For Martin Shaw’s last year leading the conference, the theme he has created focuses on one of the original premises of the gathering: exploring the mythic feminine through the lens of story, music, art and poetry.
With climate change, an initiation is coming that will not just effect young people, but over time every human and non-human on the planet. There are no guarantees and there is a great deal of fear.
What does it mean to have an entire earth entering an initiation, not just a particular element of a community?
Indigenous cultures say we should turn to the old stories.
From the Sumerian myth of Inanna through to many of the fairytales explored in the first five years of the conference, we will hear from a treasury of stories filled with insight about our relationship with a wider earth, and often led by a journey of the feminine. These are not stories invested in appealing to any particular polemic, they are utterly their untamed self. Man or woman, we may balk at what they disclose. But what do they need to teach us at such a moment?
Coming to the conference will be teachers, artists, dancers, singers, musicians, who will have something to add to the conversation. It is a chance to address a conference created in honour of a Great Mother. We’ve sent some words in her direction over the forty plus years of the gathering, what may she want to say back? This is a place for praise and deep thought, not unnecessary conflict.
As a personal goodbye to the conference, Martin will also be telling a midnight, open-to-all rendition of the Grimm’s tale, Iron John, made impactful to millions by its founder, Robert Bly.