Before my Iona workshop I had two days on the Isle of Mull to prepare. Here I am on the way to Tobermory, standing in the rich colours of orange-green seaweed.
The scent of sea was strong and clean. I stayed at a beautiful old Manse called Frachadil near Calgary Bay.
I made some drawings beside the bay, a favourite haunt of otters, bisected by dykes, tuning into the geology, the sea birds, the weather, and a mummified seal I found myself to be sitting near; graceful even in death, it’s form describing an arc, rear flippers appearing to cradle an egg.
The following day before crossing to Iona I saw four eagles and a black-winged heron.
On the Island I gave a workshop to 9 participants. We worked with the spirit of place, stories around St. Brigid and St. Columba; tuning into the special pristine qualities of the North Beach near the hostel by laying on the sand with closed eyes and making notes and drawings about the experience; we used the shamanic journey to divine the exact focus for each person, and we also used this technique for vision or clarity around particular personal questions. I invited the group to let go of ego (as far as possible) and to respond with enhanced bodily sensing to phenomena. I spoke about the ancient quality of the rock here, the Lewisian Gneiss which goes back to the early years of this planet (and is ten times older than granite).
We worked also with the dream, the intention, and experimentation with a wide range of high quality drawing materials supplied by Pip Seymour.
At night we walked to the beach in silence and with focus. I invited the group to each make small journeys to the sea each day, and to sing to the sea. On the last night we gathered on the beach after walking in a procession, and we had a very moving time singing our songs to the sea, as a group. This is one of the old Hebridean ways.
We worked with deepening our matrixial awareness to make drawings/monotypes and to explore our inner lives/develop our antennae/sensing organs through using our hands and materials.
It was a wonderful warm group without any shadow. Here is some feedback…
Your ears that listened to my poetry. Your eyes that watched my drawings. Your stories. Your presence. Your work. Betsy. I miss the island. The light. The seaweed. The shells and stones. The black sheep. The views. It’s a good feeling: missing. I like it. Thank you Kate for being my first shamanic teacher ever. And thanks for combining it with artwork and the feminine. Thanks for your good care and loving attention. You’re an excellent teacher in so many ways! ” JvO
I will spend some time on the Croft at Lagandorain working in the garden and with my drawings. I plan to make some night drawings in St Oran’s chapel and Iona Abbey. Walking at night here it is silent and feels precious, intense.