Sunday, 26 September 2010

UK dates 2010/11



i am holed up in the lovely apartment of the noble Doug Von Koss, as i reflect back on a crap-kickingly wonderful first weekend of the West Coast School of Myth (US). Just under 30 souls gathered up in Point Reyes for a true soul jump into some very deep waters this weekend. Young and old (er), women and men, some esctatic and some grief filled came many miles to explore wild language, landscape and image. Like otters in love with sacred gurgles we have had a fabulous swim in the story river and now stand on the bank, wide eyed with dripping fur. Sleep and rest my friends! Joyful study awaits to ground these leaps of the psyche. A look forward to our next meeting and further exporation of this emerging Culture of Wildness. A very special gathering and a great candle of light as we move into smokey autumn.GET TO THE NEXT GATHERING IF YOU POSSIBLY CAN - great things are afoot with this bunch of arcane earth lovers.

So, the Iron Bird carries me back to the girls in a few hours (not a moment to soon), but i am full to the brim of old friends and new friends, much kindess and racous cries to the old gods.

hey, i saw that Basquiat movie- The RADIENT CHILD: nothing about it i did not love. Super hip, playful and brilliant. Too cool for school that flying boy. R.I.P. Jean Michel.

Friday, 24 September 2010



Suited and booted i await a lift from the bay area up to Point Reyes. Thanks you to everyone involved in last nights wonderful evening in Oakland, great to see such a large turn out for these wild old stories. 'Tasting the Milk of Eagles' is having a mad burst of last minute sign ups, so contact lisa at point reyes books today, if you want to squeeze into our wyld gang of poets and gamblers.

SLIGHTLY OFFICIAL NOTE: for all UK friends, for all those intending to attend the year course or the upcoming WHEEL OF STORY please go to and contact Tina today. It is a huge organizational drag to have people show at the last second for these longer events -hire of venues etc etc. So, i'd take it as a personal favor if you kept us in your mythical loop.

Had dinner last night with BARRY SPECTOR, witty author of 'MADNESS AT THE GATES OF THE CITY: The Myth of American Innocence'-this is a great,intelligent read with some pretty disturbing ideas in it. Recommended -it is someone really trying to communicate some wild thoughts. 8 years in the making he said, over Guinness and a wonderful curry. Lots on shaggy Dionysus.

Yip, yip and away, my ride has arrived...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010



Early morning in Minneapolis. Sun peering through the trees, pot of coffee on the go, just some laundry to be done before flying over to California tomorrow. Last night was 'Dancing on the Tips of Spears' - a night of wild Celtic stories, organized by our friend TIm Young. Talking of friends, many of the folks that attended are dear pals - it was so touching to see their mad faces as we traversed the misty forests, witchy moons and feasting halls of those great tales.
The mens conference was the best ever. Took me a little by surprise - the fellowship, kindness and wayward humor will stay with me for a very long time. There were moments that were truly mythic -between fathers and sons, reconciled enemies, beautifully wrinkled elders and the strong blessings laid on the shoulders of the youth - it was a glimpse, just a glimpse, of a whole different way of being in this world.
Robert was full of piss and vinegar you will be pleased to hear - carrying a lot of the cantankerous Trickster with him. His ability to pull a room into deep feeling is still second to none. He is stepping back from that central role he has taken these 26 years and is now living fully in his extraordinary new poems. What also came through the conference was a tremendous wave of new energy for this kind of work - every teacher, every participant invested more, dug deeper, sang sweeter, was more generous. Something is afoot my friends. Contact Craig Ungerman TODAY about getting a place at next year's at
One of the best thing about this woodland gatherings is the return to all the ones we love, hopefully with more to give. I am now officially homesick for my two beloveds, Cara and Dulcie, but have some miles to traverse till i arrive home at the door of Tregonning House. Still, i guess a bit of present buying would not go amiss, rather than just the scent of woodsmoke and airmiles.
There are still a few places this weekends event in Point Reyes, (e-mail contact in entry below) although they are approaching capacity so get in touch with them today. Can't wait.
So, love to all, i must get on with this laundry. Rumor has it that there is a new movie on the painter BASQUIAT playing in Uptown today, which i must try and get to. Love his early work. Fierce, playful paintings - crashing through language and image like Lorca holding a paintbrush loaded down with Cadmium Red oil paint whilst listening to Elvin Jones coax magic out of his drums.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

SIGN UP! TERM IS BEGINNING OCT 15th! (J Bloor in snap)


Sorry to keep throwing dates at you, but i thought if i could round them all up into one place it may stop lots of individual e-mails. So, drum roll please Ringo....

Starting Fires in September and Oct 2010: U.S. and U.K.

14 - 19th September. 'Bringing Back The Fire' Minnesota Men's Conference.
Robert Bly, Malidoma Some, Daniel Deardorff, Martin Shaw and many others.
Tickets at

21st September. Dancing on the Tips of Spears:A Night of Wild Irish Tales. Minneapolis. Tickets at

Please be aware this event is almost sold out.

