What they say

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For 25 years now I’ve been facilitating workshops, working with the imagination and focusing on writing and personal development/mythology/ecosoul (‘Ground of Being’, now incorporated into The Wild Ways), with literally thousands of lovely people – often in amazing places; frequently outdoors, increasingly collaborating with animals, plants and the land*.

This is a sample of the 100s of (almost entirely unsolicited) testimonials that have come in (where they’re not attributed it’s because I’ve only just started keeping a note of which courses which comments belong to):

‘Although I’ve had the privilege of learning under some truly great teachers, some of them academics, some spiritual guides, I don’t think I’ve ever had a more rewarding learning experience…’ (Participant on online and Iona courses)

‘Roselle has an extraordinary ability to get you to write.’ (The Guardian, 1998)

‘I just wanted to thank you for an amazing week. One of my fears about coming again this year was that it couldn’t possibly live up to expectations, for last year was pretty much one of those life-changing, or life-giving, moments. But I was so wrong… I hadn’t written at all since last August but now I have come away [with] words. A good start! The way you hold a very safe and intimate space for the group is, I’m sure, pretty unique. Thank you for welcoming me into it so warmly.’
(Participant on Islands of the Heart, Iona, 2016)

*’Thanks for a fab weekend! I had the best time ever. It did me the power of good. [My partner] said he hasn’t seen me so relaxed in weeks. Wish we could do it all again tomorrow!! …the most special time; Rowan [the horse] is amazing.’ (Participant on Horse Medicine, June 2015)

‘My thanks to you for a wonderful day.  I found that the format and your gentle invitation… completely bypassed my habitual self-judgements about not being creative and enabled me to relax and enter into the spirit of the work.’ (‘Tongues in Trees’, Cornwall, Nov 2014)

‘Thank you for a day full of wonder and deep connection. Your unflinching commitment, your strength as well. I admire your courage and bloodyminded determination.’ (‘Tongues in Trees’, Cornwall, Nov 2014)

‘Thank you again for yesterday. It was a very inspiring day.’ (As above)

‘Wow. How can I sufficiently thank you for last weekend. It was an amazing journey in so many ways and I hope the start of a longer journey… Thank you for being such a compassionate and inspiring woman. Please can I book a place on next year’s weekend.’ (The Inward Flame, Jan/Feb 2015)

‘It was a wonderful weekend and just what I needed – thank you for your guidance and inspiration… I feel as though something really shifted in me.’ (The Inward Flame, above)

‘[I] just wanted to say a huge thank you for the enlightening workshop. I gained such a lot from it and the support of the participants was amazing, reassuring and just what I needed. It was lovely to spend a day in such wonderful and friendly company. The questions you asked us to ask ourselves were very helpful in giving me a focus and a plan to work through for the rest of the year (and the rest of my life).’ (Participant on Threshold day, Jan 2016)

‘Thank you for yet another heart-warming core-challenging workshop. Our shared love of this wonderful planet and the compassionate energy pulsating through our group must add a small drop of hope to the greater whole… know that you have again added to the positive side of the ledger.’ (Participant on The Inward Flame weekend, Jan 2016)

‘That was a magnificent day yesterday, thanks so much. I know what preparation and thought goes into running something so smoothly, and you were generous and alert with everyone. More than that, it’s wonderful to spend the day with someone whose values and spirit are so true, as I’m also discovering from reading your beautiful poems. It’s still rare to meet writers driven by soul and heart rather than ego, and [who] stand firmly grounded in years of hard-won wisdom, so I feel very lifted and inspired.’ (Glastonbury Day, Oct 2014)

‘Thank you for an absolutely wonderful and inspirational workshop… You have lifted my spirits and I can’t begin to tell you how ecstatic I feel!’

‘I want to tell you how much that truly amazing weekend touched me. We did more in those two days than ever happened on [a much better known writing foundation course], and my high expectations were far exceeded…. You’ve helped me refind my belief, my courage and my voice, and I am profoundly grateful. Thank you for your full heart and your wisdom.’

