Restoring the Spirit of Connection to the Natural World – A 10-Week Online Course with Eleanor O’Hanlon and Stephen Pope. Free Introductory Session will be on Friday 24 September 2021 at 19.00 CET via Zoom.
The web of life is fluid, interdependent, and whole: it is being woven through the participation of all the creatures that make up the natural world. We humans are called now – urgently – to re-awaken to this unity, and relate to our fellow creatures at a much deeper level. Then the natural world is realised as the sacred space of meeting in which life meets life, and consciousness meets consciousness, in recognition and in peace.
With guided meditation, story-telling, imagery and deep experience, Steve and Eleanor share that space of expansive connection, in which the heart opens to the unity and wholeness of Life. Each session will bring together spiritual teachings with the ancestral wisdom of the animals and the natural world, along with practices to enliven connection to nature in everyday life.
The first session to introduce the course will be on Friday 24 September 2021 at 19.00 CET on Zoom. This is followed by nine weekly sessions, held live on Zoom, on Thursdays from the 7th of October to the 2rd of December. The sessions last 90 minutes: they are interactive, with time for questions, and recordings will be available immediately afterwards if you cannot attend live.
The opening session is free. We really want this course to be accessible to as many people as possible, so we are offering three different payment levels for the whole course. The details are below, with the contact form for booking.
Session 1 Opening Sacred Space Friday 24 September 19.00 CET
In this session we explore how love and care for the natural world can become a portal to the Presence that underlies the ordinary workings of our minds. That Presence re-opens our natural flow of communication with the beings of nature, and restores our connection to the wholeness and the unity of life.
Steve and Eleanor share their personal experiences of the profound re-connection they have received at the invitation of great whales, wolves, elephants, termites and other beings met in the wild. Through the stories, imagery and guided meditation, they open that sacred space of deep communion, and share practices that will allow that spaciousness to become part of every-day encounters with the life of nature.
Session 2 Returning to the Centre. With Ancestral Teachings from the Wild Horses Thursday 7 October 19.00 CET
Going within, and practicing deep listening, we return to our true centre within the Circle of Life, in the Great Mystery that is manifesting the unfolding diversity of the natural world and our fellow beings.
In this session, Steve presents the indigenous heart of the Biblical teaching stories on the Tree of Life. He shows how these teachings have been colonised, distorted, and misused to justify the exploitation of nature and takes us through guided meditation into the Circle of Life shared with our plant and animal companions, and all the beings of nature.
Drawing on her experiences riding among the re-wilded horses of the Northern Rockies, Eleanor explores the resilience and restorative powers of wild nature, and how they can guide us to find freedom in the soul.
Session 3 Creation Is This Moment Now Thursday October 14 19.00 CET
Creation is never past. It is this moment Now – immediate Presence known in the body and the breath. By listening consciously, and bringing full attention into the present, we re-cognise our fellow creatures as companions in this continual renewal of life – which is dynamic and unfolding in this moment Now.
Through guided meditation Steve takes us into the state of deep listening that is known in Hebrew as Shema.
Eleanor introduces the rediscovery of the ancient science of plant and animal consciousness emerging now through the work of researchers who have learned to listen deeply to the beings of nature and are bringing out a fresh awareness of interconnection.
Session 4 The Breath of Shared Being. With Ancestral Wisdom from the Great Whales Thursday 21 October 2021 19.00/CET
When we approach our fellow creatures with wonder and deep respect, we are linked into the patterns of life that they embody with such intelligence and grace. Listening to the expansive breathing of the great blue and fin whales, we are brought back into the flow of giving and receiving that arises naturally with every conscious breath we take.
Steve leads us in guided meditation into the Breath of Life. Eleanor shares her experiences among gray whales in Arctic waters and the lagoons of Mexico and blue whales and sperm whales in the Atlantic, and presents the latest research that illuminates the whales’ rich cultures and their closely-bonded families and extended communities.
