I’m delighted to announce some preliminary information about a new course I’ll be offering from October 2015. It’s called ‘Reclaiming the Wise Woman’, and is the culmination of much of the work I’ve been doing, as well as the way I’ve been living and learning, over the past several years. Here’s the basic information; if you’d like to keep up to date with the course and new information about it, please do head over to the course page on my website and sign up to my newsletter.
As the state of the biosphere grows ever more perilous and contemporary culture becomes ever more alienated from the natural world, I believe it is the job of women to bring us back into right relationship with the land. Women have a special relationship with the earth, a unique understanding of her stories; the old mythologies across so many cultures tell us that it’s always been so. And in my native Celtic lands, once upon a time women were the guardians of the natural world, the heart of the land, ‘Sovereignty’ personified.
The Wise Woman springs out of those traditions: our own native wisdom and our own native lands. The Wise Woman is more than just an archetype: she is a living, breathing woman with a deeply connected way of being in the world. She knows that this connection is the secret of women’s creative power. Woman is the land and always has been; the land tells its stories to her and through her. The Wise Woman knows how to listen, and she knows how to tell. She has fallen into the land’s story; she is part of the land’s dreaming. She is a land-whisperer, a place-conjuror, a story-weaver; she listens for the wisdom of the Earth.
Men have their own story-makings and myth-tellings, but in the old Gaelic traditions which are my heritage, women were bards and poets too. Still, today, the voices of women are quieter, and our stories are less often heard. The Wise Woman is a woman who has reclaimed her stories, and has found the voice with which to tell them. The Wise Woman is remaking the world.
In this course we will explore and reclaim the Wise Woman tradition, bringing it alive and making it relevant to the world we live in today. We’ll explore both old and new representations of the Wise Woman in myth, story, literature and art. We’ll explore a range of skills and practices – practical and creative, and always, always deeply grounded – which help us develop a rich and authentic relationship with the natural world around us, and bring us back into balance with the land on which we live. We’ll learn to listen to the land’s dreaming, and to weave ourselves fully into the web of life.
This course takes place both online and by post, and it lasts for a year. Just before each New Moon – every four weeks, i.e. thirteen times during the year – you’ll receive an emailed link to a password-protected page on the website for the course from where you can download that moon’s materials. The online material will include video and audio files, and illustrated text PDFs. Each moon, there’ll be a ‘wise woman’ story which comes out of the native traditions of Celtic and Northern Europe (both in written form and as an audio file, with me telling and commenting on the story). Other original written course materials will focus on subjects which include working with plants, animals and trees; the art of ‘land-whispering’, or listening to the land’s dreaming; the ancient practice of land-augury; uncovering and telling the stories of place … more details and a full list of subjects will be available soon. There’ll also be reading recommendations, and links to external resources on the subject we’re dealing with during that moon.
Three times during the year, you’ll receive a package in the post which will contain the gift of a ‘Crane Bundle’ – a few small items relevant to the course content, wrapped in naturally dyed fabric. Crane bundles will include some combination of the following items or others according to inspiration: a card, a homemade balm or salve, a herb or seaweed, a gift from the land here in Donegal, a small piece of hand-stitching or other hand-crafting …
‘Reclaiming the Wise Woman’ is a self-directed course and there’s no one-to-one element built into it, but there will be a private Facebook group where you can discuss the course contents and the Wise Woman tradition with others who are enrolled, and with me.
The course will open up for the first time on October 13th 2015, at the New Moon, but it will be possible to subscribe to it at any time after that, beginning with the first Module on the next New Moon which follows the date of your subscription.
This course is relevant to, and therefore open to, women. It’s aimed at women of all ages, but I believe it will be especially interesting to and useful for women who are approaching or going through menopause or other midlife and late-life transitions, and who are thinking about what it might be to become Elder.
Note for those who have already undertaken my ‘Sisterhood of the Bones‘ course: there is no direct overlap, and all material provided for ‘Reclaiming the Wise Woman’ will be new. Whereas ‘Sisterhood of the Bones’ is very much about working on your own story, ‘Reclaiming the Wise Woman’ is broader in scope and in the practices offered.
The course will cost 180 euros if you are based in Ireland or the UK; in the rest of the world (due to higher air mail postage costs) it will cost 189 euros. You can either pay the course fee in a single payment, or you can pay in six monthly instalments (30 euros in the UK or Ireland; 31.50 euros in the rest of the world). However, as an early bird special, and in an effort to make the course more affordable to those who are on low wages, if you sign up before the end of August 2015 you can pay in ten monthly instalments (18 euros in the UK or Ireland; 18.90 euros in the rest of the world. http://sharonblackie.net/reclaiming-the-wise-woman/