Best-selling author, vibrant artist and Womancraft Publishing founder, Lucy H. Pearce joins me for a deep dive into her latest book, She of the Sea
Lucy is known for giving voice to the soul: the spiritual, the liminal, the darkness and discomfort and the magical in the midst of the mundane. In her latest book she offers a lyrical exploration of the call of the sea and the depth of our connection to it, rooted in her personal experience living on the coast of the Celtic Sea, in Ireland.
In our conversation, Lucy intimately shares her journey with creating, revealing herself through her writing and facing the fears that emerge with each new work.
Discussed in the episode:
- The basis of Lucy’s new book and how it came to be, and the deep depths she had to go through to birth the book into the world.
- An exploration into Lucy’s creative process for writing her books including her love of using image, metaphor and word.
- Deep insight into the bravery Lucy harnesses the development of her books.
- A reading of the She of the Sea Blessing from the book.
Lucy H. Pearce is driven by a need to create, connect and inspire. A best-selling author, vibrant artist, respected publisher and editor, her work focuses on self-knowledge and healing through creativity, archetypes and cyclical living. Often described as raw, authentic and life-changing, her work encourages authentic paths to self-expression and is celebrated particularly by highly sensitive and neurodivergent women.
Her award-winning books include: Burning Woman; Creatrix – she who makes; Moon Time; Medicine Woman and her most recent, She of the Sea.
The founder of Womancraft Publishing and mother of three, she lives on the south coast of Ireland.
Listen to She of the Sea by clicking the play button on the audio player below.
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Read the Full Transcript Here:
Welcome to Trust your Sacred, Feminine Flow. I have a very special interview that actually has brought me out of semi-retirement this year. I was so excited and delighted at the opportunity to speak with friend and soul sister and Sea sister Lucy H. Pearce. Welcome Lucy.
I am so honored to bring you out of semi retirement.
Yeah. So let me, let me tell our listeners what you’re all about these days. So Lucy H Pierce is driven by a need to create, to connect and inspire. She is a best-selling author, a vibrant artist, a respected publisher and editor, and her work focuses on self knowledge and healing through creativity, archetypes, and cyclical living. She gives voice to the soul, the spiritual, the liminal, the darkness, and discomfort, and the magical in the midst of the mundane often described as raw, authentic and life-changing her work encourages authentic paths to self-expression and is celebrated particularly by highly sensitive and neuro divergent women.
I’m a yes to that. Her award winning books include Burning Woman, Creatrix: She Who Makes, Moon Time, Medicine Woman, and her most recent book, She of the Sea. Lucy is the founder of Womancraft Publishing and the mother of three.
She lives on the south coast of Ireland. Welcome Lucy.
Lucy: Thank you.
So we are here today to dive into She of the Sea. I have to say, like, this is the book I’ve been waiting for my entire life, I would say,
Oh, oh, I’m so pleased. Thank you.
And I recall, because this is actually our third interview. This is our third conversation. And I recall as you were to put this book out into the world that it was, we’ll say creating some seismic activity in your inner being.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was a hard, hard one to birth. So for me, the very hardest was Burning Woman, which I can see now because that’s the book of mine that has touched the most people it’s reached the most people and it took the most courage to, to birth. And that was five years ago. And I then went on to Medicine Woman, which was actually supposed to be part of Burning Woman. And I was like, no, this is too big. And then medicine woman, again, kind of, there was this, this thing that was, was kind of starting to emerge in Medicine Woman and, and Creatrix the next one. And I was like, okay, this is a different thing still. And each one kind of requires a lot of courage to, to even face what the material might be. Because when I start, I usually start with the idea of, of a title.
Um, it’s kind of, I don’t want this to sound arrogant, but I love my book titles. Like they really speak to me as a person. Like I would pick them up off the shelf and every time I hear them, I’m like, yeah, yeah. I, that really means something to me. So finding a title is really important. And so she had to see, it was always going to be about the sea. It was almost something like the sea priestess, something around the sea priestess, but there were a couple in that came out because it took four and a half years to write a couple of came out in the meantime. And I was like, ah, so, um, so it kind of, it, it took a lot. So after, after Burning Woman, I thought I’ve, I’ve probably burned through a lot of that fear around putting my voice out there, being seen for who I am, all of that.
