Mythic Imagination: The Power of Storytelling and Mythology with Sharon Blackie, Joanna Gilar, Jay Griffiths, Sue Hollingsworth

The Hoxton, Holborn | Saturday 30th September 2017



Mythic Imagination: The Power of Story-Telling and Mythology will serve as a deep-dive into the power of mythology and storytelling as spiritual and practical tools to connect to our true purpose, empower our lives and ignite awe and wonder at the world around us. Throughout the day we will uncover ancient myths and develop new stories to enliven and deepen our understanding of who we are, where we are, and how we may face the challenges in front of us. Pioneers from the fields of Story-telling and Mythology will guide us through our sub-conscious to explore native myths, fairy tales and folk traditions, as well as our own personal story, and how each of these affect the world we see around us.

The day begins with a choice of Story-telling and Mythology Workshops by Sharon Blackie, Sue Hollingsworth and Joanna Gilar, or a Yoga Workshop by Christabel Reed, followed by a delicious Vegan lunch prepared by Piccalilli Caff.

The Talks programs kicks off in the afternoon. We are proud and excited to present the work and words of Jay Griffiths, Sharon Blackie, Sue Hollingsworth and Joanna Gilar and more. Please see below for the schedule, bios and talk descriptions. 



10.45 - Doors open
11.00 - Workshops Start: Sue Hollingsworth: The Mythic Moment / Sharon Blackie: Native Myths, Fairy Tales and Folk Traditions / Joanna Gilar: Once Upon a Slow Forever/ Yoga with Christabel Reed - please choose when booking your ticket

12.30 - Vegan Lunch - by Piccalilli Caff

13.30 - Talks Start

13.40 - Talk 1: Sharon Blackie, 'Listening to the Land’s Dreaming' 
14.25 - Talk 2: Joanna Gilar, 'Beastly Lovers and Clear Waters: Meeting the Wild in the Wonder Tale'

15.00 - Break

15.15 - Talk 3: Jay Griffiths, 'Trickster Within: Trickster Without' 
16.00 - Talk 4: Sue Hollingsworth, 'The Deeper Current'

16.45 - End + Thanks



Joanna Gilar, 'Once Upon a Slow Forever'

This workshop will explore creative encounters with the wonder tale. How might we tell a traditional tale using visualisation, storytelling and co-creation in ways that respect the depth, complexity and dream-like nature of the material with which we are working? We will begin at the beginning and carry on from there, exploring a method of "slow telling" which offers space both to bring ourselves into the content, and allow the tale to tell its own story.

Sharon Blackie, ‘Listening to the Land’s Dreaming’

Myth and story can help us to develop a sense of genuine belonging to the places we live in, and inform our relationship with the wider, animate earth. In this workshop, we’ll explore a profoundly embodied mythology, uncovering and working with the existing native myths and archetypes which inhabit our places, and delving into the ways in which we can weave our own personal stories into the land.

Sue Hollingsworth, 'The Mythic Moment'

What do we understand by myth? Is it something that exists only in the past or can our own lives encompass mythic moments? A hands on, experiential dive into our own mythology in search of what gives our lives meaning.

Joanna Gilar - description coming soon

Yoga with Christabel Reed - description coming soon



Sharon Blackie, 'The Mythic Imagination: Why Native Myths Matter'

This talk will explore the ways in which our native myths, fairy tales and folklore offer us insights into authentic and meaningful ways of being, which are founded on a deep sense of belonging to place, and a rootedness in the land we inhabit.

Joanna Gilar, 'Beastly Lovers and Clear Waters: Meeting the Wild in the Wonder Tale'

This talk will explore the relevance and resonance of animal bridegrooms. We will discuss the surprising historical evolutions and convolutions of two of our best loved tales, and ask what a Scottish Frog Prince and an old French Little Red Riding Hood can teach us about stepping beyond civilisation and meeting the wild other.

Jay Griffiths, 'Trickster Within: Trickster Without'

This talk will explore and recognise the influence of the Trickster in the mind and in the world.

