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Open Letter: Reflections on the work
Dear Moving Energy and This Land Sex Magic connections.
Connecting to Bedrock.
Recently I’ve taken some time away from direct offerings to reflect on my work and my own processes, and I would like to share some of my thoughts with you. I would love to hear how any of them resonate with you, any responses or requests you have and if there are any things you are particularly drawn to. This will help in my planning for the next period of time.
On a personal level I have been deepening and growing, as well as feeling into what it means to have now turned 60! I’ve missed travelling and there are many people I have missed being with. But this has been a time to connect to the beautiful land here on Dartmoor in a deeper way than ever before. It’s been a time of shedding skins, of facing fears and of processing old patterns. I’ve become more energetically sensitive and learned more about my own energies; how to work with them and how to protect myself from what comes in uninvited from outside. I feel more centred, more focused and more aware of what is going on under the surface. Despite everything that is happening, I have retained a sense of hope and a sense of connection to what I perceive matters: the earth, connection, community, consent, societal change, energy and magic. I have a strong sense of bedrock, the underlying rock that holds and sustains, and how it manifests as a symbol in my life.
I’ve been really missing our in-person workshops. I’ve struggled with putting my work online, made mistakes and at times disliked it intensely! And yet I have learned so much in the last year. I have learned how to share energy while connecting online, how to support others to do the same and how to translate some of the content of my workshops into an online experience. I’ve particularly liked the format of the 4-6 week courses I have run. They have allowed a group to build identity, trust and depth of sharing. And they have given people a chance to practise activities during the weeks enclosed by the course, given time for perspectives to shift and work to process and allowed the work to ’embed’ itself more fully.
This idea of embedding is one that has become increasingly important to me, personally and in my work. In my workshops over the last 6 years I have moved more and more away from an idea of providing ‘peak’ experiences, as so many workshops seem to aim to do. I have wanted to give participants a chance to learn how to work energy for themselves and not be dependent on workshop leaders to do it for them. I have focused more and more on awareness and on consent, and encouraged participants to find their own paths through the workshops and to feel in to what works for them. I have become increasingly distrustful of events that offer only peak experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I love intense, high energy rituals and sharings! But I believe that they need to be built up to from a grounded, centred place; and that after them it is necessary to rest and to process. Only then can we embed our experiences, develop our skills and grow energetically. Peak experiences without the balance of other energetic states can lead to burn-out and can reinforce the culture of addiction that is prevalent in this society. I want to be part of creating something different, more holistic and more sustainable.
This desire to emphasize embedding and developing over the consumerisation of experience led me, two years ago, to develop my own Year and A Day magical training course. The course covers basic pagan theory and practice, with an emphasis on energywork and on supporting people’s personal journeys. Ideally it combines online and in-person sharings and rituals, although the in-person ones have of course not been able to happen recently. I will be offering another training course this year, starting at Samhain (October 31st) so let me know if you would like more information.
Another thing that I have been developing over the last year is one-to-one mentoring and energy sessions; in person when that has been possible, but also increasinly by phone or online. Sometimes these have accompanied, or acted as a follow-on for, online courses, and this has been another way in which I have supported people to embed the work. I will continue to offer these on a donation basis, either as one-off sessions or as a series of sessions with the number agreed in advance.
Whatever happens with covid restrictions, the online work has become so much a part of our culture over the last 15 months that I think it is unlikely to stop in the foreseeable future (which of course is not very foreseeable these days!). There are many advantages to working online. People can participate from all over the world, and it is accessible to those who live remotely and who are not able to attend in-person events due to health conditions or mobility impairments. I have loved the richness of the groups that have come together over the last year. And accessibility is one of my core values.
For all these reasons, I foresee myself offering a mixture of online and in-person workshops and courses over the next period of time. I have had requests to do another ‘Energywork for Empaths’ course and so will be offering that, along with other courses involving support, energywork and magic that feel apposite and excite me. Having had some practise and experience, I also feel I am now ready to offer a basic ‘This Land Sex Magic’ course online. I’d like to offer one for all genders and sexualities and also, if there is the interest, one for female, trans and non-binary people.
I’d like to venture back into in-person workshops again with some small residential workshops of around 6 people; focusing on how it is for us to be back in groups again and working with consent and energy. I’m currently looking for venues where I don’t have to pay upfront and where there is not a financial loss if workshops need to be cancelled due to covid. This could be small residential venues, holiday cottages, or people’s houses if the people would be interested in joining the course, so let me know if you have any ideas!
Another idea that has occurred to me is that of combining the workshops with the online courses. This might meet my desire to embed the work more fully, to prepare for the energetic experiences and process them afterwards. I envision online meetings once a week for three weeks before a weekend residential workshop, and the same afterwards. This would enable us to build the group and get to know each other, to work on boundaries and consent and practise basic energywork beforehand. After the workshop we would be able to feedback and process and spend time looking at what in the work was useful and how it could be brought further into the participants’ lives. I wonder if this would combine the best of the in-person and the online experiences. I’d love to try it out so let me know if you are interested. Again, I would want to keep the group small, around 6-8 people.
Finally I will be offering one-off workshops again as soon as that seems possible. I’m planning a joint day workshop with Rupert Alison, who teaches ‘Wheel of Consent’, on Energy Consent, which is a subject very dear to my heart. And there will be more sex magic and moving energy workshops as that feels right and possible. As I change and grow, so does my facilitation, and I was already detecting a different quality in the workshop I led just before lockdown. It felt that there was a slowing down and a deepening of the work and it was a profound and beautiful experience. I am curious to see what will have changed after the last 15 months of growth, and development!
If you have read this to the end thank you. I welcome your feedback and ideas. Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Much love. Al Head
As new courses and workshops are offered they will be added on the Workshops page.
A Space for Spirit – workshop participant
I love the spaces you make – adult and playful and held and clear – TLSM workshop participant
Heres a beautiful poem written by a participant after the last This Land Sex Magic residential workshop in Wales –
Between the worlds
Kites draw the scrim of sky closer
Fire leaps hand to hand
There is water
holding the light of
a beeswax candle as your eyes
The circle is cast
Everywhere is sapful surge
and splash of green growen
Bright as Mother’s Moon
Chestnut trees whorl and whirl
peaty roots into leafy skies urgent
with summer-lamb bleat
Gifts given and received
and the pleasure cup
Hale the fool
Tread boldly on air
Tread gentle too
For this is magick
Silence is batsong
He is she is qwe
All is present
between the worlds
qweaver 24may 2016