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Guilford psychotherapist Lianne Escher, MSW celebrates her new book, A Mythic Sisterhood: The Goddess Way to Courage, Clarity and Grace. (Photo courtesy of Lianne Escher )
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For psychotherapist, artist, and author Lianne Escher, women coping with significant—and often troublesome—life transitions need to consider embracing their inner goddesses. Seven of them, to be exact.
The North Guilford resident recently authored and illustrated her first book, A Mythic Sisterhood: The Goddess Way to Courage, Clarity and Grace.
Lianne, who earned her MSW from Smith College School for Social Work, has conducted workshops at retreat centers around New England on women and addiction, female spirituality, and the psychology of Carl Jung. Now, with a little help from the Greek goddesses Persephone, Demeter, Aphrodite, Hera, Athena, Artemis, and Hestia, Lianne’s book shares how women can put transitions into perspective and embrace energies they encounter, from plunging into a creative period to taking on a new responsibility, commitment, or purpose to finding introspection, sensuality, or the power take action.
“Whether pushing 30, staring down 50, or about to hit 75, evolutionary women are reinventing themselves every 10 to 15 years, reconfiguring their life choices and who they want to become,” says Lianne.
In addition to sharing her professional insight, Lianne shares compelling anecdotes—including her own transitions through life—to give readers inspiration and motivation as they take on change. She also encourages them grow from each new phase that’s embodied in the “archetypes” of the goddesses.
“As archetypes, I see these energies that each goddess carries move through a woman’s life,” says Lianne. “I think that it’s kind of a shock to our system when we take on another goddess, another archetype, but we learn things that we hold on to when the next goddess comes in.”
On Saturday, Nov. 9, from 5 to 7 p.m., Lianne will give readings from A Mythic Sisterhood and sign book copies during an free event that’s open to the public at BSK Design at the Greene Gallery, 25 Whitfield Street. For more information, call 203-453-3111.
Beginning Thursday, Nov. 14, also at BSK Design at the Green Gallery, Lianne will hold a seven-week workshop on the goddesses featured in her book. Drop-in cost is $25 per session ($125 for seven sessions paid in advance). For more information, call 203-506-6381 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In her book, Lianne shows how women can draw from the examples and strengths found in the seven goddesses. Case in point: Athena seeking Demeter.
“Athena is the goddess carrying her briefcase to work—she’s the businesswoman,” says Lianne. “And suddenly, one day, she says, ‘You know, I want to become a mother. I want to have a baby.’ I think that is happening a lot these days with women who are out in the world, starting their careers, and suddenly get slammed with the idea, ‘I want a baby.’ So they now want Demeter to come in.”
Or maybe there’s a troublesome relationship on the line. Time to find your inner Hera, wife of that god of all flirts—Zeus. And don’t be surprised if Aphrodite pops up, as well.
“Hera had to keep Zeus on a tight leash, which brings in Aphrodite,” says Lianne. “Aphrodite breaks hearts and needs to learn how to move beyond the boudoir and have a more productive life for herself. Because at some point, she’s not going to have the looks that attract men.”
As each goddess comes into play, she brings wisdom that seeps into the next stage of a woman’s life, building a strong reserve of “personal power,” says Lianne.
“Usually, I see these phases lasting from 10 to 15 years, and then another one wants to come in,” she says. “So we continue to accrue this personal power, and it’s time to celebrate that.”
In fact, Lianne is now celebrating a new phase in her life: the recent launch of her own retreat center, based at her North Guilford home. Her vision for the new gathering space, Rockrimmon Retreats Center, is as an intimate locale for workshops and gatherings hosted by herself or by visiting writers, artists, healers, and those looking for a serene place to share their strengths with others.
The main house, which was once a hunting lodge, is filled with porches and decks outside and features wood beam ceilings, a big fireplace in the living room, and a great big dining room inside.
“I’ve been in this house for 50 years up in the woods, and it’s really served my soul to be up here all this time,” says Lianne. “And people kept saying, ‘You’ve got to turn this into a retreat center.’ Right now, I’m looking at the water, 10 miles away. It’s up very high, and it’s a very quiet wooded place with the sun shining through—a sunny hilltop, with woods all around. It’s a perfect meeting place for small groups.”
Another transition for Lianne: A Mythic Sisterhood is her first published book and her first publication featuring her original artwork.
A trained artist who favors abstract expressionism, Lianne studied with Italian master painter Alex Shundi in New York for 20 years and most recently with master painter Gwen Fox in Taos, New Mexico during the past six years.
In fact, it was Lianne’s artistic side that led her to helping others, as well as grasping onto the idea of the mythic sisterhood of goddesses.
“Before I became a therapist, I was a potter, and somebody said to me that her husband was studying at the Jung Institute and she saw these archetypes coming through in my clay work,” says Lianne. “So I started reading on Jung psychology, and this was fascinating to me. And then I let it go, and I studied energy healing and all kinds of other ways of helping people.”
In her work helping others, Lianne says, “I kept getting drawn back to this idea, these archetypes. Because that was what I was seeing in the women coming in. We talk about our mothers, we talk about our families, we talk about our ancestors, [and] we talk about all of this in a way that we begin to see that we can pick and choose for our life in our different phases. And it’s that choice-point that really empowers us. So these [goddesses] are the archetypes I see showing up that totally empower us.”
Even as she works to help others embrace the concept of drawing strength from the mentorship and sisterhood of seven ancient goddesses, Lianne is already thinking about the next chapter—and possibly the next book or workshop—she hopes to develop.
“I’m looking at how to describe the archetype of self,” she says. “Because that’s what we really aim for in our lives: How to feel a completeness.”
A Mythic Sisterhood: The Goddess Way to Courage, Clarity and Grace by Lianne Escher, (softcover, full-color illustrations) is available for $21.99 at Barnes & Noble in North Haven (and coming soon to other local bookstores) or online at Amazon.com. To register for the thda, Nov. 14 workshop or for more information about Rockrimmon Retreats Center, call 203-506-6381 or email email@example.com.