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

Sunday, 21 August 2011

autumn courses: writing, mindfulness, meaning and transience

So many people have responded to my last blog posting that included these words: ' much of our suffering is self-inflicted, through our identification with our emotions, and therefore our reactivity; and because of wanting what we can't have and not wanting what we do have (whether that's a job or relationship or house or status or state of mind...). This is how we throw away our freedom.' 

Thank you! And what it's done is kickstart me into thinking once again about incorporating more of this kind of work into my course programme. 

In fact I started, way back when (in about 1991) with workshops addressing, loosely, personal growth and human potential, usually through the lens of myth, dream, astropsychology and archetypal psychology; gradually these morphed more and more into writing workshops as I do this for a living, and in rural Devon it's much easier to fill writing workshops than ones that focus more specifically on the inner life and our search for meaning. (I do very much love the writing courses, too; and in fact all my workshops have deeper questions at their core.)

So I'm going to start to include a wider range of courses again. There are three broad areas about which I'm passionate, and although they are constantly intertwined in my work, for the sake of clarity I'll try and separate them a little here. 
  • First there are the creative and reflective writing courses that I lead under the title of Fire in the Head
  • Then there are courses that focus on environmental awareness, using writing as a tool alongside slow walking, attentiveness, silence and stillness outdoors on the land; I think of these as ecobardic workshops, and call them Ground of Being. (Unique courses, such as 'Islands of the Heart' on the Isle of Iona, draw together both the above, with a sprinkling of the below.) With Michael Fairfax, I also offer Littorals: a day workshop that is land-based and includes land art as well as writing, but without the same focused stillness and silence of the GoB workshops.
  • The ones I'm coming back to now used to be called Myth as Metaphor. However, more and more I'm using tools from Buddhist thought (don't worry, you don't have to 'believe' anything!), such as mindfulness and an awareness of the present moment, to inform this work. And yes, we will also be looking at what causes suffering, how to let go of it, and how we might more skilfully address our relationships; whether with ourselves, each other or the wider world. So I need a new title; but for the minute these too will come under the Fire in the Head logo.
Most of us feel we could lead richer more fulfilling lives. The work I do is around questions to do with creativity, meaning and ‘living your own life’ as a journey. My approach uses writing as a way of identifying themes in your life, and blocks to a richer life, as well as a means of focusing on areas in your life that need attention. The aim is to increase creativity in every aspect of your life. This approach uses the tools I speak of above.

I believe we all have the resources and wisdom to feel whole. Whether we're working by email, in a face-to-face group or one-to-one, I walk alongside you through prompts, questions, inspiring poems or prose passages, reflective practice and feedback, with the intention of encouraging you to uncover your own answers.

The skills I bring are those of an awareness of myth and archetype, the humanistic approach of my transpersonal training in counselling, and psychospiritual techniques gleaned from a number of sources including bardic/shamanic practice, alongside the Buddhist use of mindfulness. Always I'm looking at how we situate ourselves in our environment and the natural world; and what gives us meaning.

Right now, the day workshops I'll mention below will take place near Totnes, in Devon, UK. I shall be working through the winter on developing e-courses too; and one-to-one tailor-made in-person or email sessions will be possible. You can email me through my profile if you'd like more info, and my website ( will offer more detail soon.

Saturday 15 October: Fire in the Head creative writing: day of inspiration
Sunday 16 October: Writing the Bright Moment: bringing mindfulness into our writing and exploring haiku and haibun 



  1. These look wonderful! Sadly I am away for most of them!!

  2. Thank you, Roger! Sure you can't change your plans?? :-)

  3. 20th October might work for me - I will Facebook message you x


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