Essay on my work by Fanny Johnstone. No Ordinary Woman.

Photo by kind permission of Hana Shahnavaz, taken at Arusha Gallery on the opening night of my solo show in June 2022

Kate Walters: No Ordinary Woman

Painter, poet, shaman, writer and tutor.

Kate Walters ‘Love Paintings’ – featuring lovers, angels, spirit animals, organs and shamanic embodiments ablaze with emotion – are currently on a one-man show at the Arusha Gallery in Edinburgh til July 24th. Raw, delicate and primordial, Walters’ pictures wield love and sexuality in glowing colour and form. The exhibition seems an aching invitation for us all to remember something long forgotten… deeply buried.

The love and longing pouring out of the figures is almost uncomfortably intimate for the modern viewer – and yet endearing and relatable, which draws us in. What gives Walters the courage of her convictions that each of her pictures – which surely parade vulnerability as a true strength – has something worth saying?

“Experience, practice. Listening to my paintings and the accounts and feedback of others on experiencing them. A sense of completeness when I spend time with them. Knowing their history, what they’ve been through to come to the point of completion. It’s never simple or easy or a short journey: each picture has a huge history lying like a curled sleeping snake behind it. When writers write about my work it helps me to have confidence in what the pictures are saying, and that they can speak to many.”

As well as artist, writer and teacher, Walters is a classically trained shaman. With the door to a spirit world openable through shamanic ritual, and with so many influences to choose from both human and spiritual, I wonder how Walters renders her choice of images down to form a sense of cohesion to her body of work?

“The roots for this body of work are intense penetration of certain themes and obsessions of mine – the symbolic imagination, myths, mysticism, poetic language, various religious traditions. For example Sufi mysticism and the writings which explore it, such as those by Tom Cheetham and Henry Corbin. There is also the joy of paint itself and the magic which happens when you allow it to help you find the true voice of your creative imagination.

“Then, at certain points in a family of paintings, I do step back and look at how they are relating to each other, but if one’s path is strong their relation to each other will not be forced or managed, it will happen without design, having its own mysterious blueprint. Cohesion grows and develops naturally, as a tree might grow a strong crown from deep and well-watered roots.

How does someone like Walters – whose accent firmly places her own roots in or around London – come to be working as an artist and shaman in Penwith?

“I began my life as an artist around 35 years ago, soon after my son was born. I’d been to art school (Brighton) 10 years previously and apart from working in sketchbooks, a little writing and photography, I’d run a farm and didn’t have the energy for making art back then. But when my son was born and I had a difficult time in my personal life, I began to have intense dreams and the need to express myself creatively grew powerfully. A few years later I went part-time in my art-teaching career and began an MA at Falmouth university. Soon after I moved to Cornwall and began to develop my own practice in a dedicated way, on very little money and as a single parent.”

We all know how finding the time to make and create art can be difficult, especially while working, raising a child and fitting into a new community. And building self-confidence can take a lifetime. How long has it taken Walters to create – and have confidence in – her own artistic language?

“I’ve had three or perhaps four main phases of artistic language… they’ve evolved gradually in most cases, each one leading naturally to the next in a way which I didn’t feel I was directing. When I first moved to Penzance in 1997 I worked in oil painting and drawing, responding to this wild landscape for a few years. I was writing then too and dreaming – my emotional life fragile – and this was reflected in the paintings and drawings which sought to explore and understand my inner life. Gradually the explorations of my psyche and various traumatic events came to meet the surface where my hands encountered the paper, and the confidence to express these impulses slowly grew and

accumulated. Each time a new language emerges it feels like a surprise, yet it is also known and always welcomed.”

Kate Walters is a striking figure with long silver hair, a strong self-contained presence, and a great pair of knee-high pink suede boots. She has lived a big life so far, and her presence makes a confident statement. What does she favour about Newlyn School of Art?

“It has a wide range of practising artists and tutors who are very experienced. I’ve taught in a lot of places and there’s no substitute for experience – it counts for a lot. And it’s very practical and hands-on compared to other art schools. Newlyn uses a lot of traditional materials like gesso, and ink made from plant pigments, which have gone out of use but which contemporary artists are coming back to and I’m all for.”

A recent Newlyn student myself I am always hungry for advice from tutors about how to get better, to get more in depth into my work, to feel and think like an artist. Walters’ sense of self seems so strong, and her knowledge profound. What rich sources does she draw from to inform and consolidate and suggest future works?

“I read very widely (books on psychoanalysis, other artists, traditions and writers such as Georgianna Houghton, Maria Lassnig, Louise Bourgeois, James Hillman, erotic art, Persian miniatures, Helene Cixous, Anne Carson, Tantra, etc) and this has helped to give me a feeling of context, to enjoy the company of fellow travellers, even though they may be long dead or far away. Something is shared which gives me a feeling of belonging, especially needed when the areas I’m exploring are fleeting, wispy, fugitive, subtle, elusive, tender, afraid.”

“When I’m painting I’ll jot down words or phrases which come, or places of understanding I’m taken to through the process of painting. Tiny drawings sparked by what’s happening in the painting will also arrive; and sometimes I’ll make another painting from a particular phase in a painting which I know will soon be subsumed by another development. These words might become titles, or they might grow into the poems I write alongside my painting practice. And sometimes the most overlooked areas of one’s practice… the shadow… bears the most riches.”

w/c 1099

Links to essays:

Drawing Near at Tremenheere Gallery, December 2nd and 3rd 2022

Drawing Near is an exhibition, fund-raising event and awareness raising time which will be held at Tremenheere Gallery – by generous permission of Neil Armstrong and Jane Martin. Tom Heale, the gallery manager will be managing sales and overseeing much of the organisation – thank you Tom!
Tremenheere Gallery is just outside Penzance.
The idea for the event came to me one afternoon when I was sitting in my studio thinking about Ukraine, the floods in Pakistan, and the climate emergency, species extinction, and refugees. For many months I have been running a prayer circle for the people of Ukraine, with friends who work with me for healing and restoration.
Around 10 years ago I initiated an event to raise funds for Freedom from Torture which was held at Anima Mundi, by kind permission of Joseph Clarke.

