’.

we look at a different, more inclusive story of the past because it’s healing, both on a collective level and for our individual hearts.

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This world. This present-day. FULLY EMBODIED – IN OUR BODIES – here and now. Hands in the soil, planting – NOW. Gathering food for our families – in supermarkets, or farmers tables – NOW. The choices we make – with our money, what we choose to buy and invest in and which organizations and people we choose to support – NOW. Where we invest our time. In a dozen emails late at night, or the last cuddles of your daughter before she turns 6. Choice. NOW.

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NOW is where our power lies.
And our pleasure.
And the seeds for our future.

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Kathleen Sylvia Saelens. Click to read the Full Article: Reclaiming the riches of Feminine History. A soothing of the heart. - From The Priestess Path - kathleensaelens.com

A new narrative for future generations.

{RECLAIMING THE RICHES OF FEMININE HISTORY as a gateway into a new world}

What vision of our feminine past – and therefore expectactions for our future – do you wish your future lineage to have?

I have written extensively about my vision for my daughters – this is, in a nutshell, my more general wish for humanity:

that we may all come to connect with each other as unique, amazing expressions of the divine. That we may come to see all of us BELONG here, equally. That we may FEEL the magic coursing within all our veins, and honour it as sacred. That we may collectively choose to invest in a future that is loving, prosperous, humane, respectful and empowering to all. That we may come to embrace a bright future, and simultaneously look back at the gifts of the past, and choose to reconnect to the ECSTATIC experience of living EMBODIED – seeing our blood and bones as gifts to honour and treasure, rather than curse and try to submit to an imaginary ‘superior’ mind. That we may treasure ourselves, and our world. And reinstall the feminine, next to the masculine, as part of the whole experience, flavour, and expression, of being a human.


I think we’re all just now coming into the thick of it… There are no clear answers… yet.

"We are COLLECTIVELY creating new patterns and possibilities for our lives and communities, a great unravelling and reweaving of the web of our human consciousness and lives on earth, as individuals and as beings within a larger whole."  Click to read the Full Article: Reclaiming the riches of Feminine History. A soothing of the heart. - From The Priestess Path - kathleensaelens.com

The weaving of the web is quite literal. This, for me, has been an important realization, and an important part of why I so vehemently believe we can – and ARE, in fact – creating a new world. From an energetic point of view – which to me, like for so many others, is a VISCERAL, DEEPLY PHYSICALLY FELT EXPERIENCE – the whole world is a field constantly in motion, arranging and rearranging – weaving – itself shaped by our intentions both individually and collectively.

The ocean moves. Is it the drop that follows the ocean, or is the ocean that follows the drop? In my experience, the weaving happens IN UNISON and flow. Ocean and drop constantly playing off each other. With one mutual goal: reaching the point of most harmony in the symphony. It’s an incredibly beautiful experience, in that flow. And it’s one we’re ALL constantly moving within, consciously or unconsiously.

So how can we bring more consciousness – and with it a reclaiming of the ancient, flowing and intuitive ways – to our daily lives? I have created a guide for you, a roadmap of sorts. It is not meant to be something you read, once, and then forget. It is meant for you to enter into dialogue with. To play. To explore. To become curious. And so, most of all, it is an entryway into YOU finding your own way of embodied wisdom. May it serve as a gentle reminder that MORE ways of LIVING in this world are possible – and FULLY ACCEPTABLE – besides the narrative so many have been raised with, as the ‘truth’ of how things have always been in this world. We now know this is not the case. Let us begin RE-IMAGINING the world. Let us begin RE-IMAGINING our lives.


Richly Documented Threads of Ancestry & Feminine Tradition

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
​A guide for embodying ancient feminine wisdom
in contemporary society
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When we disentangle our very being from the iron grip of time, we come back home to ourselves and a deeper, wildly present inhabitance of life. This has been one of the most potent changes in thinking I have embraced on my journey. Before, time ran me. When I use the words ‘iron grip’ – that is what it felt like. I rushed through life, acutely aware of every second passing by, cursing time for slipping away when I had still so much to get done. With it came constant anxiety coursing through my body, panic, constricted nervous breathing, and a living from my head, disengaged and unaware really of anything below my chin.

Instead of always running along the straight hard line of linear time, and its rushing us forward, without mercy – what if we stepped away from that arrow-straight-into-the-future and the way it shapes our mental image, which in turn informs our emotional and physical wellness (example: the high levels of stress hormones in our blood)?

In my experience, when we let go of the mental idea of time (this straight hard line always rushing into the future) – what happens is we start to FEEL the current of time flowing with our bodies. And it feels SLOW and DEEP. Plenty of space to get things done, plenty of moments in which to smell the roses. Isn’t that utterly surprising? Time feels like present. And there is always more of it. That has become my own lived experience. And it’s freedom.

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When we allow ourselves to step into the slow and deep current of time, we’ll find something else: time is cyclical.