Session 5 Practices to Bring the Spirit of Nature Connection into Everyday Life. Thursday 28 October 2021 19.00 CET
We integrate the previous sessions, and bring simple practices for awakening the senses – sight, hearing, smell, touch – and becoming more fully present to life and to nature in the simple things of every-day life. These practices quiet anxiety and bring rest to our minds; they restore our flow of energy, awaken intuition and allow us to receive healing and inspiration from the beings of nature, both visible and invisible.
Session 6 Lighting the Sacred Fire within the Dark. With the Wisdom of the Bear Thursday 4 November 19.00 CET
In the Celtic teachings, this time of Samhain marks the turning of the year towards the new, because all things are born from nurturing darkness. This is the darkness of infinite potential.
At this time, as we collectively enter the dark space of not-knowing, there is potential to clear some of the uncertainty and anxiety we feel, as we face our fears for the future of humanity and the Earth.
Steve guides us in meditation into the light that shines within the darkness. And Eleanor shows how the Bear Mother, among the most ancient of sacred animals, has long been seen as guide to the creative potential held within the dark. In her winter den, where the bear mother lies enfolded and protected by the Earth, she births and nurtures her cubs between sleep and waking. Around the world ancient peoples have related to the cycles of darkness and renewal through the bear’s power, held within the Earth, and shining in the pattern of the stars of the Great Bear on the black night sky.
Session 7 The Roots of the Tree of Life. With Ancestral Wisdom of the Mother Trees. Thursday 11 November 19.00 CET
In this session, Steve unfolds some of the original teachings on the Tree of Life which are contained within the teaching stories of the Bible, and many other wisdom traditions. The Great Tree of Life is multi-dimensional, holding the unity of diversity, uniting Heaven and Earth, formless Spirit and all the forms of unfolding life.
We too are multi-dimensional beings; in guided meditation, Steve takes us on the inner journey through the Tree of Life within ourselves. Eleanor shares the shamanic tree practices she encountered among animist communities of the Caucasus mountains, and presents the emerging science of the mother trees – these great elders within the forest, that nurture and support the community of different tree species, sustaining and also being sustained by the entire network of shared life.
Session 8 Walking in a Sacred Manner. With the Ancestral Wisdom from the Elephants. Thursday 18 November at 19.00 CET
“Take off your shoes, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” These words from the Book of Exodus tells us what it means to become truly sensitive to our connection with the Earth – feeling the ground beneath our feet as a direct manifestation of the Spirit of Life. Knowing this, we can walk consciously within the patterns of creation, as a blessing on the Earth. Native peoples call this “walking in a sacred manner.” In Hebrew, it is known as “Halakah” – which means walking in harmony with the laws of life.
Eleanor shares her encounters with powerful elephant female and male elders in the deserts of Namibia and the Okavango Delta of Botswana, conveying their emotional depth, their wisdom and the care they give to others in their families and communities, revealing the elephants as our elders, and teachers in how to walk in the ways of Life.
Session 9 Integration. Bringing the Spirit of Nature Connection into our Everyday Lives. Thursday 25 November 19.00 CET
We integrate the previous sessions, remembering to remain spacious inside, awake to the flowing aliveness of the natural world, and appreciative of the marvellous in the simple things of everyday. When we allow ourselves this space to expand and to be, even our perception of the immediate physical surroundings is transformed – becoming luminous, glowing and alive in a new and magical way.
SESSION 10 At the Edge of the New – An Open Session Looking to the Future Thursday 2 December 19.00 CET
This final session is an open forum in which we explore and share what it might mean to live at the Edge of the New – in the timeless present moment, in which Creation, and the potential for real change, becomes open and real for us.
Costs, Booking and Payment. The first session on the 24th of September is given free, with Zoom link and recording available on request. We really want this course to be accessible to as many people as possible, so we are offering three levels of payment for you to choose. The full price is 220 euros/250 US dollars/180 pounds sterling. We also offer a 50% reduction: 110 euros/125 US dollars/90 pounds sterling. Or you can make a contribution of 30 euros/25 US dollars/25 pounds sterling.
Please choose whatever level is right for you, and we will be delighted to have your presence. Email Eleanor directly, using the contact form below and she will send the appropriate paypal link or the bank transfer details for your currency.