Winter Solstice Newsletter 2018

I wish you a happy Winter Solstice and Winter Season and I hope you have a fulfilling 2019.

Soulfulness : Psychotherapy and Shamanism

It is twenty years since I qualified as a psychotherapist, and a year since the publication of my third book, Soulfulness : The Marriage of Shamanic and Contemporary Psychology.

Although sales have not been great, the book has been of profound benefit to me in my work. I have successfully integrated shamanic thought and practice into my psychosynthesis psychotherapy practice.

I feel now both fulfilled in my work and deeply moved by what my clients achieve, more than I have ever known.

Shamanic Programmes

Helen Johnson and I have planned a whole series of shamanic-based programmes for 2019. Helen is a homeopath, osteopath, cranial osteopath, workshop leader, and an altogether highly esteemed and talented person.

For more information about all of these programmes, please, contact Helen, helen@helenjohnson.org.

Shamanic Evenings

These evenings are held monthly on a Thursday evening from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. The evenings centre around the shamanic journey ceremony, which is like a dream; people journey into their inner world of imagination in a relaxed state of awareness, with a clear intention of seeking insight into some aspect of their lives. These evenings are gentle, peaceful, reflective, companionable, and often deeply moving.

Shamanic Course

This course is held over three Thursdays. It is an interactive and experiential workshop about shamanic thought and practice.

Day 1—The shamanic universe, the lower world; the shamanic journey; introductory shamanic journeys.

Day 2—The medicine wheel; shamanic thought and psychology; exploring the way we use our energy in our feelings, body, mind, and spirit; the way we use our creative energies.

Day 3—The shamanic universe, the upper world; an upper world journey to explore what we may be, what is emerging in our lives; introduction to soul retrieval.

Each day takes the form of a shamanic ceremony, including opening and closing the circle, and is gentle, peaceful, reflective, and companionable. Each shamanic journey is grounded in dialogue with other participants and in a group discussion.

Couples Programme—Deepening Our Union

The context of the programme is the developing union of two people.

The aim of the programme is to help each couple to develop closer intimacy, to deepen their relationship, to strengthen their sense both of autonomy and interdependence, to be equipped as a couple to address and resolve their relationship issues when they arise—it is not about resolving such issues within the programme—and to awaken a shared sense of service to the wider world. (If a relational issue arises for a couple we shall refer them for couple counselling to David England or one of his professional colleagues.)

By “intimacy” we mean a deep physical, emotional, and spiritual connection. The programme therefore hinges around each couple’s physical, emotional, and spiritual connection. There is dialogue and sharing of experience within couples, but the programme is not a talking shop.

Lancashire and Berkshire Folk Tales

Both Lancashire Folk Tales and Berkshire Folk Tales have recently been features on the ‘Currently Reading’ section of the ‘goodreads’ website. Links are as follows:

Lancashire Folk Tales

Berkshire Folk Tales

One of the joys of writing these books was our action research, travelling all over Berkshire with Tina Bilbé
and Lancashire with Jennie Bailey, and in the process creating our frame stories. In Berkshire there are delightful little-known villages, like:

Boxford

Blewbury

East Hagbourne

In Lancashire there have been many forms of transport, enjoyed by itinerant, time-shifting storytellers in the frame story, travelling on for example:

The Widnes-Runcorn Transporter Bridge

Leyland Titan TD1 Open-Staircase Double Decker Bus, Bolton Corporation No. 54

And of course, lots of wonderful and intriguing stories to read during the festive season. The banquet laid on for the 1715 Civil War Royalists by the ladies of Lancaster would be equal to any Christmas feast:

The women garnished their board as handsomely as their resplendent figures, as they laid out the fruits of Morecambe Bay, baked fluke, heaps of cockles and mussels, great tubs of shrimps oozing with warm butter, as well as whole baked salmon, pork chops, pheasant breasts, venison steaks, dishes of quaking pudding, shivering trifle, baked apples, fresh cream – and massive pots of Yorkshire tea.

This beautiful, stylish young woman, with soft, dark curls in a Gibson Girl style, is Mabel Cecilia Atwood from Lancaster County Nebraska. She has an interesting tale to tell. The tale is to be found in Chapter 7 of Lancashire Folk Tales, The Vengeance of Thomas Stanley.

Storytelling

I have been so busy with psychotherapy, shamanic programmes, and writing, I have had less time than I would like to tell traditional tales.

However, to celebrate World Book Day, I told stories to the students of EIFA International School, Marylebone, London. This was the first time I have told tales in a school for two days running, primary on 1st March and secondary on 2nd March, the first time I have told tales in a secondary school. Moreover, this occurred in the midst of ice and snow with transport disruption and station closures. Intrepid storytelling!

At Oxford Dance Camp I ran a storytelling session for children every day for a week and an evening of storytelling along with Jackie Singer, telling her Rhiannon stories from the Mabinogi, her rehearsal for Oxford Storytelling Festival.

I have been appointed as Grandfather Storyteller to my grandson Matteo’s school, Peter Gladwin School in Portslade, where I am a regular contributor.

I hope to do more storytelling in the coming year.

As always, for some seasonal reading to warm your heart, I offer you Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

My Books of the Year

One of my favourite books this year was Circe by Madeline Miller, which was also selected by ‘goodreads’ members as their Best Book in the Fantasy section. This is the tale of the Greek goddess of magic and enchantment, retold as a fantastic fantasy novel.

My other favourite book this year is more specialised, it is The Way of Psychosynthesis by Petra Guggisberg Nocelli.

For anyone interested in psychology, this is a ‘must read’. This book is an exciting read; it is a clearly written and uniquely comprehensive account of psychosynthesis, conceived by Roberto Assagioli, whose emphasis on synthesis embraced synthesis between mind and body, between opposites, between people individually and in groups, between different psychological schools, and in education.

With love and good wishes,

David