The Greatest Outdoors

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Because I Have a Voice: The Heroine’s Journey

Drawing from the Triple Goddess in Irish mythology, this series of workshops will explore and honour the Divine Feminine in all of us over the course of the cyclical year

Dates: 

5 February 2023 : Imbolc – Brigid – Oak/Apple

30 April 2023 : Bealtaine – Macha – Apple/ Oak

5 November 2023 : Oíche Shamna – Cailleach – Yew

Time: 10 am – 5 pm

Cost: £60 pp

(6 participants minimum, 12 participants maximum)

Facilitators: Siuban O’Hare, Stephanie Sim, Jemma Weymss

To register for the course, please click here. Please take note of the different closing dates in the form for each session.

Brigid

All original artwork for this course was created by Siuban O Hare

Introduction

The idea for this series of workshops began with a conversation between Siuban O’Hare and Stephanie Sim around tree journeys, the Goddess, mythic time and consciousness.

Over the course of the year, frequented the hills of Craigantlet and forests of North Down, to explore putting together something which would draw on the wealth of Irish mythology to enable participants to develop their connection with the unseen consciousness. A consciousness which, because it is quiet, almost forgotten and unspoken, has had little currency in our culture and soul life, and flown under our collective radars.

We spoke about the importance of thresholds and the Divine Feminine, her beauty and sublimity as Maiden, Mother and Crone, and wondered how we could work with her blessings and bounty through a mythic narrative which would simultaneously strengthen the Sacred Feminine presence in our lives as well as root it in nature, the land making the experience an earthy, practical one.

Jemma Weymss then joined the conversation and over several sessions we discussed the phases of womanhood, as well as the importance of the feminine consciousness in the lives of not just the women we knew, or the women we were, but men who were part of the picture.

Macha

The topics were wide ranging and covered everything: from the experience of girlhood, periods to the blossoming potential and perils of teenagehood, the triumphs and challenges faced by young women, mothers, and single women, as well as society’s impoverished and debilitating attitudes to the riches of the menopause and elderhood. We covered what wisdoms the ancient myths held for us as we reconnected with a renewed spiritual consciousness in the 21st century. It spiraled out into social constructs, economic systems, religion, the media, including social media, as well as the historic suppression and abuse of the feminine and how impoverished we were because of this. Yes, it did feel like we were setting the world to rights a bit.

In late June, we were invited by the Navan Centre to suggest workshops which we run over the course of the year. This was very exciting. As the home of the Goddess Macha herself and the ancient spiritual centre of Ireland, the Navan Centre’s unique location would be the perfect place to explore these ideas and renew our connection to the land, through a series of workshops which worked with the Triple Goddess.

The workshop is called Because I Have a Voice – The Heroine’s Journey as we were reclaiming and reframing that forgotten and long abandoned space through story, song, poetry and art. Of great importance as well was reestablishing a connection with the land through blessing as well as working with the trees as a medium for journeying into mythic time.

Cailleach

Content

The three sessions can be attended as stand alone workshops, or as a full set.

The idea is to take the participant on a journey through the threefold incarnation of the Triple Goddess – Maiden, Mother and Crone.

During each workshop we will work with an aspect of the Goddess and very closely with a tree.

This will be done through various media, including sand play, poetry, art, woodland skills, music and storytelling. Each workshop will explore what that aspect of the Goddess means, and how it has informed and continues to inform the participant’s own journey.

Lunch will be held outdoors, as we cook over a campfire, reconnecting with the mood of the season.

At the end of the session, participants will leave with a momento of time spent in mythic space, as well as, hopefully, a deepened understanding and connection of the role the Divine Feminine which they will be able to continue to strengthen independently in their lives.

The workshop will be facilitated by Siuban, Stephanie and Jemma.

Who should attend?

Anyone who is interested in journeying, nature and conservation, mythology, tree lore, creativity, woodland and outdoor activities and skills, exploring their own relationship to the Goddess in all her aspects and forms. You can be brand new to the process or a seasoned practioner yourself. No experience is necessary and depth of experience will be welcomed!

If you are on a threshold yourself – or would like to retrospectively look back at your own experience of those thresholds. We hope to offer a space where all are able to share of their experiences openly and draw from the journey of the Goddess herself to develop a nourishing narrative.

Ages: 16 and above

Gender: Open to anyone who seeks to connect with the Divine Feminine within them. It is important that as a participant you must respect the experiences of everyone else.

Mobility: Allowances can be made for people of varying mobilities. If you have a question about ability, please contact us directly by email.

What to bring

Participants need to bring a Journal and Pen – although loose leaf paper and stationery will also be provided. All food will be provided. All art materials will be provided.

Must be dressed for the weather (outdoor element). Dress comfortably to enable movement during workshop.