I thought that that was the one that did it, but no She of the Sea has an even deeper depths of the absolute terror in me about sharing my voice, sharing, sharing what I truly think and believe discovering what I truly think and believe. And so it’s a lot of it is kind of biographical. It’s about my own relationship with the sea. And then I invited 30 different women and nonbinary people to contribute what the sea means to them. So it wasn’t just my story because I was hearing again and again, just how powerful on every level, like massive force, as well as physical the sea is for women, especially people in general. And how often people are called to it when they are healing, when are in grief when they are feeling overwhelmed far more even than any other sorts of nature.
So I was really trying to explore kind of what is that for myself, as well as asking other, other women and non-binary individuals, like, what is it for you that really one calls you and two heals you. And healing, not meaning like taking everything away, but allowing us to engage in some way with, with the, the dark fluid, messy insides that often we can’t touch. And so when I say yes to a journey like that, I have to do the whole flipping thing, you know, all this stuff, I might’ve been avoiding the rest of my life. Suddenly I’ve got to live through that. And so for me, there was a big piece on my own neurodivergence. I was diagnosed as autistic during the process of Medicine Woman. And so this was a real diving into how has the sea helped and supported me in my discovery of myself.
And then there’s a big bit about the oceanic in terms of … It’s a term Freud used when he was describing, what is it, the root of religion. And it’s this oceanic. This calling to God and to magic and to goddess and to the sacred. Which I’ve always been seeking after personally. But I find it really hard to talk about. It’s been very, very private to me. I guess, in a way, for some people, sex might be that private. For me, God and magic really is. And so I really struggled putting that out there. I really, really struggled with whether I was going to be taken seriously, both because I was really exposing myself as autistic. Really giving you a view of what it looks like, what it feels like to be autistic, as well as the God magic piece.
And I went through it literally the week it went out to all the pre-order customers I went through and I tried to take those bits out again, because it felt so unsafe to me to have that.
That, there out that I could be judged on. I had months worth of migraines. Like 15 migraines a month for three months in the process leading up to the publication. We pulled the publication forward, just so that I could get through that migraine thing. Cause I was literally in bed just in agony for four months. It was horrific.
Wow. And how has it been in the aftermath? That’s been three or four months now.
Again, it’s taken about that long to settle my system. It came out in July and the whole way through the summer, like my system was just fried from that degree of stress and anxiety and worry. And partly that’s because I write a lot about our local area in my, and my connection to the local area. And yet this feeling of not belonging here. Because I live in Ireland, and I am Irish, but I don’t sound Irish and I haven’t lived here all my life.
And so there was that feeling of being judged by people I know in real life who might not know me very well, and this might be kind of like they know about me. They kind of see me on the street and suddenly they know like inner thoughts. They are there I am writing about sex, about suicidal ideation, about emotional highs and lows, like everything and people, real life people who I see in the supermarket can be knowing all that about me. And that’s what I find hardest as, as an author is I love to dive deep and it’s vital for me to dive deep, but then it makes just everyday life trickier.
And how have you been received? Have you been, how has life been mirroring back to you appreciation or have you had any awkward? Yes.
Yes. And you know what, what I’ve learnt and I have to learn it again and again, and again is I’m not the center of the world. No, one’s really thinking about me that much. And you know what, it’s grand, it just doesn’t feel like in the lead up to it and in the aftermath. But you know, no one’s going to say to my face, oh, you weirdo, you know, they might be saying it behind my back, but you know, they might be saying, oh my back anyway. Um, so it’s just me, it’s my nervous system that I have to then calm down. And then I got sick a lot after that, you know, bug after bug because I was just, I was fried from it. And so this autumn has been about daring to create again. Because like to me, creation is life is living, is how I know myself is how I have a sense of who I am and what I am, which I don’t have when I’m not creating, which apparently is quite a common, autistic thing to not have a very kind of fixed sense, core sense of self it’s, very, um, slips through my fingers, very ephemeral.