This time we are hoping to support more charities, to include Freedom from Torture, Disasters Emergency Committee, Eden Aid, medecins sans frontieres, Sea Shepherd and XR.
We are inviting artists to donate works, and to deliver on November 30th to the gallery between 11am and 3 pm. All funds raised will go the charities named.
I will place the works that evening with the help of Jesse LeRoy Smith. The next day, December 1st, a great team is assembled to install the exhibition, which will include works by the great painters Richard Cook, Marie-Claire Hamon, Louise McClary, Naomi Frears, Andy Harper, Rachael Reeves, Gareth Edwards, ceramics by Linda Styles and Jesse Selkin, prints by Paul Bloomer, Anita Reynolds and others, works by Jesse Smith, Dan Pyne, Charlotte Turner, Sally Tripptree, Yolande Armstrong, Una D’Aragona, Tanya Krzywinska, and many others including me.
There will also be events such as a poetry reading by Katrina Naomi, meditations, shamanic ceremony, an auction, essays and other readings. There will also be a talk by a lorry driver who takes supplies to Ukraine and returns with refugees.
The event begins on December 2nd at 11am. There will be events all day on the 2nd, finishing that evening with a shamanic ceremony for healing at 6 pm. On the 3rd we will be open from 11am with further events and sales, finishing with an auction at 2.15 pm and closing the doors at 5pm that day.
There is ample free parking. We are hoping for lots of interested people and buyers to help support this event, all the people who will benefit, and all the artists who have been so generous with their time and works.

Iona 2022, some notes and feedback….

Below are some responses and some of my teaching notes….
The Blue Mares Anoint the Earth
From the velvet of the universe they come, their ears flat to the horse behind, manes rearing and tails soaring. They come climbing the curvature of the earth, draw half-light from dark matter, dark from the stars. Their hooves grip the mantle, splay gases, ozone, argon, tremble the watery biosphere. They come to anoint, to pour the pink and the grey over us to settle on typhoon and tempest, forest fire, eruption, the flooded marshlands. On and on they canter, their necks jostle, their nostrils breathe the gold of gods, the incense of the heavens. They gallop in circles around and around each plane of sphere, blue flanks wet with sweat and their breath silver. The grey and the white and the dark light fall over the earth oiling, oiling, oiling, till the mare’s bodies become bones and their hair falls to be woven with the paws of bear, lion, wolf.
By Nikki Kenna, Iona, 2022.

I had a wonderful time with you and the beautiful group of women we shared our week with. The work we did was deep and powerful and so part of the Iona landscape with its machair and sea, curlews, Barnacle geese flying and the golden eagle coming to close our workshop. My Hollow Bone session with you took me to such a connected place and I am still drawing on the blessings and power I felt. My practice has new purpose and I feel that I have a well to dip for my work and life.
Thank you , Kate x Nikki Kenna.

The night walk was very special. The silence between us, the open sky, the setting sun, the luminous sand, the softness of it all, the curlew call, the fullsome moon. The ease, freedom and trust I felt walking in the almost-darkness with the group. I couldn’t have done it without them.
This gentle island holds us as if in a prayer, the merest whisper, delicate and strong as a web.


This is my third workshop on Iona with Kate Walters Artist … this five day work shop took me to the metaphysical , elemental edges far beyond what we can sense with our senses . Kate Walters, through her teaching and her ancient response to being, took me to a space that enabled the depths of my humanness to visually access fragile veils of strange, wonderous, uncomfortable, cellular spaces, where my work took me to places of unimaginable possibilities and beauty. Thank you for the unforgettable experience.


“I am still roaming pink beaches; running with wild spirit horses; walking snakelike, joined by an indelible golden thread; honouring my parents in wild and holy places… deep recalibration, connections and reconnections still forming…

Thank you, Kate, for the generosity and intuitive wisdom with which you created this incredible space; and for the loving and scrupulous way in which you held us there…and for making possible all the laughter, beauty, spirituality, creativity and deep companionship of this precious time.”


It was a real privilege to spend a week on Iona with Kate and the group. The gentle spirit of this ‘thin’ place, its emptiness and beauty seemed to allow a deep opening, to Kate’s teaching and the shamanic practice. This and the generous sharing of everyone in the group led to the unfolding of a rich, powerful and profound experience – utterly wonderful!
I return home with a wealth of creative material to work on and the cours and forms of the island indelibly etched into my imaginative world.

In response to a shamanic journey:

Awaiting some unknown fate
Like being sacrificed;
Flesh against stone, spread wide
All I can do is give in to this
There is no question –
It is far greater even than the human heart.
A dark creature approaches
With an iron strength
Pounds at me without restraint
Over and over with such fierce power.
I am broken apart.
Wild primeval sounds streams from my mouth, from the very depths of me,
Echoing through lifetimes.
From between my legs the beast draws out a shining metallic river,
Pulling and pulling as if a child were being born
But instead, this endless golden flow
Pours richly into the earth,
A mysterious anointing.

With love and gratitude,
Maggy xx

North Beach Iona.
You are in the perfect place, chosen before time.
Find the rock where you feel rooted, stand there and
let what needs to happen, happen.

I have my own geometric design.
This will hold the power which flows through me.
I will charge up; I will fill up; and as I do
So I will clear my body lines and the lines
Which pass through the earth in this very spot.
I am a key, a powerful transformer
I will lay down a foundation for others to stand on.

Holding a small broken whelk shell in my left hand.

Tiny house furnished in pearly pink.
No one lives there any more.
A meal for a hungry, sharp-eyed bird.
There’s a hole in the roof where the water gets in
And in a thousand years I will feel you between my toes.

Its hard to imagine the restorative power of the combination of Kate Walters’s 5 day course and the Island of Iona to be found anywhere else on this planet.
She harnesses the creative authority found in the wind, the sand, the sea and the ever changing sky and brings all these strands together, weaving them into the rich mixture of her shamanic practise and her own very original teaching style.
It brings us back to this mystic place year after year to fill up our artistic coffers and we leave with enough imaginative material until the next time.


Here are extracts from my teaching notes:
Welcome, introductions, confidentiality, hopes and intentions. Calling in song. St Columba. Thin place.

My broad brush hopes and intentions regarding general approach and picture regarding vibrations, energy.

Hollow bone. One early evening shamanic walk.

9.30 meditation. Walk to beach together mindfully, shamanically. Prayers there. Laying on our backs and fronts and tuning in, drawing with both hands onto sketch books as we lay quietly. Shamanic walk back. 11.00 Second journey to ask for guidance on each person’s main intentions and direction. Notes and drawings about this.

11.45 body=animal=vision guided meditation and drawing with closed eyes and left hand. Drawing to music to loosen up and have fun.

How can we find peace in ourselves? Journey and to ask also what can we do to help the world as well as ourselves ? The unending flame, the birds of spirit nesting here and the parents feeding the many young (all blue) esp the female. And the spirit flame has a kind of perfume.

Journey to ask what is your spirit perfume and does it connect you to a stone, a mineral you might find here, and or a plant being?, the birds here…birds in stories and myth – conference of the birds Persian books and images…where do the spirit birds nest in your body? Birds as messengers. Avian flu. Drawings and journey, a poem?

