ABOUT THE BRAIDED RIVER
“… And beneath it all the river sang. It sang with the insistent clatter of gravel and the protesting pummel of stones and the fierce resounding resistance of boulders, all rolling forward in the water’s force. Surfing through the foam, we could hear it all. And we could also hear the dip and rise of women’s songs being threaded through the water. They sang with the gathering gravels of hope and the transforming stones of justice and the great unstoppable boulders of truth… Over and again and maybe forever we will make our river rebellion, until the solidity of water and women has changed the shape of the ocean, until the force of our songs has cleared the silt from the estuaries, until the power of our gravel and boulders has swept away the banks that contain us, then we will all ride the tides that are equal and free…” from Rebellion at the House of Rivers, Book of Hag, 2018
Carolyn has been creating and guiding workshop journeys for women, on Dartmoor and beyond, for thirty years. Her workshops, circles and gatherings at Lower Merripit Farm are part of the tending, sustaining, protecting and sharing that have been offered since 1995 in this place of wild sanctuary. Her workshops and teachings in the wider world have woven powerful and empowering threads of sisterhood and connection between many women and the source of her work in this ancient landscape. Sometimes she creates and hosts larger events for women, including the international women’s festival, Thirteen Moons. Most workshops take place on Dartmoor but she has also taught in Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, and the USA. Over the years, many thousands of women have participated in her workshop journeys. The workshop experiences that she shares are fed by all the strands of her own creative work: with words, paint, song, drum, craft, ritual and relationship with ancient land.
THE BRAIDED RIVER programme is anchored into a commitment to three elements that form the braid of the river: the ritual house of our collective ancient wisdom, sacred wild land and deep ancestral honouring.
THE BRAIDED RIVER aims to offer sanctuary, celebration, ceremony, guided journeys, wild pilgrimage, welcoming circles, deepening circles, mending circles, dreaming circles, the bearing of witness, the weaving of sisterhood, the infusion of magic, the harnessing of prayers, the work of wise hands, the tread of remembering feet, the protection of kindness and the tending of Earth.
THE BRAIDED RIVER aims to enable women to anchor a deeper sense of belonging: to these wild moors, to the ancient roundhouse hearth and to the sister circles that are shared here. It embraces women who have planted footprints into this land for a few or many years, and it welcomes newly-arriving sisters who want to step for the first time into these circles.
THE BRAIDED RIVER aims to create a continuity of shared experience, sacred work and wild magic that braids us into a supportive, inspiring, challenging, healing, innovative, effective and rebellious sisterhood! Our most profound apprenticeships are created directly from our intuitive understanding of our own journeys; our most expansive and meaningful initiations are drawn from the vessels of our own courage, tenacity, integrity and intuitive knowing.
ANCIENT LANGUAGE: you will find words within these workshop descriptions that come from the Proto-Celtic mother tongue that fed into the still-living Celtic languages. These words are 4000 years old and carry the resonance of how our ancestral people spoke and sang and prayed to the land. You can find more information in the book HER BONE BUNDLE.
ABOUT THE SISTER BLANKET
The SISTER BLANKET describes the foundation of principles behind all our workshops. It is a charter of woman-kindness, a reminder of our shared intent, a comfort of words to wrap around our circles, an undertaking that anchors the integrity of our work and the authenticity of our sisterhood. Please read through this charter carefully before you apply for a workshop.
The words on the Sister Blanket were created by fifty women, linking in from many places to sit around our online roundhouse hearth, working together over three nights during a full moon to gather our ideas, hone our understanding and distil our shared vision of sisterhood into one vessel. This powerful spell of words is the result.
These words were printed onto strips of linen, that were sewn onto handwoven cloth, that was lined with felted Dartmoor wool, that then became our Sister Blanket. This ritual cloth is used in personal ritual, in formal ceremonies or simply to wrap around a woman to soothe, comfort or heal. Whether the embrace of this blanket is sought by ourselves or offered to another woman, it has the capacity to remind us why sisterhood is so crucial to our journeys. Our integrity is rooted in the kindness that we offer to each other. Without generous heart, truthful action and the holding of power with careful hands, our magical and sacred work becomes dusty and hollow.
