A WOMAN's vision
The founder of Grey Priestess Press, Helen O’Neil, is a writer, educator, self-initiated shaman and the founder of an order of lay ecstatic monastics, Grey Priestess Abbey. Helen took shamanic initiation at the age of 33, following seven years of preparation for life as a cloistered Christian nun. The daughter of a Buddhist preacher, Helen knew that spirituality would be a part of her life, but she never imagined that claiming her identity as a black disabled pagan radical mystic would take her straight through the heart of the Western canon.
As her initiation progressed, Helen explored everything from orthodox Jewish sexuality, to free-market capitalism, to depth psychology, to anarchism. Her journey through the world’s thought traditions left her confused, but also very curious about how learned people integrate different traditions into an overarching system of beliefs. She was curious about how scholars synthesize conservative and liberal perspectives, traditional and modern aesthetics, Christianity and demonology.
As Helen meditated on what she was learning, she realized that writing was her lifeline, her gateway to self-transformation. As the founder of Grey Priestess Abbey, she knew that she wanted to dedicate her life to contemplation, purification and free inquiry - the evolution of her soul. She wanted to heal herself and others through powerful books that would challenge them to empathize with stigmatized voices.
So Helen took the plunge. She founded Grey Priestess Press to give a voice to dissident writers who want to change the world. She spent several years creating a catalog of books on holistic health, mental illness, substance abuse - books that would help people make their own visions come true. She kept up her practice of reading dozens of books a year, hoping to make sense of the media brainwashing that surrounded her.
And she spent several years developing a strong suite of services to offer to other authors looking for representation. She worked with a millionaire Internet marketing entrepreneur, learning everything there is to know about search engine optimization techniques, content marketing, social media marketing and traditional advertising. She honed her skills in content mills, writing world-class articles and web copy for peanuts. And she read countless books on her craft, learning from writing masters.
Helen’s vision for Grey Priestess Press is simple: to publish books that will heal communities. Our society stands at a critical juncture at this point in time: The media is more prominent than ever before, and yet people are talking about important issues less than they ever have. The reasons are simple: Sharing the wrong compliment, starting the wrong conversation, or reading the wrong book at your desk at work can result in losing your job, your spouse and all of your social connections. It can result in you ending up homeless or dead. And very few people are willing to take the risk.
We at Grey Priestess Press hope to provide a safe space for free inquiry, a place where freethinkers can rely on a steady supply of incisive, thoughtful scholarship that reflects sensitivity and honesty. Plenty of publishing houses pay lip service to these values - but it’s the rare house whose catalog genuinely supports this vision. Grey Priestess Press is committed to realizing these goals above and beyond any money-making imperatives… and our catalog reflects it.