What does your angel look like? Where will you meet it? What does it have to say to you? A message? Draw it with non dom hand and closed eyes and delicate marks. Journey and drawing afterwards. Follow up from yesterday. Angel out ahead coming backwards to meet us as we go forwards.

Music, breath, marks, drawing, words tuning into parts of your body.

Iona the island of the horses, horses swimming across great waters. Meditate briefly on this image and what it brings up in you. Epona often associated with Demeter and with birds and rivers. My dream of the horse and rivers…

What is the magical seed you would eat? Where would it come from, what would it look like, would it be coated in anything e.g. gold, rose perfume? Meditation then shamanic journey. P 154

What or who is your divine partner to be with you, inspire you, in this life? Journey. Drawings, paintings.

write a love letter to your mother, your work, this place; and from all of the above to yourself…

What or who would your hair and bones be energetically woven into for safety? High energy, animal, plant or spirit… meditation then journey…and drawing with non dom hand and closed eyes

3.30 Where do you feel you need anointing? How would it happen and who would do it? How would you anoint the world to help ease the path of peace? And climate change? The coming catastrophe, do we have language for it? Is it body language, animal language? Read parts of Susan Kassouf essay and feel into words around trauma, also the XR texts and dark mountain, uncivilisation. Draw, write, feel pockets of trauma in our bodies.

What are the moments of transition (Sovatsky book) towards intimacies – the mystery of trust and desire. Stoking your inner fire, how would you be held?

Turn to Emil Nolde …. Notes on colour. Strong harmonies to be held inside. The pale spiritual harmonic blend of the Iona palette. Work with both.

What is your inner palette? A journey to ask to be shown the colours, then work with them and allow the creative process, the hands-on with paint, to take the process further, to extend or complete the journey. Allowing the spirits to work through your hands in the creative act, not just in the shamanic journey.

“The pulse of strong colours and the way they intensified the timbre and increased the volume of ‘sound’ emanating from each colour was what gave his art the power to delight – and shock – us to this day. “ we are reminded that life is extraordinary – knowing how to look, and be receptive… He worked in layers, he soaked the paper to remove the size so it was more absorbent. Layers of oils with glazes give you more intense colours, like my blacks in my recent cave painting.

Nolde had an early formative experience of laying down on the earth like Christ with his arms open then rolling over and feeling the whole earth was his lover/beloved… brought the spiritual, bodily, powerful erotic aspect to his work. Group to try this also, to make drawings, to feel it intensely, let colours bubble up in their consciousness and to enjoy them, feel the joy in them, the effervescence. What are the special qualities in this particular (northern) landscape you could bring into your work to help you with your art and your soul? Be aware, tune your awareness to the rarefied aspects of this place, the sounds, the colours, the whisperings…

Nolde told his friends that the best art was often difficult to appreciate on first viewing. Why do you think this might be true?

Nolde moved from an optical, external stimulus to a deeply felt inner value. “Nolde was in the vanguard of those German artists who wanted to create a spiritually charged art.”

What and where is the navel or omphalos of your work/self? What is your umbilicus connected to? What nourishes you, comes through that cord? Do you need to disconnect from anything? Where does your holy milk pour from?

Becoming not broken but broken open. What in you needs healing, and what needs to break open? A journey, some drawings afterwards.

“Catastrophe – an over-turning. “Developing our ability to think catastrophic thoughts may allow us to make contact with those evolving realities thus enabling us to translate thought into much needed action and make change in the world.”

“A traumatised sensibility has learned from experience that annihilation is thinkable. It can bear the tragic, this feeling of irreparable brokenness, or, in environmental terms, that we have entered a time of post-sustainability.” The world is not assumed to be safe. Just as annihilation is thinkable, despair is bearable. We are learning to mourn losses on an unprecedented scale. You can lead with your vulnerability. Vulnerability does not mean weakness.

“Instead of hardening and splitting, we can soften and open, allowing ourselves to weather, to experience how microclimates are embedded in a larger world.”

“A traumatised sensibility acknowledges living in a material body, a body that is not one’s own, a body subject to wounding, to degradation, to weathering. I am porous and fragile, flammable, floodable, subject to infection. Stability is a thing of the past. Home may not be safe. Care-givers may not know what they are doing.” from Susan Kassouf

What part of your body will fall away with all your tears? Where could your body collapse? From a dream of mine.

Where does the earth creep into you? Where are your boundaries with the earth soft and porous? Tune into your body and draw.

Workshop on Mystic Paths, and new studio notes.

I recently returned from my workshop in Devon on finding our own unique mystic paths. This was a four day workshop; I think four days is a good length of time in which to dive deep into our own creative and psychological processes. I always hold the space kindly, gently, warmly, and with humour.

Drumming in the yurt, Devon.

Notes from my Lesson Plan…
11 am yurt
Welcome, few mins each on what has drawn them to this course and what their hopes are. Smudging and why. Altar, objects, bringing someone in energetically. My approach – high energy, high vibration, tuning to the highest power and source. Intro to shamanic journeying. Protective meditation.
Power animal journey. Meeting or reacquaintance. Notes and drawings.
Second and third journey to ask about mystic paths in our lives and in our bodies. How do they look? Are they shining? Where are they taking us? Why do we need them? How do mystic paths come into our lives, our bodies? Think about occasions in your life when they might have appeared/you might have felt them…draw and write from this…tuning into your body as you do this…and asking to see the internal paths, the whisperings from our organs, the vagus nerve. Draw and write about both. Books.

Tuesday 9.30 am meet outside yurt with glass of water. Meditation to cleanse and energise chakras with sun and water.
How are we distracted from our life work? Why are we here on earth, what do we have to give to others, to realise in ourselves? Life path. Coffee break. 11.30.
Fourth journey to ask about the angel out ahead, read from Corbin relevant paragraphs, after some talking about this. How the angel comes backwards to meet us, and we meet by going forwards towards it (genderless).
Find spirit guide first. Journey.
Spirit guide journey to ask about this. Drawings and writing.
Hugging in silence and stillness; tuning in; and drawing any images which arrive.
Assignment for the afternoon:
Time spent looking at the work of Tom Cheetham, Corbin and Halifax. Choose some phrases which are lit up for you, which ‘sing.’ Open pages at random.
Lunch and free time to draw, look at books
3.30pm The path of the visionary, the 5D world, the intertwining of the visionary and the everyday 3 D worlds. Shamanic journey using a text or phrase as a starting point – asking the journey to help us understand the writing at a higher level.

Dance perhaps or seaswim….