This, of course, isn’t new. Not that long ago in human history, people lived this cyclical experience. There were cycles to the day, cycles to the week, cycles to the month, and cycles to the seasons and years.

In recent societies, all of this has been labelled ‘the way of the old’ – to be discarded in favour of progression and a glorious, industrialized and highly effective, efficient and productive society. I believe that, what we’re now starting to step into, is a BOTH AND way of being.

It’s a reclaiming of the feminine when we say that, yes, indeed, our bodies are not machines that can continue without rest, nourishment, and plenty of time that is not aimed at production, but rather, time that is free and flowing and will naturally bring the build-up of reserves for new intensely focused bursts of creation. It still feels kind of radical to claim this – as if we’re giving the established gods of productivity, ‘just try harder’, and superhuman ‘mind above matter’ the middle finger. In a way, we are 🙂

"we're reclaiming our right to be human. To inhabit bodies. To go with cycles." - Click to read the Full Article: Reclaiming the Riches of  Feminine History. A soothing of the heart. - From The Priestess Path - kathleensaelens.com

We’re reclaiming our right to be human. To inhabit bodies. To go with cycles: cycles of night and day; cycles of on and off; cycles of work and rest; cycles of growth versus cycles of stasis versus cycles of destruction, letting go of what no longer needs to come with us. Cycles of youth and cycles of wisdom, cycles of sowing and cycles of harvesting, cycles of growing up and cycles of being the grower, cycles of learning and cycles of mastery.

When we embrace our bodies, when we allow ourselves to fully connect back in with the very cyclical, circular motion of life itself, on this planet – we are reconnecting to ancient feminine wisdom. Held in the cycles of our womb’s blood, from our second decade on this planet, until sometimes well into our fifth decade – our bodies themselves cycle, aren’t the same between one week and the next. To try and squeeze ourselves into the tight corset of linear, constant-high-productivity that is the ultimate dream of our current culture? It’s what I did for years. And I’ve decided this is no longer my path.

Where could you start to relax more into an open, more flowing, more cyclical experience of time? Bringing it into your body; into your awareness of cycles in your days and weeks and months; into how you navigate and flow with your womb’s blood (no matter if it’s a physical or energetic flow)? Goosebumps on your skin with the first chilly Autumn winds, or fingers moist with damp earth, growing seeds and herbs?

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I feel the depth of the feminine lies within its connections and communities. To earth. To the wider energies. To life itself. And to others.

In my work with women, and my own personal experience, this is an important part of our work of reclaiming. And it is often excruciatingly intense. Because when we are taught and raised in a society and culture that is all about hierarchy, overpowering, isolation & them/us thinking, “better than”, competition, and wrong/right types of people/education/work/beliefs – this is deeply ingrained in our every thought.

So we do the work of letting go. All while reconnecting to a more honest, real, genuine way of relating – and our innate desire for connection.

Where are you still experiencing the world and others as AGAINST/OTHER/WRONG/WINNERS/LOSERS/WEAK/STRONG? And what is your true desire for connection and community? What could that look like? What thoughts and energy would you bring to these spaces?
What would it look like for you to embody ancient feminine wisdom through and with community?

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I feel an important gateway into reclaiming the richness of ancient feminine wisdom, lies with a more INTENTIONAL way of living. One that starts from your inner world, your heart’s deepest longings, and your values.

What matters most to you? In your FELT EXPERIENCE of life? Is it depth, meaning, heart-felt exchange, connection, intimacy, ritual, reverence, thriving? What values are non-negotiable to you in how you live and work? In intimacy and relationship?

Are you choosing an in-to-out experience of living? Where could you be more intentional with the way your values inform your choices and decisions?

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We talk about ‘spending’ money, ‘spending’ time. This plugs us into an experience of life where everything is in constant motion down the drain, an unstoppable force we can’t do anything about. wow. talk about disempowering!

Instead, how about we flip the script and start ‘investing in the future’ rather than ‘spending’? Can you FEEL the difference?

I would like to shift our conversations about time, money, energy. Shift them into a conversation about Choice. Instead of going with what everyone else is doing, or says your should be doing: Choose.

Choose putting your resources where it matters most.

"When we choose where we put our resources - we are intentionally investing in the future. The future of our planet. Of our loved ones. Of ourselves. Of humanity. Of women everywhere." Click to read the Full Article: Reclaiming the Riches of Feminine History - From The Priestess Path - kathleensaelens.com

Where do you disempower yourself and your joy in life by using words like ‘spending time’; ‘a waste of time’; ‘unproductive’?
What decisions to you wish to make now that we’ve explored the concept of putting your resources where it matters most? i.e. time, energy, money, intimacy, creativity?

There’s so much I could say about this. And I do. The House of Unfurling is the brand through which I offer coaching and wisdom for women who feel deeply drawn to what I call the Deep Feminine Path: an awakening to the Power of the Feminine Gifts; a remembrance of their own unique Impact; and a reclaiming of their selves and their lives on every level imaginable.

