THE VOICES OF THE WELLS
From 2018 onwards, this course will last for eight weeks. It’ll be offered on three occasions throughout the year, and for each intake the group size will be limited an absolute maximum of 20 people. The first intake will begin January 20 (see bottom of the page for sign-up information); please subscribe to Sharon’s newsletter to stay informed about other dates in 2018.
‘The Voices of the Wells: the Eco-Heroine’s Journey’ 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 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. For the duration of this course, then, I aim to bring together a tribe of women who can 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 encourage a greater sense of belonging to our places?
- How do we encourage people to take responsibility for their 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.)
In contrast to my self-study online courses, ‘The Voices of the Wells’ is both more intensive and more interactive. At the heart of it 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 note that you do not need to involve yourself in any other aspects of Facebook in order to participate in this dedicated, private group, and 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.)
There is also the chance for you to join me in an hour-long webinar every two weeks for the duration of the course, as well as the opportunity, in between, to learn from recorded video conversations with invited guest contributors. The four webinars will take place on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, at a time which should allow comfortable participation by those of you in all parts of the world except Australasia (with apologies; there is no time which works for the entire globe). 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 8-week intensive ‘The Voices of the Wells’ course in 2018 will be 295 euros.
Course fees can be paid by PayPal, or by bank transfer (in euros only). Bank transfers incur no transaction fees. If you use PayPal to pay the course fee, their transaction fee is 3.4% if you’re in the UK or most parts of Europe, 4.4% if you’re in the USA or Canada, and 5.2% if you’re based elsewhere in the world. These fees will be added to your final bill.
The first course for 2018 will begin on January 20 and will end on March 17. Please see the section below for sign-up information. Other intake dates for 2018 will be announced in our newsletter during the course of the year; they will likely be in May and in September.
Course commencing January 20, 2018
The first ‘Voices of the Wells’ course for 2018 will begin on January 20. If you would like to join the course, please make a non-refundable deposit payment of 50 euros using the PayPal button below. (If you would prefer to make this payment by bank transfer – euros ONLY – please email us.) The remainder of the fee will be invoiced to you on January 2 and it must be paid in full before the course begins. Please note that the PayPal transaction fees noted in the section above will be added to your final invoice.
You do not have to have a PayPal account to make this payment; anyone can pay using a credit or debit card; PayPal will also take care of any currency conversion for you. If you do already have a PayPal account, please ensure that the email address associated with it is up to date, as this is the only way we have of getting in touch with you.
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