Since then, smaller versions of the SISTER BLANKET have been created. We have designed a small, organic, unbleached cotton cloth (dish towel, wall hanging, head scarf, cushion cover) printed with the words of this charter and sold to raise funds for women’s projects and campaigns. Our blanket of sisterhood has been used by women’s circles around the world and translated into many other languages. Printed translations have been made in the Slovak, Russian and German languages. The SISTER BLANKET textiles may be purchased here.
Here a download file of the SISTER BLANKET which you can expand to read the full text.
Here is a summary of Braided River workshops and events for 2022. Please click on the heading of each section to find further details.
DAWEYO KERDÂ / Hearth Woman Initiation / September 2-4
LAGYÂNO KERDÂ / Shrine Guardian Pilgrimage / October 7-9
SOITLÂ KERDÂ / Bone Dreamer Covenant / November 25-27
(kerdâ means skill or craft, journey or trail)
BRAIDED RIVER APPRENTICESHIP
Completion of the current thirteen-month apprenticeship journey will take place on June 12-14. The next apprenticeship journey will not begin booking until 2023.
THE WEAVERS’ TRAIL (WEDJÊ KERDÂ)
This is a new ongoing unscheduled study programme that will be launching in three stages during the coming year. The Weavers’ Trail contains three individual but integrated learning journeys, divided into thirteen themed work bundles which are described as monthly but can take as long as you need. The online Braided River involves a blend of pre-recorded film, live zoom sessions, a package of written texts and images, plus a bundle of physical workshop materials delivered to each participant’s door.
DAWEYO JOURNEY / The Hearth Woman / from midsummer 21 June
LAGYÂNO JOURNEY / The Shrine Guardian / from equinox 21 September
SOITLÂ JOURNEY / The Bone Dreamer / from midwinter 21 December
OTHER EVENTS AND GATHERINGS
KRUTTÂ CEREMONY Wednesday evenings, every 6 weeks, dates to be announced
Regular evening drum rituals held in the roundhouse with shared song, prayer and ceremony.
KRUTTÂ KOMBERO September 25 Sunday, details to be announced
Council of Sacred Drums: live, online and connecting over distance, all women welcome to join this collective and connected evening of drum prayer.
KRUTTÂ PILGRIMAGE Date to be announced, details to follow.
All-day drum prayer journey walking across the open north moor, drumming to shrines and sacred places, open to any woman with sturdy boots!
INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP SEMINARS
CZECH REPUBLIC July 1-4
Grandmother Wolf, Bear Mother & Heron Woman: a journey into the source of women’s ancient wisdom. With translation.
GERMANY November 11-13
The Hag Road: Crow Songs & Bark Skins. Hosted by Arkuna, near Stuttgart. With translation.
OTHER BRAIDED RIVER CIRCLES
BRAIDED RIVER CONFLUENCE
The confluence takes place every few years, enabling us to gather in greater numbers to share and strengthen the harvest of our circles. The confluence is held in a Dartmoor venue and open to all women who are inspired to dip a toe or leap into these waters, sharing workshops and presentations, drum circles and wild songs, celebration and ceremony. There is no confluence planned for 2022.
These circles are for long-time returning women who have worked with Carolyn over several or many years and who have forged strong connections to the roundhouse hearth, this sanctuary land and the sisters who regularly gather here. Many salmon women have offered their time and energy as kindling sisters to support other women’s workshop journeys, or as coordinators or contributors and crew at our women’s events. They have already braided many cords in this river. They gather to deepen their own journeys as well as continue to support the explorations and initiations of other women.
This is an informal apprenticeship for women within the salmon sister circle, a flexible vessel for ongoing sacred work and initiation, created by each sister to her own needs and vision, supported by Carolyn and other salmon sisters. This undertaking enables women to work intensively and profoundly with any or all of the thirteen themes of the Creel. (A creel is a willow woven basket for collecting or carrying fish)
Wildsong sessions have been taking place regularly on Dartmoor since 2017. These vibrant and much-loved sessions are now shifting shape as we create KRUTTÂ (sacred drum) ceremonies throughout the year in the sacred roundhouse. Please go to Other Events and Gatherings for more information.