On Mycelium, Compost and Animate Sensibilities: A Conversation with Sophie Strand

Sophie Strand is a writer based in the Hudson Valley who focuses on the intersection of spirituality, storytelling, and ecology. But it would probably be more authentic to call her a neo-troubadour animist with a propensity to spin yarns that inevitably turn into love stories.  She believes strongly that all thinking happens interstitially – between beings, ideas, differences, mythical gradients.

In a favorite audio program called How to be an Elder, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes says: “What makes an elder, a heartfelt spirit, a clear mind, a talented heart, one who is young while old and old while young, an activist for the Soul? Is it formulae, schemas, lexicons? It could be. But also, and often more so, I think it is very like the flowering of the trees in the forest, as we gather more years: we straggle and stride onward in our better learned ways to give out even more seeds for new life, and to blossom wildly in so doing for self and others … “

During our conversation Carl honors Sophie’s way of showing up as an elder and oh, does she scatter seeds (and underground microrhizal fungi) for new life.

She’s a prolific writer who shares via her newsletter on sophiestrand.substack.com and on Instagram and Facebook as cosmogyny. Two lovely essays on her website that we discuss in this conversation are https://creatrixmag.com/melt-divine-feminine-into-divine-animacy/ and a great story on relationship with a woodchuck called https://braidedway.org/mentorship-with-the-more-than-human-world/ You can find those and more at sophiestrand.com

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 from all online booksellers. Her eco-feminist historical fiction reimagining of the gospels The Madonna Secret will also be published by Inner Traditions in Spring 2023. 

In this conversation we explore embodiment, pleasure and discomfort, love stories as ecosystems, complicating the idea of individualism, about queerness and explorations of masculine and feminine outside of a binary, looking for stowaways of other stories in monotheistic religions, myths as the voice of the landscape and considerations of how stories travel and cross pollinate, the porosity of identity, about Sophie’s experience with illness and the problems with mainstream ideas of wellness, how Sophie came to her animist sensitivities, and so much more.

We know you’ll enjoy this rich conversation with a truly brilliant and beautiful being.

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By training and profession, I am a somatic educator. Over the past 25+ years I have trained in and taught modern dance, tai chi, Indian and Tibetan yoga, yoga therapy (specializing in back pain). I completed a 4-year professional Feldenkrais training in 2007 and a 3-year Embodied Life training in 2014. I also study and work with somatic meditation and the profound practice of embodied inner listening known as Focusing.