Tuesday, 15 September 2009

November 13-15: GLASTONBURY, Chalice Well, Somerset
Residential retreat weekend for women with Carolyn

This workshop is woven around Carolyn’s most recent cycle of work Ashes and Earth, which describes four spirit women who embody a winter journey into the primordial cauldron of crows, the vessel that holds our most profound mysteries of death and life, as we enter the earth along the harsh edge of winter and deep into the silent lands.

We will travel through a starkly beautiful landscape of death and restoration, touching into dark solitude with the Dissolving Woman (who carries the burden of wounds within the deep belly of the cauldron);A journey into shadow. ASHES AND EARTH: The Cauldron of Crows (2008/9): Solitude, the disintegrating woman and the bearer of wounds are aspects of the darkest mythological guardian of the Ashes and Earth cycle. She is found within the primordial cauldron of crows, the vessel that holds our most profound mysteries of death and life. In this workshop we enter the earth along the harsh edge of winter and deep into the silent lands. Involves a personal ritual journey into the Cauldron House and the shared creation of a winter book.

SOLITUDE:The burden of wounds

silent incubation with the Hollowing Woman (hidden far inside the marrow of ancient bones);ASHES AND EARTH: The Hollowing (2009):A place of incubation. A special retreat for the deep winter. Within the silent stillness of the hollowing woman, caught in the marrow of ancient bones and far inside the cauldron of crows, rests one seed that holds the key to the restoration of life. So we create a journey of germination and renewal as we pause before the last out-breath of winter, held at a turning point within the protecting hands of the oldest guardian, and guided by the visions that wait behind our eyes. A time for mending, dreaming, tending fires and travelling gently, supported within the circle of women and nurtured by the ancient land.

SILENCE:The restoration of grace

inspired renewal with the Bleeding Woman (as she follows the strange seam where death and life are knitted together);ASHES AND EARTH: Raw Earth (2009):A moment of awakening. Over the raw spring earth runs the quickening woman, following the strange seam where death and life are knitted together, where a perfect balance exists between the winding of shrouds and the vibrant expression of new energy. We are midwoves of so much: last and fisrt journeys, blodd of grave and of womb, return and release, physical and elemental bodies, all lifted on a rising wave of change. Involves a profound connection with a wild place and the alchemy of sacred water. We use willow and hazel on which to spin some spring magic and paint our red journeys as we catch the early spring waves of energy that carries us onwards towards the illumination of summer.

HOPE:The gift of shrouds

and the blessing of lament with the Illuminating Woman (who dances on the cauldron rim where the ultimate gifts of light are finally revealed). ASHES AND EARTH: The Illuminating Woman (2009): A blessing of light. The final weekend in the Ashes and Earth cycle of journeys that have explored our intimate connection with a moon that repeatedly carries us on a circle road through dark solitude, incubation, inspired renewal and the illumination of memory. In the full brilliance of the Illuminating Woman we discover the ultimate blessing of ashes and earth. She slowly dances around the rim of the cauldron of crows, where light is revealed through its relationship with shadow, creting deep ceremony enriched by the intricate weavings of soul songs and lament and the wonder of life. Together we prepare a white ritual house, a ceremonial dancing ground and small looms on which to catch light, air and bright memory.

LAMENT:The blessing of songs

Through all of this we trace our intimate connection with the moon as she carries us around the circle road.

The waxing and waning of the moon move her like a shuttle on the loom. The symbolism of spinning and weaving, of spun threads and woven cloth, extends into all life. The fabric that gives shape to birthing and living and growing and dying is frayed, picked apart, cut and rewoven into new cloth. And so cloth forms a significant aspect of this work and a physical testament to the ancient hands that work the sacred loom. Old fabrics woven on hand looms, memories and songs sewn into skirts, the shawl in which we nurse our babes, the veil that protects and binds, the threads onto which we bleed, the shroud into which we are sewn, the spindle that winds us out to the very edges of death, all the weavings of loss and return…

Text and images from the workshops and prints page at Seventh Wave Music:/www.seventhwavemusic.co.uk

Collage at top developed from images from the work of Mark Dunn at www.goetia-girls.com and the image of Carolyn Hiller at the Chalice Well site at http://www.chalicewell.org.uk/index.cfm/glastonbury/Events.Details/event_id/75

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