9.30 am meditation with water.
Time spent looking at iconic imagery perhaps Christian, Islamic, indigenous, (Arctic catalogue) and ask for pointers towards our own iconography – draw after and during shamanic journeys.
Lunch, time alone and with books, own work.
4pm Drawing and painting to music and read texts. Swim?
Thursday, meditation
Shamanic journey to ask how we can be a truthful beautiful high energy instrument. Draw and write about this and allow the creative process to be part of the refinement of the image or imagery which arrives for you.
What sounds would you make in the world? Who would play you? How would you be strung?
How would you purify and elevate your pitch? What do you need to do in your world to keep yourself tuned, vibrating? Write and draw about this, allow it to settle into you. Have a sense of it absorbing, being absorbed by your cells. So important to be tuned to the highest possible source and frequency. Make a journey to ask about this, and about how to bring more beauty into one’s own world.
Last afternoon
Summary of all we’ve achieved. Looking outwards to Ukraine and other traumatised areas; asking what we can do – a journey. Then a ceremony perhaps to send energy and healing.
Thinking about climate emergency, and how we deal with tuning into catastrophe. Read aloud some of that essay? Finding a language and a way to be with what is coming. Meditation and journey.
Protective meditation and circle, closing song etc..

Recent studio notes…

Backwards from Aug 22nd
Phallus breaching upwards growing like a tree, growing sideways towards her breasts.
When he thinks of me it’s as if something ‘locks on’ to my thoughts/being – its inescapable; doesn’t usually last very long…

I make two weak drawings of my dream. A phallus growing from the base of my tongue; or, my tongue branches into tongue and phallus, and the phallus grows upward to my crown, through my skull. Mouth as cathedral; kundalini awake. And somehow happening to S too; or she was there…
Using the paint in a luscious way and inspired by Auerbach, some landscapes, flowers, giving a voice to Nature, and the woman with the horse, queen with stallion.

A pure vessel allows pure spirit through to shine. No impediment or altering of spirit’s voice.
With the heart-light in his breath.

Dream of a house stripped down to bricks, like you find in Venice or Italy; 4-square and strong, brick with layers of plaster/render stripped off, standing alone in the ground, felt it was Italy. A few other people came and went, including a man I was a bit afraid of. It has many windows.

She collects water from her body. KARA fish shoo away bad energy. Saying sorry to water. Hana. The tree of all seeds in the vast body of the waters.

The man swims up through my body, to kiss the inside of my mouth, and the lower part of my brain.
She learns to hear the lost speech.
The soothing of and for the male.
‘To be successful in the arts is not a matter of summarizing’ Delacroix wrote, but of amplifying where it is possible, and of prolonging the sensation by every means. P 6 Auerbach catalogue Venice biennale 1985.

Early Persian tree
Tree of all seeds – all in the whole world – in a heavenly ocean or on a sat-studded mountain – 10,000 seeds. Kind of healing plants – elixir –
Phoenix bird original pre Islam half dog half phoenix bird has peacock feathers, she’s a mother and a healer, strong and protective. She will give you a feather. She nests in the tree, she lands, her wings slap the branches, seeds are released into the ocean.
Another version – a male half dog half eagle sits under the tree, catches seeds, puts them up into rain clouds (twin is shadow side). Zoroastrian story – oral – saying sorry to water…

From Wikipedia:
Trees specially evergreens and ancient trees are the symbol of Immortals in Zoroastrianism. The link between trees, “Immortality and deathlessness” ameretát is established in the poetic gathas, See Yasna 51.7.

The original gathic poetry reads as follows: apas-čá ûrvarávs-čá ameretátá haûrvátá. Here the word for “tree” is ûrvar, and the word for “immortality, deathlessness” is ameretát.

Avestan ûrvará “tree” is a cognate of Latin arbor “tree.” Other cognates are Latin arvus “ploughed field,” and Mycenaean Greek aroura “arable land.”

Trees also come in close connection with “prophetic vision and oracles” in the Avestan poetry. The süd-kar gathic commentary of Yasna 31.5 narrates the vision of an immense tree with four branches, of gold, silver, steel, and “mixed-up” iron, which symbolize the four future ages of this world.

The “mixed-up” iron symbolizes the present age of admixture that is the calamitous age of invasion/contamination by demons.

An Avestan passage in Yasht/hymn 12/17, praises the tree of the great mythical “falcon or eagle” saæna that stands in the middle of the “wide-shored ocean” vôúrú-kašahæ.

The eagle/falcon tree is a wondrous evergreen that keeps away decrepitude and death. It is called all healing with good and potent medicine. The seeds of all medicinal plants are deposited on it.

Saæna “falcon, eagle,” of the Avesta, is the mythical bird of Persian Mythology Sīmorḡwho is said to perch every year on this sacred tree located in the middle of wide-shored ocean, to mix its seeds with pure waters, which Tištar (Three-star, Sirius) then rains down on all the 7 climes of the earth, thus causing the growth of all kind of healing plants.

The Avestan saæna, Persian Sīmorḡ is a cognate of Sanskrit śyená. The Russian word for “falcon” sókol is a borrowing from the same word in ancient Iranian.

In the Avestan Yašt/hymn 14.41 Vərəθraγna, the god being of VICTORY, wraps xᵛarnæ, “glory, good fortune,” round the house of the worshipper, in the same way that the great falcon/eagle Saæna, cover the great mountains like the clouds.

In Zoroastrian religious ceremonies, “small branches or twigs” of an evergreen (mostly cypress trees) or fruit tree (usually pomegranate) called barəsman, form an important part of the sacred ritual. Barəsman is derived from the root barəz “to grow high.” German berg“high” is a cognate.

Barəsman “sacred twigs” are one of the requisites of a “fire priest,” Āθravan (See Vendidad 14.8,) and constitute an essential ritual implement for various liturgical services such as yasná “yearning, longing” (Greek zelós is a cognate,) and afrîn prayers, literally “loving charms” that are Avestan benediction formulas.

The Persian word for tree is draxt also dár ó draxt. The word comes from the Avestan daûrû going back to the reconstructed Proto Indo European *dóru, and is a cognate of Russian дерево (dérevo); Polish drewno; Greek δόρῠ (dóru); Gothic triu; Old English trēow “tree,” (See Didier Calin, Encyclopedia of Indo European poetic and religious themes.)

Trees in Mazdyasna “Mazda worshipping religion/Zoroastrianism” are sacred, and embody immense and enduring life and deathlessness of consciousness.

Sarv-e Abar kuh, literally the Cypress tree of the über-mountain also called the “Zoroastrian tree,” is a cypress tree in Central Yazd province of Iran. The tree is estimated to be at least 4,000 years old and believed to have witnessed the dawn of ancient Iranian civilization.

Herodotus (7.31) reports that at Callatebus in Asia Minor, the Achaemenid Xerxes (486-65 B.C.E.) found a plane tree so beautiful that he decorated it with golden ornaments and put it under the care of one of his Immortals.

