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The Sanctuary
Essays On Eco-Mythology

by Sofia Batalha


Graphic Design & Art by Sofia Batalha
292 pp
ISBN: 978-1-957483-26-9

Coming in 2024

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In this collection of revived Portuguese eco-mythologies, Sofia invites us moderns to reconsider our relationship with the living landscape. The invitation is a profound gesture of soul-recovery, for the ideologies of denial underpinning modernity do not give credence to such stories; there is no seeing, no affection for, and no chance for participation with the other-than-human world or the spiritual dimensions holding all worlds together. Our souls yearn to consciously travel the intricate webs of intersubjective relationships weaving coherence from chaos while all around, there throbs a mutual craving for attention and enlivenment. These stories are rooted here. Storied landscapes alive and pulsing with meaning invite participatory ways of living in and with the world that are as ancient as we are. Through holding to a vibrant oral tradition in partnership with Place, Australian Aborigines have kept alive stories that date back tens of thousands of years, while global moderns have sought to dismiss such traditions as outdated and primitive. Depriving cultural renewal of deep historical roots makes the past irrelevant to the modern mind; losing the relevance of continuity sets moderns adrift on an ocean of meaninglessness. Foregoing integrity tears holes in the fabric of existence which is now unraveling all around.

As a gift, an offering, and an invitation then, the stories collected here become a sacred sanctuary, a place to upend and recover from modern ways of thinking and perceiving. In calling to repressed and overlooked aspects of reality, most especially those that exist beyond our human-made temporal frameworks, these stories also nourish lost and denied aspects of ourselves, raising them from the shadows. Reinvigorating the land’s aliveness also restores its agency, empowering Place to become an active, storytelling participant once more. The stories in this collection are the result of entangled efforts to revivify the world’s aliveness in the modern European mind. Snatches of symbols and sentiments from the shared myths of our past infuses awareness with the cyclical nature of time. Unexpectedly perhaps, here we may find hope, for if what has passed may come to pass again, all may be renewed. Remnants and scraps, scents and sensations continually arise, reappearing to relate with us once more. May our hearts, bodies, and souls be open to receiving, inviting in what has been too-long banished, all that yearns to live and breathe again.                               

                                                —DR. JACQUELINE KURIOS, PHD, Northumberland, March 2024.






Sofia Batalha is a graphic designer by academic training, a teacher by chance, a writer by visceral necessity, and an independent researcher by natural curiosity. A mammal, author, woman-mother, and a question weaver. A self-proclaimed awkward prose poet without grammatical knowledge. A pilgrim between interior and exterior landscapes, remembering cosmic-chthonic practices in radical presence, active listening, art, ecstasy, and writing. (Re)learning to live in immanence, belonging and rooted reciprocal responsibility, embracing eco-mythology, ecopsychology, eco-philosophy and eco-spirituality, decolonization, and multiple art forms. She speaks from a tentative mythological and philosophical post-activism —the three M’s: Mystery, Metaphors and Myths recall our primordial and complex wisdom of paradox. Certified in Ecopsychology, and Applied Mythology from Pacifica University, USA, a Warm-Data Host of Nora Bateson’s systemic line. Contributing to The Emergence Network, founded by Báyò Akómoláfé. In 2022, the essay "The Blind Oracle," was selected for the Global Participation Doing Things with Stories (DTwS) by ArtEZ University of the Arts, Oxfam and Radboud University. Author of nine published books, editor of the free online magazine, Vento e Água, creator and organizer of the 1st Eco-Mythology Gathering, and Remembrar os Ossos Podcast.



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