Like I don’t really know who or what I am most of the time, but when I’m creating, I get a sense of direct connection to that. And so when I’m not creating, when I can’t create, because, because my nervous system is exhausted, my inner critic is like running the show I really struggle. So this, this autumn has been about reconnecting with that creativity and having the courage to, to risk again, because you know, those, that knowledge, when you fried your system through putting something out that you don’t really want to go there again and yet you need to stay healthy. So it’s a really tricky dynamic.
Wow. Well, well, I do want to say to you, just in terms of my opening comment is that you were able to articulate and put words to a facet of my inner life related to the sacred and the oceanic in particular that I have felt like I’ve walked around with three heads, so to speak. And to be odd in some way, but to know there’s someone else in the world. And I know there’s more than just you and I.
And that’s the bit that I wanted to take out that bit, that I couldn’t bear being in. That’s the bit that everybody has said, including my own father has said, Lucy, that you have given words to something I’ve never been able to say, but I feel that so deeply. And I am so grateful to you for saying that. And so that means the world, because that, that was the hardest bit to say yet. That was the bit that needed saying maybe everything else is just a vehicle for that, that sense of connection and, and words that we can share, But it doesn’t make it easy.
No, no, no. So I do, I want to honor your, excuse me, bravery and willingness.
Lucy: Thank you.
Yeah. I mean, truly bravery and willingness, and that has been a, really a facet or a thread that’s run through my, my whole experience of knowing you, because the first time we spoke it was after you published Burning Woman. And we talked a little bit about your, your woman craft journey and, and just your journey of going out on that leading edge of, um, faith and creativity and, and, and forging new territory for all of us, I would say as women, but collectively as well, because for us as women, in my opinion, to reclaim these essential and sacred aspects of our self impacts everyone.
That’s so lovely to hear because that’s why I do it. And yet I have to only do it for myself in the moment that I’m doing it, because that is the impetus. But like the reason I share the work is, is for that is for that hope that it will, it will reach bigger and do bigger. But it’s like the leading edge is the only place that I’m happy being because it’s where I need to be. And yet it is the hardest place to be. I just would like to be cozied up and hidden and invisible and secret. So it’s just such a, you know, backwards and forwards constantly between that longing for invisibility needing to be at the leading edge, you know, needing for everything to be safe, needing to be questioning everything just backwards and forwards.
Joan: Yes, yes.
Lucy: Like the sea.
Exactly, exactly. And, and I wanted to just name that this book contains so many facets, like the color blue. Emotions. And transformation. And shape-shifting. And information about our evolution. And about our relationship as women with the sea. There are so many treasures. It was like a treasure hunt on every, you know, each page. It was so cool. So how do you, how do you even bring that, bring that together? How did you do your research? What was the journey for you?
One step away from insanity. I mean, I remember telling my day friend Leigh, who works with us at Womancraft. And I remember, you know, first I have to write quite a lot by myself and kind of really get a sense of where it’s going. And then I can tell people what it’s about. And she said, how’s the writing going? And I said, fine. And she said tell me more. And it literally took me about 40 minutes to explain to her what the book was about, because it covers so much ground, right? It’s like, it’s so hard. If somebody hasn’t read it, they say, what’s the book about Lucy? I mean, it’s about the sea, that’s the easy thing. It’s about the sea and it’s about women. And women’s relationships to the sea. That’s easy, but then we get into that what’s it really about. And you’ve summed it up really well. Like, you know, it’s about the shape-shifting, it’s about transformation. It’s about aspects of the feminine, which are associated through all cultures and history to do with the sea. And what’s that about? That’s my kind of question again and again, why are we associating with feminine with the sea, what gifts, what treasures, what secrets does that hold for us in that understanding of it?
