ABOUT ACCIDENTAL GODS
We are two women, Manda Scott and Faith Tilleray, who dream of a different future.
My part of this dream began at the winter solstice of 2018. As each year, I sat with the fire and reflected on the year just gone, then sat with an open mind seeking a way forward for the year yet to come. The world felt…momentous. As if many things were opening, many things falling way – and through all of it, the horror of the climate and ecological emergency.
What came was unexpected. After twenty years in which life revolved around the twin spools of writing novels and teaching shamanic dreaming courses, I was expecting an avenue to one of the three books I had on the go. Or a film script (there’s one of those underway, too), or some other writing project.
What came was a clear instruction to start teaching at scale. And to teach – at scale – in the United States. None of which made a lot of sense. I teach small groups because I believe shamanic practice is either an ancient, complex, deeply powerful spiritual practice that is the birthright of humanity, learned over decades or it’s something we can learn in a weekend. It absolutely can’t be both and of the two, I believe the former otherwise, frankly, I wouldn’t put in the time, effort and enormous amounts of energy it takes to teach it. So if I’m going to teach it safely, I’m going to teach groups of around 15 people and it’ll take time to build layers of deepening practice. In fact, at the time I did that fire-journey, my most senior group – 9 people out of the hundreds who had started in the early years – had just taken 15 years to complete the first cycle.
Writing, Teaching, Meditating…
And what the fire was saying was that 9 people every 15 years is not going to cut it. There isn’t time any more. And you need to go to the States. Teach lots of people there. Which is weird, because I don’t fly. I don’t fly partly because I’m a member of Extinction Rebellion and flying is the first thing you ditch if you care about the planet… but also – I just hate flying.
So – by April I was in the US, teaching three lots of students whose numbers were rather more than 15. And I’d read the Deep Adaptation paper. And I was beginning to get to grips with the enormity of the climate and ecological crisis in ways I hadn’t before – how bad things are; how close to tipping points we are; how much we need change.
And I was working hard now, on what the fire had offered – because my understanding of what it was – is – to be human was shifting under my feet (again – this happens a lot with shamanic practice, but never so fast nor so fundamentally). This website – the podcast, the blog, the membership portal are the result of a year’s white-hot work. I have never meditated so much nor for so long; never done so many journeys, taken so many dreams, read so many books or listened to so many podcasts, TED talks, radio programs… people. I have met some astonishingly wonderful people along the way and hope to bring many of them to the podcast. I’ve learned more in a year than the rest of my life – or so it feels.
And I genuinely believe we can do this. Conscious evolution is possible – we just need a whole lot of people to join in.
And yes, I’ll still be writing books, just more slowly than before. Because… the world is changing, and we need to change with it.
And yes, I’ll definitely still be teaching shamanic dreaming – it’s not going away, and it still needs to be slow, with group sizes that are safe. But it’s also a thread in the weave of all this – dreamers already speak the language of reconnection. And those who are working towards transformation are learning skills that will make the dreaming fly. I look forward to seeing where these twinned strands will take us.
My part in this dream started on a long train journey to Edinburgh with Manda in early 2019. We began the journey talking about climate change and bio-diversity loss but thankfully the momentum of the train and being in the right place at the right time meant that our conversation morphed into what we could usefully do together – something that would help to make a difference and that would use both of our skills.
I’ve been designing websites for the last few years and have been moving, increasingly, to only taking on projects that I believe in – projects that are bringing something useful to the world. But as we whizzed through the Lake District, seeing the hills that would once have been covered in trees so bare and sheep-bitten, my thoughts turned to spending my teenage years in Wales, roaming in primrose woods and cowslip meadows and sadness that my grandchildren will never see such things washed over me. I felt that I wasn’t doing enough.
I looked into myself and wondered how, after sitting out in our field on the hill and feeling so connected to the earth in those moments, I could slip back so easily into living a comfortable life – a life not changed enough by love for all that is being lost.
I realised that fleeting moments of connection aren’t enough and that I needed to love the earth, the trees, the grass and the tiny plants among the grass whose names I don’t even know, so fully that it would transform me. The amazing experience of becoming a grandmother showed me how new kinds of love are always possible and I knew I needed to feel that intensity of love for the natural world around me, the world that I am part of.
We spent the rest of the train journey talking about what has become accidental gods – our joint project of love for the world. It’s heart-rendingly exciting. It feels good and right. I can’t wait to start the program myself and will be sharing my progress as the weeks go by. I’m not ‘good’ at meditating, having always been full of good intentions but less good at following through. This feels real and it feels possible that the program that Manda’s created and that I’ve had some much fun building online, can be key to my own journey of transformation.
I’ll look forward to meeting you in the forum and the webinars and to sharing this journey with you.
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