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  • Writer's picturekatrice horsley

Mythcellium ©

The image is an inversion of the base of the birch tree in my garden - it feels so human in its form and I often sit beneath it and wonder about what is happening below the ground and what other trees in the forest behind our house, is it connected to.

'Connection' has always been a theme in my life and in the work that I do - when people ask me what I am passionate about my answer is always, 'connection'. Whether this be connection with self, with place, with community or with the 'more than human world' - connection is what drives me. This passion has led to the development of a new show called Mythcelium. It explores the mycorrhizal network of myth and how the old myths always connected us to 'the more than human world' and in many of them the earth itself was animate, trees spoke, animals conversed and we were connected. ( I have recently read the incredible book Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard which was a complete revelation and is now altering the show significantly. I highly recommend it.)

I think of this in terms of the work that I have coming up. In August I have two training days with educational organisations, one focused on language and one on developing the story of the school within the community. In September I am working once more with the Women's International Sports Leadership Association and also running a residential in the UK and in October I am running a workshop up in Skellefteå in Sweden for the Social Services Department as well as running a workshop on Leadership for the SKR. November brings me more work in the UK exploring language development at a conference for people working with children with communication needs as well as delivering a keynote for CIS in Dublin exploring the pivotal role of storytelling in how we communicate. What all of these have in common is the theme of connection and the use of story in enabling us to communicate that connection.

As leaders we want to connect with those we lead, as educators we want to connect with those we are educating, as members of communities we want to connect with each other, as humans we need to connect - it is essential for us if we are to survive and thrive. Yet we are in a time of great disconnect which I feel is being increased through the use of AI and a range of other digital/online tools. I have spoken of this in my previous posts but more and more I see us becoming disconnected, not only from each other and nature but also from our trust in our own abilities. Motherhood now needs apps, menstrual cycles have apps, our ability to compose and write books, documents, essays is now being given over to chat GPT ..... there is such a commodification of what is intrinsically 'humaness.' Witnessing this weighs heavily on me, saddens me for I have such hope and belief in our abilities and to see us constantly told we are not enough or we do not know enough, or we cannot trust our bodies (especially women) - it hurts.

For solace I go and sit in a chair which hangs from the birch tree, I listen to the wind through the leaves of the trees in the forest at the back of the house and I think of all the amazing people writing about connection and I hope, I really hope that we will all trust more in our ability to connect with ourselves, with each other and with the 'more than human world,' for it is in connection that we find out more about each other, more about ourselves and we need that connection in order to survive as a human species in a more than human world.

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Jul 04, 2023

I just finished reading this article. And I felt a bit of sadness too. The feeling of disconnect I see around me , within me is getting stronger everyday. When I was growing up cell phones and internet were not there in India. I had time to read under a tree, ride my scooter or bicycle in the rain, play outside using the gooey mud but now my eyes are glued to a screen. I have forgotten the feel of paper in my hand. My reading happens in Kindle. Your words remind me of the slow losing of my senses. Thanks for this beautiful article.

katrice horsley
katrice horsley
Jul 07, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and write a comment. There is a wonderful woman called Emma Mitchell you can follow on Twitter who really helps us reconnect with beauty and nature, even in the midst of sorrow. I suggest you take a look at her work and words. Her Twitter is @silverpebble and she wrote a wonderful book called The Wild remedy.

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