I see my business as part of a bigger tapestry, where women around the globe are feeling called to step up and make a difference, in the lives of themselves and their loved ones and communities, and for the future of our planet and humanity itself. My work situates within that larger picture with private coaching, sisterhood programmes, and resources for women who like to journey alone.

So. If you feel called to dive deeper into reconnecting to your own Feminine Wisdom, to unlock the Calling you feel burning inside, so you can THRIVE in your own life, AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE: consider applying for a free call to explore how I could support you in that. How I Work.

For now, in conclusion:

in embodying ancient feminine wisdom, to create a new narrative for our future generations:

"let us begin by bringing into our own lives, some of the slowness, intimacy, and deep reverence for all of life, our bodies, and the magic of nature that we all still carry as memories in our very blood and bones". Click to read the Full Article: Reclaiming the Riches of Feminine History - From The Priestess Path - kathleensaelens.com
Unfurling... like a bird finding its wings into freedom


THE MOTHERLINE: EMBODIED ANCESTRY & FEMININE MAGIC – Mythic Medicine podcast by Amber Magnolia Hill featuring Lara Veleda Vesta (this is the conversation that set me on the path to discovering the work of Max Dashu)

LOST LINEAGES & EVER EVOLVING LORE – Mythic Medicine podcast by Amber Magnolia Hill featuring Milla Prince (I absolutely love hearing Milla Prince speak to her Finnish heritage & the way she shares her perspective on ancestry, lineage, heritage & tradition)

The Secret History of the Witches – a video interview by Giana Cicchelli, featuring Max Dashu of the Surpressed Histories Archives


Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, 700-1100 by Max Dashu

The Norse Shaman: Ancient Spiritual Practices of the Northern Tradition by Evelyn C. Rysdyk

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Rootwork (using the Folk Magick of Black America) by Tayannah Lee McQuillar

please note: I usually stumble upon books when my interest in something is sparked. Like, I’ll listen to an interview somewhere and hear a word and something within me says ‘Oh!’ with an excited little whisper. And then a book will show up. Just like that, yes. So… this isn’t a well researched, ‘complete’ list 😉 I don’t currently have the patience for that.


Explore your own ancestral connections with Lara Vesta’s beautiful homestudy course: https://www.laravesta.co/ancestral-connection

Join me for Sacred: a Sisterhood Journey into Luminary Feminine Leadership. It will be rich, and deep, and lush – get on the waitlist to receive all the details when we go live for the next round!

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A personal story to end with 

As I was writing this essay, many strands and threads came in to show me where my own wounding still lies. And this is just the way it goes, I have found; we are called into something, strongly, and as we get to the work of distilling the medicine of our own experiences, our wounding and surviving and healing and thriving in this world  –  the work deepens and becomes an exchange between what we have learned so far and where we still have space to heal and re-center.

The spiral continues, and deepens. Depth of being is what we are being led towards, a glorious flowing dance ever more towards the center of ourselves as true, and strong, and fair, and serene, and loving.

In the process of this writing, I felt a certain unease filtering in and out of my awareness. And so, as I have learned to do, I courted it. Coaxed it forward. I wrote. I stepped away. I came back to it. Again. Until the clarity formed. And what I saw, gave me pause, and finally led me to restructure the entire piece of writing. Because here’s what I had been doing: just like I had been taught in school and at uni, throughout my text, I referenced the wise words of scholars. Until I realized that I wasn’t doing so because I loved these words, and wanted to share them (which I do!).

On a much deeper level, I had been interspersing my writing with the words of other people – because they gave me something to hide behind. Writing this essay reveals to the world, for all to see, my own personal opinions – and in many ways, what I am speaking against and offering an alternative for, is the society we are currently immersed in. It speaks of things that cannot be ‘proven’ / are the subject of controversy and debate / are treated with disdain and an accusation of wishful thinking. Using these quotes within my text gave me a way out, a way to say ‘see? I know that I am talking about things that may seem sacrilige or just plain fantasy – but here are some experts in the field that share my ideas!’.

So I have decided not to do so anymore. My ideas and opinions are that: my ideas and opinions. And I am claiming my right to speak them without feeling the need to PROVE THEM RIGHT. And, simultaneously, I am continuing my practice of naming my teachers: those people whose work or words have inspired me, lighted a spark within me, that then led to my own work of distilling medicine from my own experiences.

I talk about my fascination with feminine history in several places. It’s just one of those things that never ceases to amaze me, this seemingly random area of interest, embraced with so much fire and indignation at the tender young age of 17… which it turns out, isn’t that random at all… because it is one of the most powerfully expressed, most obviously present MYTHIC THREADS in my life (I write about mythic threads here). So. This feels like a beautiful honouring of this particular Mythic Thread. Thank you for reading!

Where are YOU yearning to connect more deeply into ancestry and lineages? What books / podcasts / courses / women have sparked your sense of connection to the wider tapestry of female history?Let me know in the comments below!


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