The sacred attitude toward venerable trees has continued in Iran to the present day, but with the transfer of devotion from Zoroastrian Immortals to Twelver Shiʿite Saints.

Often, the very pine and cypress trees that had flanked Zoroastrian fire temples in the Sassa­nid period continue to shade the tombs of emāmzādas and other shia saints today.

In general, however, Iran has suffered from continuous, great deforestation over the centuries after the arab invasion.

Sanctity of trees in Zoroastrianism meant legal sanctions against profaning or destroying them in the Mazdean Jurisprudence. Such legal protections for trees did sadly not continue into the Islamic age. Yet the folk belief that anybody felling a tree will be short-lived, and cuts on his/her good fortune goes back to the deep-rooted ancient religion of the Iranians.

New writing for myself and for Sally Tripptree.

Here is some text I wrote recently for Sally Tripptree’s joint show at The Crypt Gallery in London.

All the little, tiny, overlooked & forgotten births.

Writing on Sally Tripptree’s paintings by Kate Walters.

Spending time with these luscious drawings and paintings there’s a sense for me of being drawn through something; the image which comes is of a comb, or a filter; a pressing though, a milking, fangs against a beaker drawing out the venom, milk-white it drips; she might be pulled through by her hair; but pulled through she is, and the strands of the hair – the pink or the blue – the lightest of touches meets the flesh where it’s brushed with infinite gentleness.

We see mouthfuls of peaches on her tongue – they’re the colour of figs – and we see the holding of bodies, the insides of breasts or of hands cupping, a stroking of flesh. We ask if the flesh has been skinned. It’s muscular and full of blood; it’s blushing from a rushing of blood to the surface through stroking by eyes or hands; such an active heart, pumping a tumescence, an arousal of all the tissues.

This body is being re-membered (& all our bodies). Through this process we enter the shadow with Sally. She’s a warrior entering the cave – the dark place – to become whole. She finds light in the darkness. The making of these images is about enabling ourselves to see, even though it might feel uncomfortable. Births are often difficult, even obstructive, and always involve a crossing over: separation, expulsion, muscular contraction in mammals or the breaking of skins, seeds or shells in other beings. Being born is about going into another, different state. These works are about little re-births, the birthing of parts of the Self to make a new less wounded Whole.

Sally trusts in the shamanic/creative process to take her into the 5D reality where she knows she’ll find solutions. The beings which help her are invited to guide her hands in this 3D world, where things are manifested, made physical. Our bodies are also spirit made gorgeous flesh, blood & muscle; the walls of our hearts and the walls of our organs line the way of Sally’s journey, they lay down with their tiny cellular hands the cinders of her pilgrimage path.

In a dream of Sally which came to me recently she was pregnant, and there was a golden mare connecting with her. She’s pregnant in all these pictures: pregnant with healing and knowing; with holding and carrying and opening; with bursting and tearing and she becomes through her art a “Divinely built castle’ with knowing of ‘the heavenly ones’.

The heart is a ball of golden seeds from an age-old sacrifice ensuring fertility; there are shining teeth smiling at us here; fruiting bodies, ripening follicles exploding into the fingers of airy Fallopian tubes; feeling unseen, she brings her unseen-ness to the light – she makes her own light – she thinks about giving on another level, going through the doorways of barren-ness to a wonder-dress of new skin.

There are chaotic, crazed and charged lines of nightmare and loss; disappointment opens the belly into a cave, simultaneously draining the heart; there’s the boundedness of breath and body, wish and hope, joy and sorrow. There’s the mashing of impulse and memory into the sore-lipped womb; then like a miracle the teeming muscular flower opens – and a butterfly beats against the window, softly.

As I spend time with these paintings a silver fairy on the floor sleeping will waken & watch me from the pigment scattered around my feet.

You can feel Sally’s animated fingers meshing with the pigment, or dressing the wounds with ointment & white gauze; she brings unguents, she anoints, baptises all the lost minds, all the bodies who have lost their minds: she brings them together.

She washes limbs after wars, she dresses the column of the spine with embracing breasts, she dreams about ‘blowing out my shadow’, and in the morning the perfume of the soul lingers over her bed, animal body waking with a snort: not lost, she’s reddening, transforming, bringing her pale-bone ribs to pierce the skin of all our shadows.

Kate Walters. July 2022

with his golden words he tries to hide or stop her bleeding… work almost complete…oil on canvas.

and a few studio notes, first draft, from July after my solo show at Arusha Gallery…so feeling my way back into the painting, and changing my focus slightly, aligning with my feelings around the coming climate catastrophe…and the need for us to not turn away from the trauma this will birth in us and all creatures, peoples…
Studio notes from black notebook July and August 2022
Going backwards from July 31st

Mother Nature bleeds, empties her womb
With his words he tries to hide or stop mother nature’s bleeding
Her tears go into the funnel of a flower

In the drawing their heads are wrapped in the long golden arms of dream and there’s a dark space where their mouth is
His tears make an arm
He’s a man with crying words, with words that cry
He’s a man whose words cry
She’s a woman with her tongue in flowers, her tongue on fire

I’ll paint a picture of me with all the flowers at all my centres
And I’ll remember the journey to the clouds and the ladder and the dark man who came to meet me up there and told me that all that matters is LOVE; it’s all there is.
I’ll paint an animal -headed creature holding me.

And a couple embracing and their antler wings growing from their backs and from spirit (she likes them) and into their hearts their thoraxes like butterflies they carry the memory of who they were before in their sap, their green blood, the drawn fluid, the velvet tips, my closed eyes and your breath so light like the drawing, hesitant

In the painting her vulva becomes the top of his head/wounded/injured place.

Hearing a family of blackbirds in the garden and watching their flying lessons
I wake from a long and difficult dream
I draw him with the young angel rising like a new planet from his navel or a cloud of semen or a branch growing horizontally from one tree to another; it’s an eye encased in wood or tears with thick blonde lashes making a pool where you might bathe

And I will give him some of my petals to line his chest cavity, making a new bed for his wounded heart
I paint the beauty of his soul – or some other mythic male who comes through him –
And I read about, am inspired by, the great bright bulls who run with milk and carry babies in all their bellies, who rub up butter and milk with themselves (as I do)
and it will rain with seed

I paint myself settling like a flower in his thought

My dog looks up at my face to see if I am crying. She keeps doing this.
Yesterday afternoon when I was crying she placed her front paws on my chest, and looked into my face with such love and empathy. She knew I was sad and she did all she could to show me she knew and she was sorry, and she wanted to comfort me.

The blood on the floor from my cut foot looks like a pool of paint. I dip my finger in it, I draw the horse’s head.

