Goddesses in the Dust: Journaling and Memory

An archaeologist unearths the divine feminine, one archetype at a time...

I've been keeping a journal for decades, since I was in college. An entire row on my bookshelf is devoted to them.

Over the years, I've used different kinds of journals. When I lived in Greece during my junior year, I used the Greek schoolchildren's plastic blue books. 

When I lived on the island of Crete with a family, I used an old ring binder type journal,

which became filled with observations of my family's daily life, and my burgeoning understanding of the Greek language.

In graduate school, I switched once again to the standard hardcover journal that was offered at the University book store

For the past twenty years, I've pretty much exclusively used the classic black and white composition book (often earmarked with a dragon's scales of post-it notes for reference)

Journaling for me is therapy. I don't approach it as something in which I have to capture every aspect of my life, or every trip I take. More often than not, I journal when I'm inspired by something I read, or by some event in my life that provokes me. I write when I'm happy and when I'm sad. It's a place where I can confide my deepest feelings

and favorite quotes from authors
I hope for nothing
I fear nothing
I am free
-Nikos Katzanzakis

and sometimes quotes from unlikely sources

When I travel, I like the small Moleskine books. They remind me of classic adventurers, such as the writer Bruce Chatwin, and explorer Peter Beard

The little pages get filled with observations, notes and addresses

and the back pocket with all sorts of ephemera

Being an inveterate journal writer, I even keep a journal devoted exclusively to dreams. As you can imagine, it has its own special color

In Greek mythology, Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory and the mother of the Muses.
Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Mnemosyne, 1881
We have Memory to thank for The Odyssey and The Iliad, epic poems that existed for centuries before they were written down. In antiquity, the oral tradition ruled because poets had to carry their work in their memories.

Today with so many electronic devices, we don't need to rely so much on our memories. But I will continue to write in my journal, regardless. I see it as a form of meditation and way to communicate with myself. No matter how much technology rules our lives, it is soul-nourishing to take time to reflect on our lives, and there is something refreshingly analog - and physically reaffirming - about putting pen to paper to do so.

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