Gigi Coyle (E23)

This conversation with the amazing Gigi Coyle was recorded with a small live audience on a houseboat, where Gigi was recovering from knee surgery. Gigi is a source of valuable wisdom for activists and change-agents today; a veteran of 1970's feminist and environmental movements, she has turned to deeper levels of activism. We connected on topics of ritual, surrender to a path, the importance of water, community, ambivalence and paradox, living our songlines, myth as a conveyor of truth, and more. I wish more people would have the chance to learn from Gigi, someone who is, in my eyes, a true elder.


  1. Civilized and industrial peoples have never known “Patriarchy”.Patriarchy means “rule by the grandfathers”.Without initiation,boys do not become MEN ,much less grandfathers .Since initiation was abandoned long ago, What most people call patriarchy is really rule by crazy power mad BOYS.Hence the chaos in our world.For me,patriarchy implies a manifestation of the fully MATURE masculine,not the litima on steroids we have today.

    • Hi Jeffrey.
      When I read this comment it pulled me up short. I wasn’t sure how to respond (in my own self I mean). At one level I find I agree with you about initiation, infantile (toxic) masculinity and the link to the current chaos. And it also felt like it would be semantics or pedantry for me to engage in a debate about whether or not what we have now is best called Patriarchy.
      But at another level it does matter. i think for two reasons. First it was the feminist movement (as I understand it) that termed this Patriarchy, so I’m apt to go with it. Secondly, what you foresee as a manifestation of mature masculinity, I would call the divine (or sacred) masculine. If that was manifested, it would (I trust) feed off and into an equal manifestation of the divine feminine and from there the mature rule of humanity over itself as an integrated whole. I can’t imagine that we’d call that “Patriarchy”.
      Does this make sense?

      • I like your reply, Chris.
        I’m reading the Chalice and the Blade right now (could have done that earlier in life!)
        What you said reminds me of Riane Eisler’s concepts of ‘androcracy’ (rule by men) and gylany (women and men acting in partnership, with neither in a dominator role.)

    • I like your point. Thanks! If we are not careful with the language we use, we can suddenly accept vague notions that we think others share. Valuable contribution – thanks!

  2. Love, love, love this conversation. Very inspiring and motivating. The approach of not-knowing, to letting something bigger emerge. Coming from a place of not having to know all the answers now, feels very liberating and as though opening a door to co-operating with the larger forces of life and beingness. Thanks for sharing both of your beautiful thoughts. It’s helped me towards answering some questions that have been on my mind in regards to how to personally move forward in a viable way.

  3. Have shared with many friends and family members of all ages.

    Am back in Ireland ( with my 72 yr old American husband!) having taken a gigantic leap of faith… Was in North America since 1986!

    It is not easy and we are surrendering every single day – no house no car no $$ and yet old friends are helping …

    At 54, I can no longer make a single muscle move unless and until it resonates… Must nurture my yin or I will burn out. No more forcing, can’t do it.

    It has been terrifying and there has been illness and near death, and financial struggle … And yet my husband can grow food and fix things.. I cannot do the hustle even as a so called healer and I have no idea what’s next. I have no choice but to listen…. I know we can only do things in conversation and collaboration with other beings that resonate . We were in the Sonoran desert for 10 years of mostly Obama and now I am back to the water and my relatives and ancestral and mythological roots, and I feel I belong when I slow down and breathe here with the trees all around me…. Thank you for being so open and sharing your experiences and letting us listen in. Food for my soul.
    As is water ????… For 3 days we are collecting water from a creek and trudging through deep snow back to melt it on a stove because our pipes froze. I’m hoping I brought seeds back from my decades in North America ….. And I only have energy to water them and wait…. Whilst Storm Emma rages outside….
    The light and the dark, the bridging of opposites, the movement to the heart chakra…. All of it!
    Yes, and….. Imagine…. Support for all life all beings all cultures. One cell at a time…. Listening….

    ???? ????

  4. 22 years ago I had an awakening ( I used to say spiritual awakening, but now I don’t see the difference between the two). I was in a workshop at a Quaker conference entitled Contemplation and the New Story. I didn’t really know why I was there,; I didn’t understand contemplation and considered myself a recovering activist. On the 4td day someone mentioned that it took a molecule of water approximately 3 years to circulate throughout the globe.
    I new that all the water that is was formed at one time eons ago and that my body was st least 50% water. In a flash I went on a journey to where the water ???? in my body had recently been. Though it seemed a long, sometimes harrowing, wonderful journey , when I returned-no time had pasted at all, but I was as if born again! I knew beyond any doubt that we, all life, are connected in an actual physical way and that that connection was the physical manifestation of the deeper reality/nature. All seemed, new, beautiful and fragrant and I was filled with joy.
    I also have come to understand that water not only connects us to all life everywhere on the planet now, but also to all life from the beginning of life here and to all life in the future.

  5. I really enjoyed this podcast – deep thanks. I am following the Golden Dolphin connection and already shared some of the Austrlian poem with a friend, a watery Piscean! I have always loved the water – don’t most people? But apart from swimming in the sea (which is rare now I am in the UK) and having very long soaks in the bath, I’m never sure how to connect with it. A memory from about 30 years ago is being taught to swim – I remember the ceiling of the pool. More recently, I indulged almost every night in a friend’s large plunge pool (filled with river water) and I would watch the night sky from underwater. Some of my happiest stillest times are being in the water – playfully chasing and following fish, being startled by the eyelid parting of an octopus and its flash of skin changing colour. I was very charmed by some anthroposophical-inspired water ways for returning ‘life’ to water by allowing it certain flow forms (as opposed to what it described as the deadening effect of pipes). And when I fill a simple jug of water, I always breathe more freely, at least for a microsecond as I wonder. This weekend, I put fresh snow in a smoothie and marvelled at its strange white fluffy/clumpiness. What now, I asked myself. A tour of some UK fountains perhaps? You talk about taking care of it but that’s as flabby a notion as ‘taking care of the earth’ – flabby in its vastness, vague I am trying to say. I’m resisting the urge to take that question too literally and career shift to be a lifeguard or train as a freediver…or something similar (I am a great swimmer and trained at school). Hmm. Food and drink for thought – for sure! Thank you.

  6. I loved this. Perhaps I’ll look up the legend of the Golden Dolphin. The Golden Dolphin on that land between lagoon and sea I grew up on was the strip club where Ginger Peel worked. Of course, she was quite the legend. 🙂

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