THE WILD WAYS
soul, the natural world & the ecological imagination
(the sister website to fire-in-the-head).
When they ask where I am, tell them:
Gone into leaf and stone and water
Gone into bone, and bird, and air.
~ Roselle Angwin
EARTH COSMOS PSYCHE
I believe that underlying our current ecological crisis is the loss of a sense of spiritual connection as well as a felt relational one to the earth and other species, coupled with an absence of a sense of deep meaning in our culture with its failures of imagination. In these times of bleak materialism and environmental destruction, I notice how many people who come on my courses are looking for a restoration of something more profound and relational.
Way back in 1993 I wrote at the end of my first book Riding the Dragon – myth & the inner journey that we need new stories: stories about cherishing the earth and other species, relating differently to each other, restoring the lost feminine and soul to the world, celebrating the fact of being alive; green stories, stories of enchantment, connectedness, wonder and healing. I wrote something similar again in my Writing the Bright Moment – inspiration & guidance for writers (2005).
I’m still banging on about it all. Nothing is more important, it seems to me, than re-visioning our place in this delicate web that holds us all. The closest I can get is to speak of rediscovering a relationship of reciprocity and affinity between us and the other-than-human. In the time since I began writing about it, this movement has grown immeasurably.
Bringing inner and outer worlds together seems to be key. All the work I do, offered via my programme of courses and my writings, is designed to help re-establish a heartful, sustainable 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 and depth psychology, 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, plant- tree- and animal-lore, and eco-writing. And we remember how to play.
Something of the liminal glides into such depth work; when we are immersed in profound connection in this way and the rational mind has stepped back a little from its usual dominance, the Otherworld seems close – the more especially since I often work in what are known as ‘thin veil’ places, and where tree and plant spirit medicine (not ingested, by the way) steps forward to help guide us.
Though the courses and retreats are often described as individually therapeutic and transformative, I want to emphasise that the work is intended as much to heal our fractured relationship with the rest of nature, as to have nature help heal our personal and collective wounds.
Out of all this, new stories can grow, and we can live them.
You can read more about the what, how, why and where here.
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© The work on this website, the sister website Fire in the Head, and my blog is all my own work, developed over decades. None of the people who have worked with me or alongside me, or anyone else visiting these sites, is or has been authorised to use it.
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.
My commitment to animal welfare for 2016 was to create & maintain a vegan website. If this interests you, even only tentatively, please visit, and contribute if you wish: http://57billion.org