Sue Hollingsworth, 'The Deeper Current'

This talk will explore how working with stories and storytelling accesses deep levels of wisdom that can help support our personal and spiritual development. Definitely including a story or two, probably several questions and hopefully arriving at a pearl of great price!


The Hoxton, Holborn, 199-206 High Holborn, London WC1V 7BD



Dr Sharon Blackie


Dr Sharon Blackie is an award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction, a psychologist who has specialised both in neuroscience and narrative, and a mythologist with a specialisation in Celtic Studies. Her unique approach to working with myth, fairy tales and folklore highlights the insights these traditions can offer us into authentic and meaningful ways of being which are founded on a deep sense of belonging to place, a rootedness in the land we inhabit. In early 2017 she founded The Hedge School: both an online space and a physical location in Connemara, for teachings in myth, wild mind and enchantment.

Sharon is the author of The Long Delirious Burning Blue, a novel which the Independent on Sunday called ‘hugely potent. A tribute to the art of storytelling that is itself an affecting and inspiring story’, and which The Scotsman called ‘powerful (reminiscent of The English Patient), filmic, and achieving the kind of symmetry that novels often aspire to, but rarely reach.’

Her most recent nonfiction book is If Women Rose Rooted, which offers up a new Heroine’s Journey for this challenging age of social and ecological crisis, described by bestselling novelist Manda Scott as ‘mind-blowing in the most profound and exhilarating sense … an anthem for all we could be. It’s an essential book for this, the most critical of recent times.’ If Women Rose Rooted was a 2016 Nautilus Book Award winner. Sharon is currently working on a new book, The Enchanted Life, scheduled for publication in in spring 2018.

Sharon’s articles have been published in a wide range of popular and academic magazines and journals. She is the recipient of a ‘Creative Scotland’ writing award, and is an experienced lecturer and workshop leader; she has also performed at a number of cultural events and festivals, from the Edinburgh International Book Festival to the Dark Mountain Project’s ‘Uncivilisation’ Festival. From 2013 to 2017 she was the founder and editor of EarthLines Magazine, described by Jay Griffiths as ‘a deeply intelligent publication’, by George Monbiot as ‘a rare combination and much needed’, and by Robert Macfarlane as ‘a real point of convergence for many thought-tributaries and philosophical paths’.

After several years as a crofter in the north-west of Scotland and the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Sharon returned to Ireland in 2014 and has recently traded an old stone riverside cottage in Donegal for a house among the hills, lakes and seaweed-strewn tidal inlets of the Connemara Gaeltacht. Her experiences on the westernmost edges of the Celtic fringe give her a unique perspective on the psychology of belonging, and our relationship with place.

For more information about working with Sharon, please visit her exciting new initiative: The Hedge School.




Jay Griffiths was born in Manchester and studied English Literature at Oxford University.  She spent a couple of years living in a shed on the outskirts of Epping Forest but for many years she has been based in Wales. 

The first book she wrote was Anarchipelago, a story about the British anti-roads protests.  

The second book she wrote was Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time, a manifesto for time and against clocks.  It explores the political nature of time, and illustrates some of the diverse ways in which indigenous cultures perceive time. It is a polemic against the play-less, life-denying ways in which modernity sees time.

Wild: An Elemental Journey took seven years to research and write.  It is an evocation of the songlines of the earth, the result of long journeys among indigenous cultures, including staying with Amazonian shamans and Inuit people, visiting sea gypsies and staying with the freedom fighters of West Papua.  It explores the words and meanings which shape ideas of wildness, arguing that wildness is intrinsic to the health of the human spirit.  It is about necessary nomadism and the truant heart.

A Love Letter from a Stray Moon is a fictionalised biography of Frida Kahlo, a tribute to the Mexican painter and to Subcomandante Marcos, and the rebellion at the heart of art.