And yeah, just what is the call of the sea? Again and again That’s what I was coming back to. So what is it, where is it? How is it working on it? So I literally worked through as many aspects of us as humans, as human women that I could think of. Touch, tastes. You know, what happens when you take the sea in through your skin? What happens when you take it in, through your mouth? What happens when you breathe it in? You know, is it the minerals? Is it the sound a bit? Is it the feeling of water on your skin? Is it the imaginary connection that we have with water? Is it the elemental? You know, what is it? So there’s a lot that we have to kind of unpack when you ask that big a question. And so we have to go back to, you know, what is it in terms of us as a species?
Like, what is it that calls us to the sea because it’s not just individuals and it’s not just at this point in history, you know, it is something really primal. So I’m looking at every primal element of ourselves really to see. And it’s not just one piece obviously, but when you know a lot of the pieces and how they go together you can start to weave a tapestry and an understanding of why all these aspects matter. And then if you aren’t able to access the sea or you haven’t been in a while, that you’ve felt the call, you might understand, oh, well, you know, if I can take in the minerals by taking a supplement, if I can listen to the sales on Spotify, if I can surround myself with blue then I can be guessing some of what the sea gives us, not everything, but some of it.
And that’s what I really wanted to give people because I had a lot of women saying, you know, I love to sea, but I live, you know, a day’s journey from the sea. I can’t get there very often. So I really wanted to gift women the sea in a book, you know, as much as I possibly could and to give them that experience of all of the different aspects. So I’ve arranged it like a trip to the sea. So first of all, we drive down to the sea and then we get out of the car and we’d go for a walk along the shore. And we start picking things up and discovering things on the shoreline. Then we discover the plants on the shoreline. Then we dip our toes in the water and gradually we get deeper and deeper into the water. So that enables me to bring in more and more different aspects, but it’s organized like a physical journey to the sea. Which I find really important.
All my books, I structure that way as much as possible so that you get the energetic experience of whatever that experience is like. The first book I really learned to do it with, no, actually I did it with, with my very first, The Rainbow Way, which has to do with the labyrinth. And I take you in and out of the labyrinth. It sounds so simple.
It requires me having done all the research, got all the material there, banging my head against the wall. How am I going to organize this? And then my brain goes, oh yeah, Lucy, you’ve got to do the energetic journey. And it’s not like this is what I do every time. Obviously this is how you do it. And brain forgets that you just see this massive information and, and there’s this total despair of how do I make this accessible to somebody because there’s so much, and it doesn’t all …. You know, evolution doesn’t mix in with the color blue. It doesn’t mix in with cyanotype photography. It doesn’t mix in with witches and pirates and seaweed and you know, it doesn’t go. But so, yeah, that’s how I do it.
Joan: You found a way to do it.
And it takes a huge amount out of me. And I had to start taking medication three years ago. And my ability to sort that amount of information has definitely been impacted. I find it much harder than I used to in my earlier books to hold that amount of information and weave it. So I have said to myself and to the world that I’m not going to do that to myself anymore. Now I’m working on the next book and it’s getting a little complicated, but I’m trying to keep it simpler for myself because it is hard.
Yes. Do you want to give us even a little clue what the next book is about?
It’s on my Instagram at the moment. I shared something today. So it’s called Crow Moon. And with my books you’ll start to recognize that I do a thing of dropping little hints at the end of one book as to what the next one’s going to be. So you’ll see that as you go back. I think Burning Woman was the first one I did it. So I leave breadcrumbs for where we’re going, because always, you know, when you’re reading the book, I finished that several months before. And I’ve been working on that for several years before. So I’m starting on the next project before you get She of the Sea in your hands. I’ve already started on the next one. So I know where my journey is going. I know which images are calling me. So Crow Moon is it. And as you can see with She of the Sea, I’m starting to go down more word and image route.
I started that with Creatrix. It’s really powerful to me, this connection between moving back and forth between word and image, image, and word. I’ve always done it in my language. I love metaphor. I love that exploration of form with words. Of energy, with words. I really feel like it’s an important next step for me, because that is how my own work is going more and more. So I just got myself a new iPad and I’m really loving being able to have more creative control over fitting the words and images together. Because obviously when I’m working on Microsoft Word with words you can’t really do much around image work. So I’m really enjoying that connection of the two of them myself, because previously I’ve had to hand over … Do the images by hand and then hand them over to my husband with the text. And then he does all the on-screen blending them together, stuff.
I know where they have to go, but then he has to actually do it. Whereas this way I can do the alchemy between them more myself.
Which feels really potent for me. There is some sort of alchemy magic, transformational, creative power that goes on in that space between the word and the image and how they interact with each other and how they create each other. So that I am literally writing words and then creating an image and then writing more words. And I’m really excited about that. So we shall see how it comes out in book form, but that’s where I’m at with the journey for it.
Yeah. And I wanted to ask you, because I love the cover of your book. Is that your work, your creative work?
Mmm yes, it’s mine. That is made with alcohol inks, which I’d had a longing to use for several years and hadn’t had the courage to. For me, it takes a lot of courage to try new things. And for me, I needed to capture that blue, blue, blue intensity of blue. And so I just, I played with page after page playing with these inks, figuring out how you can really get that sense of like sea spray on it, as well as the intensity of blue. And it was heaven to do. So again, I’m moving towards doing the artwork for my own covers now, too. Cause that took courage too. I don’t want to have lame art. And one’s own art always feels a little lamer than other people’s. So it’s something that people have asked me to do. And I resisted, I’ve got three books now with my own cover art, but I’m going to do it from now on.
Beautiful. Yeah, it’s incredible. So, for those who don’t know the book and it’ll be posted, but there’s the cover right there. It’s amazing.
I would grab that book off a shelf if I saw it. And to me, that’s how I always judge the covers for Womancraft and my own books. Would I grab it? Does it speak to the energetic of the book? It doesn’t have to be representational of all the themes and stuff, but it has to have that energetic pull that whatever the book is about, it has that same feeling that it makes in my body. And that does it for me.
It does it for me as well. As like blue is blue is a passion of mine. So while we’re at a pause point, I wanted to just let our listeners know that you have made a generous offer to share one free copy of your book to one of our lucky listeners. And so I wanted to let them know that in order to be eligible, to win that free copy of Lucy’s book we are inviting you to share about this episode either on Instagram or Facebook and just tag me and then on the Solstice, the Winter Solstice, which is two weeks from when this comes out, we’ll be choosing the lucky winner and then Lucy and Womancraft will be sending you a copy of the book.
A signed copy of the book, with an exclusive bookmark with the She of the Sea blessing on the back of it. Which I adore that blessing. I don’t tend to write much rhyming poetry. All of my books have poetry in. I don’t tend to do much rhyming. But that just came through me. It’s very much in the style, and the feel of John O’Donohue’s, Celtic blessings. It just, it came out just like that. There were about three or four words I switched, but it was incredible to experience that just coming out. And it was, whilst I was down on the beach for what I thought was the ending of the book and what is the ending of the book in the epilogue, but obviously, you know, more stuff happens and you have to slot it in.
Joan: I don’t know if you have it, but I have it here. The Blessing.
Lucy I don’t have it with me. I can get it on my phone one second, but that’s not really going to help you now. Is it.
Well, I’m just wondering if, as we’re starting to bring this to a close, if you might want to read it. Because it is so powerful. And rather than my reading it, if it can come through in your words, I think it might be a beautiful way to bring this to a close. It would be wonderful if we could just dive and swim together all for eternity. But in fact, I was thinking at some point there’s going to be a college level course, the Lucy H. Pearce course going through the arc of your books, the arc of your journey. Or someone doing their PhD in your work.
Oh my God, you speak to my soul. I would love that on a soul level. I would love that.
Joan: Seriously. I’m seeing it. I’m not just saying it. I am seeing it.
And people have done bits and pieces of, you know, I have been referenced in bits and pieces of work. It’s lovely. You know, I came from an academic background and I made the conscious choice to leave academia in order to have the fullness of expression, rather than be, have to speak in academic speak and only speak to a small audience.