‘It was transformational. I hadn’t imagined that week could be so powerful. I think it was the best week of my life. I’ll be back next year.’ (Participant on the 2014 Iona course)

‘…most of all I welcome your empathy, your concern with things that really matter, the questions you ask of yourself and all of us, the need to ask questions, to live a life examined. As I’ve said in the past, it’s like meeting for coffee with a like-minded friend. And it keeps me writing!

‘Thanks again for all the inspiration and empathy I’ve had over the years since I first read your wonderful column in Mslexia. That, this [blog] and Iona have changed my life – helped me to keep going on the difficult journey of self-awareness and individuation.’
(both the above from a regular course participant and reader of my blog)

‘It isn’t easy to put into words what a haven of peace, quietude and relaxation Gardoussel is. Having never attended a creative writing course before this was a revelation for me and I wrote more in a week with Roselle than I have in my life so far. Her techniques, encouragement and critiques set my creative juices flowing and gave me tools to continue my writing when I get home.’ (Writing the Bright Moment in France, 2014)

‘I went to Gardoussel to kick-start the writing of my book and pick up a few tips along the way. The week was marvellous and truly inspirational, in so many different ways. The exercises in poetry writing fired up my neurons and this improved my prose writing as well. Highlights were the delicious, healthy food, the atmospheric fire pit in the evening, the fun, laughter and the sharing of poetry and prose.’ (Writing the Bright Moment in France, 2014)

‘I have been twice to Roselle’s retreat, once on the Hebridean island of Iona and once in the Cevennes Mountains of France and have already come to look forward to my week with her as the still point in my year, a truly wonderful week out of my life during which I can be certain that, with her kind and skillful guidance, I will remember why it is that I write.’

‘Thank you so much for this year’s retreat! I’m just back from a wonderful few days with my family following Iona and am feeling all filled up and nourished on every level. You led us through another wonderful week – I know it takes a lot out of you, so you must know just how much we all feel we have received and carry home with us to enrich our lives. It’s a very special gift you share with us. You’re a rare woman, Roselle, a rare woman…’ (Participant on Iona 2014 retreat)

‘Be proud and enlivened. Look what you have inspired, how you bring us to the well. You are the real star of Iona. I have not stopped writing since. I am on fire… This has been a wonderful journey. Awesome. Thank you.’

‘An enriching, stimulating and hugely enjoyable course that has helped me to become more aware of the poetry in life as well as the life in poetry. Roselle’s notes are informative and insightful and although the assignments can be stretching they are always inspiring and rewarding. Her feedback is invaluable – sensitive, practical and encouraging; she is a very motivating teacher! I’ve loved it!’

‘That was an amazingly stimulating weekend – thank you so much for your always imaginative approach.’

‘Just felt I wanted to say a loud Thank You again for facilitating such an unforgettable Iona experience again. You orchestrated the group and magic was performed – difficult, painful, restorative, renewing and productive. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything… It feels a bit miraculous that I’ve managed to produce anything… I don’t care about it being good or not, just grateful it came at all. Having done it, the real power of the experience comes home to me… I’m still largely there [on Iona] and will be for some weeks or months until it becomes gently distanced but always present in some way.

‘I really loved the weekend – possibly the best of its kind I’ve been on. I was high as a hawk most of the weekend… thank you for making these times-out-of-time happen – it’s a special gift you have, to say nothing of the attention and work required.’

‘A very big thank you for such an inspiring day. I loved your approach: the way you used your knowledge and understanding to create a real feeling of momentum. It felt incredibly useful.’ (Thresholds/Imbolc 2015)

‘A basketful of thank yous for a wonderful weekend. A delicious combination of relaxing, challenging, inspiring, enchanting, terrifying & nourishing.’