She has written for the Guardian’s comment pages and feature pages.  She is a regular columnist for Orion magazine and has written frequently for The Idler.  She has also written about wild skating for Lapham’s Quarterly, and has contributed to The Observer, the Ecologist, the London Review of Books, the Utne Reader, Wild Earth and Dark Mountain.  She has broadcast widely on BBC radio, including Start the Week and Woman’s Hour, and the World Service, and has several times been a guest on Phillip Adams’ Late Night Live in Australia.  She has written for peer-reviewed academic publication and for the British Council.

Wild was the winner of the inaugural Orion Book Award and was shortlisted for the Orwell prize and for the World Book Day award

Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time won the Barnes and Noble ‘Discover’ award for the best new non-fiction writer to be published in the USA, 2003, for which her book was cited as ‘cleverness in the service of genius’.

The following writers have given endorsements to her work: David Abram, John Berger, Fritjof Capra, Marie Darrieussecq, Gretel Ehrlich, Niall Griffiths, Tom Hodgkinson, Joan London, Barry Lopez, Richard Mabey, Robert Macfarlane,  Bill McKibben, Adrian Mitchell, George Monbiot, Philip Pullman, David Rothenberg, Vandana Shiva, and Gary Snyder.

Radiohead invited Jay Griffiths to write for their newspaper ‘The Universal Sigh’.

K.T. Tunstall lists Wild as her favourite book and quotes from Wild on her album Tiger Suit

‘Jay Griffiths’ works are original, inspiring and dare you to search beyond the accepted norm.’  - Nikolai Fraiture from The Strokes.




Sue Hollingsworth has been performing and teaching storytelling for over 20 years. She is an acclaimed, internationally recognised workshop leader as well as regularly performing programmes of both traditional and biographical stories to adults. She is Director of the Centre for Biographical Storytelling, a Founding Member of the Centre for Narrative Leadership, a Founder of the International School of Storytelling, Patron of the Amari Storytelling Project in Crete and a Consultant to Seiba Storytelling in Istanbul. She is co-author of the best-selling book The Storyteller’s Way: Sourcebook for Inspired Storytelling (2012)and is currently completing another book on telling true life stories.

Sue runs workshops and performs all over the world. In 2016 she left the International School of Storytelling where she had been based for 22 years and refocussed her work on the telling of true life stories. In 2017 she established the Centre for Biographical Storytelling which is a meeting place and source of inspiration for those working with personal stories and storytelling in the fields of performance, personal development, therapy and leadership. At the heart of the Centre is a worldwide community of registered organisations and individuals who offer courses, trainings and coaching in this area.

Although Sue still performs, coaches and offers public courses, she now also focusses on supporting emerging and developing storytelling organisations and communities as a Mentor, Consultant and Patron.


Dr Joanna Gilar 


Dr Joanna Gilar Dr Joanna Gilar is an academic, writer and storyteller based in Sussex who uses story to help us find our way in the un-navigated territory of a transforming planet. A ritual facilitator and trained bodyworker, Joanna believes that stories exist in our chalk, grass, skin and bones, and if we speak with stories through these things they will speak back to us. She  lectures in storytelling and folk music at the University of Chichester, and offers fairy tale courses, workshops, writings and performances using fairy tales, magic and ecology to explore where, with, and with-whom we are. 

As a storyteller and performance poet Joanna focuses on the intersection between word and world. She believe orally told stories have the capacity to re-weave relationships between teller, hearer and space in which they are told. As David Abram has put it, “we cannot restore the land without restorying the land”. She has performed at schools, bookshops, university campuses, woods, fields and mountains across Europe. I have run a week of storytelling at an Italian castle, been a regular storyteller at an annual festival in the mountains of Moravia and celebrated the mapping of Sussex Folklore with stories of dragons and witches in the South Downs. The many organisations she has worked with include the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy, ONCA Centre for Arts and Ecology, Brighton Storytellers, London Dreamtime, the Italian Body&Society Lab, the Dark Mountain Project, Anderida Gorsedd, the Scottish Pagan Federation and Stour Valley Arts. Her poems and performances have been described as “spell-binding”, “breath-taking”, “astonishing” and “a gift”.  

Read more about Joanna here: