On arriving at the Wild Heart gathering, I take a moment to acknowledge the landscape. Lush, rolling hills draw my eye across Dartmoor and up towards the scudding clouds. The morning light sharply defines the contours of hills and clouds. It’s a familiar spot, marking a tree-lined pathway on an unmetalled road, leading across running water and up into Dartmoor’s un-peopled landscape. In a South Easterly direction, nestles the vibrant town of Buckfastleigh, and even closer, lies the Camphill Devon Community. I feel I know this place, yet at this moment, I see it for the first time.
As instructed by a friendly steward, I follow the hedge North-Eastwards down the slope. My feet enjoy the uneven surface of the field. Long blades of grass yield to each step and I avoid a crusty cow-pat baking in the sun. A good friend arrives, by chance at the same time, and her young daughter skips down the hill.
The light-hearted pixies watch us from under the hedge and blow a little magic dust our way. On reaching the reception tent, I’m warmly welcomed and immediately sense the gently flowing spirit of the wild hearts around me. Looking South, up the slope of the hill, tall tipis and domed tents are being tended by stewards busy with the finishing touches. There’s a subdued excitement in the air. As folk arrive the wind gently blows musings from the West, as pixies scramble silently to the top of the hill. Looking down, they dance and spin as the poetry of the land seeps into the air and our imaginations comes alive. I enjoy new encounters and my heart is warmed by surprise reunions with folk from times long gone. I relish the deepening of connections with those I recognize, from here and there.
A baby, peers over his dad's shoulder in wide-eyed wonder at the world. A woman sits cross-legged and upright reading a book on a wooden platform beneath an open tipi. Clusters of people stand chatting. A young man leans back into a deckchair, hands folded in his lap and gazes up into the sky. Children race up the slope. A young girl dressed as a fairy zigzags down. A young woman places her yoga mat on the grass and skillfully strikes one yoga pose after another. I sit on a bench sipping chai tea, enjoying how the sweetness and sharp spices of the liquid sit side by side on my palate.
On the second day I turn to the hills in the North in anticipation of leading my workshop ‘Biography through Movement’. Feeling the outwardly focused courage of the North wind, I scan the explanation that I’ve prepared on some flip chart paper, inspired by Bill Plotkin’s book ‘Wild Mind’. In some small way, I seek to open a door on re-visioning our notion of the human ’self’, locating the complex facets of ‘self ‘ within the gravitational pull of the earth’s compass. It’s noon and folk arrive with different expectations, all with an open heart. Some have strong associations with our hosts, these hills, and some have none. We begin to explore the narratives that emerge in the movement, turning from one direction to another, noticing how the inner dialogue brings forth a spontaneous dance, finding the abstract poetry of the body. Each dance shape-shifts within the shared arena, making conscious that which is ready to appear. Each story is loosely woven into the spirit of the Wild Heart gathering and the pixies scamper through the mud, sliding un-noticed under a flap in the tent. We finish. It’s time for lunch.
The next day sees the coming of the rain and the pixies splash mischievously in pools of water. The rain recedes after lunch, leaving the soft earth squelching underfoot. There’s a fresh chill in the air and I’m reminded that autumn is on its way.
Before 4 pm, I head to Tipi 1 to facilitate the ‘Social Dreaming’ session. The dreamers gather outside and when the time is right, we enter the circular Tipi and sit together on a carpet of yellow straw. After brief introductions the dreamers settle on the earth to invite their dreams. Some curl up on their sides. Some nestle into blankets pulled over their shoulders. Some lie on their backs to face the converging wooden poles of the tipi that meet in a crisscross connection at the top of the cone, reaching beyond the canvass, into the outside world. The dream matrix is open. The dreams take a while to emerge and then, as the dreamers begin to give voice to their reverie, the wisdom of the dreams begins to flow. The sun moves a little further to the West and the dream matrix closes. We gather to make links and find connections with the powerful images that have emerged, before parting and moving on our way.
I wander to the tea tent for another cup of chai tea, the dreams still hovering in the air and the pixies rolling downhill on the grass. Evening is drawing in. A figure in the distance stokes the fire. It was a real pleasure to be part of this gathering and to spend time with other wild and open-hearted souls in this beautiful landscape.
With much gratitude and appreciation to the organisers and all those who helped to make this gathering happen.