An unrivalled immersion into myth, wilderness and soul.
In troubled times we are creating a culture of resistance and delight.
This learning community on Dartmoor in the far west of the United Kingdom, believes that myth has something vital to say about the condition of both our lives and the earth. That certain stories we need right now arrived, perfectly on time, about five thousand years ago.
Central to this is the notion that culture and wildness have experienced an artificial separation, and that both initiation and myth can create what Shaw calls a Culture of Wildness. It is such a culture that the school and its scholars endeavour to raise up.
The school is focused on a five-weekend programme Stalking the Rebel Soul – the next will begin in September 2023. Each weekend will entail the telling of myth(s) or fairy tale(s) by Dr Martin Shaw, and then response and study to it. In the spirit of the ancient Bardic schools, woven through our time together is time alone in the outdoors, “walking the story”; tracking the mythology of a landscape and the landscape of a mythology. This is a sophisticated practice. Over the gatherings quite a braided knot of relationship is formed between the story of your own life and the great ocean of these epic tales.
The atmosphere is convivial, studious and lively in appropriate measure. It’s a mighty thing. It’s a migratory voyage through the grandeur of language, mythos and place.
Over 2023 there will be a programme of courses offered by the school. Alongside the flagship 5-weekend programme there is also a summer school in June – a four-night residential. There will also be day events and one or two stand alone weekends. Keep an eye on the events page for updates or sign up to the school newsletter here to receive the latest course news. Dr Martin Shaw’s books and free resources can be found at his small publishing house Cista Mystica. Further inquiries can be sent to .
“It’s been necessary soul food plain and simple. Martin creates a space where story and nature walk side by side, where we take a step into the myth world and find that we are on a journey that our souls have been crying out for. It has been an unexpected deep dive into the unknown, and has woven the world of myth into my everyday life in a way that I didn't know was possible before.”
“The School of Myth weekends have offered me a depth of inner exploration that other self development work hasn't previously. My appreciation of the weekends has mainly centered around the deep connection I have felt with nature, the community spirit, the revelry, creative offerings and fresh air 24⁄7. However, the main thing I would recommend is hearing a mythical story come to life in the words of Martin Shaw, a master storyteller who has you gripped from beginning to end - try one and see what I mean !”
“Martin has an uncanny ability to speak, talk and walk with the relaxed swagger of a pirate after a raid but underneath this, serious focus and intention lurks. He clearly works hard at building and holding a transformational container where quite extraordinary things can and do happen. I testify from direct, startled and humbling personal experience to this man’s work and commitment to myth, nature and deep, much needed change in our world.”
“… a course that has initiated deep movement and change within me and is developing a greater understanding and significance of the mythic world. Beautiful wild locations, excellent food, warm and friendly companions, inspiring and knowledgeable teacher.”
"There is fox fur and woodsmoke in his thinking. A kind of outlaw language."
About Dr. Martin Shaw
Dr. Martin Shaw is regarded as one of the most outstanding new teachers of the mythic imagination. Visiting fellow at Schumacher college in the U.K., he has also devised and lead the Oral Tradition course at Stanford university in the U.S.
Author of the award winning; A Branch From The Lightning Tree, Snowy Tower and the upcoming Scatterlings, he leads a bustling schedule of conferences, gatherings and wilderness retreats over several continents. For the last decade he has led the small hedge-school on the Celtic fringe of Britain, tucked into the south-easterly curve of Dartmoor national park. He has contributed to Desmond Tutu’s leadership program at Oxford University. Much of his teaching arises from a four year period living in a tent on a succession of English hills.
His translations of Celtic folklore and poetry (with Tony Hoagland) are forthcoming in Poetry International, The Mississippi Review, Poetry Magazine, Orion, and the Kenyon Review. Recent collaborations have included “Old Gods” with Mark Rylance and Paul Kingsnorth. Martin is also a patron of the UK charity, Earth Restoration Service.
the program itself is a rite of passage
What if we dwelt within the psyche of the story rather than imagined it was all neatly contained within our own heads? What if the stories owned us rather than the other way around?