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The Woman With The Gold Between Her Teeth
The Four Tasks of Desire 
A letter by Martin Shaw

The Great Mother Conference June 1st-9th 2013

“Between my breasts there are quails, they must think I’m a tree. The swans think I’m a fountain, they all come down and drink when I talk”
-Gloria Fuertes

We live in an era frantic with news of scarcity – economic and emotional. That there is never enough of anything.
This year we drive our horses in quite another direction – that we are in fact a cosmos.

In many ancient cultures, a woman was clear that she was connected to the intelligence of a hawk or the bend in a river, a man just knew that he walked with bears.

In Greece, legend persists that there is a series of tasks to experience before you encounter this level of awareness – what some call the inner-marriage.

They require acute discipline. They are not easy. They are as diligent and quiet as they are ecstatic. But from these four tasks true culture is awoken – we experience ourselves as connected, and therefore of service.

The story? Eros and Psyche. A story of woman’s difficult awakening, a man’s deepening into love, and the four tasks required of Psyche to enter a deeper relationship to Eros.

We ask: like Psyche, what great tasks do we undergo that are clarifying our own desire, our own relationship to Eros? We could see that desire as what in us reaches out to the world, feels vital and awake.

What also of a damaged-eros? when a mythology of love falls, what is its replacement? Lack of eros is far more than erotic: it indicates lack of connection to the living world, the dis-location of pornography, decline of intimacy in the family.

A host of artists, poets, musicians and thinkers are gathering to explore the deepest implications of this story.
Through our mutual art we will participate in a celebration of desire, and learn something of the labors that have led to its flowering.

We will ask each participant to bring four tasks gathered from their own life – What labors have tested and confirmed and continue to provide an eros renewed?

Dare to see yourself as a kind of cultural historian of your
own life.

On arrival at the conference we will all find a partner to exchange these wisdom seeds with – at certain points over the wider week.  Small groups will also be a vehicle for this.

So this is a call out to all the boat builders, poets, gardeners, storytellers, mechanics, philosophers, dancers, hedgerow dreamers, quilt makers, secret nomads, introverted musicians, wise children, foolish grown ups,
and all we have momentarily forgotten to join us.

We leave at dusk.
Bring your dancing shoes.

-Martin Shaw

“We knew that gypsies were properly another race. They inhabited the land of Eros – as if a gate had been left open in the usual life, as if something may get in or out”. – Seamus Heaney

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