Join us in a revolution of the heart!

May 28 – June 5, 2016

Plan to gather with us for the 42nd annual
Great Mother Conference,
founded by Robert Bly.

Entering the Bone-House

The Great Mother Conference 2015 Theme

There is an idea that to love something fully you have to betray something else. It’s the weight of the betrayal that gives substance to that which is adored. Carrying this kind of paradox used to be called becoming an adult, what the Anglos-Saxons called “entering the bone-house.”

In the 21st century we are looking in two directions at once. We have unprecedented communication between cultures, languages and continents – with the translation of literature, poetry and story as one dimension of this richness. The wealth of this is clear.

But there seems to be a cost involved. Some feel unanchored, disembodied, adrift. Looking back, it’s hard not to feel nostalgia for a psychic life that had a much deeper root system: planted in the local, furnished with connectedness and a shared mythos – a “culture.” If this is so, we ask: Where is betrayal present in the promise of eternal progress? What have we been sold?

All week we dwell in story: What happens when a myth goes walkabout? And what is happening to the stories we carry? Another focus will be the role of translation in poetry, its ability to make the regional transportable. What are the gains and losses from such easy access?  When we are uprooted and endlessly moved, fragmented from a sense of heritage to a stretch of land or cosmology, how do we make art – and lives – from its very absence? Can we?

For nine days we will gather and cook in these ruminations: engaging the arts in their fullest capacity, from mythology to poetry, to music, ritual, art and dance. Stories will be spun that draw us up close to the Otherworld: from both the local to the migrational, poems read and songs sung from close and distant cultures. Our enquiry will aim to stir both heart and mind, hips and feet. We will again hoist our wagons on the trail of beautiful trouble. We leave at dusk.