Early Life and Education
Stephanie grew up in South Acton, attending a local county primary school until the age of seven. Her parents wanted to improve her education opportunities and sent her to a small prep school in Chiswick. From there, she went on to attend a local girls grammar school. By the end of the third year, life changed and Stephanie's parents separated with her, her brother and mother going to live with grandparents in a North West London suburb, changing school to the local co-ed grammar. She left with 3 GCEs, enough to get her a Clerical Assistant job at the Post Office. Compulsory attendance on day-release to a radical FE College in Kings Cross led Stephanie to discovering Sociology and left wing politics, However, returning to full-time study was not an option as Stephanie left home at 17 years, forsaking the Post Office - and her studies - for better paid clerical jobs elsewhere.
Career / Working / life experience in the conventional world
Fed up with clerical work, Stephanie did odd jobs, interspersed with being on the dole. She became involved in feminism, supporting many local and national campaigns, as well as making links with local Black action groups. In 1974 Stephanie trained as a croupier. She gave birth to her son in 1975 and, in 1976, applied to go to college to do the NNEB course in childcare. It was at this time that Stephanie, discovered the concept of Matriarchy and learned about The Goddess. Stephanie began to delve into things mystical and magical, buying her first Tarot deck in 1980. She returned to working with young children in 1982, when her son was settled in school, going on to train as a Social Worker, specialising in Community Work, which enabled her to take better paid job as a nursery manager, using her skills to develop the nursery as a focal point in a multi-cultural community. She became involved in Feminist Spirituality Groups and joined a Tarot group. Stephanie began to understand at this time how the Goddess was a source of guidance and strength for her, not just in her own life, but also bringing Her through in the work she did with families. Stephanie progressed in this career over the years, becoming an inspector of childminding and day care as well as an advisor and trainer of early year’s workers, finally ending up working for a national children's charity where she discovered her ability for writing. She retired in 2011, on reaching her 60th birthday.
Stephanie's discovery of the Goddess in the context of feminist spirituality back in the early 1980s led to her becoming active in a number of groups. Subscribing to the journal of the Matriarchy Study Group and attending occasional meetings with them, led her to deepening her knowledge of the prevalance of Goddess worship in the ancient world. In the late 1980s, this journal was replaced by Arachne; Stephanie joined the editorial collective and contributed to the content and production of this journal. Along with other women in the collective, Stephanie promoted the idea that as Goddess was deposed through the rise of patriarchal power, bringing Her back into our consciousness went alongside recognising and overturning the divisive and oppressive aspects of patriarchy - capitalism, sexism, racism and other oppressions. This approach set Stephanie's approach to Goddess spirituality as distinctly different from the broad scope of paganism at the time, as well as the New Age view. Stephanie began to practice this through the celebrations of the Wheel of the Year with other women who were trained in the Dianic tradition. Stephanie was also influenced by the writing of Starhawk, seeing her for the first time at the women's space that was at Hungerford House in 1984. In the mid 1990s she attended the Circlework course run by Shan Jayran of House of the Goddess, thus exploring mixed gender spaces for the celebration of the Goddess and the Wheel of the Year. She was also interested in Druidry but found the apparent lack of a broader politic within that tradition at that time to be disappointing. In the early 1990s Stephanie trained as a massage therapist and aromatherapist. She went on to train as a stress management counsellor - prompted by her own stress breakdown in 1990. She set up her Saturday clinic at home and in the mid 1990s joined the collective at Women and Health - a community project offering low cost counselling and physical therapies for local women. She joined the management committee, leading the staffing sub-committee where her management skills were put to good use in a voluntary project. It was around this time that Stephanie read 'The Avalonian Quest’ by Geoffrey Ashe and made her first trip to Glastonbury.
Coming to Glastonbury
After many visits to Glastonbury, Stephanie arrived to live here in 2003. She found a house on Wells Road and set up a bed and breakfast, whilst still working from home to continue her full-time job. In the meantime, her son had made friends here on his trips to Glastonbury, met a young woman and the result was Stephanie's granddaughter was born in 2004, followed by her grandson on 2008. This allowed her to feel even more connected and rooted within the town. She met all kinds of people whilst doing the bed and breakfast, as well as beginning her connection with the Glastonbury Goddess Temple. Stephanie moved from Wells Road in 2009 and opened Lavender and Roses Therapy Studio for Women and in 2010, trained as a Sister of Avalon and as a Priestess of the Goddess in 2012.
Work/projects in Glastonbury
2004 - 2006
Delivered a presentation Alice Buckton's work as an early childhood educator and her project at Chalice Well at the International Froebel Conference in 2005, followed by submitting a paper in the History of Education Journal in 2006. Followed by a talk to Chalice Well Companions in June 2013.
2005 - 2009
Set up and ran Cherrytrees Bed and Breakfast and self catering accommodation.
2010 - present
Worked with Nadia Polemone to set up Butterfly Therapies as a multi-user therapy space from in a small room in Northload Street.
2007 - 2007 - present
Member of the Orchard of Avalon supporting the Goddess Temple as a Melissa and Weaver Group member, being a contributor to Health and Safety. Wrote articles for the Goddess Temple newsletter.
2011 - present
Organised and facilitated a gifted retreat for women asylum seekers connected to a self help group of women mainly coming from the African continent and diaspora. She worked with a number of healers, therapists, group leaders and accommodation providers, as well as general helpers and donors, to offer a free weekend healing and relaxation retreat for six women.
2011 - 2015
Worked with a small team of Priestesses to offer seasonal celebrations indoors and on the land with age appropriate activities for children and parents to celebrate nature, life and each other, discovering the Goddess within the Wheel of Avalon.
2014 - present
Opened Lavender and Roses Therapy Studio
2015 - present
Consulting Editor for Glastopedia
Alice Buckton: The Legacy of a Frobelian in the Landscape of Glastonbury. History of Education Vol 35 Number 2 March 2006 ISSN 0046-760X
Stephanie has written an number of publications on early childhood subjects for a children's charity.
- Drafting and editing copy for leaflets, articles and publications; proof reading and copy editing, using Word.
- Procedure writing, process audits.
- Research and report writing
- Public speaking – conferences and events – use of Power Point.
- Workshop facilitating
- Coordinating events
- Running children’s events – groups, workshops and ceremonies
- Course writing and delivery to assessment level
- Managing staff – recruitment, supervision, team development, collective working
- Holistic therapies
- Tarot – uses ‘mirror’ technique
- Child development – early years
- Relational pedagogy – attachment based approach to learning and growing in communities
- Child protection
- Health and safety
- Equality, diversity and anti-discrimination
- Holistic approaches to health and well being
- History of the Goddess Movement in UK