Episode 10

The Fenland Lanterns: An Autumn Story from East Anglia by Robyn Watt | S 2 Ep 10

Published on: 28th September, 2022

Our Story

This is a story of a cheerful, fearless farmhand named Fred who lived in the Fens, the marshy, bogs of East Anglia. He was at home in himself and on the land, and that attracted the jealousy of the other young men on the farm. This story, inspired by a tale called "The Syleham Lamps," collected in Kirsty Hartsiotis’s Suffolk Folk Tales, features the mysterious will-o'-the-wisps, the mysterious marsh lights that appear over the bogs of the Fens in eastern England.

Our Guest

Robyn Watt  is an animist teacher and practitioner in the traditions of the British Isles. She offers programs for somatic nature connection, and soul and ancestor-tending in the field of the animist healing arts.

After moving to Canada from the UK, Robyn navigated the experience of grieving for her homeland by reclaiming the ancient animist cosmologies of her ancestry. Through this, she came into the work of guiding others who also long to reconnect to their ancestral wisdom traditions from far away. 

Find Robyn at sacredearthgrove.com, in her online community oursacredcircles.com & on Instagram @sacred.earth.grove

Our Conversation

  • Robyn begins with an invocation of the ancestors and the land as she tells a story inspired by the counties of Suffolk and Norfolk, where  she grew up and where her family has lived for centuries.
  • What it means to live in North America and feel the call back to ancestral homelands. Robyn describes it as a wounding but also considers the gift of reconnection that follows the pain of disconnection.
  • Animism upholds the sentience and aliveness of the world. It is rooted in the ancient understanding that the world can and wants to communicate with us is something that many modern people know in their bones, even before they know the word. Animism is a powerful way to cope with environmental crisis and climate anxiety.
  • The perennial struggle of nature versus civilization, as embodied by Fred and his struggle with the other stable boys 
  • Disney brought the will o’ the wisps to popular consciousness in the movie Brave. As imperfect as Disney is, there’s magic in the way modern retellings give us access to the ancient in a vital way
  • The Fens were also home to Queen Boudicca’s Iceni tribe 
  • Resources and sources of inspiration: artist and author Katie Holton’s work with the Ardee Bog in County Louth;  Francis Pryor’s book The Fens: Discovering England's Ancient Depths; Philip Pullman’s novel The Secret Commonwealth.
  • The scientific explanation for the marshlights or “ignis fatuus”: they are created by the oxidation of gasses produced by organic decay that cause photon emissions. But also… it’s magic!

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

Work with Marisa

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.