The Venue

Navan Fort (Emain Macha) is an ancient ceremonial monument near ArmaghNorthern Ireland. According to tradition it was one of the great royal sites of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland and the capital of the Ulaidh. It is a large circular hilltop enclosure—marked by a bank and ditch—inside which is a circular mound and the remains of a ring barrow. Archeological investigations show that there were once buildings on the site, including a huge roundhouse-like structure that has been likened to a temple. In a ritual act, this timber structure was filled with stones, deliberately burnt down and then covered with earth to create the mound which stands today. It is believed that Navan was a pagan ceremonial site and was regarded as a sacred space. It features prominently in Irish mythology, especially in the tales of the Ulster Cycle. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Celtic Mythology, “the [Eamhain Mhacha] of myth and legend is a far grander and mysterious place than archeological excavation supports”.

Facilitators

Siuban at Hill is Uisneach this year

Siuban O Hare

Siuban is a fulltime artist, sculptor and storyteller, who lives and works in Bangor Co,Down. She has exhibited her work with the RUA annual exhibition in the Ulster Museum Belfast, Scuplture in Context National Botanical Gardens Dublin, ForM Sculptural exhibition Walled Gardens Bangor and the Chimera international Gallery Mullingar WestMeath. Siuban is a member of a local writers and storytelling group. Her knowledge also extends into Irish mythology and Folklore, Divine Feminine and Irish Indigenous beliefs and practices.


Before becoming a fulltime artist, for over 25 years, Siuban worked as a Trauma and Systemic Family Therapist. Using art, play, poetry, storytelling and journaling as a form of communication. With children, adolesences and their families, in residential and community settings.


Siuban designed and delivered training and workshops on Trauma and Systemic Family therapy.

Stephanie and Gary, her cat

Stephanie Sim

Stephanie has had a long standing interest in mythology, especially Goddess mythos. She has delved into shamanism, tree journeys and has facilitated workshops with teenagers – boys and girls – to enable connections with the world around them to assist with sense making.

She currently teaches in a Waldorf school and has also been a Forest School practioner for the past 11 years. She started Elements Forest School in 2020 and is working closely with the Fostering Network to deliver their Wild About Learning Programme.

She has a MA degree in English Studies and holds amongst other certifications, a diploma in Steiner education and has been an accredited Forest School practioner for the past 11 years.

Jemma Weymss

What’s next?

Well, quite a lot actually…

The Goddess Journey

Starting in February, at Imbolc, we will be starting a series of workshops honouring the feminine and everyone is invited, regardless of gender.

We will be taking a voyage with Brigid (Imbolc), Macha (Bealtaine) and the Cailleach (Samhain) through the course of the year. Along with the goddesses, we will be working with trees as well as the land. The venue is being confirmed now, but it is quite close to being confirmed! So we are most excited about this.

Cailleach by Siuban Regan

After Schools

We will continue our After Schools club in Holywood Steiner School. But if you are interested in having one for yours, please contact us and let us know.

Easter Scheme

Processing potatoes…

The dates for the Easter scheme are the 4, 5 and 6 of April.

Summer Scheme

The dates for the summer scheme will be confirmed soon.

Fostering Network

We will continue to work with the Fostering Network. We are planning a session over the February half term already for somewhere in Belfast!

If you are interested in any of these activities or getting in touch with us email hello@elementsschool.net or call us/ WhatsApp 07540075991. You can also drop in on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/elementsschoolni/.

Oíche Shamhna

and Halloween was back! Sadly we didn’t get too many photos of it, but here are a few that were captured by the parents. It was a collaboration between Elements and the Parents and Friends of the Steiner School. over 150 people attended despite the downpour! It was a truly memorable evening.

This was Emma Foley’s station – the amulet making
Apples anyone?
The shadow play by Siuban Regan
Art by Siuban Regan as part of the cailleach story
The eternal other
We turned the portacabin into a shadow play theatre! It was rather magical!

So, what’s next?…

Halloween Celebrations with Elements

Sign up for the following activities:

Fabulous Fungi Drawing with Gabriel Knight

Halloween Forest School

We will be making bread, telling stories, wandering through the wood and learning about the beautiful time of the year.

Costume Making with Emma Foley

Pass between worlds

The shadows are getting longer and deeper. The new cycle is ready to begin. How do you wish to step out of the past and into the next year? Or, in other words…

It’s Halloween, what are you going as?

On October 31st, come into the dusk of Samhain in this rewarding workshop using natural traditional materials and methods to make your choice of a beautiful mask, wreath, or charm. 

Your safety may depend on it!

Our handwork on the day will be accompanied by a constructive, and exciting exploration of ideas relating to costume, disguise, tradition, shadow-self, story, spirit-appeasement, folk art, and a look at the cultural balance between the profane and the sacred.

You will leave prepared for whatever comes at you on Halloween night. 

Well, hopefully…..

Workshop from 1pm to 4pm.