I read Jung and what he wrote about the opposites slumbering side by side;
After my dream of the charge and my navel and my father (and the message which arrived about him a week later, strange)and the analyst and you and I lying side by side, head to toe, like ouroboros you said, the snake which rides above your nipple over your heart. (24.07.22)
Photos below taken on Iona, of the spirit of the man-angel who was with me, aroused, in the wall of the cave at the bay at the back of the ocean; and the eyes I saw watching me from the trees in the organic garden near the Nunnery.

Solo Show LOVE Paintings opens at Arusha Gallery Edinburgh on June 23rd…

Next week on Thursday June 23rd (6-8 pm) my third solo exhibition at Arusha Gallery will open. It will comprise of many paintings and some drawings made during the past two years. There will also be two wonderful supporting essays; one by Amy Hale and one by a collaborator and colleague who is a member of The College of Psychoanalysts. Below you will find a few images together with excerpts from both essays, and a little writing of mine…

Riding My Horse of all the Stars

Self-portrait with blue-seeding bulb

Here is an extract from Amy Hale’s essay:
Kate Walters: Love Paintings

When one imagines the representation of divine, sublime love, one might envision a visual debt to the classical philosophical tradition where love has historically been equated to beauty, to transcendence, to a sort of perfection that can only be ultimately expressed in the immaterial. This perfection of love calls to mind delicate lines, bright and light colors, lofty and idealized figures, flawless in form, unreachable. This is not the picture of divine love Kate Walters unveils in Love Paintings, but be assured it is no less perfect. This is a glimpse into the soul of a woman in love, empowered, and, knowing her true self, opens herself up to receive the divinity of the embodied Other. This love is exalted, but it is also earthy, material, present, and it can crack you open like a fragile egg, revealing your most delicate inner places. Walters does not tell us stories of distant gods, these are great powers of love inhabiting mortal bodies, experiencing delirium, transformation, and rebirth. The colors are dark, the paint is thick, the pieces are sticky and raw. Walters gives us holy love in manifestation, an eternal play enacted in flesh and fluid. This makes it no less idealistic, no less something that we can strive for, but it is something that we can know. Yet to achieve this knowledge of love, you must be prepared to be a vessel, a vehicle for the spirits to live and love through, so they can experience the bliss of conjunction through your body, to be touched, and to be undone by love’s revelation.

The key to understanding Walters’ work is to know her as a shaman. She is a walker between worlds, a spirit worker, and her art is fundamentally about bringing Spirit into the material plane. She is called to in her dreams, which become a source of knowledge from other realms and dimensions, lending a sense of uncanny perception and inspiration to her work. Yet embodiment is central to both her art and her process. Although the shamanic world is where the power that is beyond her lies, Walters uses trance, dance and motion to call Spirit forward while painting, using ecstatic techniques to release herself from the confines of the rational mind: “When you release from here, from the brain, that’s when the beauty comes. My guides will hold me and then they will show me. They won’t show me until I let go.” Walters believes that all our guides want to experience living in the world and they want to know the world through our bodies. In Love Paintings Walters asks what fires the body? What state of rapture evokes Spirit into us all?

………….. the essay in its entirety will be available from the gallery at the opening.

Second extract: from a collaborator and colleague, Member of The College of Psychoanalysts.

Kate Walters’ Love Paintings give us portals to step through the material world into the spirit world. She takes us into the oldest love story of all: the story of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna and her lover Dumuzi. The Love Paintings and the ancient text tell the story with such intensity that the body’s flesh becomes incandescent with divine spirit, and the divine spirit becomes richly textured with sensuous embodiment and exhilaration. An urgency courses through the work as the figures communicate in their ecstasy and also in the fullness of their repose.
If we allow ourselves a moment of awareness, we will notice that the new life that is born out of this intensity takes different forms. We can identify in these paintings various different literal forms of new life. Some are more conventional than others, such as the new relationship, or the new baby, or a renewed aliveness and energy for life. And then there is the new life that is apparent not for the new form that is taken but for the new category of life that is created. In the story of Inanna the category of life that is being created is the world of the imagination. Through the creation, the telling and retelling of the story, the rich reality of the world around us is revealed through the way it is seen and thought about. How we think about and understand the world around us has become infused with meaning, so we can experience it with exhilarating beauty and devastating horror. The Great Inanna, Goddess of Love and Beauty, calls him, Dumuzi, to plough her vulva for he is the one whom her womb loves best, he can caress her thighs, be taken to her bed and plant himself in the garden of her body. And the world flourishes. This is not only literal. This ritual act does not only make the barley grow high or the peach swell with sweet juices or the body ache with desire. It also creates the psychic reality that enables us to know all of this and to share in the experience of it with awareness. This is not a new form for life to show itself in. It is a new category of life.

The whole essay will also be available to read from the gallery at the opening on June 23rd.

Third extract: from some of my studio notes, made either in my studio or in the early morning when I waken from dreams:
I’m listening to a lactating Angel and I paint your face as if every cell is coming, your gaze tumescent, golden tongue a milky muscle churning and I’m still and dark holding my womb of blossoms she’s wrapped around your golden stalk you holy lover of mine and your other cock it climbs up through the spine of the deer (I paint the second cock out later)

I need to paint the dream I had of ploughing with my heart (now you plough me with your heart, your words & thoughts which come tap-tapping all night long at my window )

I’m giving birth to the angel of black-lighted wings, the inner woman who secretes her own light; I’m growing a cage of cartilage crafted from feathery spines around my heart and I’m filling it – pouring into it – a green light.
“Becoming the mother of her father” – the mystical soul – Henry Corbin, p 21 (The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism)

The day my special horse arrived and we walked through the field together, our hair blowing together, one of the happiest days of my life, silent and peaceful. My mane and her tail were the same flaxen colour.

With the Angel as the wind and my sail:
“You proposed a point/for beauty and for love / and tried to form / if only in imagination / a new sea” from ‘you who sail alone’ by Adeep Kamal Ad-Deen trans. by Roger Moger in Archaic: The Pavilion of Iraq Venice Biennale 2019

Painting thought: with her/my legs beginning to fold into another dimension at the prospect of mating with the angel (this image was lost but will rise again)

Body in Bliss Eros caressing Psyche Synesthesia II. for the Symposium, coming soon!
Parallels / Encounters: Art, Words and their Meetings.
Online | 10am – 2pm, 30th June & 7th July

A two-part symposium on the parallel of art and words in contemporary visual art practices and how they come together in forms of publication.

Featuring discussions, practical workshops, and sharing of practice with contributors from different perspectives of these encounters, we invite you to join as an artist, writer, maker, curator, reader, gallerist, or someone otherwise connected to this field.

Further information and Booking Here:

Third eye stirrings and openings

Please follow the link above for the post in full…text is below
The sowing of new seeds.

