Sometimes, I think I’m one of the luckiest people on the planet. As well as living in a place I love, with a family I love (husband, dogs, cat and all), I also deeply love my work. After a few early decades of twists and turns and too much time off the path, now my books and other writings are well published, and my courses and workshops are well-attended. I feel as if I’ve finally fully stepped into what I believe to be my calling – though that’s a journey, for sure, that I don’t believe ever ends.
With just one disastrous exception (I guess we all have our haters, detractors and stalkers!) I’ve been incredibly fortunate over the past few years in having been able to collaborate with, and support the work of, many soulful and talented women across the world. These exchanges happen as they should: in a competition-free zone, with mutual respect and affection. And so today I wanted to take the time to acknowledge just a few of those women: specifically, those who are offering courses and workshops here in Ireland and the UK which are aimed at reclaiming our native traditions and/or finding authentic ways of living and being in these increasingly challenging times.
These are all women I know personally, and whose work I can vouch for; I’m grateful that some of them are also good friends. So if you’re looking for big-hearted, grounded, generous and gracious guides to help you in your journey, check them out.
Manda is an award-winning and best-selling novelist, but also runs workshops on shamanic dreaming. As well as being incredibly generous to fellow authors, she’s a teacher of great power and integrity. If you’ve read her utterly brilliant Boudica novels, you’ll have some idea of the way she works. Find her here.
(I’m also eternally grateful to Manda’s partner Faith Tilleray, who designed my beautiful new website. Faith is more than a web designer: she’s a wonderfully strategic/analytical thinker with many rich gifts to offer the world. Find her here.)
For those of you looking for inspiration within native Welsh traditions, Angharad Wynne is as good as it gets. Angharad offers a three-year training for people who want to work spiritually and ritually with the land and connect with these ancient, native spiritual threads. Find her here.
(Watch out for a ‘This Mythic Life’ podcast I’m recording with Angharad for Samhain.)
My occasional co-conspirator and fairy tale expert Joanna Gilar has just launched a new initiative: The Story Commons. The Story Commons is ‘a wild-place space which uses folk and fairy storytelling to explore and restore our relationship to human and non-human communities’. Check out the just-launched website to find out more about Jo’s brilliant projects, courses and online journal. Find it here.
If you’re interested in working with Celtic women’s circles, and with the energies of the divine feminine within an Irish context, Karen is an inspirational guide. Find her Moon Mná website here.
Many of you will know my very dear friend Moya from If Women Rose Rooted and The Enchanted Life (you’ll probably find her in the forthcoming Hagitude too; I can’t seem to shake her off!) From the beautiful Cosán Ciúin in Co Leitrim, Moya offers workshops on a variety of subjects, including her brilliant ‘The Soul’s Journey Home’ in which, among other things, you get to make masks and dance with Death. Find her here.
Christine Valters Paintner
If you’re interested in working within the Christian tradition, but with a decidedly Celtic flavour, my lovely, gentle friend Christine is the best of all possible guides. She offers a variety of pilgrimages, workshops and online courses, and she’s a fine poet, too! Christine is based in Galway; check out the Abbey of the Arts here.
If you’re looking for ways of deepening and widening your knowledge, and working with the medicine and healing of the plants and of nature, Nikki’s ‘Plant Medicine School’ is a great place to begin. Nikki has a background in plant science, and is now a practitioner of herbal medicine, aromatherapy, and aromatic medicine; she’s exceedingly knowledgable on the subject of our native Irish plants. Find her here.
Caroline uses foraged wild and ancient materials to create beautifully crafted works of art, and offers drawing, illustration, wild crafts, courses, classes and life drawing tuition. I’m looking forward to collaborating with her during our 2020 HedgeWise festival. Find her here, and follow her as @foundandground on Instagram, where she has a beautiful and inspiring page. (She also happens to be a fine swordswoman who keeps threatening to teach me to use a sword; I can’t decide whether or not that would be a good thing or a bad thing for the world at large 🙂 )
I’m delighted to introduce you to Selena, who will be working with me to facilitate Ireland-based events, retreats and workshops from 2020. Selena has been involved in group work for many years; working with ceremony, myth and Earth-centred wisdom, she enjoys creating and holding a safe space in which personal transformation can occur. She’s also working with Angharad’s ‘Dadeni’ tribe, and is training to be a Death Doula. (I’m still trying to persuade Selena to set up a website! – maybe this will help my case …)
Featured image by Andrea Kowch