In writing Severyn's story and spending hordes of time with her in my head over the years, there are a few key things that really resonate with her. In this blog post, I am happy to share some snippets of insights.
Severyn Andrews is living a lie. All, but a few, believe her to be dead. It is not out of spite or cruelty. It is out of necessity to keep those she loves safe. But this lie comes with a heavy cost to her conscious and it wages havoc on her emotionally.
Some say the truth will set you free. In her case, it will kill the ones she loves.
Thankfully, she has discovered powerful reprieves that help on her journey to keep her secrets hidden and to find strength to follow through with what she must do. But more importantly, they help her heal.
Trees/forest ~ she grew up surrounded by trees, playing in them, running through them, exploring their wildness. Having a wooded area where she currently resides provides her with an environment for healing. Her mentor, Kotan, introduces her to Shinrin-yoku - a Japanese healing practice of Forest Therapy. It involves taking an extremely slow journey through the trees, focusing on the sounds, the smells and how the life that blooms at all levels, is connected.
Water, particularly the ocean ~ her mother called her a babi dŵr which is Welsh for water baby. She is drawn to water. It soothes her. Feeds her. She feels connected, grounded and stable when she is around it. And it helps to calm her, only by seeing it. You will find that water, both large bodies and smaller ones, make their way into the story.
Piano ~ playing the piano is a hidden talent that she resurrects and finds it is an effective therapeutic outlet for her. It provides her with a small measure of peace and helps her cope with the guilt and regret for what she must put her family through. Playing and creating music allows her an emotional release to express herself in a safe way that does not reveal the truth of who she is or the vast secrets she hides to keep her family safe.
The dragonfly has symbolism as well. Nessa, a Chippewa-Cree woman, is a mother figure for Severyn, and to her culture, as well as to many others, a dragonfly represents resiliency, transformation, self-realization and growth. This is a powerful symbol and indicates how far Severyn has come as she discovers her inner strength.
As her path takes her into darker situations, she will need this all if she is to survive.