This week, two things made me very happy.
One was, I've had not just one but two lovely e-mails from Sandy Britain (the man so cool they named the country after him)- he is now ensconced at Tairawhiti College in Gisborne in New Zealand, and found my blog while researching, er, blog software for online e-learning communities. When things like that happen it makes blogging worthwhile. He's an e-learning pedagogy guru and a dedicated surfer (or so I'm led to believe; I have seen an amazing photo of him surfing a very big wave somewhere in New Zealand). Sandy understands my spiritual devotion to big surf beaches, and knows why I am drawn back to Sennen in Cornwall (since it's hard to pop over to Piha or Karekare in New Zealand for five days). There's a picture of Sandy on this out-of-date website. And here is his swansong to the e-learning community in the UK. Sandy is the archetypal Aquarian e-Learning Shaman (ooh, if I can think of a word starting with "r" we can all take the acronym "ARSE"... how about Aquarian Researchers and Shamans of e-Learning: ARSE!!!). He is usually very bad at staying in touch, because it's hard to e-mail (using present technology anyway) from a surfboard, and he has to fit in family life and a full-time job around the surfing. So let's hope he gets a blog and makes us all jealous of his new-found paradise with lots of photos and stories.
And I also caught up with my friend Phil, who is a metagendered werewolf and an American PhD student at Cork University, who is interested in liminality, and in queer readings of werewolves in Celtic mythology, and who is very tall and very brainy and very funny and very sweet. Phil is also devoted to the god Antinous, it's something to do with sacred gay sexuality, you'd better check out this website on Antinous, cos I'm too tired to explain it. I'm sure Phil will set us all straight on my bumbling attempt to sum him up in a paragraph, should he get round to looking at this.
And on top of these two things ...
I found something really interesting, the first time in ages I've been inspired to e-mail someone based on their website. I started by looking for accommodation in Cornwall, and checked out the website of Caer, the now closed workshop venue where I have had some pretty mindblowing experiences- there is an iron age fogou on the site, which is a stone underground chamber- inhabited by a very dark goddess, who has given me some powerful transformative experiences.
From there I found a website called G.O.R.I.L.L.A. (are you reading CyberChimp?). This site is about challenging the oppression inherent in the professionalisation of psychotherapy:
"These screens are devoted to exposing and challenging the contradictions, fallacies and incongruities of the 'professionalisation' through which trade associations such as UKCP are attempting to colonise psycho-practice in the UK."
G.O.R.I.L.L.A. is edited by this cool guy called Denis Postle who is a film maker and therapist who quotes Starhawk. His web design skills are atrocious, they hurt my eyes, but the content is worth it! (I just discovered this while looking for the link to the bit I was gonna tell you about).
Anyway, somehow I found this sexologist woman called Petruska Clarkson who runs sexual creativity workshops and trains therapists, but is very wild and radical. I read a speech she gave called When Shit Happens. I don't know, I just felt very drawn to her dramatic and deep approach to life, and her irreverence for the "system". Funny thing is, her office is in Harley Street and I walked past it a couple of weeks ago. And I've just noticed she's South African. There's something about not being raised in the UK, even across countries as diverse as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, there's a certain irreverent and can-do attitude that we have in common. And intolerance of old-school European sexism and misogyny. She advises people on how to avoid doing a taught Masters and leaping straight to a PhD... which apparently is possible- I wish. I couldn't stand to go through a boring Masters to get to a PhD- especially at my age. Life is short.
So I e-mailed her but I don't know why or what I want. (While I write this Carrie is on the tv saying she thinks therapy is "kind of bullshit"). I told her about my many and varied experiences, esp. in my 20s, of therapies and groups and collectives and so forth, and my own experiences of fulfilment and unease in the role of shamanic healer and counsellor (the "system" hasn't co-opted shamanism - yet).
Anyway. I think I have some stuff to do, like getting some sleep before the conference tomorrow.