Winter Solstice Newsletter 2017

Whatever you celebrate during the holiday period, I wish you a wonderful celebration.

Soulfulness : The Marriage of Shamanic and Contemporary Psychology

The big event this year, as a writer and a psychotherapist, is the publication by Karnac of my latest book, ‘Soulfulness’.

The book brings the wisdom of the ancient healing practice of shamanism together with the insights of contemporary psychology. This achieves an integrated approach to therapeutic work with people who suffer symptoms of early trauma. Which I guess is most of us!

As a highly respected, academic publisher of psychological works, Karnac is the ideal publisher for a book which needs to establish solid ground for the inclusion of something so apparently way out as shamanism into the psychotherapy mainstream.

There is more information on my website, http://soulfulness.co.uk/shamanism-book.

The link for sales of the book on the Karnac website, for the UK and worldwide, is:

http://www.karnacbooks.com/product/soulfulness-the-marriage-of-shamanic-and-contemporary-psychology/38856/

The link for US sales is:

http://us.karnacbooks.com/product/soulfulness-the-marriage-of-shamanic-and-contemporary-psychology/38856/

Soulfulness – Psychotherapy For Soul

Vases, © Anne Strange, 2015

Writing a book like this is just not enough. I need to put all I have learnt in writing the book – about what it means to be a psychotherapist – into action. Over a period of time: I have been introducing Medicine Wheel teachings into my psychotherapy practice; I have been showing my psychotherapy clients how to make shamanic journeys and to benefit from them. The full realisation of the marriage of shamanic and contemporary psychology and practice, as I have formulated it, is work in progress, as I continue to learn more about what it means to be a psychotherapist.

In line with these developments, I have renamed my psychotherapy practice ‘Psychotherapy for Soul’, and I have created a new psychotherapy website, http://soulfulness.co.uk/. My axiom is ‘Healing past traumas. Visioning the future.’

The new website is enhanced by paintings from artist Anne Strange, including this one from the Couple Counselling webpage. Contact me to learn more and about Anne and her art.

Shamanic Course

Next year, I am running a three day course, under the auspices of Alchemic Healing Arts Academy (AHAA) with Helen Johnson, who describes the course and its presenter with the words below. [Forgive me for passing on her superlatives.]

A series of three days with David England. Psychotherapist, Shaman and Storyteller. An incredible genius.

Day 1-The medicine wheel, shamanic thought and psychology, April 12th 2018

Day 2 -The shamanic universe, shamanic journeys, and soul retrieval, May 10th 2018

Day 3- Feedback, grounding, and consolidation, May 24th 2018

The Cost of this course is £240 for all 3 days and an £80 deposit is required to reserve your place. The course is limited to 20 people.

The Venue for the course is:

The Healing Space, St John’s Convent, Linden Hill Lane, Kiln Green, RG10 9XP,
which is on A4 near Maidenhead, junction 8/9 of M4. It is about 30 minute drive from West London.

If you are interested in the course or have any questions, please contact Helen Johnson on helen@helenjohnson.org. Please, contact Helen for the full 2018 course programme at the Alchemic Healing Arts Academy.

Berkshire Folk Tales

There is still time to buy Berkshire Folk Tales as Christmas presents, if you go to http://davidengland.co.uk/berkshire-folk-tales, or your usual book supplier.

Here is an extract from The Pleasant History of Thomas of Reading, all about the Ostrich inn’s famous penny pork pasties.

On arrival at the Ostrich, Thomas Cole quickly stabled his horse, handed over his purse, fat from his London trade, to Jarman’s wife for safe keeping, and put in his order for penny pork pasties. “Oi put ‘e in moi bes’ room, zur, above moi warm kitchen,” said Jarman’s wife, “Youm be warm as pork crackling.” Later, sated on good ale and pork pasties, Thomas retired to the Jarmans’ best room.

Unbeknown to the patrons of the Ostrich, there was a dark side to the Jarmans’ business. It had been the wife’s idea to make the floor of the best room pivot on an iron beam, with the floor held in place by two stout iron pins, and it was Jarman who had crafted it. The bed was bolted to the pivoted floor, positioned over a mighty cauldron used to seethe the liquor for brewing.

The moonless night was deepest dark. Nearby, a screech owl uttered a piteous cry. A raven blacker than the night croaked by the bedroom window. Thomas was oblivious of these dire warnings and snored on. The Jarmans listened at the best room door until Thomas’ snoring fell into a steady rhythm. Then they tiptoed down to the kitchen. Jarman quietly slipped out the two iron pins. Slowly, oh so slowly, the finely balanced best bedroom floor, with the bed upon it, tipped the still sleeping Thomas of Reading – like a burial at sea into the foaming deep – into the hot foaming oil in the cauldron beneath.

Jarman and his wife swiftly hauled Thomas out of the cauldron with grappling hooks, a look of faint surprise still lingering upon his deep-fried features. He was quickly quartered, placed in roasting pans, and popped into the large pre-heated oven.

By the time Thomas was done to a turn, Jarman and his wife had mixed and rolled out the pastry and laid out the butcher’s choppers and knives. This was the part they loved the best, chopping up the roast meat and slicing it into chunks to make their delicious ‘penny pork pasties’, which were so good even the Ostrich Inn’s own cellarmen and serving wenches relished them. The Jarmans split open Thomas’ bones and made rich marrow gravy to moisten the meat. Finally, they sealed the pasties with a little milk, cut two holes in the pastry tops to let the steam release, and put the pasties in the oven to cook.

When all was done, and the pasties were left to cool for the day’s trade, the Jarmans retired to their rest, content in the knowledge they were the richer by the contents of Thomas’ purse and the value of his horse and flesh.

Here is another extract, from the story of the Battle of Ashdown 8 January 871.

Ælfred felt ready for battle. He surveyed the battle scene: the Danes were in an advantageous position on high ground, well disciplined, waiting patiently for their opponents to become disheartened – the Saxon energy and will to fight to be dissipated – before they struck; the Saxons were made edgy and impatient by the protracted lull and a king who had left the field. In the absence of his brother, Ælfred gives the order to attack.

With shields held high, spears held forward and loud shouts, the Wessex army moves swiftly up the slope, their shield wall well in place. The Viking army is caught on the hop by this sudden charge, its shield wall is not quite in place, and many in its front rank are speared before it recovers from the impact of the attack and reinforces its shield wall. But the confidence of the Viking hordes has been dented, the advantage of high ground has been lost, and the men of Wessex drive at them with increased vigour.

The Saxons stand shoulder to shoulder in the shield wall. Their wide, round shields are of lime wood, light and strong and hard to penetrate. Their bossed shields abut, so each man protects himself and the warrior to his left. The ranks behind stand ten deep, so when one man falls there is another to take his place, and another, and another…. The shield wall is an organic engine of death fuelled by the bodies of men. To be in the shield wall is to know absolute horror and terror and utter despair of life and soul.

Lancashire Folk Tales

There is still time to buy Lancashire Folk Tales as Christmas presents, if you go to http://davidengland.co.uk/lancashire-folk-tales, or your usual book supplier.

Here is an extract from the story of the Unsworh Dragon.

A dragon burst out of the forest and began at once to devour the sheep. A young shepherd rushed forward to protect his flock, waving his crook. The serpent opened his great maw and brought it down over the boy’s head and shoulders. The other shepherds saw his legs flailing as he was sucked into the worm’s crop.

The people poured out of the settlement with spears and axes to fight and kill the dragon, but these weapons were useless against his impenetrable hide. Many perished in the skirmish, slithering down into the creature’s capacious crop.

Once the worm’s desire for flesh was satisfied, he withdrew into the forest, only to re-emerge the next day, and the next. For seven weeks of seven long days the dragon ravaged the land for miles around, gorging on the people as they tended their crops and animals.

