THE WILD WAYS
soul, the natural world & the ecological imagination
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 ‘tired’ conversation – the old paradigm – is that of ‘man (sic) vs nature’. The conversation we need so urgently concerns interrelationship of human and all other species as peers within the great web of nature. Nothing is more important, I believe, than re-visioning our place in this delicate web that holds us all.
Many of us feel disconnected from a felt experience of really being part of all this. ‘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 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.
I believe that bringing together inner and outer worlds in conscious relationship can help heal our rifts and splits. So, 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 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.
In 2015, I’m offering workshops focusing on the spirit of place, animals in general and horses in particular (hands-on on Exmoor), on trees (in Cornwall), via poetry and land art on the Devon coast, and with a week’s retreat in the wonderful wild Cévennes mountains in southern France, where the land is very much part of the week.
If this attracts you, do please read on. I want to add to the community of like-minded people, and later this year I hope to be inviting guest contributions to a blog on all this.
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 never thrust down your throat, as they say.) 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.