Episode 2

Maeve, the Celtic Magdalen, Finally Comes to Call with Elizabeth Cunningham​​ | S. 2 Ep. 2

Published on: 3rd August, 2022

Our Story 

You must meet Maeve, the Celtic Magdalen, the heroine of the four novels in Elizabeth Cunningham’s The Maeve Chronicles. From her beginnings on the Celtic Island of Women Tír Na mBán, to “Druid School” on the Isle of Mona, and then on to Rome, the Galilee, southern France, and then back to Britain when Queen Boudicca of the Iceni was battling for her tribe and her sovereignty, Maeve has see it all.  Her sensibilities are both ancient and modern, and make her one of fiction’s most powerful, enduring characters. 

Elizabeth reads excerpts from Magdalen Rising, in which Maeve meets the Cailleach and gets her first sex-ed lesson from her warrior witch mothers and from Red Robed Priestess, the final novel in the series.

Our Guest

Elizabeth Cunningham is a novelist, poet, musician, and counselor based in New York’s Hudson Valley.  She is the author and illustrator of The Book of Madge, a graphic novel, and the source of her best known work, The Maeve Chronicles. Her earlier novels include The Wild Mother, The Return of the Goddess, and How to Spin Gold. Her debut mystery novel Murder at the Rummage Sale and its sequel All the Perils of this Night (which can also be read as a stand-alone thriller), and most of her previous novels, will be reprinted by Monkfish Book Publishing in 2023 and 2024.

Visit Elizabeth’s website: https://elizabethcunninghamwrites.com/

Buy The Maeve Chronicles.

Our Conversation

When I picked up the first “Maeve book” over a decade ago, I felt an instant jolt of recognition. I felt the same when I met Maeve’s creator, Elizabeth Cunningham at a writing workshop a few years later. Since then, Elizabeth has become a mentor and guide to me, helping me birth my own book (and all of my creative endeavors!)

In our chat, we explore:

  • * “Sovereignty, Maeve, belonging to yourself. Your own terms. Sovereignty is your birthright and your inheritance.”
  • * “A story is true as long as it’s well told”:  the power of contemporary fiction to shape the imaginal realm.
  • * How Maeve’s story fits other beliefs about Mary Magdalene as disciple or as keeper of the divine blood line.
  • * Maeve’s origin story and how she was born of the need for a “human goddess” 
  • * The romanticization of Celtic culture and Elizabeth’s reservations about writing about the Celts once she learned of their brutality and penchant for head hunting
  • * Representations of different kinds of sovereignty in women: as lover, healer, mother, disciple, brothel owner
  • * Sex work, prostitution, and priestesshood
  • * Maeve’s first experience as a healer: a companion’s botched abortion
  • * What it’s like to create a character who walks with you for more than 30 years: Elizabeth calls Maeve her Best Imaginary Friend Forever

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

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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.