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Patrick + Sheelah Forever (Maybe) | S5 Ep1
Episode 114th March 2024 • KnotWork Storytelling • Marisa Goudy
00:00:00 00:51:20

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Our Story

Did Saint Patrick have a wife? Irish folklore of the 18th and 19th centuries declared he did. Sheelah was celebrated on March 18, the day after Saint Paddy's Day.

KnotWork host Marisa Goudy imagines a one-sided bedtime conversation between the couple. The story also weaves in two other women of the Celtic Otherworld - Cailleach and Sheela Na Gig.

Our Guest

Martha Wright is the perfect combination of maternal and bad-ass, she devotes herself to helping people embrace their inner divinity. She is a vessel and facilitator of divine energy - whether that is a healing session,  her own writing, or leading a class or retreat. As you’ll hear in our conversation following the story, Martha has apprenticed as bean chaointe,  the Irish tradition of keening and as a shaman.

Find her at or on instagram @Marthawrightshaman 

Our Conversation

  • Sheela Na Gig: a figure of a woman with a skeletal head holding her vulva open wide that was carved into medieval churches and castles, a representation of death and rebirth
  • Approaching a story of Ireland’s patron saint with a kind of holy ambivalence - responding to the call to the ancient, often hidden divine feminine, and also the beauty and the scholarship of early Irish Christianity, but acknowledging that Catholicism became such a punishing, diminishing force in Irish culture. 
  • Reclaiming the tradition of divine coupleship as the full humanity of the people in the story. They are both spiritual beings and as sexual beings
  • This story was inspired by the famous “Pillow Talk” scene from Ireland’s greatest mythological epic, The Táin. 
  • Intimacy, at the emotional and at the physical level. 
  • Marisa borrowed from Saint Patrick’s Breastplate, particularly its refrain “I bind unto myself this day”
  • The tradition of celebrating Sheelah’s Day seemed to emerge in the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly in the Irish diaspora, as a way to extend the Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations one more day (and to avoid the Lenten abstention for one more day)
  • Martha as bean feasa (wise woman) and bean chaointe (keening woman), as shaman, as emerging author who has uncovered so many layers of her own identity in the process of telling the story that is truly hers to tell
  • “Wildness” and what that really means in our modern world.

Our Music

Music at the start of the show is by Beth Sweeney and Billy Hardy:

Work With Marisa

  • 1:1 Writing Coaching: If you are working on a spiritual memoir or wellness professional or a creative entrepreneur who wants to use stories to build your business, book a free consultation with Marisa. Learn more at
  • Find more of Marisa's writing and get a copy of her book, The Sovereignty Knot:

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