An invitation to a workshop with a difference – an immersion in mythic poetics in order to kindle the creative spark. The “Haunted Evaporations” workshops starts with the understanding that the psyche itself is poetic and creative. It offers practical creative tools and material to inspire and ground your creativity and set you on your path.
To find our creative spark, our job is not to “make something up” but to retrieve, accept and translate images we already carry with us into creative forms. To do this, we will visit the myth of Dionysos and his ivy covered theatre. There we will discover the place where stories and poetics come from – the place that psychologist James Hillman called “the Imaginal.”
Bring together “inner” and “outer”
This is a place where” inner” reality and “outer” reality meet. In our fractured world it can seem impossible to place these two together. We live in a world of grey landscapes and neon surfaces. We are surrounded by grey concrete ways of thinking glossed with digital neon skins. The result can be a loss of depth, a loss of vision and an ungrounded feeling of half known loss. All the pathologies of life that haunt us and drain us of appetite for life.
A practice that connects psyche to nature
I’ve worked as a dramatherapist with families with complex needs for 10 years. I worked as an outreach worker in mental health for 10 years before that, and taught drama and gardening. I’ve run groups, worked with individuals and developed workshops for conferences. For all this time i have kept up a creative practice as a poet-musican-writer as well as a gardener.
Transform raw material into poetics
What I learned through managing both a clinical and a creative practice is that pathologies – the knots, setbacks and wounds I and the people I work with carry – are also the raw material for a deeper creative connection with life, when held carefully and expressed well. My own well being and those of the people I work with have always been linked not to knowing exactly how the mind works, or to knowing the right technique for living, but by being more deeply connected to life.
Connect to the ecological – the indestructible life force
Connected life means a connection to a web of many threads – to the inner self, to other people and to the living planet. The key to this connection has always been the creative spark – what the ancient Greeks called “the indestructible life force” or Zoe. The mythic poetics of this creative spark belong to the realm of Dionysos – the god of the indestructible life force. It is his myth we will use as a map for rekindling the creative.
I want to bring together what i have learned in my creative and clinical pratice and offer it in accessible way to help more people connect psyche to reality. Now, where the absence of a deeper vision of reality seems so clear, reflected in the many troubled splits in our world, this creative work seems more important than ever.
Within carefully created spaces, we can rekindle our own creative spark. Held on the old pagan day of Imbolc, which was the day of “the promise of the coming of Spring,” the workshop is a chance to rekindle the enduring promise of your own creative spark and it’s sources in nature and psyche. We will do this using the most ancient and durable of psychological tools – myth, movement and poetics.
You can find out more about Haunted Evaporations, and read the essays, poems and music that make it up here
You can buy the book of original poems Haunted Evaporations here
Praise for Haunted Evaporations:
“Toby goes to dark places to find small flowers growing and shines moonlight on our evaporating civilisation. And the deathly line at the heart of it could stand as the admonition for our age: ‘Learn to become haunted.’” Steve Thorp, editor, Unpsychology Magazine
“Toby’s work had a strong effect on me: specific, lasting. His work feels urgent and fully awake” Tanya Shadrick, author of the Wild Patience scrolls.
“We can and do lose our souls” James Hillman.
Carl Jung wrote that modern man is in search of a soul. Often our world itself becomes soullless – obligations of work, repetitions of daily life, overwhelming stories in the news.
Despite the heroics of many teachers, doctors and psychologists, a soulless approach to education, to health and to the psyche dominates our way of life – mechanical, reductive and impersonal.
At the same time, endless digital corridors eask us to be the authors of our own identity, create a new profile, be more popular. We are more “connected” and yet more aliented than ever before.
At at the eye of the storm, this soullessness finds expression in climate change, as the true cost of our lifestyle starts to be reckoned.
But If I say the something has lost it’s soul what does that actually mean? What’s been lost?
For Hillman, soul isn’t a thing, some kind invisible religious part of ourself located in a spiritual dimension.
Rather, it’s a way of seeing through to what’s below the surface: the perceptions of the heart and imagination. These have to be created rather than found.
Although they are always there, it takes practice to actualise these perceptions in a poem, painting, or story. Even more so to acualise in a life. It’s a process of allowing our ideals to become weathered with soul as described here
To be more precise, it takes not practice but a practice – a practice of poetics – of the poetics of psyche, the poetics of the body, and a poetics of the animate world that contains it all.
When I began Haunted Evaporations, I had been working as a dramatherapist for 7 years. I had learned how a dedicated space and a reliable relationship creates a vessel that the raw material of life can be poured into. I saw how this raw material can be heated and remoulded to offer potential transformation – a poesis
Working as a therapist work is stimulating, and worthwhile, but a crucial aspect was missing – a a sense of how my own creativity connected to a deeper experience of reality. I wrestled with and worked on this at a number of levels – artistically, philosophically but most of all I needed a space to share and develop my own images. My own paradise of shadows.
It’s this space that I would like to offer to you.
A workshop based on Haunted Evaporations, so that you can use it’s key elements to stimulate and develop your own creativity.
The workshop will invite you to:
Enter the Imaginal -create a space to bring the creative spark to life
Experience deeper embodiement- ‘the human body is precisely our capacity for metamorphosis’ (David Abram, Becoming Animal)
Meet your Guide – find what your images want to say and how they might guide you.
Approach the Eros of authenticity – discover how creativity connects us to ourselves, others and the world.
Let me know if you are interested and we can make the space happen. i’d like to limit the number of spaces so that those that do come get a good chance to really get some time and space to access their creativity.
“see how the ghosts of impermanence slide straight through the mind of the open reciever again and again like smoke through a tree” (Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus)