My search for a spiritual tradition with authentic roots began in earnest around the turn of the millennium, when I undertook a year-long ‘shamanic’ training in the UK, where I was living at the time, having just moved back from America. However, although I found the training profoundly transformative, I was uncomfortable about applying ‘imported’ South American and Native American practices, cosmologies and affirmations into my own lands, where the indigenous tradition is so different. Read More

The storytelling animal: an extract from ‘The Enchanted Life’

It’s just two weeks now until The Enchanted Life is officially published. In some ways, it seems like an age has passed since I handed the final manuscript over to my editor at the beginning of October; in other ways it seems all too recent, as I find myself some days still in the throes of what my husband calls ‘post-book traumatic stress disorder’.

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What the Wren Knows (Grey Heron Nights 13)

Yesterday afternoon, a curious thing happened here in the hills of Connemara. A young boy got out of a car which was presumably driven by a parent, walked up our drive, and knocked on the door. We opened it to find that he was holding a live wren in a jar, with a few holes in the lid to let air pass in and out. In return for showing us the wren, we were apparently supposed to give him money.

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What the Storyteller Knows (Grey Heron Nights 12)

Yes, there’s some overlap in these recent posts; after all, I’m making it up as I go along. Each early morning with a notebook brings a new set of reflections to add to the soup. Dream-makers, memory-keepers, storytellers – in a sense, they’re all part of the same thing. But they each have different gifts, and each of those gifts is critical at this time in its own unique way.

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What the Memory-keepers Know (Grey Heron Nights 11)

Dream-making, yes – that’s one part of what’s needed in this crazy, on-the-brink world. But there’s something rather more than that which was nagging at me as I was writing yesterday’s post, and it came to me last night, in the middle of a rather strange but mostly enjoyable young adult book which I’ve found myself reading for reasons I can’t quite remember. Except perhaps that it includes a sort of alternative world in which storytellers are the most powerful characters – which probably appeals to my sense of what might be appropriate in a good, honest utopia of the kind that I’d like to live in. Anyway: the passages I’ve copied below grabbed my attention because they relate to something else I’ve been pondering – and by no means for the first time – in these dark days of midwinter. And that’s how to live well, when the world is crumbling around you, and when most of things that most of your fellow humans seem to care about while that crumbling is happening seem to you to be signs of mass insanity, verging undoubtedly on an increasingly virulent species-wide psychopathy. We don’t need to wait for the zombie apocalypse; we’re living in it right now.

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