I really wanted to take what I had learned in academia, in history of ideas. Um, and bring that through in a lived sense rather than just more head stuff, more, more theory, more, you know. For me, that’s what matters. Humanity has come up with so many wonderful ideas, but a lot of them are stuck in the ivory tower. And only for people who have got very high educations, lots of money. And I really want to, as much as I can, liberate as many ideas as I can. Stir them up, stir up all the ideas that aren’t supposed to go together, you know, the witchy stuff with the academic stuff, with the God stuff, with the art stuff. Scrap the boundaries, scrap these kind of things that we’ve, these, these barricades that we’ve put between forms of knowledge and ways of knowing. Let’s do it.
Let’s actually embody this wisdom of all of humanity, this great wealth and find a way to live it out. Because like, it’s not going to be much help to us than a hundred years if it’s still in books and there’s no humans because, you know, we’re all having to cower from, from, from a climate that’s gone crazy. Like, you know, let’s live it out, let’s live out this wisdom and see if we can get it working. Um, so that’s my driving force. So I had to learn how to, how to speak in my own voice again, because I’d been really trained as to how to be an academic, how to speak in an academic voice, never use I. Whereas in women’s circle, the primary thing is you speak from your “I”. And so it’s, how can you bring in that ability to research that ability to read widely at the same time as speaking from your lived experience, speaking from your I.
Joan: Yes, yes, yes. Yes.
Lucy: I found it.
I’m really hoping… This is an old version, so I’m really hoping I haven’t edited it. So I’m going to try this. So this is the She of the Sea blessing.
May yours be the sparkle of light on the ocean,
The whisper of foam on the sea,
The warm sand guiding your feet safely home,
A pebble in your pocket from me.
Some sea glass, a starfish,
some driftwood, a whelk,
Treasures washed up on the shore.
A flower, a feather, an urchin, a pearl.
Can you do the next line? Because this is different. I’ve changed this one.
Joan: It says, “Keep your eyes open for more”.
Lucy: Keep your eyes open for more.
You’re going to need to keep going because I changed the lines. You see, there we go.
Joan: Sure. So
Keep your eyes open for more.
May you know yourself held in the palm of Her hand,
Blessed by the waves
Wild and free,
Blown by the wind,
anointed with salt,
Beloved of She of the Sea.
Lucy: Thank you for reading that with me.
Joan: I know. That was perfect.
But there we go. You can see that there are edits that happen. The middle bit was edited, and that was nice to see the process.
Yes. So thank you for this. Thank you for this deep, short, short, but deep dive into She of the Sea and your own journey. And I did want to say related to the academia, I really see you opening up the dimensions of what’s possible for ways of learning, ways of being, ways of synergistically co-creating.
Thank you. It’s really important to me too, that we can try and make connections in as many ways as we can between different fields, different ways of knowing. Because I think that’s where the magic is and that’s where we’ve always stayed away from as humans. We’ve tried to stay safe in our little boxes with our absolute knowledge of certain fields and know like the time now is, to move beyond that and to take risks. To have courage, to take risks and know that we might fail. Sometimes, but know that the magic, the transformation that can happen when we take those risks and make connections is just so vital. It’s so needed right now.
And so what I’m doing in my own life, in my own creative career is, is embodying that is showing how it can be done. And I talk a lot about fear, not for people to feel sorry for me, but just so that you can see, like, it’s, it’s not easy. Like it’s never easy. If you are on the leading edge, going into the darkness of the unknown, like it is never easy for anybody.
So once people know, then when they feel that themselves, when they’re starting to go kind of off pieced and they’re not quite sure what’s happening and where they’re going, that that’s okay. Like that is the feeling you should be getting and to trust yourself and to trust that rather than back off and back away. Because the more of us doing that, the more magic can be brought into this world right now. And we need it.
Joan: Absolutely. Thank you.
Lucy: Thank you so much.
Yes. Such a delight. And I want to thank you our listener and watcher. If you’re watching us on video, want to thank you for being with us. And I want to remind you as always to trust what your heart knows.