from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Ground of Being

 ('Vernal Equinox', Roselle Angwin)

The work closest to my heart is that which takes place outside, and is best described as a meeting between ecopoetry, ecopsychology and mindfulness. I'm passionate about restoring a sense of a felt experience of being a part of the web of life, deeply and intimately connected with everything that is. Once we experience this, my sense is that it becomes much easier, inevitable even, that we experience ourselves as part of the body of earth, and vice versa. At this point, we know that what we do to the planet we do to ourselves, and separatist, speciesist, 'us and them' notions, like the shrink-wrap trappings of 'civilisation', become irrelevant.

Just in case you live within striking distance of Dartmoor, I thought I'd tell you about my spring equinox Ground of Being day. These days happen on a Sunday, close to the four solstice and equinox turning points of the year, and involve an outdoor day retreat, through slow walking, mindfulness, silence, writing and poetry/story, all day. The aim is to enable reconnections between self and land, as well as to mark the wheel of the year and the wheel of our inner lives' attunement. Behind all of that is the sense of restoring our relationship to land as a felt living experience, so that we may also live as if we were – as we are – a part of a robust and fragile web.

Here are the details of this equinox gathering. You might also be interested to know that I am offering the same at the wonderful Gardoussel retreat centre in the Cevennes, France, September 1–8 (

This is the day workshop:

‘Ground of Being’
Re-imagining the world
creative writing & environmental awareness
Merrivale, Dartmoor
For the spring equinox, Sunday March 18th 2012
10am–4pm (the latter approx.)

Gather 9.45am at Four Winds car park, near Princetown, Dartmoor 
(OS ref: 562749)

Humans are tuned for relationship. The eyes, the skin, the tongue, ears, nostrils–all are gates where our body receives the nourishment of otherness. This landscape of shadowed voices, these feathered bodies and antlers and tumbling streams–these breathing shapes are our family, the beings with whom we are engaged, with whom we struggle and suffer and celebrate (David Abram)

Relationship is our natural state. And yet loss of heart and alienation seem to be widespread experiences in our fragmented consumer society. What would it be like to live in accord with our essential nature, aware of interrelationship and interdependence as felt experiences? Time spent in natural and megalithic landscapes like that of Dartmoor enables us to feel and deepen this sense of connectedness, and can offer us a lasting shift in understanding. This outdoor workshop day aims, by re-immersing you in the land with its inhabitants, to reconnect you to lost and hidden parts of yourself, to your imagination and creativity, and to the shared heart of nature. Here we touch the invisible ‘ground of being’, where briefly we may move beyond the separate disconnected self into world soul, anima mundi.

These day workshops draw on ancient bardic sources, returning us to the wells from which we sometimes forget to drink. We aim, too, to catch some of the fire of the elusive spirit of ‘Awen’. We use poetry and creative writing to record our experience in whatever words have been given to us during the day, alive and thrumming. We’ll be paying attention with all our senses, including the non-physical ones, plus using silence as starting points, and writing as a way of recording our responses.

At the spring equinox, where light and dark are held in balance, we’ll consider how this is symbolized in the outer world and in our inner lives; the poise or otherwise of the pairs of opposites; what visions we're planting this year. At this time, too, Persephone emerges into the upper world – what are we bringing to the surface from the dark dreams of winter?

‘Sunday is still glowing in my mind; it was remarkable, intense, revealing, surprising.  You established a trusting space … [I was] amazed at what the day brought.’  ‘Full, rich, magical, extraordinary…’

Come for just one day or join us four times a year to share the equinoxes and solstices with me in this way at the same place. If you pay with your booking, in advance, the fee is £35 per day; £40 if you pay on the day. Either way, bookings MUST be in advance.

NB Places are limited. To book, please contact me through my website, Please make sure I have a contact number for you.
Please bring
packed lunch, hot drinks/water, notebook, pen, warm windproof clothes (it can be really cold up there, even in summer, especially since we’re still quite a lot), waterproofs, sturdy footwear – and an ability to be with silence.

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