Q&A – The Eagle and the Butterfly

1. Please could you give us a brief overview of the story… (of course we’ll keep the ending a surprise!)
The butterfly person Eregendal must venture into hell to rescue the beloved Lady of the High Castle, to stop the forces of evil from destroying the earth and place the child god Zana on her rightful throne. The volume contains two versions, a deeply allegorical quest novel steeped in folklore written for adults, and a sensitively adapted version of the same story for children.


2. What inspired you to write this story?
The story began as a series of poems written in early adulthood, reflecting my struggles as a young writer to find my place in society. I rewrote the poems as a novel during the long hot summer of 1976. The story transcended its original poetic theme of creative rejection as I wove symbols from North European myths and early Christianity into its fabric. These turned the novel into an epic quest.

The name Eregendal was created using syllables for the key of light, ritual frenzy and God, according to the textbook ‘The Lost Language of Symbolism’ by Harold Bayley (1912). The name reads as four syllables, with the emphasis on the third syllable, -‘gen’-. The reverse name, Ladnegere also has four syllables, with the emphasis on the first syllable. All the names are significant in the story. Many are anagrams or reversals of other names. Others have deep significance, such as the name of the land, Berren, meaning burial place, and the town Halsanger, meaning hall of blood.


3. Who is your favourite character?
The child Zana. Her simplicity, compassion and love for all shine in every scene where she is mentioned. I based her character in part on an imagined female Jesus as a child, a creative nod to some gnostic gospels.


4. What’s your favourite part of the book?
The symbolic building of the new temple in the transformed marketplace. The placing of the tortoiseshell butterfly at the end of that scene, moves me every time I read it.


5. What does the title mean?
The eagle is the hero that we can all become; the butterfly is the person that we all start out being.


6. What did you learn when writing the book?
I learned that it is more important to do right by my conscience than to win worldly success. Just as the butterfly, Eregendal, had to die and be reborn, I too needed to be reborn to become the mystic I am now and find the contentment I have now.

You can purchase a paperback copy of The Eagle and the Butterfly here, find it on Kindle here.

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