There will be a opportunity to relax post workshop for 30 to 40 minutes around the fire after we finish work.

There will be a short break from 2:20 to 2:40. Seasonal refreshments will be provided. 

All required tools and materials will be provided for you but please feel free to bring along anything you would like to use.

[Provided: Mixed fabrics, hessian, wool, leather, felt, crystal, ribbon, fruitwoods, shells, nuts, husks, wire, twine, dried herbs and flowers]

Please notify me of any allergies before the event. 

Looking forward to welcoming you.

Dragons and Leaves: Our first Copper Smithing session

All pictures by Caron Ang

Our first copper smithing session was a blast, no pun intended. Let the pictures speak for themselves…

A very pleasing final result indeed for a first time copper smith
Setting up the session was a serious business… the equipment took over two months to put together
Matthew made anvils from scratch – well from logs and steel plates!!! That took him two weeks!!!
The tools of the trade – hammers, chisels and other implements of medieval torture
It was a full house – of mostly blokes… hammering and smithing away

The nice thing about all of our activities is that you leave feeling that you have accomplished something you thought that you could never do.

Here is the man himself showing how it is done
A graceful willow leaf!
Copper working was a highly valued skill in the Bronze Age
Some other lovely finished pieces
Delicate rings were made by the only female paticipant!
A beautiful oak leaf
Treasure!

If you would like to sign up for this coming Saturday – 2 October fill in this form! Or email hello@elementsschool.net. Come along and surprise yourself!

Thank you Heidi!

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Stationery to go gaga over

The Iona Shop in Holywood which stocks all manner of good things is sponsoring some of our art materials for the sessions with Gabriel. The shop stocks only the very best quality colour pencils, crayons, pastels and carries a wide range of papers for crafting. There is also a very small mark up on these materials as Heidi is committed to making the best art materials available to all – although they are by no means cheap, these crayons are made from beeswax and the colour pencils are vibrant and true.

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If you love art you will love the art collection at the Iona Shop.

One Form to Rule Them All

Because we now have art classes, weekly sessions, a summer scheme and birthday parties, we have a single booking form for you to register your interest. Fill it in and Jonathan will get back to you… or you CAN email hello@elementsschool.net. Or call 07410411840.

Here are all our ad just to remind you what we have!

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What do you do?

Here are some FAQs

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Summer Scheme!!!

We cannot describe how excited we are!!! Our very first summer scheme which builds on the nearly 60 sessions we have done since we have started this year… and that’s not counting the scores of sessions we have had since we started doing Forest School lessons since 2013!

Our booking form will be made available soon or by email, so to book a provisional place which will be confirmed by next week please either email hello@elementsschool.net or call 07410411840 that’s Jonathan’s phone number.

With the Glencraig site we will have access to a beautiful naturally managed forest, historic walks and a blue flag beach – Helen’s Bay! There is outdoor cooking, crafts and storytelling. We will have wildlife and nature ID, and of course a deep and meaningful connection to nature.

Looking forward to a blissful summer!

Seeing the Trees…

May be an image of tree and outdoors
Would you like to learn how to draw this oak? Gabriel will take you through it step by step

Drawing trees with Gabriel Knight

Saturday – June 12, 19, 26 and July 3

10 am – 11.30 pm

Cost: $20 per session, material included

Elements is very excited to announce the first ever art course run with Gabriel Knight at The Quarries in Bangor. Learn how to draw beautiful, realistic and gorgeous trees with experienced teacher Gabriel Knight.

Gabriel has taught art now for more than 30 years to children as well as adults. Her personal lessons are filled with warmth and carefully planned to ensure that participants come away with something to be satisfied with! Whether you are just beginning or have done this for a while, it is the right class for you.

May be an image of 1 person, outdoors and tree
Gabriel has 30 years of teaching experience

For these lessons, trees from the locale will be drawn. These include birches, pines and fruit trees. Gabriel has also created drawings exclusively for these sessions with the complete beginner in mind. With these lessons there is a real sense of achievement. Working in charcoal (which you will make yourself from local willow!) and pastels, a very forgiving and easy medium, Gabriel will guide you through the process step by step.

The lessons are limited to 8 participants per session. Set in the beautiful rustic charm of the Quarries Farm, you will spend an hour and a half not only learning how to draw, but experiencing the peace and tranquility of this unique site.

The beautiful round house which gives the location one of its many many charms

By the end of the four sessions you will have four beautiful drawings which you can frame and keep or gift! You will also be able to say they were drawn using charcoal you made yourself!

Each session is £20 and is open to anyone over the age of 12 and over. All materials will be provided.

Make your own charcoal from local willow

£15 sessions in January and February

To help you keep your new year’s resolutions to spend more time outdoors we have reduced our Jan/Feb prices to £15 per session for each child.

If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please contact us at hello@elementsschool.net

You can also book a session here.

We start on 5 Jan!!!

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