‘Magical, extraordinary, transformative, captivative… even these descriptions are not enough to describe the weekend. It was utterly wonderful… Thank you for making it happen, again and again and again…’

‘I was impressed how quickly such a disparate bunch of women from all over the UK came together as one and became good friends. Most of us still keep in touch, and still support each other’s writing ventures. All this springs from your wise, gentle and sensitive leadership. Whilst being hugely well-read and knowledgeable yourself, you have the knack of encouraging creativity in others by providing an environment where it feels safe to “have a go”. From nervous beginners to semi-pros, we all found the week inspirational and challenging and, judging from subsequent comments on facebook and blogs, our writing lives continue to be enriched as a result of those few special days.’

‘I have to say that zen poetry weekend with you and Martin [Pitt] had a profound effect on me… it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done…’

‘Of all the writing tutors I have worked with, Roselle is by far and away my favourite. Her open-hearted approach, generosity of spirit and easy wisdom conjure a magic among those that work with her, transforming ordinary objects and experiences into things of beauty and ordinary writers into the best that they can be. Her retreats are not just about getting away and writing, they are about tapping into who we really are and writing from a place of authenticity and genuine depth.’

‘Brilliant. I arrived feeling like a lardy suet pudding past its sell-by date, & went away feeling like an organic fresh fruit salad! Just brilliant!’ & ‘Contact with you is like having a blast of organic  electricity.’ (I THINK that’s a compliment…R.A.)

‘A huge & solid thank you… I was high when I got home & it’s lasting… it’s better than being in love!’

‘I have taken part in a variety of workshops & readings over the years, & nothing can compare with the magic atmosphere of Fire in the Head!’

‘My soul needs me to be at your poetry sessions.’

‘In her enlightened way she charms her way in past our fiercest defences to drag out by the ear a torrent of passions.’

‘…a fabulous course. I got so much out of it in so many ways, & since I got back my head’s been buzzing with new ideas & words.’

‘So many gifts from you – sensitivity, perceptiveness, clarity, support, keys to unlock dark rooms & let the light in… one of the many virtues of how you teach is that you offer many alternatives: if the first loose end doesn’t unravel then another one will… so I’m not so frightened of being unable to start, which is yet another of your gifts.’

‘Thanks so much for your teaching and wisdom – it was really very, very good (and extremely reinvigorating at a usually blue time of year)…’

‘I still think writing my first novel on your first novel writing course was probably the happiest time of my life.  Dear Roselle, you are such an inspiration.’

‘I thought I was coming on a writing course. Now I realise it’s really about how we live.’

‘In searching through my notebook/journal I found pieces which you had enabled me to write. And I realized even more deeply just how precious your courses were. Because of you, I felt safe and inspired to write things that now when I read them, I am amazed I shared so openly of so much, with a group of relative strangers. I reflected upon this, and realized it was due to you that I could reach greater depths within myself, than I would otherwise have done.’

‘It was a well-run course. Our facilitators Roselle and Sharon guided us through different aspects of writing the natural world, shared an abundance of books and regaled us with their own works of myth, story and poetry… They were generous and caring, whilst leaving room for our own process and encouraging us to break through our limitations. The emphasis was on the experiential rather than form and structure, leading us to our own wild spirit for inspiration… I hope that this will be the first of many. I spent one of the most productive writing weeks ever… with a bunch of wise, incredibly talented women. We wrote till we dropped, cooked, walked and talked. I came away with an entire collection of poems and deeper love of the wild.’

‘I’ve just returned from the creative writing retreat with Roselle Angwin at Gardoussel and am still glowing from an incredibly rich week. Roselle’s zen-based and very gentle approach, all her encouragement and her resourcefulness was just the perfect mix for someone like me who felt quite unsure about my writing when I first arrived. I left the week feeling empowered and surprisingly proud of my own voice. I particularly enjoyed the way Roselle constantly brought in the environment both in terms of landscape, nature, place but also in terms of the other participants in the group as extra resource & inspiration. I’m very grateful to the team of Gardoussel for creating such a welcoming and warm home in such beautiful surrounding: it is brimming with places to retreat with a notebook or computer and with places to gather and share. The spacious rooms and facilities are really supportive for a retreat; and the home made vegetarian and ayurvedic meals made with lots of love and creativity were a real unexpected treat. I really look forward to coming again!’

