THE WILD WAYS
soul, the natural world & the ecological imagination
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I don’t think we have an imagination apart from the environment . . . And I don’t think we have an existence apart from the environment either. And if the imagination isn’t about our existence, I don’t know what it’s about. (W. S. Merwin)
EARTH COSMOS PSYCHE
The consciousness shift we need so urgently concerns healthy and reciprocal relationships between humans and all other species as peers within the great web of nature. Nothing is more important, it seems to me, than re-visioning our place in this delicate web that holds us all.
All this work is dedicated to creating a more sustainable way of living on this earth. One way we address this is by bringing together inner and outer worlds in conscious relationship; this can, I believe, help heal our rifts and splits.
So ‘The Wild Ways’ is an ecopsychology* project designed to help re-establish a heartful and strong relationship with the natural world, as well as with our own imagination and the lost, forgotten or conflicting parts of our inner lives.
Rooted in deep ecology, the courses help restore reconnectedness through hands-on outdoor experience. Along the way, the animals, birds, plants, trees, rocks, seasonal changes, the earth’s turning points, and weather patterns co-create or help shape our experience. We listen to the land, pay attention to Other and remember how to be fully alert with all our senses, including the non-physical ones.
At the same time, we explore dimensions of our inner world and the life of the soul through the imagination – story, poetry, myth, bardic and native British shamanic teachings, land art, archetypes and eco-writing. And we remember how to play.
On some courses a fire-pit, the ocean or a waterfall pool take the stage. We also make use of silence, slowness, stillness, and mindful walking (sometimes barefoot). In Britain, we have a very long spiritual tradition of relationship with the land, and our sacred sites are markers. Some of the workshops take place in such spots.
Please visit the other pages for examples of the kinds of courses I lead (NB the 2016 courses have yet to be updated) – increasingly these are weeklong retreats in wildish places in Britain and France, with occasional weekend or day intensives, such as the Imbolc: The Inward Flame in Devon, and Horse Medicine on Exmoor (next year as a weekend).
All the workshops involve aspects of creative and reflective writing, but you don’t need to be a ‘writer’ to come along. (My other more writing-based website is fire-in-the-head). I also offer individual ecosoul mentoring.
You can read more about the what, how, why and where here. See below for the ‘who’.
* Ecopsychology – a definition: ‘The study and practice of conscious relationship to the whole of the ecosphere, and its web of interconnections.’
The Who & the Work
All the work is informed by deep ecology. It’s been shaped by Jungian and depth psychology, Zen mindfulness, my own work as a professional poet, author, and workshop facilitator, and my training in Transpersonal Psychotherapy. I also bring to it a lifetime spent outdoors in rural West Britain and a wide knowledge of and passionate affinity with the plants, trees, animals and birds we encounter, plus what have been described as eco-bardic ways from the shamanic/druidic British Mystery Tradition. (There is a sacred dimension to all this work, but it’s implicit rather than dogmatic.) I relate to the ideas behind the Dark Mountain network, and have contributions in several of their anthologies.
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Freedom. It isn’t once, to walk out
under the Milky Way, feeling the rivers
of light, the fields of dark –
freedom is daily, prose-bound, routine
remembering. Putting together, inch by inch
the starry worlds. From all the lost collections.