Edge of the Wild is a yearly gathering for those involved with or interested in ecopsychology. It has been happening every year since 2012, at Green and Away, a tented conference centre near Worcester.
At Edge of the Wild, we live together for three days in a canvas village, in the midst of trees, bushes and flowers, a short walk from a river. We eat together, dream together, talk together, work and play and dance together, in shifting combinations – sometimes we also cry together or argue together. Each year is different, but what stays the same is our commitment to a world of which humans are a part, alongside other species, rather than being apart, separate from the rest of existence and believing ourselves to be superior. Rather than a conference in the usual sense, the event is therefore a gathering, in which we challenge the Western consumer model. It is a place where we engage with the work of ecopsychology as it emerges spontaneously, not necessarily in accordance with pre-determined outcomes or objectives.
Inspired by the conversations last year around not being able to hear juxtaposed with those who struggled to speak loud enough to be heard. This year’s gathering has the title:
I can’t hear you, can you hear me?
Listening to the other-than-human and to other humans
23rd - 26th July 2020 at Green and Away, Worcestershire, UK
While inspired by human participants with specific needs, this theme also has deep reverberations into whether we are hearing the other than human world and the more than human world; so also for ecopsychology in practice. Similar to last year, this theme will be explored with at least these five tools:
The Social Dreaming Matrix: sharing dreams in a group, not as personal possessions but as collective resources for understanding the forces at play in the present moment. We have worked with social dreaming every year, and it has become increasingly central to the event, moving from an optional extra on the margins of the timetable to a major feature of the programme; we have found the other-than-human and more-than-human crowding into the shared dreams – animals, birds, fishes, trees, plants, insects – all generously sharing their wisdom with us
Sitting in Council: a formal structure for sharing our experiences, based on turn-taking, space, and non-judgemental listening. “No subject was out of bounds within the Circle, which could range from who would gather wood for the next day to how do we heal a member in need of intense care. We follow this ancient tradition of the 'Talking Stick' or 'Prayer Stick' and recognize that whoever is holding the sacred stick has the floor and has a sacred duty to tell the truth. We acknowledge our duty to this person, to listen without judgment or interruption as this person talks of whatever subject they wish to talk about. If that person needs input, it is up to him or her to ask for that help and to respect in non-judgment the answer which is given regardless of its validity.” (Blackfoot Elder)
Therapeutic Process: we have found that very powerful emotions can emerge at our gatherings, as a natural response to experiencing the damage that is being inflicted on global ecosystems: feelings of grief, rage, fear and confusion which need to be expressed as a valid part of our work together. This can happen either formally or informally: many people at the gathering are skilled and experienced in supporting strong emotion, and those who don’t feel comfortable around it can do something else. If there is a felt need, groups can form and workshops be offered in this area.
Home groups: At the beginning of the gathering we will all form small groups to offer a support base over the three days, an opportunity for support and sharing in a manageable space which can be useful for everyone, particularly for newcomers.
Workshops: Rather than calling for proposals in advance, we are going to invite offers of workshops to emerge at the gathering as and when it feels right, as themes emerge from our interactions and individuals realise that their skills and experience might be useful to others.
There is also space for a range of activities including an open mic session round the bonfire, dancing, swimming in the river, and chatting round the tea tent and bar. There will also be an introductory ‘what is ecopsychology?’ session for those who want it.
This year we have invited four individuals to attend as guests of the gathering, who we feel will nourish our process, and hopefully will also themselves be nourished by it. We are not asking for anything in particular from them other than their presence, though they may be moved to offer workshops or other contributions. The guests this year are:
Ciara Callaghan, Fibre artist, exploring ancient craft, community experience and dreams.
Kelvin Hall, Eco-therapist, equine assisted therapist and storyteller.
Arizona Smith, Visual artist, exploring archetypes, dreams and engaging community.
Louise Warner, Processwork therapist and facilitator.
The Edge of the Wild is a non-profit event, and we try to make it possible for as many people as possible to attend. We have been able to keep our prices the same as for 2019. The 2020 prices for three days, including camping space and all meals, are:
Early bird: £235
(This ends April 30th 2020 and is capped at 50 places)
Normal rate: £260
Supporter rate: £300
Bookings open on the 1st of March 2020
Bookings close on the 9th July 2020.
Please contact the organising group with any questions here.