Winter Newsletter 2017

Here are the highlights of my past year, and some low points too.

Soulfulness, The Book

In January, I received a contract from Karnac Books, the highly distinguished publisher of psychological books, for publication of my latest book ‘Soulfulness : The Marriage of Shamanic and Contemporary Psychology’.

The book is now finished and in the hands of the publisher. It should be available in Spring 2017. I hope you will buy a copy, or at least order it from your local library, read it, and spread the word. Please, watch my Soulfulness website for more.

My description of the book is at

As you might imagine, in the book there is a scattering of stories and poems, including a 9000 word reflection on a Russian folktale, ‘The Bold Knight, the Apples of Youth, and the Water of Life’, for its synergy with shamanic concepts.

Some Challenges

At the time I received the contract from Karnac Books, I could barely see and had to zoom in to 200% in order to read the draft. In the course of a routine operation a year ago, I had contracted a severe virus which put me back in hospital twice and badly affected my eyes. Now, I am again fit and well, except for having stepped onto some dangerously slippery decking on Ray Mill Island – a serious Health and Safety hazard – and broken my humerus. So, here I am typing one-handed.

Berkshire and Lancashire Folk Tales

These books continue to sell in modest quantities, and make wonderful Christmas presents! Please, see:

The History Press has now published ‘The Anthology of English Folk Tales’ from their folk tales series, a little hardback in the same style as the series and a delightful keepsake (I have a few copies!). The Anthology includes one of my Berkshire stories, ‘The Cheviot Shepherd’s Charm’, and one of my co-author Jennie Bailey’s Lancashire tales, ‘The Devil in the Fireplace’.

Storytelling and Public Speaking

My work in these areas has been somewhat curtailed by the challenges mentioned above. All the same:

In August, I spent a glorious week at Oxford Dance Camp, telling tales and conducting Shamanic Journey ceremonies and early morning qigong sessions.

In September, I happily spent an afternoon of rolling storytelling in the Storytelling Village at the first Storytelling Festival on Monkey Island, beside the Thames, organised by the wonderful and creative Arti and Matthew Sharma-Grey, who run ‘Once Upon a Bus’. At the same event, my son Ed strolled around entertaining visitors, playing folk tunes on one of his fiddles, which has an ancient horn amplifier.

I gave my talk ‘History, Myth and Mystery’, based on the Berkshire and Lancashire Folk Tales books, to Theale Local History Group and Henley Bridge Rotary, and my new talk ‘Defiant Saxon Queens’ to Middle Thames Local History Group in Stoke Poges.

Seasonal Stories

There are two seasonal stories on my storytelling website (, which you might like to read over the next few days:

Mabon ap Modron. I first told this story for the Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge. It works just as well as a Winter Solstice tale, and is a fun family story – match the names of the wise creatures, each one even older and wiser than the one before, with the sounds they utter.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a traditional English tale with a more adult theme.

A Funeral, A Wedding, and a Birth

On my June Northern Tour, I had hoped to visit Heysham to see my 92 year old friend, my father’s cousin’s wife, Margaret Hartley, who has produced many shows with Lancaster Amateur Dramatic & Operatic Society. In the event, I was only able to attend her funeral, which was a glorious celebration of the life of a wonderful, talented, and greatly loved person. Fittingly, we sang ‘There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow’. A special joy which Margaret’s funeral brought was for me to reconnect with the Hartley clan.

In August, daughter Ruth and her partner Francesco married at Taplow Court, a research establishment when I worked there, and now a Buddhist HQ.

Francesco being a practising Buddhist, it was possible for he and Ruth to have a Buddhist wedding ceremony at Taplow Court. The ceremony, in front of the golden-gilded Gohonzon, was delightful, gentle, and moving, and included Buddhist chanting and the serving of saké to the bride and groom by their witnesses.

Grandchildren are a great joy. August saw the birth of beautiful Hector Hugo to daughter-in-law Lizzie and son Mark, bringing the grandchild total to five boys and two girls.

My Psychotherapy Practice and Soulfulness

Writing the ‘Soulfulness’ book has involved me in extensive research, as well as searching my soul for what I was feeling for, how to marry together psychotherapeutic and shamanic psychology and practice in a way which is fit for use within the mainstream of 21st century psychotherapeutic work.

I could not write such a book without it changing me and changing the way I work. Thus, I am seeking, responsibly and gradually, to include in my psychotherapy practice the things which writing the book has taught me.

In a nutshell, I see my work as a psychotherapist being to help people increasingly experience themselves more fully – to enlarge their souls – so as to be able to live more abundant and fulfilled lives.

My Books of the Year

This year I need to give my accolade to three very different books:

Gentlemen and Players: A Novel by Joanne Harris. Intriguing, and will catch you off your guard.

Healing Intelligence: The Spirit in Psychotherapy, by Alan Mulhern. My most influential book, when writing ‘Soulfulness’.

Lightningbolt, by Hyemeyohsts Storm. An enchanting Shamanic autobiography about Self-realisation.