Episode 3

Landscape, Lovers, and Mycelial Consciousness: The Story of Tristan and Isolde with Sophie Strand | S. 2 Ep. 3

Published on: 10th August, 2022

Our Story

Probably the precursor to the King Arthur tales, the story of Tristan and Isolde includes star-crossed lovers, castles and the wilds, as well as questions of loyalty, duty, and truth. The versions we can access today are set in a fractionated England in the time after Roman rule. Ireland, still unconquered just across the sea, is key to the plot as well as the spirit of the saga.

Our guest Sophie Strand is working on an epic novel about Tristan and Isolde. She ushers us through the relationships, betrayals, passions, and tragedies that are part of this long, episodic, non-linear story that refuses to conform to a textual, climactic narrative.

Our Guest

Sophie Strand is a writer based in the Hudson Valley who focuses on the intersection of spirituality, storytelling, and ecology. Her first book of essays The Flowering Wand: Rewilding the Sacred Masculine will be published by Inner Traditions in Fall 2022 and is available for pre-order. Her eco-feminist historical fiction reimagining of the gospels The Madonna Secret will also be published by Inner Traditions in Spring 2023.

You can subscribe for my newsletter at sophiestrand.substack.com. Follow her on Instagram: @cosmogyny and at www.sophiestrand.com.

Our Conversation

  • Sophie speaks mythologically, calling on stories and characters as diverse as David and Saul, Joseph and the sons of Jacob, Demeter and Persephone and more.
  • This novel about Tristan and Isolde, set in Cornwall, perhaps as far back as the Bronze Age, is still a long way off from publication.
  • Sophie’s original inspiration: the Ridley Scott film version of the Tristan and Isolde story at age 12. (A remarkable parallel to 12 year-old Marisa falling in love with Ireland thanks to the Tom Cruise movie, Far and Away!)
  • Joseph Campbell thought of Tristan as epitome of the hero, but Sophie sees Tristan’s constant attempts to escape the Hero's Journey The trauma inherent in the hero’s journey and Sophie’s quest to diversify it, rather than eradicate it completely. Her work resonates with Marisa’s Heroine’s Knot and the desire to honor the life that happens even when we do not cross the threshold of typical adventure.
  • The continuum between potion and poison and how dosage determines what is medicinal and what is deadly.
  • The “mycelial intelligence of the internet” and how Sophie and Marisa found each other through an Irish organization called The Trailblazery, though they live only about 7 miles apart in the Hudson Valley.
  • Metaphorical and mythic resonance with fungi which confuse our concept of species and relationship in compelling, necessary ways. Book recommendation: Merlin Sheldrake’s Entangled Life.
  • How does our understanding of individuality, gender, and romantic love change when we see ourselves as holobiont?
  • There’s an unfathomable biodiversity of knowledge, of ecosystems, and in our own guts. Sophie explores this idea further in the forthcoming The Flowering Wand: Rewilding the Sacred Masculine.

Our Music

Music at the start of the show is by Beth Sweeney and Billy Hardy, a Celtic Fiddle and multi-instrumental duo based on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The traditional Irish reel we play at the start of the show is called "The College Groves." billyandbeth.com

Join Us in the Heroine's Knot

The Heroines' Knot is an online community for creative creatures on the quest for self-expression & collective renewal. Learn more and join us.

1:1 Coaching Opportunities

Marisa offers 1:1 coaching for Personal and Professional growth with her Healing for Heroines packages.

She also offers Story Weaver Book Coaching for memoirists, thought leaders, and creative entrepreneurs at the beginning of their writing journey.

Find more of Marisa's writing and get a copy of her book, The Sovereignty Knot www.marisagoudy.com

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About the Podcast

KnotWork Storytelling
Untangling Our Myths, Reweaving Our Stories
In each KnotWork Storytelling episode, we'll explore a different story from mythology, folklore, or history, particularly from Ireland and the Celtic World. Then, my guest and I dive deep into why these ideas and characters still resonate today.

Your host is Marisa Goudy, author of The Sovereignty Knot: A Woman’s Way to Freedom, Power, Love, and Magic. She is a Word Witch, a Story Healer, a Writing Coach, and a has an MA in Irish literature from University College Dublin.

Join us as we wander through these ancient storylines as we set out on a quest to learn from the past, better understand the present, and craft a sustainable future.

Every episode reminds us that ancient stories are medicine for our ancient maladies.

About your host

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Marisa Goudy

Marisa Goudy is a story healer, a writing coach, and a word witch. Her book, The Sovereignty Knot: A Woman’s Way to Freedom, Power, Love, and Magic, was released in 2020.
Marisa nurtures writers and storytellers in her long-running online writing community, the Sovereign Writers’ Knot.
On this show, Marisa combines her passion for story with her love of Irish literature, culture, and folklore and her fascination with the Celtic world. She has a particular love of stories of heroines, goddess, and women whose tales were forgotten by history.