THE BONE CAVE
Interactive online gatherings with Dr Sharon Blackie
An old Samoyed saga tells of a hero who dies three times. Twice, he is brought back to life by an old man with one hand, one leg and one eye. The third time, the old man can’t save him, and so he gathers the hero’s bones into a bag and takes them to an old woman who lives deep in a cave. She is tended by bone-people; a monster guards her left side and another guards her right. The old woman burns the bones in her fire pit and sleeps on the ashes; three days later, the hero is restored to life.
Our ancestors descended into caves to listen to the whisperings of the Otherworld. From January 2021, I’ll be taking up residence in my own virtual Bone Cave, tending a fire pit around which you are all invited to gather, and listen with me to the songs of salty rock and earth-root. The Bone Cave is a place for entering into the mystery – for imagining and reimagining the world, and our own unique mythopoetic journey through it.
In The Bone Cave, we’ll gather together around our virtual fire pit at least once a month, and delve deeply into the myths and stories which can sing new life back onto the ashes of our depleted bones. We’ll search the hidden cracks for the images which call to our soul; we’ll come together to remember who we are, and who we someday might become.
HOW IT WORKS
One Saturday each month, I’ll be offering a virtual fire circle from 2pm to 7pm UK time (9 am to 2 pm US Eastern time; 6 am to 11 am US Pacific time). Meetings will take place via Zoom, in a format which enables us to enjoy each other’s faces, and to break out into discussion groups to deepen our connections with other participants. Recordings will be available to all participants afterwards, so if you can’t make it live you’ll still be able to enter into the richness of the experience.
Each month, we’ll explore a new theme. We’ll work with the rising feminine, the mythic imagination, the soul’s journey home. Each gathering will include story, poetry, teachings, participant discussion groups and creative prompts. You’ll also have access to a web page with useful resources, and you’ll be invited to a privately hosted forum on my website, which is available to all those who take my courses and which is a great place to build a community of mythmakers and soulseekers.
There’s no membership requirement for these gatherings: you can simply book one or more sessions which appeal to you during the course of the year.
From time to time, I’ll also be offering occasional shorter sessions and free webinars in The Bone Cave. Please keep an eye out in my newsletter and on social media to keep up to date.
Please click on the modules above to find out more information, and to join us in gathering around our virtual fire pit in The Bone Cave. Each gathering is offered at a fee of £30.
Brigid and the return of the light
As the old Gaelic festival of Imbolc approaches, we’ll explore the mythology of the old Celtic goddess and early Christian saint, Brigid. We’ll uncover her association with the perpetual fire, and her relationship to the archetypes of the Smith, the Poet, and the Green Woman. What inspiration can she offer at this time of the return of the light?
THE HOLY LONGING
Ancient European traditions tell us that each of us came to this life with what the poet Goethe called a ‘holy longing’: an urgent calling, a personal gift, a unique image which we carry with us, like a necessary candle, to illuminate this world at this challenging time. In this gathering, we’ll explore the ways in which we might uncover and harness that holy longing inside.
DETAILS COMING SOON
Reclaiming the dark feminine
The rich, multi-faceted face of the dark feminine has long been consigned to the shadows by an over-culture which insists that its women should be ‘nice’. How do we unlock the closet door and embrace the wild, the wrathful, the cthonic in our nature? We’ll work with the stories of Lilith, Hel, Hecate and the Morrígan to explore the transformative power of the dark feminine.
DETAILS COMING SOON
A PSYCHE THE SIZE OF EARTH
The roots of our native European traditions are anchored in the land, and, if we reach out to them, our places can be our greatest teachers. In this workshop, we’ll explore the ways in which we can court and embed ourselves in the psyche of this beautiful animate earth and fall headlong into the land’s long dreaming.
DETAILS COMING SOON
seeing in the dark: women and the oracular
In our native traditions, women were prophets, oracles, seers. They were conduits between worlds; portals through which the Otherworld could speak. Today, we need true oracles more than ever. How can we learn from the sage women our ancestors honoured?
DETAILS COMING SOON
creating our inner imaginarium
Each of us has our own unique inner imaginarium. We’re each haunted by different images, resonate with particular myths or fairy tales, and with specific archetypal characters within them. And we identify with different archetypal characters and patterns at different times in our own lives. How do we uncover those patterns, bring those images to life, and let them work their magic on us?
DETAILS COMING SOON
Images: Andrea Kowch www.andreakowch.com
I’m delighted to announce my first event in the Bone Cave: a free live webinar based on my book, If Women Rose Rooted. I’ll talk about the process of writing it, how the inspiration came about, but most of all, how my ideas on reclaiming the feminine have progressed in the intervening four or more years. There’ll be a chance to ‘ask me anything’ about any issue related to the book, special offers from my publishers, and the chance to win a free gift from me.
This event will take place on Saturday 12 December, 16.00 – 18.00 UK time (11 am – 1 pm US ET; 8 am – 10 am US PT). Please bookmark this date and time, and do sign up to my newsletter for more information on how to join – or check back here from mid-October.
IN COLLABORATION WITH THE ROWE CENTER
4 weeks, beginning Saturday October 31, 12 noon – 2 pm US Eastern time. US$125
The women we think of as witches were edge-dwellers: haunters of moonlit crossroads, inhabitants of the margins of community. They were keepers of the ‘old ways’ – natural animists who saw plants and animals not just as allies, but as kin. They were healers and medicine women, shapeshifters and storykeepers. They were dancers, diviners and dreamers; they were visionaries, consorting with the Otherworld. They were the ‘fairy witches’, the cunning folk, the wise women. They were the guardians of women’s mysteries.
In this four-part online workshop, you will delve deeply into the many facets of the witch in the history, myth and folklore of Europe, and in contemporary culture. We’ll work with story, myth, and poetry to plunder the depths of our imagination, and unlock the inspiration that this complex archetype holds for our lives today.
IN COLLABORATION WITH EMBERCOMBE
Sunday December 20, 10 am – 5 pm UK time. £65
In this one-day online Winter Solstice retreat we will gather and embrace the uncertainty of the dark.
This is the time that T.S. Eliot called ‘the still point of the turning world’. A time to hold still, right there in the heart of the dark. A sacred pause, in the place between stories. Winter Solstice is a time of renewal, a time to immerse ourselves in the cycles of nature: of death and rebirth, of darkness and light. It’s a time to think about change and transformation, letting the long, cold dark strip us down to the bare bones. Let winter strip us bare like an old oak tree. Letting the final leaves that we’re clinging onto fall. Letting it all fall, and see what still holds us upright. We’ll learn how to dance with the dark, and how to navigate the times in our lives which seem fallow: the place between stories. We’ll work with fairy tale, myth and poetry, sprinkling a trail of breadcrumbs to help us find our way through the dark.
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