16th Mount Haemus Lecture: Gathering Mistletoe – an approach to the Work of E.Graham Howe

Ian Rees analyses and seeks to interpret the work of psychologist and Druid Graham Howe, showing the centrality of the archetype of the Druid within it, and comparing it to more recent therapeutic work drawing from Preiddeu Annwn and the Mabinogion. Particular attention will be given to explaining and interpreting the concepts and models behind his healing approach, which unites both non-dual spirituality with the direct experience of the body, and placing them within the wider tradition of Druidic philosophy and healing approaches. The intention of the paper will be be to represent his work in such a way that therapists and Druids of whatever occupation can make use of it today.

by Ian Rees

Introduction

In the early 70s when I was training as a psychologist in Cardiff, I came across a strange and fascinating little book called She and Me by E.Graham Howe. The book spoke of the relationship between Non-duality and duality, and seemed to be mostly concerned with the question of opposites and the question of the soul. I can’t say that I understood much about it at that time in my life, but it remained in the background of my awareness and then later I across another book by the same author entitled The Mind of the Druid, whose 1989 edition carries an introduction by the head of the Ancient Druid Order David Loxley, which took the essential image of the druid and used it to explore similar themes. Later I learned that the author was a psychiatrist who had been influential in the development of psychotherapy in the UK, and was in fact one of the founders of the Tavistock Clinic when it was at its most radical and experimental. He was also the mentor to the radical and innovative psychotherapist R D Laing. In some ways much of the ideas were over my head at that stage in my life, and while I kept the two books and occasionally went back to them, I did not further investigate his work. In the 80s I trained in a form of body-based psychotherapy that also explored east-west spirituality, and this reminded me of some aspects of E.Graham Howe’s works, but it was not until 2012 that I commenced a serious study of it, when I came across a compendium of his work entitled The Druid of Harley Street.

Read the Lecture

Also available in The Mount Haemus Lectures – Volume Two through our bookshop and as a downloadable pdf below.

About the Author

Ian Rees is a psycho-spiritual psychotherapist practising in Glastonbury Somerset UK. He has been a therapist for 20 years and spent 10 before that working in Probation Work and Social Work at all levels from Field Worker, Manager to Education Advisor for Mental Health at national level. He is an experienced trainer and taught at the Karuna Institute in Devon from 1999 to 2009; he designed and ran their MA programmes as well as being central to the teaching team. Since 2009 he has concentrated on developing the Annwn Foundation workshops and the Awen training and presents this material in the UK and Israel.