Tools and processes of Edge of the Wild

Edge of the Wild – tools and processes

For those who have never attended Edge of the Wild before, our focus is very much on process, rather than ‘event’. The theme of the gathering will be explored with at least these five tools:

1 – The Social Dreaming Matrix: sharing dreams in a group, not as personal possessions but as collective resources for understanding the forces at play in the present moment. We have worked with social dreaming every year, and it has

become increasingly central to the event, moving from an optional extra on the margins of the timetable to a major feature of the programme; we have found the other-than-human and more-than-human crowding into the shared dreams –

animals, birds, fishes, trees, plants, insects – all generously sharing their wisdom with us;

2 – Sitting in Council: a formal structure for sharing our experiences, based on turn-taking, space, and non-judgemental listening. “No subject was out of bounds within the Circle, which could range from who would gather wood for the next day to how do we heal a member in need of intense care. We follow this ancient tradition of the ‘Talking Stick’ or ‘Prayer Stick’ and recognize that whoever is holding the sacred stick has the floor and has a sacred duty to tell the truth. We

acknowledge our duty to this person, to listen without judgment or interruption as this person talks of whatever subject they wish to talk about. If that person need input, it is up to him or her to ask for that help and to respect in non-judgment the answer which is given regardless of its validity.” (Blackfoot Elder)

3 – Therapeutic Process: we have found that very powerful emotions can emerge at our gatherings, as a natural response to experiencing the damage that is being inflicted on global ecosystems: feelings of grief, rage, fear and confusion which

need to be expressed as a valid part of our work together. This can happen either formally or informally: many people at the gathering are skilled and experienced in supporting strong emotion, and those who don’t feel comfortable around it can do something else. If there is a felt need, groups can form and workshops be offered in this area.

4 – Home groups: At the beginning of the gathering we will all form small groups to offer a support base over the four days, an opportunity for support and sharing in a manageable space which can be useful for everyone, particularly for


5- Workshops: Rather than having a prepared structure of workshops set out for the gathering, we invite offers of workshops to emerge at the gathering as and when it feels right, as themes emerge from our interactions and individuals realise that their skills and experience might be useful to others.

There is also space for a range of activities including an open mic session round the bonfire, dancing, swimming in the river, and chatting round the tea tent and bar. There will also be an introductory ‘what is ecopsychology?’ session for those who want it.