Sigmund Freud said that everywhere he went, he found a poet had been there before him. This is a workshop for both therapists and for members of the general public.

Award winning poet William Ayot follows an ancient initiatory process: listening to the body; descending into the underworld of loss and grief; surveying the ground of yearning and desire; finding depth and authenticity, and finally returning with rich, new ways of “being human”.

The talk includes poems written by WIlliam Ayot, as well as William Butler Yeats, Mary Oliver, James Fenton, Alden Nowlan, Sharon Olds & William Stafford.

    1. Please read prior to beginning the talk

    2. Part one: Introduction; solitary confinement; ‘Solitary’; William Butler Yeats: ‘The Second Coming’ & ‘The Collar Bone of a Hare’.

    3. Part two: Mary Oliver: ‘The Journey’; when we hit the wall in our process; ‘Around, Below, Behind’ & ‘The Badger’; James Fenton: ‘The Mistake’; Alden Nowlan: ‘The Red Wool Shirt’.

    4. Part three: The notion of psyche and the soul; ‘Three Conversations’ & ‘The Winner’; when has your soul or psyche given you a prod?; the creativity that comes during the processing of something; ‘The Inheritance’; Sharon Olds: ‘Saturn’.

    5. Part four: ‘Never’; poems as deeply personal; ‘The Medical Room’; grief; ‘In Praise of Grief’; William Stafford: ‘Meditation’ & ‘Travelling Through the Dark’; allowing yourself to write ‘crappy’ poems.

    6. Part five: As things start to get better; living more soulful lives; gift of the work we do; art as life and life as art; Alden Nowlan: ‘He Sits Down on the Floor of a School for the Retarded’; William Stafford: ‘A Ritual to Read to Each Other’.

    7. Part six: Phase after visiting the underworld; ‘It Turns and Softly Speaks’; allowing love in; connection; ‘Last Night on Albion Pond’; being good enough; Butler Yeats: ‘The Fisherman’; ‘End of Day Coming in from the Garden’; coming home; ‘Autumnal'.

    8. Part seven: ‘Yet Still the Viking’ & ‘Hymn’; questions from the live viewers answered; ‘Anyone Can Sing’.

    9. Resources, including a list of all poems read

    1. Listen here

    1. Watch here

    1. Feedback form and certificate

About this course

  • £10.00
  • 12 lessons
  • 3 hours of video content


Speaker William Ayot

William Ayot is an award-winning poet, author, teacher and ritualist. Over three decades, he has organized, hosted, facilitated and led, men’s and mixed personal development events and rites of passage, working in rehab, correctional, personal development and organizational contexts. He uses poetry and the arts to teach leadership in boardrooms and business schools around the world, currently teaching on the Advanced Management Programme at INSEAD. William also designs and leads bespoke rituals for individuals and groups in his purpose-built ritual garden in Monmouthshire, Wales. Writing includes the play, Bengal Lancer, three collections of poetry, and a prose book on ritual. He is currently writing a book for and about men in a time of epochal change. William leads personal rituals for people in person, designs rituals for people from all over the world, and is available for one-to-one coaching online.