A Seven-Day Residential Paul Rebillot Workshop Presented by The Fool’s Dance Gestalt Company
The ‘Slí an Chroí’ Centre, Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow.
February 15th to 21st, 2020.
DANCING WITH THE GODS: There can’t be many Irish people who are not familiar with at least a few stories from Celtic mythology – the sad fate of the Children of Lir, perhaps, or the heroic exploits of Fionn and the Fianna. Many classical Greek myths have also found a place in the collective consciousness of the West as demonstrated, for instance, by our the use of the adjective ‘Herculean’ for a very demanding task, recalling the twelve near-impossible Labours of Hercules. More recently, myths from less-familiar civilisations have also made an impact on Western culture – for instance the Sumerian saga of Inanna, (the formidable goddess of love, fertility, desire – and war) journeying to the Land of the Dead to visit her vengeful twin sister Ereshkigal. Or, perhaps, the ancient Egyptian story of how the goddess Isis tracked down the dismembered and scattered remains of Osiris, her murdered husband, in order that they could posthumously conceive a son together. In pre-literate societies such stories must have been preserved in the oral tradition by ritual telling and retelling over hundreds, maybe thousands, of years – prompting the question: Just why have these stories so tenaciously survived?
One possible answer – which is also the basis for the present workshop – has been promoted by, among others, Carl Jung, James Hillman and Joseph Campbell. All three suggest that myths from all cultures have deep psychological significance, that – as Hillman eloquently put it “…. myths show our depth psychology in ancient dress”. A myth or legend that attracts us, haunts us and draws us in does so because our unconscious recognises that there is something within that particular story that we need to learn. Once we become aware of the personal significance of a myth that calls to us we can begin to draw on the energies of the archetypal patterns within it, cooperate with them, and – by working with them creatively – awaken our life to new possibilities.
Participants in this workshop are asked to choose and bring to the workshop a myth (or a legend or a folk-tale so long as it contains a significant supernatural element) from any culture. It is not necessary to have explored the psychological significance of the myth – it is sufficient just to be familiar with the story and to be strongly attracted to it. That attraction indicates that the psyche sees in the mythic story something that it needs in order to become whole.
Working with their chosen myth, participants will use a combination of Gestalt process, movement, music, art, fantasy, dramatization and ritual to reveal the deeper significance that lies at the root of its attraction for them. We will explore our personal world of mythology, not from the point of view of academic or aesthetic interest, but because it can serve as a reservoir of healing energy for ourselves and for those with whom we come into contact.
PAUL REBILLOT was born in 1931 in Detroit, Michigan. Following a successful academic and professional career in the performing arts as musician, writer, actor, director and teacher he trained as a Gestalt psychotherapist with Dick Price (himself an influential early pupil of Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy) at the Esalen Institute where he also came into contact with the mythologist Joseph Campbell. From these two influences – together with his own uniquely creative insights – Paul developed the ‘Hero’s Journey’, the first of a unique series of therapeutic structures which drew on both his training in Gestalt and on his background in the world of music and theatre. Annually from 1991 to 2008 Paul presented a series of very successful workshops in Ireland, among them ‘The Hero’s Journey’, ‘The Lover’s Journey’, ‘Owning the Shadow’, ‘Death and Resurrection’ and the present workshop. In March 2008, he retired from work in Europe and he died in February 2010.
THE FOOL’S DANCE GESTALT COMPANY: We are a group of people in Ireland who have worked for many years with Paul Rebillot, are graduates of his Advanced Training and who have extensive collective experience as Paul’s assistants, and later – with his blessing – in co-leading his workshops. We came together after Paul’s retirement with the aim of ensuring that his transformative work in Ireland would continue.
FURTHER INFORMATION: This workshop is suitable for anyone with an interest in self-exploration or personal development. Although based on the Gestalt approach to psychotherapy no previous experience of Gestalt is required or assumed. For any queries please e-mail to Fergus Lalor at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 021-4505711 (answering machine available).