With Chris Salisbury and Jay Griffiths
We live in a culture that mistrusts the night. In its desire to understand and control chaotic nature, our society deifies the light at the expense of the dark.
This is partly physical, so the light of electricity blots out soft, dancing firelight and shadow. It is partly metaphysical, so the inherent gifts of darkness - enchantment, intuition, dream and renewal - are devalued. At this darkest time of the year, it seems appropriate to seek ways of redeeming the night, darkness and winter.
What does the history of sleep tell us about a respect for the dark? How does a screen-addicted lifestyle affect the body and the mind? The course will explore the importance of twilight, winter, and examines our relationship with the mysteries of night time.
What happens in the woods at night? What are the creatures of the dark, and how do they communicate? What has the night sky meant to poets? Can you see by starlight? What are the evocative echoes of Enchanter's Nightshade?
'Let darkness be your candle', wrote Rumi, and this course will explore the powers and gifts of darkness not just as the tomb of death, but also as the womb of creation and a source of renewal. In early lunar and solar myths, the time of darkness was always the time of transformation when death was followed by rebirth as the new crescent of the moon and the new disc of the Sun. This pattern of nature has informed our mythological consciousness and offers us a way of understanding the mysteries of our own darkness.
During this short course, Chris Salisbury of WildWise and the Westcountry Storytelling Festival will lead an investigation of our own relationship with the dark through a series of physical explorations and activities. These will include nightwalks, meditations, natural observation, stargazing, storytelling and movement work. Jay Griffiths will use writing exercises to tell our stories of the dark, and lead workshops on the poetry of night. We will search collectively for an understanding, and connection with the gifts hidden within the night, towards a deeper respect for this underappreciated realm.