‘In the dream I leave your house. You follow me, we talk, and laugh as we used to. You place your hands around the back of my head, your fingers massaging my well of dreams; my hair springs up between your fingers.’

— Extract from A Love Letter (2021) by Kate Walters

For over three decades, writer and artist Kate Walters has been carving a creative practice that departs from – and incorporates – shamanistic beliefs.

Her sensitive and expansive approach seeks to think through and uncover quotidian mysteries. Walters delves into the subconscious in order to better understand our human personhood and innate ambitions. In addition to embracing female sexuality as a form of power, her creative process seeks to give consciousness to other beings, such as animals and spirits.

While researching her regularly-posted works, which appear like a stream of raw consciousness on her Instagram, a recent painting captured my attention. The portrait of a female figure outlined in richly-applied brown paint is rendered naked gazing directly at the viewer while expelling red fluid – blood, semen, milk or perhaps even rope? – out of her vagina.

Simultaneously recognisable yet abstract, the work is raw and intense, unforgiving and elusive like artist Lee Lozano’s animistic paintings of tools and faces from the 50s and 60s. Walters’s desire for ambiguity is key to unlocking this piece. Looking to find ‘The Man in The Woman’ and ‘The Woman in The Man,’ she seeks to destabilise inequalities of power, gender, age and sexuality.

Her painting has since been named ‘​​The Red Cord’ and selected for the 2022 BEEP Painting Biennial in Swansea, Wales. Its caption reads, ‘Detail of a new painting in progress. An initiation I think; piercings, penetrations and realising. Crown, third eye stirrings and openings, the sowing of new seeds.’ Also named is her upcoming LOVE Paintings solo exhibition at Arusha Gallery in Edinburgh this coming summer. Walters has had a fruitful year, as new and unapologetic seeds are being sown.

In a time of social media-enforced censorship, and a broader culture where sexuality is a far-removed topic from education and everyday life, Walters is keen to bring thought surrounding this bodily topic – and the freedoms it can unlock – into the conversation of contemporary art.

I notice her account on Instagram has been shadow banned. This occurs when content moderators of an online platform purposefully make one’s account difficult for others to find. Their strategy includes making one’s username difficult to find and directing visitors away from one’s social media pages unless they are actively seeking them out.

Frustratingly, this often impacts artists with radical work incorporating overt politics or references to sexuality. I found myself in this same problem working on an exhibition about queer nightlife at Ridley Road Project Space with photographer Roxy Lee earlier this year. Female sexuality is an algorithmically enforced taboo, it seems, which highlights the urgency of Walter’s practice.

‘I don’t want to apologise for anything anymore,’ she tells me on the phone. ‘I don’t want to waste any time.’ Abandoning watercolours because they are ‘too polite’, Walters is now working at a larger scale than ever – in luscious, glistening mediums including oil and ink. Alongside this independent work, Walters also organises group communal activities such as healing workshops, wellbeing courses and outdoor retreats.

‘The man who brings me salt in my waking dream: A painting or a series of drawings of a man bringing me salt to fill my holes, to keep my wounds open.’

— Extract from Dartmoor: a few days’ retreat in a cabin (2020) by Kate Walters

Piercing and penetration are key facets of her aesthetic language. Her portraits of human figures gape with multiple crevices which are dark and open. This style is both a reference to sexuality and our innate human ability to grow through pain – as our wounds heal and repair stronger. Describing one painting she notes ‘she is less afraid than before’ – fear lies in the unknown, but can be contained with repeating bouts of strength.

Walters’ recent series has been named Love Paintings. Rituals and repetition reverberate throughout them, often depicting individual and collective sexual play and intimacy. In these, she seeks to replicate the innate sexual force present within humans, referred to as ‘Mother Kundalini’ in Hindu culture.

‘Mother Kundalini is what Tantra is about, really,’ she elucidates. ‘Kundalini is the coiled snake sleeping at the base of the spine in most people. When it awakens and sends a surge of electrical charge up from the base to various centres in the body, you get this incredible spiritual enlightenment.’ Harnessing this power can be a healthy way to explore our own paths and desires that we don’t often think or converse about, she suggests.

Walters brings together learnings from psychoanalysis and her experiential research into native American shamanistic thinking: often told through phenomena like power animals and spirit guides, for instance. Throughout these, narratives can be understood to activate the subconscious, and the dreaming mind.

Transforming these dreams into physical visions art is a process crucial in her journey of self-understanding. ‘My paintings always teach me something,’ she says. While curator and writer Richard Davey once described her practice in 2017 as ‘a shamanic hollow bone, a conduit between physical and immaterial realms’. Walters records her night-time visions every day, rising at 4AM to record them – pointing out that this process often results in them becoming increasingly vivid over time, while also recalling them more accurately.

A recent series of paintings titled Night Drawings (2022) utilises cacao, watercolour sticks and plant ink on Japanese paper. Their rich and glistening mahogany colour parallels their intense subject matter of writhing and contorted bodies and spirits.

The use of cacao references the ritualistic ‘cacao ceremonies,’ still common in countries such as Mexico in South America, where chocolate in its purest form is consumed in unison by a community. The process – extending back to Aztec and Mayan civilizations – typically involves the complete opening up to strangers within a circle, creating a safe and balanced space where fears, hopes, dreams and suffering can be shared. ‘Cacao opens and soothes the heart; tears are her medicine’ Walters poetically points out their importance in processing negative energies and past traumas, and actively seeking healing.

Describing how shamanism is bonded with her paintings and physical reality, Walters noted how the ‘central guiding principles of Shamanism is that everything (in the world) is alive and is connected.’ She continues remarking that, ‘the best teaching comes through dreaming because in that state there is no possibility of the ego distorting or interfering with the images and their meaning. It is the high-energy ones which I take care to remember and reflect upon; this requires a level of discernment and patience in order to understand and learn from them’.

Her emphasis on patience also links with her interest in dance. She tells me that part of her shamanic work involves ‘Native American serpent dancing, a powerful, healing dance. It connects you with profound earth energies… I push myself hard and let go’.

Painting with both hands while listening to Sufi trance music, sometimes banging a traditional drum, Walters often moves in front of her easel, releasing an engulfing and immersive energy which ricochets across her canvas. With this in mind, her final paintings – provoking forms to emerge by inducing the subconscious – are better described as performative rather than pre-meditated.

One particular observation from our conversation stands out to me. Traditionally, the Shaman is known as the ‘wounded healer’ and ‘the context of healing is always the self together with the broader community.’ In ancient times, the ‘healer’ and the artist were always considered to be the same person.’ In other words, the artist should always consider themselves a healer, not only for themselves, but for each other…

Walters’s upcoming show, LOVE Paintings, will open at Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland on 23 June 2022. more here too!