24 - 26th September 'Tasting the Milk of Eagles: Myth, Wilderness and the Courted Soul' Point Reyes, San at

Sat 2nd October NEW! 10- 5. Ashburton,UK. £55

THE WHEEL OF STORY SERIES: sign up with Tina at
A day caught in the deep tangles of the Russian epic "Ivan and the Grey Wolf". What does it mean to ride the fierce energy of a wolf after a lifetime on the back of a steady horse? How do we both dance with the Firebird and also swim in the dark waters of the soul? This story offers many images of such a process, both pragmatic and visionary.

It is natural in autumn (and in a story of length like this) to also explore issues of age and character. We will look at the characteristics of several Gods and Goddesses that joyfully accompany us as we age - some of them randy and disgraceful in nature. And alot of fun.

Martin will also bring many new poems from his recent trips abroad and a whole host of rash statements to enjoy and argue with.

Fri Oct 15th - 17th. LEAVING THE VILLAGE FINDING THE FOREST, Dartmoor UK £170
First weekend of the year programme. Sign up today by contacting Tina at PLACES LIMITED AND GOING FAST. DON'T MISS OUT.

If you are thinking about the UK year programme than please get in touch with Tina without delay, we hate to disappoint. It's been a busy week. The car rather dramatically died on the A38 to Plymouth so we have been scouring the highways and byways of higher and lower Devon in pursuit of a suitably mythic motor. With the help of right hand compadre Jonny Bloor we found it. It's black with a cd player. That's all i can say.

The artwork for the Spring 2011 release of the much revised 'A BRANCH FROM THE LIGHTNING TREE' has arrived from Oregon, and rather dramatic it is too. They (the new publishers) have certainly taken some cues from the title! I like the old book fine but this carries alot of new material in it, especially around myth telling. Various essays for various publications i had completely forgotten to agree to writing have all arrived at once. So packing is rather rapid, whilst about to wrestle a leg of Lamb from the local butchers for a bit of nosh with neighbours this evening. I'm rambling. I can tell.

So think of me and amigo Jonny Bloor (he's often involved in these adventures - only as drop off in this one alas), driving through the inky black night to a secret location in the next 30 hrs for me to start this next trip. As you turn your pillow to the cool side, think of our coffee fueled, bug eyed personas driving the Black Pearl (new motor), seeking the new encounter (as Ponge once said). See you in the airport bar. Mine's a Guinness with Lagavulin chaser. Must stop writing about booze.Gives entirely the wrong impression.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Back in the band:Westcountry storytelling festival


Just back from 'Myth, Literature and the Unconscious' conference at the University of Essex. A mixed bag as most are, but some nutty moments that i enjoyed - most coming from the rottweiler of aggressive questioning Robert Segal. Segal has a huge egghead brain on myth theory (note theories around myth, not as much the stories themselves)and delighted in spluttering, rolling eyed monologues at anyone who was unfortunate to give a lecture in his presence. Blood on the floor in at least one case. I was very much hoping he would come to mine so we could have an awful sprawling encounter, a blur of fists and teeth, but no. His essays are actually worth study, and his view on Campbell challenging but informed. In some nightmarish way i grew to like him. Lets just say he cares, ok?

Generally there was some good stuff on Blake, too much on Jung, too much on literature, more stories needing to actually being told and living in the air. Good nosh through, and met some interesting folks - check out Joseph Sobel's journal 'Storytelling, Self, Society' out on Routledge - he has a great balance.

Found a pair of cowboy boots in a skip. Got ill and had to drive around Colchester in the middle of the night in a hire car looking for lemsip (helps with colds). Cara and i spent hours thinking of the worst possible way to deliver a lecture - constant bursts of coughing, fumbled papers, joyless, inaudible language delivered as if at a wake. Maybe we should all have a competition for very worst presentation of all time. Please apply in the usual way to the usual place.

So i'm off to the U.S. in a few days. One of the last chances to see Robert Bly in action at the Minnesota Mens Conference i think. So if you want to thank him for his wild genius or never seen him before, this is last chance saloon my friends. No, he's not about to drop dead, but is withdrawing to the poetry hut, so google the conference today and buy a ticket.


Here again is news of the 'Tasting the Milk of Eagles' weekend taking place in Point Reyes (just north of San Francisco)later this month. Filling up fast so please contact Lisa Doron at for a place.

September 24 at 8:00pm - September 26 at 5:00pm
Location Point Reyes, California.

The establishing of the U.S. Westcountry School of Myth.The beginning of a four weekend year program led by U.K. storyteller, mythologist and rites-of-passage teacher Martin Shaw. It offers an intense leap into the old stories,poetic imagination and the nature of soul. This ground breaking program is now coming to the U.S. for the first time.
To get a sense of the weekends please check out the U.K. program at, and visit to get sign up details.
Please forward this to any interested networks! Thank you.