The more than ‘just writing’ aspects
All of my work includes and reflects, overtly or more subtly, my passionate commitment to the urgent matter of revisioning our relationships to our soul and our inner life, each other, the land and the other-than-human species, and questions around how we might live differently, more lightly and more rooted, on our beautiful planet. My vision is for us collectively to move, as a species, from the anthropocentric viewpoint to the ecocentric.
So almost all of the courses I offer have a holistic focus, but if you would like something that is more overtly ecological, psychospiritual and mythic, therapeutic or land-based, head on over to my other website, The Wild Ways, where you will find a complementary range of what I call eco-soul courses, many of which take place in beautiful wildish places and often primarily outdoors.
I bring to this an awareness of the very real fact of interconnectedness. The three main strands I braid are the imaginal life, deep ecology and depth psychology, seasoned with story, myth, poetry and that over-used word ‘mindfulness’ (via my 40-year-long Zen practice).
These courses combine writing and other expressive arts with an exploration of our native British bardic and druidic mystery tradition (for instance the Tongues in Trees course, and others with a soulwork, animal, plant/tree or place focus). My training in archetypal psychology is very much stirred into the cauldron. (I’m working on a distance-learning option here too.)
In 2009, I first began to include outdoor work (‘Ground of Being’) combining writing with overt direct hands-on experience of listening to and learning from wild places, trees, and from horses.
You can see an example of this kind of course below.
The Wellkeepers is a year-long closed-group course that combines storymaking, wisdom and archetypal teachings from Grail mythology with exploration of our inner and relational world, and writing passages from the book of your life. This is all deeply rooted in our relationship to the land and, more specifically, to the role of the feminine principle and soul (much neglected in our culture) in men and women alike as symbolic guardian of the inner but also outer waters which feed the land.
Grail mythology and the associated tales from the Welsh Mabinogi and the psychology behind it all is something I’ve been studying and writing about since my degree course at Cambridge in the 1970s (where I limped through the original stories in mediaeval French and Middle Welsh, and struggled hard to read Old Irish tales via the requisite ‘paradigms and glosses’), and the main focus of my later training in Transpersonal Psychotherapy (1987–1991). I’ve been leading workshops and retreats in such subjects since 1991. Gradually, the focus has become more and more strongly interwoven with deep ecology.
My first book Riding the Dragon – myth & the inner journey was commissioned by Element Books in 1993 out of these ongoing courses. I consider this work, which appears in this and also various of my other books, blogs and general writings and which centres on the restoration of our lost relationship with the other-than-human and the feminine, to be of continuing and urgent relevance to the Wasteland of our times. The necessary and resulting shift in consciousness may be a small but significant way to reverse our terrible rush towards ecocide. Intertwined with this, alongside other esoteric teachings, is my work on the Grail quest as a Heroic Journey to wholeness (cf Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey) – these themes are central to The Wellkeepers course.
This is all underpinned by what’s known as the ‘personal growth’ movement. It could also be called a form of ‘subtle activism’, where an increase in personal and collective consciousness and a transformation of our lives into positive contributions to the web of the natural world are deeply interconnected.
There is inevitably much overlap between the two programmes: my courses all include writing, to greater or lesser extents, and all my work is rooted in my passion for and awareness of plants, birds, animals, soul and the earth.