Burst, Cultivate, Warrior, Peace, pocket universe

I’ve just returned from Devon, the beautiful School of Art & Wellbeing, teaching a workshop: Finding the inner warrior.
Three days to find, begin and nurture a relationship with our own inner sacred or spiritual warrior.
We worked with the shamanic journey, drawing and meditation to track the inner warrior: asking what does he or she look like? How can we enter fully into our own power as spiritual warriors – and connect with the relevant spirit guide? What barriers or blocks do we carry internally, making this more difficult?…and how can we overcome these? We made drawings and wrote to extend the insights of the shamanic journeys, bringing together these two most powerful, creative, ancient and unique paths.

Here are some notes made in preparation, and some photos…
What does the word warrior mean to you? Few moments reflection and notes then sharing after next questions:
Answer this in note and drawn form: What do I love most profoundly? What are my most profound gifts? What are my most profound responsibilities? What power is there in my answers, and what do I learn from my insights?
Intro to shamanic journeying.

Journey to find power animal and to ask how to step into our power. Even finding the power animal can be a way to approach one’s warrior self, as the power animal is about being or coming nearer to embodying one’s power and unique gifts as a human being. And it’s about connecting to nature, the natural world, in a new and more appreciative way. About coming into a place of awe and wonder and then love follows. And when we are in a place of love we are naturally much closer to our power and the source of all the best power – which charges us…

What stops you from stepping into your power? Thoughts, notes, discussion, journey. Techniques to release those things holding you back/down/silent/bound to what no longer serves you.
Journey to ask more info. Drawings about this. Fire? What would it look like to be in your power? How would you look? What would you wear? Journey to ask for a breastplate….colours, clothes, shield, hat, etc…spiritual armour – how does yours look?
Draw and paint from above – your armour, shield/s, animals, words etc

Sunshine meditation with water in glass. Chakras, intro to chakras and Mother Kundalini.Meditation for protection and journey into our chakras and the state of the energy within our bodies, where things are caught, trapped, or weakened.

Blessing ceremonies in pairs
working to music with colour, dance, vigour, closed eyes, non-dominant hand etc.
The next workshop will be in Cornwall (July 10th – 12th), and it will be focusing on peace and restoration; we will camp and be close to the earth and the weather, on a beautiful site on the Mary leyline. Details on my shamanic art and courses page.
BURST: Here is the link to the poster for the new show which I’m part of…

I was so thrilled to receive a copy of the new book of poems by Nancy Reddy which has one of my watercolours on its cover…the poems are majestic, tender, sublime and rooted: a delight, a revelation.

Creative shamanic courses for 2022 with Kate

“The Creative is Round, the Creative is Heaven”: Workshops for 2022 with Kate Walters

In Devon, at the beautiful School of Art and Wellbeing near Honiton.

photo by Sally Tripptree

All workshops in Devon begin on the first day at 11am and finish on the last day at 5pm.
In each workshop there will be a chance to have a 1:1 ‘hollow bone’ session with Kate.

All workshops are for women and men: painters, writers, thinkers, ecologists, poets, activists….
Full guidance to all shamanic techniques will be given.
All art materials will be provided, but please bring your own sketchbooks (I find people like to choose their own size and format). You can book accommodation through the School website. All the courses include a most sumptuous lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

April 21, 22 & 23rd The Sacred Path: Finding the inner warrior.
Three days to find, begin and nurture a relationship with our own inner sacred or spiritual warrior.
We’ll work with the shamanic journey, drawing and meditation to track the inner warrior: what does he or she look like? How can we enter fully into our own power as spiritual warriors – and connect with the relevant spirit guide? What barriers or blocks do we carry internally, making this more difficult?…and how can we overcome these? We’ll draw and write to extend the insights of the shamanic journeys, bringing together these two most powerful, creative, ancient and unique paths.

June 18th, 19th & 20th Dreaming: being carried in Vision.
Dreams and visions: how they can open up new worlds for us. Working with the shamanic journey to open up and expand upon this sacred way of perceiving other worlds (non-ordinary reality) and other – perhaps creaturely – ways of being in and perceiving the world.
We’ll tune into our dreaming world; animal voices, spirit voices, plant voices; we’ll ask them to help us expand our awareness of numinous worlds.
We’ll look at sacred texts and images and read them in a new way; we will respond creatively, perhaps making our own icons and passages of writing which reflect our sense of approaching the sublime. I will supply a range of images and texts which are considered iconic for you to work from, or you can create your own, perhaps inspired by automatic drawing in a shamanic journey. We’ll also celebrate the Summer Solstice!

August 8th – 11th. The Beauty Way.
Mystic paths (in nature and in our bodies): how are we carried by them, how they create maps in our being-ness… We’ll ask how we can come to know the Angel Out Ahead, which is unique to each of us. We’ll consider the work of Henry Corbin, James Hillman, Tom Cheetham, Joan Halifax, Helene Cixous, Clarisse Lispector and Jerome Rothenberg amongst others to think about where the creative can take us creatively with words or images. I will supply resource material. We’ll make shamanic journeys to open up these texts and our understanding in new ways; then we’ll respond with writing, drawing, story, painting, dreaming.

We’ll think about how we can become and remain a truthful instrument (this is inspired by a dream I had of becoming a musical instrument): leading to descriptive prose and or drawings, sculptures, paintings. Who would play you? What sounds would you make? We’ll think about refinement, the nature of our vibration and how we can purify and elevate it.

August 27, 28 & 29th Eros and Psyche, Persephone, Inanna.
Three days looking into myth, story and bodily knowing.
We’ll think about what it could mean to descend, to be tested. What we might find there, in our own cave or underground chamber. We’ll look at the myths of Persephone, Inanna, and possibly others such as Medusa. We’ll think about the imagery of natural cycles, and our own creative responses in drawing, painting and writing. We’ll work with shamanic journeying to help extend and ignite our imaginations and inner knowing.
We’ll think about the importance of Eros in our lives: The Sacred Lover – we’ll make shamanic journeys to aid us in drawing, writing, feeling our way into our sacred sexuality; and to understand further the gifts of sacred darkness and ineffable light (in the body/world/solar system/star).

October 27th, 28th & 29th Having Death as my Advisor
Three days working on shamanic teachings around living and creating with death as our advisor.
If we can live each day with death as our advisor we can live full and energised lives without fear. We can ensure there is no unfinished business in our lives – with any person or event; we can begin to release old patterns and attachments; we can learn to live fully in each moment.
This course will be an intense and ultimately joyful, clarifying time where we’ll be helped and guided by our spirit guides to work creatively to come to a place of understanding and ease around our feelings about the cycle of life and death.
There will be shamanic journeying, drawing, writing, painting, dreaming, listening, holding, releasing and blessing. £420

To book or for further information please email me here: