A Rites of Passage Spring School
28th-31st May 2015 Swarthmoor Hall, Ulverston, Cumbria
Led by Gilly Adams & Sue Gill
Most of us have a profound need to mark the important events in our lives with some kind of ceremony. Often these are the occasions that our culture finds easiest to celebrate – for example, births, marriages and deaths, but there are many other significant life experiences that demand attention. Sometimes a personal or private ceremony is the answer; sometimes a more public event where friends and family can bear witness. In a changing social and cultural environment, where confidence in traditional religion has often diminished, the challenge is to create appropriate, new rites of passage.
This challenge is the starting point for the Spring School which will examine the Hows and Whys of ceremony and celebration. Beginning with an exploration of the way that ritual has featured in our own lives, we will look at what else might call out for special attention: - beginnings and endings; gains and losses; transitions. We will examine how both positive and negative life events can be distilled into myth and poetry and create meaningful rituals to contain them. We will also look at how music, visual art, the elements and appropriate words can be used to enhance ceremony.
The intention is to provide a balance between inward and outward work, between mental and physical activity. There will be opportunities for listening, participating, pooling ideas, writing, and whatever else arises. Gilly Adams and Sue Gill will provide theory, information, and – they hope – inspiration, but most importantly the course will be shaped to fulfil the needs and aspirations of participants so there will be plenty of opportunities to create ceremony and to experiment and play with new practice in a safe environment. Our working day will be 10am – 9pm, with breaks for shared meals, finishing at 2pm on the last day.
The grounds of Swarthmoor Hall provide privacy and a resource for working in landscape with its garden, meadow, labyrinth and woodland. Accommodation, which needs to be paid for separately, is available at the Hall. It is also possible to camp in the grounds. Gilly and Sue have been working together in this field for more than 20 years, first as part of Welfare State International and latterly under the banner of Dead Good Guides. They both work as independent, secular celebrants, guiding families and individuals who wish to create their own distinctive ceremonies.
‘Writing and making were facilitated with such apparent ease. The experiential learning aspect was very effective; I loved all the creativity and spontaneity..... Beautifully structured’. Pauline Down
Fee: £425 includes home cooked lunches and evening meals plus 2 free Dead Good Guides publications – Funerals and Namings – value £20. Deposit of £100 secures your place now & balance payable via agreed instalments before start of the workshop. 12 places available.
Contact: Sue Gill firstname.lastname@example.org 00 441229 869769 or
Gilly Adams email@example.com 0044 29 20552389