The dragon had a partiality for females. However vigilant a woman might be, the worm had a way of coming upon her unawares, burrowing through the earth and bursting out behind her. A moment too late she would turn, to be transfixed by recognition before the great maw gulped her into its gullet.

One woman, more than one, was able to flee. The serpent caught her with his tail and gathered her in his coils. He crushed her till her bones cracked, then lifting her aloft he let go. She fell, her eyes wide with terror, screaming and flailing, head-first down the worm’s gaping gullet.

From the worm’s crop radiated the hot stench of blood and decaying flesh, the acrid reek of lost wives and daughters drifting across the fields and settlements.

Here is another extract, from the story of the Battle of Preston 1715. Words in quotes come from a contemporary journal. It’s all true!

The rebel Jacobite army entered Lancaster in their ranks, with swords drawn, colours flying, drums beating and bagpipes playing. James III was proclaimed King.

Meanwhile, the ‘laydys of the towne’ prepared to entertain their guests. Stripping off their day clothes, they laced on tall-waisted stays, wide-fronted and narrow-backed, a loose gown of soft material with a skirt belling-out over the hips, an open-fronted bodice with richly decorated stomacher and coordinating petticoat. The overall effect was of broad hips, narrow waist, erect posture, and high, full, firm breasts, très décolleté as Lancashire women say, the zenith of allure.

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.

Now the women were ready. In the afternoon, the ‘laydys of the towne’ invited the gentlemen soldiers to drink a dish of tea with them. The invitation was warmly received, and ‘the gentlemen soldiers dressed and trimmed themselves up in their ‘best cloathes for to drink a dish of tea with the laydys of this towne’. The women ‘apeared in their best riging, and had their tea tables richly furnished for to entertain their new suitors’ – and also to divert them.

The tea party was a singular, scintillating triumph. The gentlemen soldiers were utterly captivated by the flattering words and soft caresses of the ‘very beautyfull laydys’, enticing them away from all thought of conflict, but with glad hearts and full bellies they lost all appetite for affray, save for the swordplay of romance.

Storytelling

Traditional Oral Storytelling

David Storytelling

I have not been available to work as a storyteller for the last two years, but now I am back. My storytelling website is http://davidengland.co.uk/.

One of my greatest joys is to spend a day in a primary school telling stories to the children. Please, visit my webpage about Storytelling with Children, http://davidengland.co.uk/storytelling/storytellingwithchildren.

I tell stories to adult and family audiences, at Schools and Libraries, Nature Centres, Weddings and Family Occasions, Rotary Clubs, Corporate Events and Private Parties.

My next storytelling event is as part of a Winter Solstice Gathering:

Event: The Winter Solstice Gathering & Enchanted Market

Venue: Mansion House, Prospect Park, Reading. Berkshire RG30 2ND

Date and Time: 17 December 11am onwards. Storytelling 12 noon.

Organiser: Pippa Furlong-king (Mother Earth Foundation)

Link for further information: https://www.messenger.com/t/pippa.furlongking.

Unsetl, A New Folk Album from My Son Ed

https://unsetl.bandcamp.com/releases

New folk tunes which try to capture something of our unsettled lives.

— once – maybe – almost, all of us existed in a world maybe 30 miles across, where we lived and worked and raised families and lived all our lives – until now – now – if we’re privileged – we live in an accessible world, a world of transient communities, where old settlements are temporary, places only of transit – life’s journey is a literal one, restless – settlements are more often un-settling, unfamiliar, disengaged – and we are unrooted – but our traditional culture celebrates place, is a product of its environment, its community and customs – until now – now –

we have discarded a culture of place in search of a culture of surface, of a series of new and transient experiences, exotica, novelty – so what of those settlements which we once created to express our communities need for roots and stability and belonging? – they’re still there and we still move through and across their landscapes – I felt like they needed a culture, an expression of their place as we live it today – so, this is folk music at its core, but folk music where I tried to capture that sense of transience – and otherness – and unsettlement —