THE VOICES OF THE WELLS
This ten-week course is offered once a year; the next intake will be January 2019. Please subscribe to Sharon’s newsletter (at the bottom of the page) to stay informed about future intakes.
‘The Voices of the Wells’, an Eco-Heroine’s Journey for women, was conceived of when I first started writing the old story of the rape of the well-maidens, from our native traditions about the Grail, into If Women Rose Rooted. Those of you who’ve read the book will know that this story of the lost Voices of the Wells, and the coming of the Wasteland, runs throughout, and provides the key focus for the journey I describe in the book – all the way up to its core message:
‘If the power of the Celtic woman is the power of place speaking, then this is the gift that we can offer to our world, the contribution that we can make to the healing of our Wasteland. We are the carriers of the wisdom of our native places, the knowledge of the plants and the animals, the rich intelligence of the cycles of life and the seasons. We are the mediators of the wisdom of the Otherworld, the Voices of the Wells. … Be the power of the land speaking. Pass the gift on. Pass it on, and in this way we, like our female ancestors from long ago, like the goddesses of Sovereignty in our native mythology, become guardians and protectors of the land. By taking up these ancient roles, we begin to restore life to the Wasteland. Refuse the continuing destruction, because what hurts the Earth hurts us. Because we are the whole Earth. We are the Voices of the Wells; we are the power of the land, speaking. Use your voice. Speak.’
Image: ‘Truth Coming Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind’, by Jean Leon Gerome
And so this journey which I describe in If Women Rose Rooted – the ‘Eco-Heroine’s Journey’ – has been transformed into a new course. In this course, we’ll explore old Irish, Welsh and other European stories about the Grail, and ask ourselves what the Grail quest means for women in these ever-more challenging times. Throughout the last century, writers and therapists with a Jungian background but little knowledge of the original texts and their origins, have framed the Grail quest as a purely inner journey: a journey to individual wholeness; a journey to individual spiritual gnosis. I profoundly disagree. Rather, it is a journey to restore the Wasteland which we have created – not just the inner Wasteland, but the outer: the Wasteland which is the world all around us. Physically, socially, culturally. The two, of course, are interconnected, and those interconnections will be the basis of our journey through the course. It’s a journey that will take us into the creative, generative heart of the Otherworld — the mundus imaginalis of Celtic tradition.
The world is changing. The old stories that western civilisation has been living by for the past few centuries – stories of limitless growth, of the pursuit of progress as the primary purpose of life, of human separation from and domination over ‘nature’ – are crumbling. These are the stories of the patriarchy. I strongly believe that the stories which we need to replace the destructive stories of the patriarchy should – and will – be born from the wellspring of creative, generative wisdom which belongs to women.
In this time-between-stories, then, in these days of crisis and uncertainty, we need visionaries. We need the ‘Voices of the Wells’; we need the power of place, speaking. We need the stories of the land; the stories of our native traditions, and the wisdom which is encoded within them. We need to understand the mystery at the heart of the Grail.
We also need more than just talk: we need practical commitment to real, meaningful change in the ways we choose to live, and the ways in which we perceive our place in the world. For the duration of this course, then, I aim to bring together a tribe of women who can take time out to explore together the critical questions we’re facing now. Among them are:
- What are the stories we need to guide us in the future? – stories which are life-enhancing, rather than soul-destroying?
- What is the essence of women’s power and creativity?
- What is the wisdom we need for these mythic times?
- How do our old native myths and stories help us uncover more balanced ways to live on this earth?
- How do we take those old stories forward for new times?
- How do we find a greater sense of belonging to our places?
- How do we take responsibility for our own choices?
- Most important of all, how do we begin to create genuine, authentic, and lasting change – from the individual, to the social?
This course is designed:
(1) To deeply and honestly explore our own individual journeys to authenticity and belonging;
(2) Beginning from the perspective we will gain by exploring our own journeys, gifts and skills, to then explore the ways in which women can reclaim our ancient roles as protectors and guardians of the land.
The central tenet of this course, as in the rest of my work, is that we can only feel a true sense of belonging to this earth, and can only become its guardians and protectors, by developing a deep, embodied, grounded relationship with the land. The creative imagination – and above all, the mythic imagination – is also critical to our work. The intertwining of the two is what I call ‘enchantment’. The content of the course will be informed by academic/professional qualifications, and by my practice, as a psychologist and mythologist. The orientation will be deeply ecological.
(Please note: if you have already completed any of my online self-study courses, you’ll find that there’s some inevitable overlap in the issues discussed. However, both the approach to the issues, and the nature of the experience, are quite new.)
This course lasts for 10 weeks. Please note: it is an intensive course, and there’s a lot of material to work through and with. Please do make sure you have time to devote to it. Although the written materials can be downloaded and will be available to you for as long as you choose to keep them, the video material will be time-restricted and needs to be viewed in the week it becomes available. This is to ensure progression through the course at a steady pace.
At the heart of ‘The Voices of the Wells’ is a private Facebook group which will be available only for the duration of the course, and in which I’ll join you for individual and group discussions. You will need to sign up to Facebook to fully participate in this course; if you object to having a Facebook account please understand that you do not need to involve yourself in any other aspects of Facebook in order to participate in this dedicated, private group, and if you choose to you can leave as soon as the course is over. I’ve researched a number of alternative forums, but they are either prohibitively expensive or poor in features. If you would prefer to do the course without participating in the forum then this is quite possible, but the experience will be considerably less rich. The groups are kept purposefully small (a maximum of 20) so that supportive relationships can be formed between participants, and those relationships are formed both by participation in the webinars (see below), and by ongoing discussions in the Facebook group in between.
There is also the chance for you to join me in four hour-long webinars during the course, as well as the opportunity, in between, to learn from recorded video conversations with invited guest contributors. The webinars will take place on Saturdays, at a time which should allow comfortable participation by those of you in all parts of the world (except Australasia, where a very late night or early morning may be necessary to participate ‘live’ – with apologies; there is no time which works for the entire globe). Usually the times are 9am Irish time for the UK and Europe, and 4pm Irish time for the US and Canada. They’ll be recorded and made available to anyone who can’t make it.
The course will be divided into eight main sections, and every week for the duration of the course, you’ll receive a set of materials to download and work with. You’ll also receive brief twice-weekly emails with reflections, practices and issues for you to consider, and which can be discussed with your group in the Facebook forum.
Fees and dates
The total cost for the 10-week intensive ‘The Voices of the Wells’ course is 295 euros, and the fee must be paid in full a week before the course begins. Course fees can be paid by PayPal (a payment plan will be available if you sign up far enough in advance) or by bank transfer (in euros only).
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