‘We would like to thank you so much for your wonderful workshop. We had great feedback from all who attended and everyone agreed that it was a challenging and creative session. You seem to have a great talent for inspiring an imaginative response, and all those present produced work which encompassed both the creative impulse and a response to the poem we looked at. This, of course, spurs people on to improving and continuing that success…’

‘I always find [you] to be a tutor with extensive resources, knowledge and an encouraging eye for spotting things in people’s work. Big thanks.’

‘I’m so glad I came on the weekend, I don’t think I’ve experienced anything like that before… I really loved the weekend and by the third day I felt really at ease and just loved the accepting and expressive atmosphere in the group. I was driving to work this morning and felt a bit odd, couldn’t work out what it was, then realised that I was relaxed! I’m certainly going to sign up for something soon so no doubt we’ll meet again. Many MANY thanks for a wonderful weekend.’

‘Last weekend was fabulous, please book me onto next year…I can’t quite describe how healing I found the weekend; thank you… I would not have done [what I did] without your constant reassurance that our writing is worth writing.’

‘I’ve been thinking about last weekend all week and reflecting on the exercises, the wonderful conversations, the atmosphere, and of course, the warmth of the fire and the wonderful food. It would be fantastic to do it again next year.’

‘Would love to have a space on next year’s weekend, I loved it! in fact the glow lasted with me for days. I felt surrounded by everyone’s spirit I suppose you would call it. Very warm and cared for. Thank you so much. I am still in the mind set, and have not slipped back into my old ways, long may it last. Makes me feel very happy to remember last weekend.’

‘The weekend was, I think, everyone would agree, extremely worthwhile, a total rejuvenation of the system. Is this the Alka Seltzer metaphor again? (“You are like a dose of spiritual Alka Seltzer: Alka Seltzer for the soul.”) I’d like provisionally to book myself onto three more of your workshops.’

‘Thank you for a wonderful day on Saturday. As always, you created a lovely atmosphere – and what a gorgeous place. I have lots to assimilate now, but I think something shifted during the day itself! I particularly liked the Hero’s Journey work. Something seems to happen when you have to use your imagination – unexpected things come up and unacceptable things can be said safely.’

‘Had a really wonderful time on sunday, it was all I thought it would be, and more, but it slipped by so quickly. you make it easy, your prompts do trigger ideas, possibilities – the magic-maker. am so happy to have my creative space in my mind again and the thoughts and words are still coming so still writing and [will] continue to do so that when i come to Iona next year i will not be saying ‘not written anything for ages’… enjoyed the mandala-making [on sand, ‘The Branscombe Day] so much!’

‘The journey of life is full of thresholds and transitions. Once we become aware of this fact, which may well be later in our lives rather than sooner, we wonder how we stumbled, maybe for decades, from one state of consciousness to the next. Full awareness of this journey brings richness and depth of sensitivity, it means getting on in our life-quest until we are mature to ask the right question – not whether we have led a good life (whatever this may be), nor what we would change if we could start from scratch and had another chance. It is a question (that may vary in the course of our lives) that everybody has to find for him/herself.*

‘In your courses, as I have come to realize, we are guided in our search, and what is more, with you we have a companion at our sides, watchful and caring when needed, who helps to set directions. Hopefully this companionship is mutual.

‘The more experienced we are in our striding the more we will be craving for these day, weekend and weekly retreats because they will lead us on and will become our strongholds on our personal path to the Grail. Knowing that we are surrounded by other seekers, and guided by your immense knowledge, wisdom and insightful sensitivity we will not fail to eventually find what we are looking for.

‘Thank you so much, dear Roselle, for enabling this year after year.’

‘Of course I’m coming back [to your retreat] this year. I can’t really afford it, but life is precious, and your courses have changed my life.’

*see http://roselle-angwin.co.uk/calendar/weekend-residentials/

**(you might be interested in this blog on asking the question – it’s key to much of my work: http://roselle-angwin.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/living-question.html )

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