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Abstract

The archetypal feminine has earthy, creative, visceral, emotional and spiritual connotations suggestive of women’s quest for home. I wish to explore the meaning of home within the landscapes of the sacred geography of the soul, invoking the sacredness of place, the meaning of place, and the emotion of place. Findings from a seven-year autoethnographical study of women journeying home to islands in the Thousand Islands, a border region located on the St. Lawrence River between Ontario Canada and upstate New York, demonstrate that these themes figure deeply in the life decisions made by the women studied. ‘The River’ is experienced as a sacred place with great meaning and emotion for the women who call it home. The annual journey ‘home’ to the River takes priority and centrality in their lives while they are physically elsewhere, at work, raising families, getting by. The deep calling of the land and the water, the earthy and watery depths of meaning, family, history, creation, and eternity are felt more readily than expressed. For they say that once one has drunk of the River, one will always hold it in one’s heart. While this visceral lifeline is completed by the annual physical journey home, it also suggests that home is carried within: that the sacred geography of the soul is both inner and outer landscape, its quest both inner and outer pilgrimage.

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