TENDING THE WATERS, HUSBANDING THE LAND
a week of explorations, conversations & guided tasks in the company of wild nature, deep ecology, depth psychology
with this very experienced tutor
NB SUMMER 2018: I’ve decided to postpone this course as it now seems important that I have a male co-facilitator for this work, since I want to work with women and men in conversation. I’ve some ideas but nothing certain yet. Updates to come, but a contender for a replacement this autumn, 2018, is 6 WEEKLY SESSIONS in Totnes (holy well nearby), for women only, on the sacred and lost feminine. Please register interest via the CONTACT Form.
Living an ensouled life in the face of the state of the world
Once upon a time, when the Sacred King married the Sacred Queen he was promising to husband the land: to marry the earth too, & all her living waters.
Once upon a time, a while later, the Grail myths tell us, the well-maiden guardians were raped, the waters poisoned, the land laid waste by war, competition & conquest, an emphasis on domination, an absence of empathy.
But it wasn’t just the feminine principle symbolised by the well-maidens that was violated. As a result of this the King himself is wounded & impotent; the Queen absent; the earth a Wasteland. In our times we are all wounded.
In our dualistic times & culture, we are the inheritors of a long historical schism between matter/body & spirit, the relational & the separative, nature & mind, feeling & thinking, mythos & logos, man & woman, human & other-than-human – and the list goes on.
I believe that there is a strong link between this & our inability as a species to face & stop – let alone really feel the pain of – what we are doing to other humans & the other-than-human. We know we’re on a trajectory of destruction; it has been called the biggest trauma to life that the earth has experienced in 4 billion years. Many of us feel extreme grief, guilt & helplessness in the face of all that we are destroying. It’s hard to get one’s head around the loss, for instance, of 50% of all wildlife, worldwide, in 40 years, at our hands. In addition, we’ve lost any sense of the Sacred & the meaning that brings.
What does this mean for an individual, a culture, an era – & even more importantly the rest of the natural world? Ultimately, we can’t separate our wellbeing from that of the ecosphere. Yet our ancient sense of being fundamentally undivided from the rest of nature has, seemingly, expired. This is an arc that began, perhaps, when we stopped being hunter-gatherers, gathered speed with Plato & friends and the later coming of the Roman empire to the Celtic peoples of Atlantic Europe and the British Isles, was enforced with determination by Descartes, & has happened with great acceleration since the Industrial Revolution.
But there is hope. We also carry within our culture archetypal stories, well-hidden for the most part, that will allow us to effect healing on an individual, collective, species-wide & environmental level. One of the wonderful things about myths & the archetypes they contain is that within the troubles they address lie the seeds of healing. These stories & poems can show us the way forward to restoring the anima mundi, world soul, to her rightful place, where the Sacred Feminine & Sacred Masculine can once again work together in harmony for good in the world.
I believe that this healing is the Matter of the Grail, as I & others have written of for decades now; & that this healing work is urgent.
We will be visiting as a symbolic gesture several local holy wells. I will be offering stories, suggestions & practical tasks, often outdoors, to help close these gaps, & to restore a sense of the harmony & potency possible when yin & yang work together in our psyches & the wider world for the greater good. Together we can help revitalise a greater blossoming; resacralise our view of the world.
You will be bringing your life experience, vision, dreams & personal skills & talents as contributions to this co-creatiing process.
Together, we’ll explore the archetypal & mythic phases of a shift in consciousness (as I wrote of it in my book mentioned below, further adapted for this century & its troubles) that might help us to bring all those opposites together in relation to our own lives; a necessary step for changing the world.
Together, in our shared grief we can explore our unconscious beliefs & values, our losses, our collusion with this dualism & destruction, & support each other in finding celebratory & positive ways to change and heal these wounds, inner & outer.
Call it narrative therapy, personal mythology, or eco-soulwork. Or all three & more. Healing the Wasteland.
NUMBERS FOR THIS GROUP ARE STRICTLY LIMITED. The sessions will be insightful, demanding & participatory. They’ll also be intimate and revealing. We need trust in each other to work like this. You need to be willing to stay with the challenges of such a journey in the company of others. You also need to be passionate about addressing our impact on the other-than-human.
I have been teaching aspects of this work via my understanding of the Grail material, the Welsh Mabinogi and other magical tales in one form or another since 1991. However, last year was the first in which I offered a face-to-face year-long WELLKEEPERS group; in this case, for women only. This weeklong intensive replaces that for this year.
I’m qualified in counselling in the field of archetypal psychology, & my passion is bringing together wild nature, deep ecology and depth psychology.
I believe now that the change needed is best achieved by men & women working together to establish a true & deep conversation between sacred masculine & sacred feminine in our own psyches – for we all have a contrasexual dimension – & with each other. I would very much like to invite a small group of committed courageous women & men to step forward to work with me on these issues of consciousness.
Given the intense nature of such work, this will best suit those who have already embarked on a psychospiritual journey in whatever way, & are familiar with personal enquiry & exploration in relation to their inner life. For this course I request some background details of your life & interests. You will also be asked to find & tend a physical symbolic holy well local to you; at least, if you live in Europe.
Please apply, in the first instance via the contact form below, with a few brief details about yourself, your interest in this work, and what you might bring to such a group (don’t be modest!).
Then I will need a deposit of £300 as soon as I accept you.
The balance of £295 is due by August 31st.
I studied the Grail corpus in its original languages at Cambridge in the 70s. I’ve a qualification in archetypal psychotherapy focusing on the above, have been exploring this psychospiritual & eco-imaginal journey via the Celtic and other wisdom traditions for over 40 years & teaching it for 27, & was commissioned to write a book about it in 1993: ‘RIDING THE DRAGON – myth & the inner journey’, Element Books.
The small print
It’s advisable to book asap. I keep my own fee as low as I can, but I also need to book the hotel so am myself committed and ask that you too commit if I hold you a place.
Please note that if for any reason I cancel the course, your fee is fully refundable.
I know that life can sometimes get in the way of the best plans, but late cancellations can make it hard to refill your place. If you cancel before August 31st, your deposit is refundable minus £50 admin and/or readvertising costs IF I CAN FILL YOUR PLACE. After that no refunds are possible. You might want to consider travel insurance. Please also note that the course fee, if you cancel, is not transferable. Your booking is taken as acceptance of this. See also here.
If you’d be interested to join a group in 2018 or in the future (the groups are kept small, for depth & individual attention), please register your interest via the Contact form. Please tell me a little about yourself and your interest in this.
MY BLOG features many posts on this and related subjects. Type ‘wells’, ’wellkeepers’ or ‘Grail’ into the search bar low down on the page.
You might also be interested in my annual weeklong retreat in my homeland of West Cornwall, The Land’s Wild Magic, during which we visit several of the iconic Cornish wells, bringing actuality and metaphor together in quite a powerful way.